Summary: You are called to shepherd the people God has given you.
Lighthouses of Prayer – The Call To Shepherd January 13, 2008
Review of Lighthouses of Prayer
Last week I introduced the idea of lighthouses of prayer. It comes from Luke chapter 10 where Jesus sends out the 72 Disciples to go into the villages around the country.
This is his commission: "When you enter a house, first say, ’Peace to this house.’ If the head of the house loves peace, your peace will rest on that house; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, … Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ’The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
From this passage we receive a way to impact our neighbours for Jesus:
The Luke 10:1-9 The Model
5-6 - Bless Your Neighbours
“When you enter a house, first say, ’Peace to this house.”
7-8 Develop relationships with your neighbours.
“Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you”
9a - Pray for their needs
“Heal the sick who are there”
9b - Share the Gospel
“…and tell them, ’The kingdom of God has come near to you.”
Now we have taken this model and organized it so that it is something that you can do as part of your daily routine: we’ve suggested that you take the five houses on either side of you, and the 11 across the street and begin to pray blessing on each of them.
You can do this by walking up and down your street and blessing each house – (it is easier to do this nonchalantly if you have a puppy or a small child in tow) Or you can make blessing your neighbours part of your daily devotions, you could bless a neighbour as you bless your food…
This might be new to you, or you may have heard me, or someone else speak about this. For some of you the idea of blessing people in Jesus name might seem strange – isn’t that best left up to the professionals?
Priesthood of all believers – permission to bless
1 Peter 2:4,5,9
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by human beings but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
You may have never thought of yourself this way before, but if you have given yourself to God through Jesus, If you have accepted his death and resurrection as payment for the things we have done wrong in life, then God gives us the Holy Spirit and he makes us priests – every one of you is a priest!
Duties/privileges of a priest:
John 20:21-23 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
In Numbers, God is setting out the whole religious system for the Jewish people, and this is what he says to Moses:
The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron and his sons, ’This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
" ’ "The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace." ’
"So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."
Because we are priests, we can bless people with the blessing of God!
Lead people to God
Priests also have the task of drawing the people to God – of teaching the things of God to the people around them.
It appears that in Jesus time the priests and religious leaders were not doing their job, because you have this story in the gospels that says:
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.