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Summary: Ordained and Ready to Serve! (The Levites, Jesus & the Christian) - Leviticus chapters 8-9 - sermon by Gordon Curley. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info

SERMON OUTLINE:

Priesthood: Beginning & the End.

Priesthood: Purpose & Ministry

Priesthood: Ordination & Duty

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

• Readers’ Digest Magazine contains the story;

• Of an employee who confided in a co-worker.

• Quote: ‘I told her about a problem in our office and my fear that I would lose my job.

• She was concerned and said she would pray for me.

• I know she keeps a list of 10 people she believes need her prayers the most,

• So I asked her if she had room for me on her list.

• “Oh yes,” she replied.

• “Three of the other people have died”’

• I guess if we ask somebody to intercedes for us,

• We are expecting and wanting better results than that!

• TRANSITION:

• The New Testament and especially the book of Hebrews reassures us again and again;

• That we have the best intercessor anyone could hope to have.

(1). Priesthood: The Beginning & End:

• The first mention of a "Priesthood" is found in Exodus chapter 19 verse 5-6.

• It occurred when God gave the Law at Mount Sinai to the nation of Israel

• This is what God said and what we have recorded:

“Now IF you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.’"

• Notice everything depended on an ‘if’:

• “Now IF you OBEY me fully and KEEP my covenant”

• But sadly the nation did not obey or keep God’s Law,

• They broke the covenant again and again and again.

• Therefore they did not become a national priesthood.

• Instead, God chose one family- the family of Aaron;

• And he and his sons were ordained to officiate as a special priesthood.

• You can read about it in Exodus chapter 28 verse 1:

“‘Let Aaron your brother be brought to you from among the Israelites, with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so that they may serve me as priests.”

Note:

• We are told in the New Testament (Hebrews chapter 7 verse 11):

• That this was known as the "Levitical" priesthood.

• It was called this because Aaron and his sons were of the tribe of Levi.

• It is also called the Aaronic priesthood;

• Because Aaron was its first High Priest (Hebrews chapter 5 verse 4).

• So the Aaronic priesthood and the Levitical priesthood are one and the same.

• This priesthood was functioning throughout the Old Testament;

• And was still in force when Jesus was on planet earth.

• But one day that all changed!

• It was a Friday afternoon at around three o’clock.

• Jesus Christ the Son of God allowed himself to be nailed to a wooden cross,

• After he had been hanging there for about three hours he cried out, “It is finished”

• Not, “I am finished”, but rather “It is finished”

• Three words in English but only one in Greek,

• The word ‘tetelestai’

• And simply means ‘the transaction is complete – no more to pay’

• And as soon as Jesus called that word out, something happened nearby in the temple;

• “The curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom”.

• (Matthew chapter 27 verse 51).

The veil was torn because the old way of entering God’s presence is now also finished:

• We don’t have to go through a person (earthly priests) to reach God anymore.

• We don’t have to go through rituals anymore.

• We don’t have to go through religious ceremonies anymore.

• Instead, Jesus has made a new and living way for us to reach God.

• Quote: Hebrews chapter 10 verses 19–22 puts it this way:

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

• So when Jesus dies on the cross;

• The old order of priesthood was made spiritually null and void.

• It no longer had anything to offer people!

• For another 70 years the priesthood and sacrifices still operated in Jerusalem;

• But as far as God was concerned they were performing their rituals in vain.

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