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Who are we in Christ

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Who we are in Christ?

Preached in Southbridge on 7-31-05

Lesson Text: 1 Cor. 6:19 and 1 Peter 2:5

KNOW WHO YOU ARE

The question, “Who am I?” is a question that everyone asks themselves at some point in their life. It is a question that desperately needs to be answered. Our understanding of who we are determines how we live our lives.

If we think we came from an accident billions of years ago and that there is no God, no purpose, then there is no reason to live a moral or even a so called “good life.”


The truth is: The only one who knows us well enough to teach us who we really are, are not our parents, not our friends, but our Creator. The one who made us is the only one that knows us well enough to teach us who we really are.

And that goes for Christians and non-Christians.

This morning I want to talk to you about who and what we are in Christ. Who and what are Christians?

Our lesson text:

Our lesson text today are two verses. The first is:

1Pe 2:5  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

And the second is:

1Co 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

The fist thing Peter tells us is that we are living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house. There are two ways in which Christians are called the house of God or the Temple of God one way has to due with each Christian being one small part of the bigger picture, that is that we together are the Temple of God and God dwells in our midst. But there is another way in which we are the Temple of God and that’s the one I want us to look at and think about this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temple of God

 

1Co 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

Now think about this; You are the very Temple of God. What does that mean? Do you know?

I didn’t have a very good idea of what that meant because we don’t have temples in Spencer. We have coffee shops that have pagan symbols and little statues and we have pagan stores but we don’t have huge temples like they did in Corinth at the time when Paul spoke or in Israel when they had the Temple of the Lord. If we go to India or some Asian country we will run across some of these temples erected to pagan gods but we really don’t have temples like Paul had reference to the Temple of Israel, of The Lord.

So what was the Temple of the Lord in the Old Testament all about? If we understand that Temple we will understand what Paul is talking about when he says you are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

The Old Testament Temple had many purposes but I will list a few so we can get an idea of what the Temple was all about.

Purposes for Building the Temple:

First, why was the Temple even build or what was its purpose?

It was built to honor the name of the Lord

            To Honor and Praise Yahweh, It was a place to glorify God.

It was a Holy place were God dwelt in a special way

It was built to burn incense before Him or to carry out religious activates, to offer burnt offerings, and sacrifices.

           

The Temple was a Holy place, a place were God dwelled in a very real and special way. It was a place of communing with the Lord.

We know that God doesn’t live in a physical place but we also know that God did dwell in the Temple in a special way. SCRIPTURE

The Temple was Holy and a place of Worship, and of communing with God.

SCRIPTURE

The old Testament Temple was really just a shadow of what was to come. We are the very dwelling place of God, our bodies are now the Temple of God.

What does that mean? It means we are Holy and devoted to God. We no longer need to worry about traveling to a place or building to commune with and worship our God, He is with us at every moment of everyday.

1Co 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,

2Co 6:16  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Brothers and Sisters we have become, in Christ, the very Temple of God and we need to remember that. The Temple was to be kept clean and Holy. We are to keep our bodies clean and Holy. The inner parts are to be clean and Holy. Remember what Christ said to the Pharisees:

Mat 23:26  You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

Heb 10:22  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Jam 4:8  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 

We need to keep our thoughts and inner being swept clean and Holy.

But you know we are even more that that.

Priests of God

Lets turn again to our text:

1Pe 2:5  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

And again in:

1Pe 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We are Priests of God, Holy and royal Priests of the living God.

Now we’re going to take a look at the Old Testament priesthood and what it meant to be a priest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLINESS OF PRIESTS

            The first thing to notice is that Priests were Holy:

(Lev 21:6 ESV+) They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God. For they offer the LORD's food offerings, the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy.

You see the priests were brought to God to be Holy (Leviticus 8:1-5).

They were washed in water (Leviticus 8:6).

They were anointed (Leviticus 8:10-12).

And they were clothed in special garments (Leviticus 8:7-9,13).

They were set apart by God to be Holy and serve Him.

Some of the duties a priest would carry out were things like:

offering sacrifices to God

(Lev 1:1-9 ESV+) The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock. "If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD, and Aaron's sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. And Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering[1] with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

The priests were to pronounce benedictions

(Num 6:22-27 ESV+) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance[3] upon you and give you peace. "So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them."

They were to teach the law (Leviticus 10:11; Deut. 24:8).

They were to light lamps and keep them burning

 

 

 

(Exo 27:20-21 ESV+) "You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.

 

Commands to Priests

A priest was not profane himself

He was not profane the name of God

He was not profane the sanctuary

A Priests was not profane the holy things

We mentioned before that the priests wore a special kind of clothing.

The Priestly Garments

holy garments

They were Patterned for glory and beauty.

Some of the garments made were: (Exodus 28:4):

(1) The breastplate

(2) The ephod

(3) The robe

(4) The embroidered coat

(5) The mitre

(6) The girdle (belt)

How are we Priests of God?

Are we Holy?

            1Pe 2:5  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

            1Pe 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

 

Christians we are Holy

We are anointed just like the priests in the Old Testament were anointed but we are not anointed with oil.

 

1Jo 2:20  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[3]

How about clothing? Do we as Christians have a special type of clothing we are to wear or put on? Yes we do. But it’s not a suit or a shirt and tie, it’s not a dress or our Sunday best. Then what is it?

            We wear a special clothing

                        The first thing that we put on is Christ

Rom 13:14  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

We are To put on the new man

(Eph 4:22-24 ESV+) to put off your old self,[3] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

 

(Col 3:10 ESV+) ……. put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

 

But what exactly does that mean? Well we have a more detailed description of exactly what we are to put on as our priestly attire.

We put on:

mercies (note, 2 Cor. 6:12)

Kindness (note, 1 Cor. 13:4)

 Humbleness of mind (see Christian Humility)

 Meekness (note, 1 Cor. 13:4)

 Longsuffering (note, 1 Cor. 13:4)

 Forbearance (note, 9, Galatians 5:22)

 Forgiveness (note, Matthew 18:35)

 Divine love (note, 1 Cor. 13:4)

(Col 3:12-14)  Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Can you see how all of these things we are to put on are really just Christ. We put on Christ as our priestly garments, mercy, patients, meekness, and love are all wrapped up in Christ.

Offerings and sacrifices

            The Priest was also to offer sacrifices and offerings and as Priests we are to do the same but what were the offerings and sacrifices for and all about in the Old Testament?

 

Kinds of Offerings

1. Freewill offerings ( Numbers 15:3 These were any offerings given to God voluntarily.

2. Burnt offerings and burnt sacrifices (Numbers 7:15-87 These were offerings of animals and food given to God and burned wholly or partially.

3. Meat offerings ( These were always of food offered to God, from grains and vegetables or products of them They were never of animal food, but always accompanied animal offerings (Numbers 15:3-10).

4. Drink offerings (These were always of wine and were required with each sacrifice (Numbers 15:3-10).

5. Peace offerings (These were any offerings to give thanks and express fellowship with God.)

There were other offerings like the trespass offerings, sin offerings, sweet savor offerings, and non-sweet savor offerings.

We offer sacrifices

            What kind of things do we offer or sacrifice to God?

First of all we no longer offer animal, food, or blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of our sins or fellowship or peace with God. Christ has taken care of that.

1Co 5:7  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Heb 10:12  But when Christ[2] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

 

Eph 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Christ died once for all and we have no need of these animal, and food offerings but we are called to give offerings and sacrifices.

What exactly are we to offer as our sacrifices?

Spiritual Sacrifices

 

We offer spiritual sacrifices things like:

Reading the scriptures, teaching others, giving money.

We offer our Songs of praise:

Eph 5:19  addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,

 

Our prayers, praises, and our conduct:

Heb 13:15-16  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

We offer our selves:

Rom 12:1-2  I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[1] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[2] Do not be conformed to this world,[3] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[4]

And again our lesson text says:

1Pe 2:5  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

In Romans 12:1 Paul says:

“present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God”

What are we to sacrifice to God? Our very bodies, our lives. That means when your at work you are giving that time and your effort to God as an offering. When we are home alone doing whatever, that’s our offering to God.

If we are living sacrifices to God that means good or bad we are offering to our God whatever we think or do. Are we giving God our first fruits our lives or are we like Cain giving and offering that is mediocre at best.

Conclusion

            Who are you in Christ? You’re the Temple of the living God, You’re a royal and Holy Priest, and you are the very offering or sacrifice to God and we remember and give thanks to Christ because we are who and what we are because of Him, His sacrifice on the cross.

1Pe 2:5  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Co 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

Rom 12:1-2  I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[1] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship

Think about that this week and think about what that means.

God bless us all as we seek to be more like Christ.

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