SPIRITUAL HERITAGE(Pt. 2)

LITURGY

Having been involved in ministry for over thirty-four years and logging many miles among many different parts of the Body of Christ I’ve made a discovery. It’s about liturgy. Liturgy is more about the worship service than style. One of the best definitions I ever heard regarding liturgy was ,”Liturgy is the work of the people”. In other words, many have mistakenly placed the emphasis on the style or form of the service rather than on the congregations’ participation in worship. Liturgy is the form in which the worship is expressed among God’s people. Sometimes that can be very helpful to those who attend…sometimes you have to crack the religious code to participate in worship. But make no mistake, every public gathering has it’s own style(rehearsed or unrehearsed). But our worship points to a reality that is greater.

When God brought the children of Israel out of 430 years of bondage He announced their new identity before Him. “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation'”(Exodus 19:6). The LORD God explained the purpose of their deliverance. They had gained their deliverance through the signs and wonders done by Moses and by the blood of the lamb. But He did not free them to be Nomadic wanderers, but children of God. They were to give expression to this great privilege.

A UNIQUE PEOPLE

The LORD wanted a people He could claim as His own. When He said, through Moses, “Be holy, for I am holy”. Their uniqueness was not uniqueness for aggrandizement or prideful display. It was to reflect the uniqueness of God.

So,too, today. If we belong to God by accepting by faith the blood of our Lamb,Jesus Christ, we too must recognize that we are not our own but belong to God. We want our lifestyle not to model the world and its culture, but to model a new Kingdom culture. The apostle Paul said that if we recognize Whose we are, then we offer ourselves fully to God, not in conformity to the world. We are allowing God to transform our mindset and lifestyle to display His will in the world (C.f. Romans 11:36-12:2). This uniqueness is not by chance, but by choice.

A BLESSED PEOPLE

God further let the children of Israel know that they were called to be a blessed people. Even while in the land of their captivity, the LORD God moved upon Pharaoh’s heart during the time of a world wide famine to usher them into the land of Goshen, the best of the land. Again, when they were delivered from Egypt and traveling through the wilderness God caused Balaam to bless them (Read Numbers 23). Balaam was hired by Israel’s enemy, Balak, to come and curse them, but no matter which direction he looked upon them, when he opened his mouth he only could speak blessing. Perhaps as someone suggested it was because he saw their encampment, with three tribes to the East,three tribes to the West, three tribes to the North, and three tribes to the South forming a cross; the cloud of God’s glory in their midst. You can’t curse what God has blessed.

A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD

The purpose of God was ultimately to use the children of Israel as a priestly nation. It is the business of priests to reconcile the sinner and wayward to God. The priest, in addition to making the appropriate sacrifice, was also to give instruction in the ways of God so they would walk in right paths. “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I,even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior”(Isaiah 43:10-11 NKJV).

God has a people today who will satisfy His heart longing. The apostle Peter takes the language from the Torah and applies it to a new generation of believers in Jesus Christ. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people, but now are the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy”(1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV).

Copyright(c) Walter Fletcher Jr. 2012

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