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/ Songbook.ManuelAdam.com May 20th, 2005 Newsletter!
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Luke 13:1-9 -
Repent or Perish
1There were some present at that
very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had
mingled with their sacrifices. 2And he
"Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all
the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?
3No, I tell you; but unless you
repent, you will all likewise perish. 4Or
those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do
you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived
in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you;
but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
6And he told this parable:
"A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came
seeking fruit on it and found none. 7And
he said to the vinedresser, 'Look, for three years now I have come
seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why
should it use up the ground?' 8And
he answered him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around
it and put on manure. 9Then if
it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut
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Repent or Perish (Luke 13:1-9)
by Dr. Philip Ryken (34:07)
Judgment is coming. We must
consider our inevitable demise and eternal destiny when disaster
strikes. Dr Ryken addresses stark reality with the examples of a
terrible atrocity, a terrible accident, and the parable of an
unfruitful tree presented in this text.
To listen or download this sermon please click on the link below:
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Trading Places: The Priesthood of All Believers
by David Hagopian
So much for the tweed coat, button down collar, and loafers. Oh no,
not for this professor. In his attempt to claim solidarity with the
common man, he wears boots, disparagingly known as "longhorns" in the
farmbelt, and thus spurns any accommodation to the evil capitalism
that would actually pay him more than the janitor who cleans his halls
at night. In fact, in a well-known article, this Harvard law professor
once suggested that the janitors at the law school should trade places
with the professors. Only problem: nobody bothered to ask the janitors
if they wanted to trade places with the professors.
In a recent edition of Wall Street Journal, however, a
Harvard law student did just that. What he found was that the janitors
at the law school, on the whole, were not too pleased with this lofty
professorial suggestion since lurking behind it was the arrogant
assumption that being a Harvard Law School professor was somehow more
desirable than being a janitor. So, while the good ol' professor may
have tried to safeguard the dignity and integrity of the janitor as a
person, he did so at the tremendous expense of denigrating the
janitor's vocation. In the end, the professor's lofty suggestion ended
up promoting what it ostensibly attempted to deny: that professors are
better than janitors.
Over and against such pseudo attempts to preserve dignity and
integrity among those who pursue various vocations, stands a clarion
truth of Scripture: the Reformed doctrine of the priesthood of all
believers. This doctrine restores true dignity and true integrity to
all believers since it teaches that all believers are priests and that
as priests, they are to serve God -- no matter what legitimate
vocation they pursue. Thus, there is no vocation that is more "sacred"
than any other. Because Christ is Lord over all areas of life, and
because His word applies to all areas of life, nowhere does His Word
even remotely suggest that the ministry is "sacred" while all other
vocations are "secular." Scripture knows no sacred-secular
distinction. All of life belongs to God. All of life is sacred. All
believers are priests.
Our Great High Priest
As priests, we must always remember that our priesthood, from
beginning to end, is rooted and grounded in our Great High Priest
whose priesthood was not ordained by man, but rather was ordained by
God. In fact, God swore with a binding oath that Christ was, is, and
will forever be our Eternal High Priest according to the order of
Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6, 6:20, 7:26-27). And as our Eternal High Priest
-- as the God-man -- Christ is the sole Mediator between God and man
(I Tim. 2:5), having offered Himself as our sacrifice once and for all
in order that He might expiate (cleanse) us from the guilt of our sin,
propitiate (turn away) the wrath of God, reconcile us to God, and
redeem us as His people.
But Scripture doesn't simply teach us that our high priest died on
our behalf; it also teaches us that because of His death we have been
made priests in Him. The same Priest "who loves us, and released us
from our sins by His blood," also "made us to be a kingdom, priests to
His God and Father..." (Rev. 1:5-6). What a glorious truth: Christ as
our High Priest not only atoned for our sins, but also, as Calvin so
aptly put it, received us "as his companions" in this great priestly
office (Institutes, II.XV.6).
Called as Priests
Thus, on the basis of His priestly work on our behalf, Christ has
bestowed upon us a royal priesthood. This priesthood, however, would
be meaningless apart from the fact that God richly bestowed His favor
upon us, chose us for Himself, and called us to be His people and His
priests. Put simply, we would not be priests were it not for the fact
that God chose us to be His priests. That is why most every passage
which speaks of us as priests also speaks of us as those who have been
called by God, as God's chosen people.
In his first epistle, for example, Peter applies the attributes of
the people of God under the Old Covenant to us as believers and
explicitly proclaims that we are the people of God. In Scripture we
learn that God mercifully called the children of Israel to be His
people, and promised them that if they walked in obedience to His
Covenant, they would be His "own possession", "a kingdom of priests"
and a "holy nation" (Ex. 19:5, cf Deut. 14:2, 21). Conjuring up this
imagery and applying these attributes to believers, Peter writes:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a
people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the
excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His
marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the
people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received
In the same vein, the four living creatures and the twenty-four
elders in the fifth chapter of Revelation sing that the Lamb was slain
and with His blood purchased for God "men from every tribe and tongue
and people and nation. And Thou has made them to be a kingdom of
priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10).
First Peter 2:9-10 and Revelation 5:9-10, then, teach us about the
mercy and grace of God who called us to be His priests. In particular,
we learn at least three important truths from these passages. First,
God, by the blood of Christ, has mercifully called people of every
tribe and tongue and nation out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Second, as those called into His marvelous light, we are also called
to be His chosen people and royal priests. Third, because we are royal
priests, we are to serve God daily by proclaiming His excellencies and
reigning upon the earth to His glory. Put simply, by God's grace we
are royal priests and as such we are to serve God daily as we reign
Priests in Our Vocations
Since we are to serve God daily as priests, the priesthood of all
believers should not be relegated to the status of a timeworn
theological slogan. It is a cornerstone of Reformed theology which
should change how we live our lives each and every day, including how
we pursue our daily vocations. Properly understood, the priesthood of
all believers teaches us that all believers are priests, no matter
what their vocation -- their calling -- in life might be. Lutheran
puts it so well:
A shoemaker, a smith, a farmer, each has his manual occupation
and work; and yet, at the same time, all are eligible to act as
priests.... Every one of them in his occupation or handicraft ought
to be useful to his fellows... (Woolf, Reformation Writings of
Martin Luther, I.116).
According to Luther, all believers have equally received the
treasures which God has given, from the shoemaker to the farmer to the
smith. No vocation stands over and above the rest. No vocation is more
"sacred" than any other. No vocation is better than another. God has
called all believers, without exception, to be His royal priests --
from the dockworker to the doctor, from the messenger to the manger,
from the educator to the executive. No legitimate vocation is too
lowly to be the vehicle through which God will do His work (Eastwood,
The Priesthood of All Believers, p. 12).
The fundamental problem, though, is that many believers fail to
understand that they are priests in their daily vocations and
accordingly, fail to see that their vocations are vehicles through
which God will do His work. As priests, believers are endowed with the
incredible privilege of ministering for God daily in their vocations.
But because many believers lose sight of their priestly calling, they
slosh through their tasks day after day, without seizing valuable
opportunities to serve God as priests in their vocations. Let us seize
those opportunities and pursue our vocations with vigor and zeal,
viewing them as an opportunity to serve our Great High Priest. Humbly
recognizing the tremendous privilege God has bestowed on us through
our Great High Priest, we should view our personal vocations as one of
many spheres through which we exercise our priesthood.
As we exercise our priesthood in our vocations we must also
remember that there is no room for arrogance amongst God's people. No
believer has more privilege or status in the sight of God because of
the vocation he pursues. From God's perspective, those who pursue all
legitimate vocations are of equal dignity and integrity. As Barkley
once put it, "All men are priests in their daily vocation. All are
priests though their duties vary according to their calling" (Presbyterianism,
p. 18). Indeed different vocations may impose different duties on
those who pursue them and one vocation may even pay more than another.
But just because one vocation pays more than another does not
necessarily mean that the person who receives higher pay is endowed
with more dignity or integrity than one who receives lesser pay.
That's not what really counts. What really counts, what ultimately
distinguishes one person from another, what really makes someone
somebody is Christ. So eloquent was Barkley when he wrote:
The only real farmer is a Christian farmer; the only real doctor
is a Christian doctor; the only real man is a Christian man; and the
only real woman is a Christian woman; and so on covering every
detail and aspect and station in life. Apart from Christ we are not
what we ought to be (Presbyterianism, p. 18).
Indeed, apart from Christ we are nobody and can do nothing (Jn.
15:5). But by His grace we are somebody and can do everything (Phil.
Thus, being "all you can be" doesn't happen in the armed forces or
in any other vocation for that matter. Being all you can be comes as a
direct result of being a Christian, of knowing the Great High Priest,
Jesus Christ. Therefore, the priesthood of all believers should not
only focus us inwardly to serve God as we vigorously pursue our
respective vocations. It should also focus us outwardly to introduce
those around us to Christ so that they too can really be somebody.
Being somebody -- enjoying true dignity and integrity -- doesn't
come from trading places with others. Being somebody comes from
knowing our Great High Priest who traded places with us by dying in
our stead, bestowing His grace upon us, and calling us to be His royal
And that's a message even our good ol' professor in longhorns needs
This excerpt is from
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