Pastor Miles began this Sunday's message with a few announcements. On January 9, the church will begin a 3 week fast. That is something we must start praying about now. Pastor Miles promises that it will be a life changing experience. Also in two weeks the Rock will finish their venture through the book of Exodus, and there will be a quiz, so be prepared.
Pastor Miles shared about the opportunity he had the day prior to go shopping for running shoes. He walked into the store with his mind set that he needed a pair of running shoes in a size 12. As far as Pastor Miles was concerned he had always been a size 12. However, the shoes salesman who helped him find the right shoes, decided it was important that he get his feet measured only to discover that Miles was actually a size 14, also discovering that the proper way for shoes to fit is to be able to fit your thumb in between your toes and the tip of the shoe. 90 minutes later the shoe salesman left Miles surrounded by shoes, and left him to choose which pair he wanted to buy.
God has given you and me the opportunity to choose Him, and He chooses us. When we look at Ephesians 1:5 it tells us that he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. This does not mean that God only planned for a few select people to be saved and spend eternity with Him.
As 2 Peter 3:9 says, The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Being predestined means that God knew what we would choose to do. Because He has created us with free will, we have the freeldom to choose or to not choose Him.
Last week we looked at the tabernacle and the specific design God had for it. This week we looked at the priesthood and how God designated the first priests in Exodus. God only chose the sons of Aaron, who was the son of Levi, from the twelve sons of Jacob, to serve as priests.
Exodus 28:1 states, Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron's sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
Exodus 29:44-46 states, So I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests. I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.
I'm Chosen Because I Chose
We must make the choice to be available to God and we will find ourselves chosen to follow Him. God doesn't make us do whatever He wants. It is up to us as to whether we will choose to serve Him or not.
Joshua 24:14-15 states, Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.
Be Holy, Because I Am Holy
The priests were to be holy. To be holy is to be set apart for God. God calls us to be holy because He himself is Holy. In Exodus the priests were set apart for special service to God.
Exodus 30:30-33 states, And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests. And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man's flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.
A Holy Garment
Exodus 28:2-4 states, And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And these are the garments, which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest.
Pastor Dan modeled the traditional garb of a priest written about in Exodus 29:1-9. Pastor Miles gave a brief overview of what each element of the priest's clothing represented:
- The white turban symbolized purity of thought.
- The ephod had two onyx stones on the shoulders. These stones have six names engraved on each one. This is symbolic of the high priest representing all people. The ephod also has on it three colors, blue, purple, and red, which if we remember from last week those colors held great significance in the Tabernacle.
- The breastplate contains twelve colors represents the twelve tribes of Israel.
- The white robe, which was also an undergarment, represented sexual purity.
- The sash around the waist symbolized a humble servant. This is also demonstrated through Jesus in John 13:3-6, which says, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
- The bell at the bottom of the ephod symbolized the word of God.
- The pomegranate pattern symbolized fruit. This does not refer to actual fruit, but rather the fruit we cultivate through being not only hearers of the word, but also doers of the word.
Jesus, the Ultimate Sacrifice
Before Jesus came, the priest had to go to the Tabernacle every year to the holy of holies to sacrifice two animals, one for his own sin, and one for the sins of the nation. Thankfully Jesus became our ultimate sacrifice for sin. He was sinless, and His blood only needed to be shed once.
Matthew 5:17 states, Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. In this Jesus demonstrates the eternal meaning of the law. Now we can live by grace because of His perfect sacrifice.
It's Your Decision
Miles shared about a time in the past week that he went to visit a 78-year-old man in the hospital who was extremely ill. He prayed with this man to receive salvation, and what convinced him of the man's genuineness in choosing to receive the free gift of salvation was how he hesitated for a moment when it came to admitting he was a sinner. Sometimes admitting the need is the most difficult part of the decision. For 78 years this man said no to God, and now he was saying yes. He made the decision to receive Christ into His life.
It is our decision, not only to believe in Jesus and receive His gift of salvation, but also to choose to follow and serve Him. We even have a daily decision whether or not we will draw near to Him, and when we do we will find Him drawing near to us.
Hebrews 10:22-23 states, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.