Key Passages: Acts13:1-3
God never refers to us as Levites. He specifically refers to us as priests. 1 Peter 2: 9 says
“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 marvellous light.”
A priest primarily ministers to the Lord. Exodus 28: 1 says : “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”.
Similarly Deuteronomy 21: 5 says “Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; by their word every controversy and every assault shall be settled.”
The Antioch church comprised diverse races, creeds and classes. Nevertheless, they were held together by one bond- the worship of God. We can learn a few things from the church in Antioch;
- Status is irrelevant in the worship of God. In the place of ministering to God, people in the early church lost their identity, because they knew they were before the Most High.
- Prayer and worship: the centre of gravity moved from the church in Jerusalem to Antioch assembly which was a praying church. We read more about them than we do of the Jerusalem church. As they ministered to the Lord, members of the Antioch church received a commission (Acts 13), similar to the experience of the priests in the Old Testament (Exodus 28:1).
Our Worship Today
- Our worship does not go far enough. This is not about duration. Our worship is limited to the revelation of God that we have. In Genesis 22, we see that Abraham, who had a deep revelation of God, was willing to offer his son as sacrifice to God. In John 4: 22 Jesus said: “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” It is a privilege to worship God. Psalms 65: 4 says
“Blessed is the man You choose,
And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Of Your holy temple!”
If we will receive the blessings of worship, we must be ready to go to great lengths worshipping God.
- There must be a prayer, even if only for a moment whenever brethren gather. Let us saturate ourselves with prayer in 2014. If you do not know how to pray, it is time to learn. The disciples of Jesus said “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). Similarly, Malachi 3: 16 says “
Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.”
Why us the early church so formidable? It was a praying church. Acts 2: 46-7 says
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the churchdaily those who were being saved.”
Prayer will take us to our corporate destiny. Little drops of prayer will build up. The discipline of prayer made the early church effective, and able to impact their world. From ministering to the Lord, they received grace to minister to the people of God. We are workers. We need grace to be effective. The problem with this church generation is the dichotomy between the worshipper and worship. We separate our lives between church and elsewhere. Brethren, let us bring harmony to our lives in church and outside. Many times when we come together there is a ‘hard start’. A cold engine needs a longer time to start. If we all came with fire, with ‘hot engines’, we would have better times of worship.
- We must respond to every urge to pray. Prayer can save situations, and your family. Prayer can be an answer to the prayer of a missionary far away, particularly when you respond in that moment God moves you. The word ‘continued’ is recurrent in the records of the early church. Hebrews 10: 11 says “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices…” We should be counselled by Acts 11: 23: “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord”. When we have grace, we will have ease in ministration.
There is a call, which we must be separated to (Acts 9). In the place of worship we realize our individual destiny. Ephesians 2: 10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”.
Jacob called the place in which he experienced a breakthrough ‘the House of God’ (Genesis 28: 17).
Isaiah 56: 7 says
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
Our church must become the House of Prayer. We want to build up the prayer momentum for this year. In everywhere and everything, we must pray. As a result, the gates of heaven will be opened unto us.
This word is also for your family. Let our lives become houses of prayer. The heavens open to individuals, and this can be the case for you. As a church, we will not settle for anything less than OPEN HEAVENS.