April 23, 2018 – Ray Stedman Devotional

Topic:Free to Serve
A daily devotion for April 23rd

Read the Scripture: Leviticus 21

They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Lev 21:6a

Easter Saturday Sermon Ray Stedman 2018

In the Gospel according to Leviticus, we come to a section which is specifically addressed to priests, to Aaron the high priest and his sons. This family was set aside in Israel to do a specific work of ministry in relationship to God. All the members of Aaron’s family were priests by birth. They did not become priests by choice or by desire on their part, but by being born into the family of Aaron. There was no other way to become a priest. No other family was ever recognized as having valid membership in the priesthood.

But even though they were members of the family of Aaron they could serve as priests only if they met certain qualifications. So there is a difference between merely being a priest and serving as a priest. That is important and instructive to us because this priesthood of the family of Aaron is a picture of the ministry that we have uniquely as believers in Jesus Christ. Every one of us who is born again, born into the family of our great high priest Jesus Christ, is by that fact inescapably a priest. But whether we can serve as a priest or not depends upon the qualifications in our life. Membership in the family is by birth; service in the family is by qualification.

In order to exercise this priesthood, a priest must be holy. Once again let me remind you that this word holy, like so many other words from the Bible, has been twisted and distorted in our thinking so that it is usually taken to mean something which is not very attractive. We are likely to think that being holy is to be long-faced and solemn and sour, but it isn’t that at all! Holiness means wholeness. It means to be healed.

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How can you help someone unless you yourself have been helped? How can you encourage someone when your own heart is discouraged and defeated? How can you help somebody to cheer up, and be joyful and genuinely glad in the midst of pressure, unless you have learned how to be glad in the midst of pressure and struggle? How can you deliver somebody from a loathsome moral sickness if you are a victim of the same thing yourself? How can you help somebody who has a blemish in their spiritual life unless you have been delivered from that blemish yourself and thus know how to say the delivering word?

You must be set free first. You must have experienced the joy of God, the life of liberty in the spirit of God, in order to help. You must be whole in the area in which you are attempting to help. You may not be whole in every way, but you must be whole in that area where you are trying to help, by the redeeming work of Christ indwelling.

Lord Jesus, how often I have found renewed ministry when I have dealt with these areas which were wrong in my life! Teach me now to draw strength from you, to be holy, and to set aside my blemishes.

Life Application: What are the incredible privileges and attendant responsibilities of being born into the family of the Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest? Are we healed, whole, and free to serve the One who heals and makes whole?

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We hope you were blessed by this daily devotion.

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