All posts by Brian Amerson

The Priesthood of All Believers

  • Medieval Views vs. Protestant Understandings. Medieval theologians believed that salvation came from God through the church. …
  • Scriptural Teaching. Scripture clearly identifies Jesus Christ as our great high priest: “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of …
  • Implications. That all believers are priests means that not only ministers but also the person in the pew has the right and authority to read, interpret, and apply the teachings …

What does the ‘priesthood of all believers’ mean?

Definition of priesthood of all believers. : a doctrine of the Protestant Christian Church: every individual has direct access to God without ecclesiastical mediation and each individual shares the responsibility of ministering to the other members of the community of believers.

Where Did the Concept of the Priesthood of Believers Come From?

  • Martin Luther, a leader in the Protestant Reformation, is often linked with the concept of the priesthood of believers. Luther challenged the Roman Catholic Church’s emphasis on the special role played by the Roman Catholic priests.
  • Luther insisted that every believer was a priest, with direct access to God. He did not call for the elimination of the role of pastors but indicated that all persons, not just pastors, had a priestly function. Even before Luther burst on the European church scene, various Christian groups had stressed the priesthood of believers.
  • However, the concept of the priesthood of believers for Baptists does not come from the teachings of Luther or any Christian group but from the New Testament. On the basis of various New Testament passages, Baptists have insisted that every person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ has access directly to God. Each is directly responsible to God. Each is to share the love of God.

The Priesthood of The Believer

The priesthood of each believer in Baptist thought is tied closely to another concept, that of soul competency. Each person has a God-given competence to know and follow God’s will. A decision to follow Christ as Lord and Savior is an individual decision; no one can make it for another. Being a believer priest is a gift from God, not a human achievement; it comes with salvation.

Each believer priest is responsible for his or her own actions. Individual believers can go directly to God without the aid of any intermediary. Individuals can and should read and interpret the Bible for themselves without religious officials dictating to them what to believe.

Believer priests are all equal to one another in Christ (Galatians 3:26-28). There is only one High Priest, that is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:23-8:13).

Each believer priest has a responsibility to be committed to Christ and to share Christ through word and deed. As Peter stated it: to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

The Baptist model of a church rests on the concept of the priesthood of believers. A church is made up of persons who have exercised their God-given competency by believing in Jesus as Savior and Lord and by voluntarily associating with a particular fellowship of believers.

So, which is it? Priesthood of the believer or priesthood of believers? It is not either/or but both/and.  The term “the priesthood of the believer” communicates the biblical emphasis on the individual and soul competency. The term “priesthood of believers” communicates the biblical emphasis on community and fellowship.

Throughout history in all aspects of life, a tension has existed between the individual and the group. Baptists have not escaped this tension. We do well when we refuse to elevate one above the other, but instead attempt to keep them in balance.

In summary, believers are called “kings and priests” and a “royal priesthood” as a reflection of their privileged status as heirs to the kingdom of the Almighty God and of the Lamb. Because of this privileged closeness with God, no other earthly mediator is necessary. Second, believers are called priests because salvation is not merely “fire insurance,” escape from hell. Rather, believers are called by God to serve Him by offering up spiritual sacrifices, i.e., being a people zealous for good works. As priests of the living God, we are all to give praise to the One who has given us the great gift of His Son’s sacrifice on our behalf, and in response, to share this wonderful grace with others.

The Priesthood of The Believer or of Believers | Beliefs …

https://www.baptistdistinctives.org/resources/…

Feb 09, 2012 · The term “the priesthood of the believer” communicates the biblical emphasis on the individual and soul competencyThe term “priesthood of believers” communicates the biblical emphasis on community and fellowshipThroughout history in all aspects of life, a tension has existed between the individual and the group.

The Priesthood of All Believers – The Gospel Coalition

www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/the-priesthood-of-all-believers/

Does God use MasterCard or Visa?

 (This is a repeat devotion by request)

This is a quote from an unnamed ministry that has decided they have learned the truth to unlocking God’s blessings.

“If you’re disappointed because you feel God has not kept His promises to you, it’s time to understand the difference between a contract and a covenant; contracts are time dated, but covenants are dispensed over time! Click LIKE if you believe the promise is coming!”

Today we are being assaulted by computer messages that clip one sentence from the scriptures and then make demands that God bless us. People are being disillusioned by the score! Preachers are standing in the pulpits and teaching about the promises of seed money, and the poor widows are filling the preacher’s pockets, paying for his cars and mansions, and then living in elderly poverty themselves.

I personally know people who are dying of old age illnesses who are claiming healing from God that somehow seems to never come.

The opening paragraph above would be much easier if the Bible printer just made the contract and covenant statements to stand out in a different color. ( I am not serious!)

I think the problem really is that most “Christians” don’t really want a relationship with God, they just want a god who will solve their problems, heal them, make them rich, bless them when they want, and otherwise act as a great credit card in the sky.

People want a god of convenience. They don’t want the daily responsibility of walking with God, they just want him standing in the backstage ready to perform on demand.

We tend to act as if we have rights and privileges that can be demanded in prayer by just reminding God of a sentence from the Bible that says we can have (fill in the blank).

Now as I am writing this, I must confess that I have seen God answer prayers in a great and mighty way. I have seen the results of prayer on illness, finances, relationships, and even keeping a broken down car running, but I am writing in response to the ones who want that “power” without the relationship.

Most of those who are loudly seeking (or selling) that power are counterfeit. Think of the most elite solders in the military. I have known a few personally. They did not boast or swagger. They just quietly oozed a confidence and authority that was often mistaken for meekness.

Like the military soldier, most of our real prayer warriors are the little old grandmas and grandpas who are faithful and quiet. They are not up on stage in the churches, nor or they loud and boisterous. They quietly have their private time with God, and their prayer life is filled with power.

The rest of us are caught up in the daily grind, the rat race so to speak and somehow never slow down enough for that quiet time with God that gives such power to prayers! Think back to the stories of a few of the great preachers and missionaries of the past. Most of them had a common theme of spending lots of time on their knees in fellowship and prayer with God.

You know, perhaps the title of this is better than I thought. Instead of thinking of God as a giant credit card, perhaps we should think of Him as a pre-pay credit card. You get out of it only what you put into it!

Now before you stone me to death, I do not mean any sacrilege towards God. But the concept is sort of valid. The main credit card is buy now/pay later… and most who function in this belief tend to expect the Cross to have paid the Credit Card Bill.

But I believe from knowing the prayer warriors, and seeing the miraculous prayer results in my own life that it is much more like the prepay cards, you only get out according to what you have put in.

Are We Living Abundant Lives

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Despite our humble, modest circumstances, are we living abundant lives? Despite our lack of toys, a mansion on the lake, or a Rolls-Royce on our driveway, are our lives better than we ever expected? Or do we feel that life has passed us by, serving us the dregs instead of the wine? If so, could it be that we need a change of perspective?

The big “secret” is that the abundant life is contained in the keeping of God’s commandments, in tandem with the grace supplied through Jesus Christ. John writes, “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17, ESV). Jesus came to give man the means by which he could properly keep God’s commandments; His grace puts commandment-keeping in its proper place. Once a person is living this way—what Paul calls “walk[ing] in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-25)—his life is naturally going to be abundant because he is no longer under the penalties and curses that breaking the law exacts (see verse 18). His life will be pleasing to God, and He will bless him, now and in the life to come (Psalm 19:11; Proverbs 11:18; Matthew 6:33; Revelation 11:18; 22:12)!

Are our lives abundant? Are we reaping the rewards of following God’s way of life? Have we begun to enjoy the benefits of keeping God’s commandments?

Every Sabbath, we enjoy the benefits of keeping it holy (Exodus 20:8-11), including physical rest, time with our families, fellowship with our brethren, and communion with and instruction from God. It may not be “exciting,” but it is living as He wants us to live.

The same is true of keeping the other commandments. If we have happy families and marriages, we are reaping the benefits of keeping the fifth and seventh commandments (verses 12, 14). If people find us trustworthy and honest, we are being rewarded for keeping the eighth and ninth commandments (verses 15-16). If we are content in our circumstances, our peace of mind derives from practicing the tenth commandment (verse 17).

Moreover, if we see spiritual growth taking place, and if we are producing good fruit in our lives, we are experiencing the results of a strengthening relationship with God, encapsulated in the first four commandments (verses 2-11; Matthew 22:37-38). Such a relationship with our Creator is the key to abundant living, for there is no greater, more satisfying accomplishment than that among men!

When we reach this point, we will have learned the Godly perspective, and we will know that the life of God we live is definitely abundant living—no matter what our circumstance (Philippians 4:11)!

Knowing why you have lost your zeal and how to get it back

During a discussion at a Bible Institute in Richmond, Virginia the teacher and students discussed how some people have a lot of zeal when they first get saved, and then they lose their fervor. They wind down like used batteries.

Why do people lose their zeal? And how can they get it back?

In the list of seven churches of Asia Minor, Ephesus was by far the greatest city in the province and is listed first because of its size, economics, culture, and Greek temples. Ephesus was the gateway of Asia. During Paul’s travels, he stayed three years in Ephesus, longer than in any other city. (Acts 20:31) Paul had earlier commended this church for its love for God and others. (Ephesians 1:15)

Many of the older people died in Ephesus, and the next generation lost its zeal for God. God had one ought against the church at Ephesus according to Revelation 2:4. Ephesus had lost its first love.

Today there is little left in Ephesus but ruins. Once the greatest city in Asia is now nothing more than a waste and desolate land. Is this because Ephesus became the loveless church? Is this what happens to churches and Christians when they lose their first love?

Zeal is defined as “eagerness and ardent interest in the pursuit of something; fervor for something.”

Reasons you might have lost your zeal

  1. Prayerlessness
  2. Unforgiven sin
  3. Failure to read your Bible daily
  4. Surrounding yourself with ungodly people
  5. Gotten too busy with things of life.

Ways to get your zeal back

  1. Pray without ceasing.
  2. Repent of all sin in your life.
  3. Read, study, meditate on and obey your Bible.
  4. Surround yourself with Godly people.

Think back to when you lost your zeal and pinpoint what caused it. Determine what was going on in your life at the time when you felt your zeal decreasing. Pray and ask God to help you get the fervor back that you once experienced.

If you do not have the zeal you once had for God, rekindle your love affair with God now, and let the fire burn brightly.

“What does it mean to have a reprobate mind?”

The phrase “reprobate mind” is found in Romans 1:28 in reference to those whom God has rejected as godless and wicked. They “suppress the truth by their wickedness,” and it is upon these people that the wrath of God rests (Romans 1:18). The Greek word translated “reprobate” in the New Testament is adokimos, which means literally “unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally).”

Paul describes two men named Jannes and Jambres as those who “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8). Here the reprobation is regarding the resistance to the truth because of corrupt minds. In Titus, Paul also refers to those whose works are reprobate:

“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).

Therefore, the reprobate mind is one that is corrupt and worthless.

As we can see in the verses above, people who are classified as having a reprobate mind have some knowledge of God and perhaps know of His commandments.

However, they live impure lives and have very little desire to please God.

Those who have reprobate minds live corrupt and selfish lives.

Sin is justified and acceptable to them.

The reprobates are those whom God has rejected and has left to their own devices.

We know what a reprobate is; a person that rejects the Light of Christ and chooses to follow the darkness, so that person falls under condemnation and disapproval by God.

They are godless and wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1:18). As a result, he gave them over to this reprobate and virtually worthless state of reasoning.

Romans 1:19-21

God Himself declares that at least some knowledge—a basic, foundational understanding—is available to virtually everyone. However, an interesting danger is revealed here. Note how this unfolds: “. . . because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (verse 21). These people knew God, just as the people addressed by Isaiah and Amos and in Hebrews had knowledge of God. Yet, they obviously did not honor God by conducting themselves according to what they knew of Him. They failed to put their knowledge into action, and instead, let their imaginations run wild and began worshipping things apart from what God had revealed of Himself. Their imaginings, Paul says, led them straight into idolatry. In other words, they did not hold fast to what God gave them.

Might we have a reprobate mind?

The good news is, truly converted followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ do not have to worry about such a thing.

Hungering for Corporate Prayer


Many Christians are thinking the same thing these days. We know that time is short. We can feel the pressure building.  It makes our hearts beat harder as we contemplate the surreal landscape of the hour in which we are living and try to come to grips with the reality of Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes.  

We cringe at the stories that flood the media. We have a hard time going to sleep at night because of the horrific and threatening news and find ourselves quoting  Scripture in the dark to quiet our fears.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91).  This Scripture is comforting and strengthening.  Meditating on each piece of the armor in Ephesians 6, also, helps me to stand against the enemy’s taunts.                        

Still, if you are like me, you find yourself wanting to pray together with other believers. Pray… together.  It seems this is the farthest thought from most Christians’ minds.  Even inside the believing churches’ walls, corporate prayer is scarce.  Yet, Jesus said in Matthew 21:13b:

“It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer.” 

So, why aren’t we falling on our knees as a church body and crying out to the Lord for mercy in judgment and for grace to live for Christ?  

Why aren’t we pleading together for all the great needs we hear about? 

Why aren’t we confessing the sins of our nation? 

Don’t we need to tell God how sorry we are for our wickedness? An avalanche is coming, and we just go on with business as usual.  This lack of corporate prayer inside the church building in these unprecedented days is as mystifying to me as the deafening silence there concerning these “perilous times.”  

Is there a connection between these two issues?  Has political correctness, aka “the fear of man,” choked out the prayer meeting?  If we can’t talk about it, we can’t pray about it.  Right?

“The fear of man bringeth a snare:  but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

 Believe me, when persecution hits hard in America, people will start gathering together for prayer.  Why wait for worse things to happen?  We may not have the opportunity to freely pray together for long. I believe God wants to do amazing things even in a dying America. Only our unbelief will stand in the way.

 “And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58).”     

 No, I don’t believe America will be resurrected at this point. The signs are everywhere.  Judgment is falling fast on our nation as well as the world. We seem to have hit the downward slope at full-speed and are headed for the “end of the age.”  Yet, there is so much we can do in prayer; and, oh, the strength that comes from praying together. 

Although secret prayer is our lifeblood, we need prayer with the Body of Christ, too, especially now.  Let’s join our hearts together and pray for all we’re worth as we face uncertain and, yes, downright scary days ahead. 

Where should we start? The battle is great everywhere we look. Consider Israel, now surrounded by raging satanic hordes.  The Lord said we are to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).  Think of the privilege we have to minister to the seed of Abraham in their hour of great need.  

We know what is coming from reading the prophetic Word, and we have been commanded to pray for God’s chosen people.  Don’t we want our prayers to be used to bring salvation to “all Israel” (Romans 11:26)?  What about the persecuted church all over the world, fleeing for their lives and being tortured in a myriad of unspeakable ways?  We need to intercede at God’s throne for them as if it were our own plight.

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity as being yourselves also in the body” (Hebrews 13:3).  

What about our unsaved loved ones, neighbors, friends, and other acquaintances?  Will they be left behind at the trumpet sound?  The Tribulation is near, but death could be even closer.    Some of us have been praying for years for these dear ones.  Lest we faint at this critical hour, let’s hold up each other’s arms and cry out for God to open their eyes. There’s so much more I could add here, but I think it should be obvious that the need is urgent, to say the least, which calls for our united fervency.  

 Remember the Lord Jesus in the Garden as He was pouring out His soul to the Father concerning the cup.  He went to His disciples more than once and found them sleeping. He said to Peter,  “What, Could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40b).  They went back to sleep. 

How could they have been so oblivious to the times? They had been with Him and heard all His teachings. He kept telling them, but they just didn’t get it. Don’t you think they would have been on their faces agonizing  with the Lord if they had known what was about to take place?   

Well, we know.  If we have read our Bibles, we know.  The birth pangs are growing stronger with shorter intervals.  To say the  situation is dire is a monstrous understatement.  The stage for Daniel”s 70th Week is being set at a dizzying speed.  The church’s departure must be close.  If ever there were a call from the Lord for us to come together in corporate prayer, this is surely it.  We don’t want to miss this call like the disciples did on that dark night in the Garden. 

I have not been able to find prayer meetings in the usual places, but God has heard my soul’s cry for fellowship in prayer. A couple of evenings each week I tune in to an Internet prayer meeting where some godly men lead the cyber-connected congregation in prayer and Bible study. They are courageously facing the issues and praying the way the churches should be praying, as well as working tirelessly to deliver the gospel to the world. 

It is a great joy and blessing to be able to agree with them in prayer regarding these incredible times. Then, one or two mornings a week I meet with my sister on the phone long distance. We pray for many things but lost loved ones in particular.

We know that time is running out. We have combined our efforts, encouraging one another to keep trusting God to work in their lives.   Also, when I can meet with friends and family members in my living-room or theirs, I take advantage of every opportunity for corporate prayer.  

Christian friends, if gathering for prayer is a desire of yours, God will supply.  Ask Him.  I believe He is hungering, too. For all eternity we will be glad we answered His call.                 

“ …and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b emphasis added).

START WHERE YOU ARE

START WHERE YOU ARE

by Chuck Swindoll

Jonah 1-4

To start over, you have to know where you are. To get somewhere else, it’s necessary to know where you’re presently standing. That’s true in a department store or a big church, on a freeway or a college campus . . . or in life, for that matter. Very, very seldom does anybody “just happen” to end up on the right road. The process involved in redirecting our lives is often painful, slow, and even confusing. Occasionally, it seems unbearable.

Take Jonah. (No one else wanted to.) He was prejudiced, bigoted, stubborn, openly rebellious, and spiritually insensitive. Other prophets ran to the Lord. He ran from Him. Others declared the promises of God with fervent zeal. Not Jonah. He was about as motivated as a six-hundred-pound grizzly in mid-January.

Somewhere down the line, the prophet got his inner directions cross-wired. He wound up, of all places, on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea bound for a place named Tarshish. That was due west. God had told him to go to Nineveh. That was due east. (That’s like flying from Los Angeles to Berlin by way of Honolulu.) But Jonah never got to Tarshish, as you may remember. Through a traumatic chain of events, Jonah began to get his head together in the digestive tract of a gigantic fish.

What a place to start over! Slopping around in the seaweed and juices inside that monster, fishing for a match to find his way out, Jonah took a long, honest look at his short, dishonest life. For the first time in a long time, the prophet brushed up on his prayer life. He yelled for mercy. He recited psalms. He promised the Lord that he would keep his vow and get back on target. Only one creature on earth felt sicker than Jonah—the fish, in whose belly Jonah bellowed. Up came the prophet, who hit the road running—toward Nineveh.

Changing directions requires knowing where you are. It necessitates taking time to honestly admit your present condition. It means facing the music, standing alone inside the fish and coming to terms with those things that need attention, fishing in the seaweed for a match. Before you find your way out, you must determine where you are. Exactly. Once that is accomplished, you’re ready to start over.

HAVE FAITH, HAVE A PLAN

Read Exodus 2:1–10

Jochebed had faith. She also thought through a very creative plan. I’d like to pause to reflect on this tension between careful planning and full-hearted faith. Are they mutually exclusive? Not on your life! Yet to talk to some believers, you might be led to think otherwise.

I’ve talked with unemployed men and women who tell me, “I’m just waiting on the Lord to provide a job.”

“Fine,” I reply. “And where have you placed your resumé?”

“Well, I’m not going that route. I’m just waiting on God.”

“Oh really?” I say. “Then I hope you don’t mind remaining jobless for awhile.”

The old motto of soldiers during the Revolutionary War applies to many areas of life: “Trust in God, but keep your powder dry!” In other words, place your life in the Savior’s hands, but stay at the ready. Do all that you can to prepare yourself for battle, understanding that the ultimate outcome rests with the Lord God.

To walk by faith does not mean you stop thinking. To trust God does not imply becoming slovenly or lazy or apathetic. What a distortion of biblical faith! You and I need to trust God for our finances, but that is no license to spend foolishly. You and I ought to trust God for safety in the car, but we’re not wise to pass on a blind curve. We trust God for our health, but that doesn’t mean we can chain smoke, stay up half the night, and subsist on potato chips and Twinkies without consequences.

Acting foolishly or thoughtlessly, expecting God to bail you out if things go amiss, isn’t faith at all. It is presumption. Wisdom says to do all you can within your strength, then trust Him to do what you cannot do, to accomplish what you cannot accomplish. Faith and careful planning go hand-in-hand. They always have.

Godly Living

TITUS 3:1-8

JULY 26, 2017 BRIAN AMERSON

CHAPTER 3
Godly Living
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

How many of us ” live peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”

This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

Go To Church On Sabbath, Is That A Rule?

Christians should go to church on Sabbath.

Why?

Many would say, “It is one of the Ten Commandments!” (Ex 20:8) But, that is a weak reason since many argue that Jesus fulfilled all the Laws and removed the requirements of the Law from us. (Eph 2:15 Col 2:14 Mt 5:17 Rom 3:28 6:14) (I don’t believe <ba>)


Questions to consider about this ‘should’ for Christians:

Are Christians, who go to church on Sabbath, obeying and fulfilling the 4th Commandment?

When Christians go to church does that mean they are keeping ‘His’ day holy?

Does it please God when Christians go to church?

Is the Sabbath only on a certain day?

What are the Hebrew meanings of Sabbath, remember, keep, holy?

Is the Sabbath a day of rest?

Do we rest when we go to church?

What is God’s rest?

Are certain things needed to make the Sabbath holy – rituals, programs, mind sets, trained people?

Who is the Sabbath for anyway?

Who is in charge of the Sabbath?

Dig Deeper

  • Have we been numbed and dumbed-down by our religious traditions?
  • Is there a rest that we are missing out on all because of our tradition that says – ‘Christians should go to church’?
  • Go ahead! Ask questions! It’s okay to question the norm because there is way more beyond established religious boundaries! Fullness is waiting.
  • The early Church (Acts 3) met daily in homes… We fill up an entire day doing Church activities. Is this what God taught in the 4th Commandment?