Our Priest-King

By
J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Dec. 8, 1984

Transcribed Feb.14, 2014

Note: This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr. Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their comments or questions.


(Wilfred) Today we are going to be thinking about our Lord as priest and king combination, he is both our priest and He is our king. Now what does this really mean? And I'm going to put the cart before the horse and think first of all in terms of Christ as our king. May I guide your thinking just a little bit here? What is a kingdom and how does a king function normally? What is the purpose of a king in a kingdom? Well, do you realize that a kingdom is a territorial set-up where there are subjects and a king is one who rules over that territory and those people in it? And the King makes laws, he establishes edicts, proclamations, and laws, that are designed to govern those subjects. Now the important thing in a kingdom centers around the behavior of the subjects, the way they conduct themselves, the things that they do, so that the laws that the king makes are designed to have something to do with the way the people in the kingdom are functioning, the way they behave, and the activities they are indulging in. It is supposed that the wisdom in the king is greater than the wisdom of the people so that he can make laws that will guide them and help them.

You see, God's Kingdom is a growing Kingdom and it starts as a little grain of mustard seed, Jesus said, so there is an educational process involved in the developing of God's Kingdom. And God gave us an example of how that functions in the home situation, how do you get a start in life anyway? Well you were just a little squawking bundle of something at one time knowing nothing not even being aware that you were there and gradually your consciousness developed and you became aware of some of the things in your surroundings. But as you were growing up you needed guidance and help, you needed protection and care, and mother and father fulfilled that role during your early years. But as you grew in wisdom and knowledge and in stature as Jesus did in his example for us, you learned more and more about what things are good and what things are not good. You learned that in certain behaviors you would hurt somebody and you would get hurt yourself and in other behaviors you would be happy and satisfied.

Let me point out that the ultimate goal in life, and this is a major statement, the ultimate goal in life is satisfaction, satisfaction. Everything you do consciously, whether you are aware of it or not, but every conscious decision that you make you make with a goal of satisfaction in view. Either you where hoping to gain greater happiness, enjoyment, or you are hoping to avoid unpleasant things. That's the way you make your decisions.

Now here we have the key to the purpose of the king and his ruler-ship. He is there to help guide the people in his nation into activities and decisions that will bring happiness, not merely to themselves but to others. And you don't live too long before you realize that things that affect others also affect you that you cannot make a decision entirely in your own interest without considering the interest of those around you. You learned that very early in life didn't you? Especially if you had little brothers and sisters come along. That's our God and He has a Kingdom and He established laws for his kingdom. Now at first you have to establish those laws in a very specific form, you say; don't do that and you say; do that, right? Dos and don’ts. And you may write them out and put them up on the wall. Jesus our savior the God of the universe used his own finger and engraved them into tables of stone and gave them to his little children back there in ancient Israel's day when they were not very smart and wise yet. Do you understand? But what does Paul say down there in the New Testament about the covenant that they made with God at that point? Well, it was getting old and ready to vanish away, now don't misunderstand that, the law is not done away with but I wouldn't take time to go into that point right here I want to get the rest of this covered.

The essence of God's kingdom and the way God's kingdom differs from what we generally see in this world is that the kingdom of God does not function from the outside it functions from the inside. The law is to be engraved on the tables of the heart. Now what does that mean? Well, it means simply this; we function primarily on the bases of the way we feel, the way we feel about things is what motivates us to function. If you love something you tend to want to do it and you do it, right? If you hate something you tend to avoid it, you don't want it. So our likes and dislikes are the guiding mechanism in our behaviors. And if we did not have a freedom of choice every decision and behaviorism that we indulge in would be based entirely upon the way we feel. But God gave us a gift which is over and above the mechanical instincts and habits. A wonderful gift, he gave us a freedom to choose over and above the way we feel. I hope you get that point. It's vital! Adam chose over and above the way he felt when he sinned but the reason he did it was that he had two avenues of feeling. He had avenues of feeling towards his wife, he loved her. He had avenues of feeling toward his God he wanted to obey God. And there was a conflict when the devil caused Eve to sin. Do you get it? If he chose in favor of Eve he would be choosing against God. God said, don’t eat the fruit, right? A very simple little thing it appears but it was profound. If he chose to go God's way, in his limited vision he thought that he would lose Eve. She was going to die, she had disobeyed. Now do you see he believed for God said; in the day you eat thereof you will surely die, and Adam believed that. That's why he was afraid; he didn't want to lose Eve. Well, I could labor this point but what I want you to get is; feelings governs you unless you make a decision of your own free choice on the bases of reason and faith in God to over-rule your feelings. Have you got that? Now the kingdom of God functions that way, you came into this world with a sinful nature, with feeling that pull you in the wrong direction. You want to do the things that are wrong you get pleasure out of indulging in things that God has forbidden. Did I state that correctly?

Now what's the way out? How are you going to get your heart, as the Bible calls it, changed back into harmony with the way God feels about things? How's that going to happen? That's where your priesthood comes in. The King wants to restore the harmony in his kingdom and the way He does it is to have your heart changed back to a heart of righteousness the way Adam had it in the first place before he made that wrong decision. Got that?

Now what is involved in bringing you back to the original condition of righteousness inside so that you can follow your instinctive feelings and be obeying God at the same time gaining happiness and pleasure out of every decision you make. What's going to do that, how's it going to happen? Well, we've gone over all this, I am just trying to tie it all together for you today as best I can. I'm so happy that they gave us a little extra time. God takes care of us you know He has our interests at heart. Do you know how He does it? Why that's the plan of salvation that's the essence of our study, that's the theme of the Bible, God saving his people. How does He start? Well, first of all He let's us taste of the consequence of wrong behaviors doesn't He? You make a mistake and what happens? Oh, you get burnt. Well, what's the matter with getting burnt? Well, that hurts. What's the matter with hurting? Well, we don't like it. There you have your feeling again, see? You don't like being hurt therefore you make decisions that will tend to avoid getting hurt. So God gives you a knowledge, an experimental knowledge of the results of sin. That was the statement I think one day I was trying to quote for you and I didn't quite get it right and I believe it was in our lesson here recently.

This one is from Christ's Object Lessons page 114. It says; "The experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He had sent transforms man into the image of God." See here we are coming back again now. We are getting the image of God into our natures again; we're getting transformed back into harmony with God. What is one of the things that brings this about? Well, a knowledge of God. What kind of a knowledge of God? An experimental knowledge. What's an experimental knowledge? It's a knowledge that you gain by experience. How are you going to know that the stove is hot? Mother says don't touch that, it's hot. But you don't know what that means, you're still a little tike, see? You haven't learned that yet you don't have the experimental knowledge. Do you trust mommy when she says don't touch the hot stove or don't you? If you don't trust her what are you going to do? You're going to touch the stove. And what are you going to find out? Mother is right. And God does the same thing. God does the same thing. He permits you to touch the stove. Have you learned that yet?

Now, it's one thing to learn it, it's another thing to abide by it. Oh, but I love touching that stove. It's just so much fun the way that finger sizzles. Well, that was not a very good example of that. But there are some things that you may indulge in that are sinful and do not immediately burn the finger it doesn't show up right away it comes out later on down the road and those are the hard ones. Listen parents, most of you folks are beyond that stage but I'm still going to say it, it's good for young people. If you indulge your decisions contrary to what Momma and Papa say sooner or later you're going to get hurt. If Momma and Papa are good parents and we assume they are. Certainly our heavenly parent is. Here's what I was going to say; When those youngsters are little fellows you ought to permit them to have their way knowing full well that they are going to get hurt. But only in those things that are not ultimately going to be serious. For instance, little Suzy’s got her white shoes on ready for Sabbath school and Momma is just finishing up the touches you know and Suzy goes outside and Momma says, now don't go in the mud. Now as you are looking out the window to see something or other you happen to notice that Suzy is just about to step into a mud puddle. What do you do? Now what do you do? Oh, you bang on that window or you open it up and yell out there at her to stop her. Why do you do that? Oh, I'll tell you why you do it, it's for your own sake, you are
not doing it for her sake.

Now listen; don’t you think it hurt God to let you have your experiences with sin? Don't you think that hurts God? Oh, He was slain from the foundation of the world. This whole world's history is a demonstration of what happens when you sin and God permitted it. He knew it was going to happen when He created Lucifer but He knew that there was only one way to guarantee an eternity of righteousness in his Kingdom and that was to let his people get an experimental knowledge, He knew that. And you better let Suzy get her shoes muddy once in a while. Here is what happens; She finds out that it doesn't pay off to get her shoes muddy because if you are a good mother or Papa you will have her share in correcting the damage that she has done. Maybe the time it takes for her to get those shoe cleaned up or get another pair on is just enough so she doesn't get to Sabbath School on time to get the honor of a birthday party that they had in her honor for that day, she missed it. Now, that's not an important thing but Suzy is learning that what you say is correct. Now if you do that and let them have a few experiences from time to time that are not serious ones so that they learn that you were right. Then comes their teen age and some of the things that are going to not show up until way down the road a ways, Oh, everybody does it, why can't I do it, you know? Well, how are you going to explain? You say well, it's going to hurt. Well that is too far ahead they can't see that, they see the present. They want that present pleasure and they want to be one with their pals and their peers, right? But, if Suzy at that age has learned that what you say is reliable and is going to happen, do you see what that will do to her thinking or did I get the point across? God does the same thing Brother and Sister. Have you learned yet that you get hurt when you disobey God? Have you learned that?

Now there are some things that the hurt isn't going to come until way down the road, do you still trust him? Look at Lucifer, he didn't think anything was going to go wrong when he made his decision, see how long it's taken and he's not through yet. But the terribleness of the results of sin are now coming upon us, we are seeing it today. The world is getting so bad I am wondering whether we want to live in it much longer? God's going to let it go until we decide that we don't want any more of it and then what are we going to do? We are going to say, Lord I have had enough. All right, the Lord says, if you will appreciate the provision I've made, and that's another thing now, his priesthood, if you will appreciate the provision I have made for you would you please listen to what I have told you. If you loved me for all the things that I have done for you then do one thing for me, and what is it? Keep my commandments. That's what you want that little girl to do. Keep my commandments. Don't go into the mud puddle. But Suzy still loves to go into the mud puddle she gets fun out of splashing those white shoes in the mud puddle. And we still love sin in some respects that's why we do it. We are following our instinctive natures we need a change of heart. But God says listen, if you love me for what I've done for you, keep my commandments. But you say to Suzy, look if you appreciate all that I've done for you Suzy then don't go in that mud puddle. Now, she may still feel like going into it but if she respects you she will use her freedom of choice to over-rule her feeling for the mud puddle and she will do what you have asked her to do even though she may not feel like doing it. She does it because she sees that you are right and she appreciates your concern for her welfare and that is what God is appealing to you and me for today.

Let me read it; Desire of Ages page 57. "No truth essential to our salvation is withheld," God has given us the whole thing, everything we need. "No miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed." Listen "Favor is heaped upon favor, gift upon gift. The whole treasury of heaven is open to those He seeks to save." Everything in heaven Brothers and Sisters, He has spared nothing. "Having collected the riches of the universe," He went out and collected all the riches of the universe, all of them. "And laid open the resources of infinite power," He unfolded the fullness of all the power that there was in heaven. "He gives them" Listen "He gives them", He doesn't sell them, He gives them. "All into the hands of Christ," Doesn't the Bible say all power is given him, all things are given to him? He had all wisdom, all knowledge. God gave them all to Christ but what for? Why did God give them to Christ? He knew for instance that Christ was not selfish. That Christ had a heart like God's heart, which is a heart of unselfish love the key principle of the government of heaven. He knew that Christ his Son had the same character that He had. And when He gave all of those riches into the hand of his Son He knew what his Son was going to do with them and here is what it says He does with them. He gives them all into the hands of Christ. "And says, All these are for MAN." Sorry about that women I didn't think He would have left you out. But the word MAN there is used in the generic sense, it means mankind and please don't get hurt when we use the word man sometimes in that sense we're not really ruling you out it's an all inclusive term. "All these are for Man." Now listen, for what purpose? "Use these gifts to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven." Now what does God want us to learn by the gifts that He gave into the hands of his Son to be delivered to you and me? What does He want us to learn? That there is no love in all the universe greater than the love of God for us. That's the key to the government of heaven. That's the key to the New Covenant. That's the key to gaining the control of his kingdom without using force, no force, he'll never push you. He will permit you to learn by experience the sufferings of sin. But He will never push you. If you are going to obey the rules of the Kingdom of Heaven it will be because you want to and the reason that you will want to is because He is going to reveal his terrific love for you and you will say to yourself, how can I resist such love. I've seen young fellows go after young ladies, I'm thinking of one in particular but I won't name him. He didn't go after this young lady he didn't want her but she wanted him. She did everything in her power to get his attention and she never gave up and I told my wife, I said, you know the times coming when he is going to give in. What was it that got him? Well she showered all her love upon him, she did everything she could to let him know that she really loved him and he didn't want her. But listen, he got a change of heart and he is still living with her today and that's about forty or fifty years later. Now you may not want God at first because you don't understand him. How is He going to win you? Ahhh, He's going to shower all these gifts upon you. Here's the last statement, "His greatest happiness" That's your greatest happiness "Will be found in loving Me" That is Christ. Does that statement mean anything to you?

Let me read this one. Desire of Ages page 466. "In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom." Now if you want freedom you still have to keep the law or you are going to get hurt so there's a limit to your freedom. The next best thing to it is to have the sense of freedom. That is you feel that you are free. Now if you want that feeling of freedom, "The highest sense of freedom" takes place in the change that occurs when the soul surrenders to Christ. The key to the sense of freedom is surrender to Christ. That little youngster with the white shoes, the key to her sense of freedom is surrendering to the will of her mother, she will eventually recognize that mother was right. Do you know what's going to happen? The heart changes, the desire to do the thing that is wrong is eradicated. It says in our lesson that by himself He purged our sins. He got rid of that sinful nature of ours for us, it disappeared, and we no longer have any urge to sin. Our instinctive desires are in harmony with God's. Let me just hurry and read this through because there is another little thing I want to get a hold of in connection with the priesthood before the piano goes. "The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself." Now who is going to do it? The act of the soul itself expels sin. "True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan's control," And incidentally most of our sin is stimulated by Satan's control whether you believe it or not. "But when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit," Hold on to that. The Holy Spirit provides energy to the soul and what happens? "And they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God." There's the key. You expel sin from your life by deciding to obey the will of God. When you do that you will obtain, eventually, not necessarily immediately, the highest sense of freedom. You may have a struggle for a while but the transformation of the heart will take place, it will take place. It will sooner or later be accomplished; meanwhile there is a process of testing and trial wherein you have to exercise your willpower against the temptations that come through your naturally sinful heart. Do you understand? And there is that struggle that Paul talks about, but don't give up the struggle. Don't say that it's impossible to do it. This says that you can expel sin from your life, that's what that says. You were the one that put sin in there in the first place when you decided to sin. No, not the sinful nature, you inherited that, right? But the sin, you decided didn't you? Because you had the sinful nature and you had inclinations that way. Now you stopped sinning by your decision in spite of your inclinations to sin. Then what's God going to do? Ahh he's going to change the heart, understand and it will come into harmony.

Let me go on and read here, it's all here. "The only condition upon which the freedom of man is possible is that of becoming one with Christ. Subjection to God is restoration to one's self, to the true glory and dignity of man. The divine law, to which we are brought into subjection, is "the law of liberty." You see, you will feel like you are totally free once your heart changes over because then you desire to do the things that God wants you to do. That's in your heart, so that following your heart you are following God or in following God you are following the inclinations of your heart.

Let me read Christ's Object Lessons 312. "When we submit ourselves to Christ," That's what He asked us to do up here. "The heart is united with His heart," That's what she just said up here that we have to be one with Christ, see? "The will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him;" And, "We live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but He sees His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah." You ought to memorize that statement. That's a terrific statement.

I have one more here. Desire of Ages page 668. "He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience." Now watch this. "All true obedience comes from the heart." That's where the true obedience comes from. But that doesn't mean that you don't use your willpower to over-rule your sinful nature that's your starting point you believe that God will change your heart, how are you going to prove that you believe it? By obeying. Faith without the evidence of the faith is not effective. You must obey. And only as you do obey does that power of the Spirit engrave that law which you are conforming to into your heart. It does not engrave the law into your heart before you obey. Now that's in the books. "It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service." Listen; do you want to find your highest delight? Do you really want satisfaction? Would you really like to cash in on the benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven? You will find that highest delight in doing service for him. Now if you don't believe that, the only thing I can say is, try it. Try it. "When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ," Through an appreciation of the character of Christ which He has revealed by these tremendous gifts He has given us. "Through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us."

I must hurry and tell you what the greatest gift that God gave is. The greatest gift that God gave; do you know what it is? The gift of the Holy Spirit so maybe I don't have to read a lot of statements here. She says in Desire of Ages page 805. Now this deals with the priesthood of Christ; you see He made this great sacrifice in which He made available to sinful man his own eternal Spirit of life, that's what He made available. There is no way that you will ever get eternal life without accepting it from Christ. He gave his life and He took your debt. The death that was yours He died. The life that was his He gave to you. And what's the form in which that life comes to us? Well Brother Dean just finished saying it; the greatest gift is the life that is symbolized by the blood. He shed his blood, we are purged by the blood, it's the sprinkling of the blood in the sanctuary that cleanses the sanctuary, I wonder if you don't see the truth now? Do you see what it's talking about? The blood is the symbol of the life Spirit of Christ and I'll read to you what it is.

Desire of Ages 805; "The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ." Now I could not have said it any plainer than that, I could not have said it any plainer. The life that Jesus gave was his eternal life, his eternal life Spirit that gave him life in himself, that's the life He gave. And it went back to the Father who gave it. And on the cross He felt his union with God breaking up and He said; My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? And when He came forth from the tomb He came forth to be the priest to intercede and to mediate and to pray and what was He praying for and I could read it to you but I see that piano is going to go now. What is He praying for? What is He mediating, what is He asking the Father for? OH, it says in Early Writings when He saw these people in such dire straights, He said; Father, My Blood, My blood, My blood, and then she saw a great light come from God to Jesus, now what does Jesus do? He takes up his life again it says, but He takes it up what for? To give, he's the mediator, see? And He says; Father Wilf Johnson needs my life Spirit I left it in trust with you in the terms of my last will and testament before I died the eternal death for him and you have it Father in your possession, it's my life but won't you give it to Wilf Johnson? Please send My Spirit to WIlf Johnson. Didn't Jesus say in John chapter 14, if you love me keep my commandments and I'll pray the Father and He will send you the Holy Spirit? He said I'm not going to leave you comfortless, I am going to come to you through the Spirit. Oh, what a wonderful truth, what a wonderful truth.

Listen, same page; "The more abundant impartation of the Spirit did not take place until after Christ's ascension."

Acts of the Apostles page 38, "It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now Heaven rejoiced in being able to pour out upon the church the riches of the Spirit's grace." The final and full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the eternal life Spirit of Christ is due to come to you and me now and it will inhabit you and me.

And in Early Writings page 280. She tells us that there is to be a union of the head of Christ, the head of the body, and the saints that make up the body, a new mystical body, there is to be a marriage union take place before the close of probation. I've got to read it to you. "Every case had been decided for life or death." So what time are we in now, from this statement? After the investigative judgment, right? "While Jesus had been ministering in the sanctuary, the judgment had been going on for the righteous dead, and then for the righteous living." Have you got the picture there? "Christ had received His kingdom," What does that mean? His Kingdom had been restored. The allegiance of his people has been won back. He now has a group of people on the earth who are obeying his every impulse. They are without fault before the throne of God. His chosen people, they have obtained the victory. Oh I'm skipping over a lot of information here. But that is the time we're at. Jesus does not receive his Kingdom back until we voluntarily come back. There is no compulsion or force, I read that to you. Right?

Are you back there yet? Have you made that complete surrender yet? Oh, I'm telling you He's waiting for a hundred and forty four thousand of us to do it. That's what He's waiting for. Don't you think we should do it? Listen to what happens, listen; "Having made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins." That old nature is gone now they have the nature of righteousness, they hate sin. And when the Devil comes to them and I could read statements to prove this, when the Devil comes to them he has no part in them they will have no part with him. He can't get them to sin. Let me finish the statement. "The subjects of the kingdom were made up. The marriage of the Lamb was consummated." And the Bible says they twain shall be one flesh. The union of Christ and his saints has now become complete, they are one. They live the life of Christ. That's the work of this mediator in the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. He is now cleansing the soul temples of his people from all defilement so that that marriage union can be completed and they can become one. Don't think that the work of Jesus in the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary is just going over the records and crossing out names and so on. There is a parallel work that goes on here she tells us and that's the issue, if you and I want Jesus to come we need to make the decision to expel sin from our lives so that He can send that spirit to change that heart and bring about the consummation of the marriage, Have I made my point?

My God help us to understand.



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