We often Say “God Bless”, write “Every Blessing” at the end of an email and “oh Bless” when someone has done something silly.
Made the word a bit meaningless and wet!
I want to recover our understanding and use of the word…
The word bless is pretty powerful! It means to pronounce words in a religious rite in order to confer or invoke divine favour upon
So when we bless someone we are announcing God’s favour on them in particular ways!
God loves to bless – Ephesians 1:3-14
He has blessed us with
* Destiny – be holy and blameless
* Adoption – chosen to be God’s sons
* Redemption – freedom
* Riches of grace
* Holy Spirit
Radical thing is that God’s blessing starts before we are aware of it – in fact before the creation of the world. So blessing is about grace, it’s the grace of God at work.
Grace first – we can bless non Christians, so they encounter God – God’s kindness will lead them to repentance and coming to faith
Priests job to bless
Moses told Aaron exactly how to bless the people of God – with words, words that carry spiritual power
Keep you – never going to let go
Make his face shine on you – love that, coveys a sense of the warmth of God’s pleasure
Be gracious to you – in the favour of God
Lift his countenance upon you – thinking of you and acting for you
Give you peace – whatever the circumstances
More instructions are given for the whole tribe of Levi to acts as priests and bless people
Deut 10:8 “At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord to stand before the Lord and to bless in his name”
See the threefold job
1. Carry God’s presence – the ark was the old covenant symbol of God’s presence
2. Stand before the Lord -pray for the people they are looking after
3. Bless in God’s name – to bless people
In case it still sounds a bit airy fairy and just words, look at
Lev 9:22-27 – look at the power!
Then Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and bless them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting and when they came out they blessed the people and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and all the pieces of fat on the altar and when the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
Moses and Aaron had soaked in the presence of God, came out and blessed the people and the fire fell and people ended up on their faces. There is power in blessing!
Adjust our thinking from “God Bless!”, “Every Blessing”, “oh Bless his cotton socks” to intentionally blessing with an expectation that God will invoke favour!
Blessing people isn’t something that vicars, bishops and pastors do – we are all priests now!
Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection has ushered in an amazing new covenant where believers are part of a kingdom of priests and we all get to do the stuff!
We are a kingdom of priests 1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light
We are part of the people of God, God’s possession
And we have the power and authority to do it Matt 28:18-19 All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me. God therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”
So let’s do it – let’s bless people…
1) Easy to slip into prayer and intercession “Father would you bless…”
Prayer and intercession is good, but blessing people is something we have the authority to do – notice how all the scriptures about blessing have been commands to bless, so “I bless you in the name of Jesus” is more appropriate
2) Recover a balance of prayer and blessing. We all pray for people more than we bless them, so let’s recover that balance… “I bless you in the name of Jesus Christ…”
3) Bless Christians and non-Christians – grace first. Bless non Christians so they encounter the love of God first and then get hungry for his mercy
Look ’em in the eye and grab their hand if a non Christian, hand on shoulder if they are more used to being prayed for.
What do you bless people with? Ask the Holy Spirit for the words to say, what he wants to bless. He’ll give you words to say.
The BLESS acronym is helpful too!
B Body: health, protection, strength
L Labor: work, income, security
E Emotional: joy, peace, hope
S Social: love, marriage, family, friends
S Spiritual: salvation, faith, grace
I’ve been reading the story of the Ffald-y-Brenin retreat centre in Wales where they have seen some amazing things as they bless people – healings, deliverance, salvation, people set free from life controlling issues.
There you go – God loves to bless, It’s the job of priests, We are all priests, We bless in Jesus name as a declaration not an ask.
So let’s not as James 1:22 says, just be hearers of the word, but doers…
Demonstrate it and then get you all doing it…
Who wants to be blessed first? Demonstration Before we all bless one another
The Gateway Church
Preaching from The Gateway Church team and guests
How to be a blessing
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