Previously, I’ve introduced you to the priesthood. I’ve also introduced to you Jesus as the ultimate High Priest.
Today, I want to talk about…
Your role as priest.
In the Old Testament, priests were a group of people whom God set aside for His purpose.
The priests offered sacrifices for their sins, and the sins of the people. The priests served as intermediaries between God and His creation.
Standing before God was an exceptional responsibility. If things weren’t “just right,” God might strike dead the priests.
Moses, speaking of God’s presence, says, “I exceedingly fear and quake” (Hebrews 12:21).
If you look at the New Testament, you’ll notice that things have changed.
After providing Himself as a sacrifice, Jesus permanently fulfills the role of High Priest.
Still, a need exists for other priests to support God’s ministry. Right now, we fill that role. Everyone who comes to God becomes a priest.
I’m speaking to you of a Bible doctrine called…
The priesthood of the believer.
Thankfully, we no longer must “fear and quake” when we enter God’s presence. Through Jesus, we belong there. Our position as priests has substantial implications for us.
First, we have some…
In God’s eyes, we have…
Under the Old Covenant, everyone who served in the priesthood had to come from the right family. Candidates for the priesthood could not have defects (Leviticus 21:17).
No one with physical flaws could serve God as a priest.
Now, thanks to Jesus, everyone who believes serves in the priesthood (Hebrews 4:16). Regardless of your heritage, regardless of your past, regardless of your medical or psychological history… you are a priest.
This is good news.
We all have flaws (Romans 3:10-12). We will have them until the moment we arrive in God’s presence. However, we need not wait for the next life to serve God.
Jesus has perfected us.
By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.Hebrews 10:14
As a priest, you have…
That means that you can come before God to make…
You need not confess your sins to anyone except Jesus. You have direct access to the throne of God.
Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:1 Peter 2:9
As royal priests, we shall, one day,
Rule the earth
In John’s Revelation, believers testify as they worship Jesus, saying that He
Hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.Revelation 5:10
You are somebody. You have a special position. God has given you a privilege for which, in the past, few people could qualify.
As a priest, you also have…
Salvation works two ways. Yes, Jesus paid the price for your sin. He makes forgiveness accessible to all of us. You, however, must assume the responsibilities of the royal priesthood.
You’ll have to…
Serve like a priest.
Scripture tells us about two priests who failed to serve the Lord properly. Their names were Nadab and Abihu. These men abused their position in the priesthood.
They didn’t care about God’s rules.
Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.Leviticus 10:1
Failing to fulfill your responsibility as God’s priest puts you in danger.
Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.Numbers 26:61
Also, I want you to know that God expects you to…
Live like a priest.
In the Old Testament, God required priests to live pure lives spiritually and physically (Leviticus 21:6).
As a New Testament priest, you have the responsibility to live a confessed life. Fortunately, Jesus has done most of the work for you.
In fact, you need never go look for a spotless lamb whose blood can atone for your sin: Jesus is the Lamb. He takes away the sin of the world (Hebrews 9:12).
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.John 1:29
You can live a cleansed life.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
As priests, we must also…
As High Priest, Jesus made the supreme sacrifice for sins. He finished that job.
As priests serving under Him, we have the duty to make other sacrifices that maintain our standing with God and our fellow believers.
Peter tells us in his first epistle,
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.1 Peter 2:5
We are to sacrifice…
Paul sacrifices himself in his role as priest. In Philippians Chapter Two, he speaks of being “offered upon the sacrifice and service” to the believers’ faith (Philippians 2:17).
In the Book of Romans, God makes clear that all believers have a similar responsibility:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.Romans 12:1
As priests, we must also offer the sacrifice of…
You might not feel like it. At times, praising God might seem awkward. Today, I’m reminding you that it’s your job.
Hebrews Chapter 13, Verse 15 speaks of the “sacrifice of praise.” You and I have the responsibility to praise God. It’s a priestly sacrifice.
In our role as priests, we must also sacrifice…
The Philippian believers fulfilled their role as priests by giving to God’s work. Here, they supported Paul’s ministry. Here’s how Apostle Paul describes what they did:
I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.Philippians 4:18
As I’ve just described, your position as a priest requires you to be right on the inside. Your position in the priesthood should also affect who you are on the outside.
Your role as a priest should also affect your behavior. You should…
Act like a priest.
In the following verse, scripture tells us…
To do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.Hebrews 13:16
Doing “good” seems hard enough. Now, God tells us that we should…
God expects us to communicate well, we must communicate with each other, in all things.
As part of that, we must communicate the Gospel to the lost world.
Asking people to communicate might seem unreasonable, but communication is our duty.
Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.Matthew 5:37
Apostle Paul tells us to…
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.Ephesians 4:29
While embracing good communication, you must also avoid bad communication.
Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.Colossians 3:8
To summarize, we have the duty to communicate effectively:
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.Philemon 1:6
When we acknowledge the good things we have in Christ, we can ensure that our communication is effectual. It accomplishes good things.
As priests, we must…
Support one another.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
I’ve talked to you about the priesthood of the believer. Another doctrine, the priesthood of believers, makes us responsible to one another.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.James 5:16
Finally, as a believer, you should…
Look like a priest.
Interestingly, God described what the priests would wear before He said what the priests would do.
When God created the priesthood, God told Moses…
Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.Exodus 28:2
You can’t start fulfilling the duties of the priesthood without first putting on proper garments.
God wanted the priests to look like priests. In fact, the priests couldn’t approach God without wearing the right clothes.
Right now, I’m telling you to put on your clothes.
Get serious about your appearance. Don’t act like the world and look like the world, when you know you are a royal priest of God.
I want to remind you that great responsibility comes with the great power of the priesthood.
God has made you an heir to the Kingdom through Jesus Christ. He has given you the power to become His child. He has made you a priest.
You have direct access to the throne of God. Use it for His glory and to accomplish His purpose.