Summary: What are spiritual sacrifices we offer today? (Outline and material from Bob Tinsky's book, A Christian Is..., Chapter 12, pgs. 171- 180)
R. Paul Stevens:
Christian priesthood is not a matter of being religious and Mr. Goody two shoes but of serving God and God’s purposes in the nitty gritty everydayness of life in the world, not a matter of sacred times and sacred places but ordinary times and ordinary places, not a matter of ordained ministers but the whole people of God. Talking about God’s people folded into the world as seed and yeast and salt. Every church of 200 hundred members has two hundred missionaries penetrating neighborhoods, offices, factories, workshops and schools, into all the powers and places, seven days a week.
A. Introduction- We don’t have trouble with most of the words used in the Bible to describe followers of Christ- believers, disciples, servants, brothers and sisters, friends. But when it comes to thinking of ourselves as priests, many have some hang ups. We usually associate the word “priest” with a person who is dressed in a long robe or who has his collar backwards. A new Christian might be surprised to be told that he/she is a priest. However, this is what the Bible teaches:
“As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:4, 5, 9, NIV.
Revelation contains the same idea: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:5, 6, NIV.
“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”” Revelation 5:10, NIV.
Priests in the OT:
The Hebrew word for priest appears almost 800 times in the OT. We are not sure of the origin of this word. This word may have come from the word that means “to stand.” This suggest that a priest is one who stood before God as a servant or as a representative of the people and also a representative of God.
The priesthood that we read about in the OT was first established in the family of Aaron. All of Aaron’s male descendants were to serve as priest. All Aaron’s sons became priests because of their ancestry.
Today we become priests not because we were born into the right family. We become priests when we are born again. Every Christian is a member of the “holy and royal priesthood.”
In OT days there was one man who was high priest. Today Jesus is our High Priest. The book of Hebrews has much to say about this.
Duties of priests:
Priests had many jobs but their main responsibility was to offer various sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. We no longer need animal sacrifices. Jesus made the final sacrifice for our sins. Today we are called to offer spiritual sacrifices. Go back to 1 Peter 2:5
Thesis: What are spiritual sacrifices we offer today?
Offer our bodies to God
Remember the Hokey Pokey. It’s that little song and dance that tells us to put a body part into the circle, shake it, and then “turn yourself about.” It’s an active and sometimes tiring little exercise that ends with the command, “Put your whole self in ...”
When I think of that song and dance, I’m reminded of another instruction. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1, NIV.
The sacrifices offered by the OT priests were all dead sacrifices. Today God wants us to give Him our bodies in service.
Offer our praises to God
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Hebrews 13:15, NIV.
In the OT some of the Levites were in charge of the praise and worship at the temple with the priests assisting them. “We bring a sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord”
However, we are to continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, not just doing worship services.
David McCord- “To praise God is to live one’s life in such a way that God is daily honored, pleased, complimented and obeyed as the absolute Lord over one’s life.”
No matter what we do we need to praise God with it. There should be no division of secular vs. sacred tasks. Everything is hollowed in God’s eyes. Martin Luther- “A shoemaker, a smith, a farmer, each has his manual occupation and work; and yet, at the same time, all are eligible to act as priests.” Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen of a convent. Even though cannot agree with other points of doctrine, Brother Lawrence was able to praise God as he cleaned the dishes and did other menial tasks. Since we are all priests, we need to praise the Lord all of the time. Great witness to give praise at work! “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17