Summary: Peter calls us a "kingdom of priests" - what does he mean, and how can the Church carry out this purpose? This message explores what it means for God's people to be priests to the world.
Title: "Lakewood: A Kingdom of Priests"
Text: 1 Peter 2:1-12
ILLUS: Father Matthew Kelty spoke at Asbury College chapel on day – what intrigued me most was that the abbey was just an hours’ drive down the road…..I even spent a few meaningful days.
Something pretty intriguing about the priesthood. I love the culture, the heritage, the set apartness … but I’m convinced Scripture has a way of widening our horizons to say, This priesthood thing – maybe it’s something for me.
At the end of the service, we’re going to take communion .. going to give you a chance to say to God, to one another, to this church, ‘We will be a church of priests. We will be a kingdom of priests for the community of Lake Charles.”
In fact, that phrase right there comes from God Word and I want us to read that this morning. It’s in 1 Peter 2. And I’m convinced this place in Scripture gives a glimpse into the very heart of the Father for his church. Almost a ‘vision statement’.
ILLUS: lots of time spend creating vision statements/mission statements/ dream statements. What about God’s vision for his church?
Text? 1 Peter 2:1-12
ILLUS: The Princess Diaries - Amelia Thermopolis – visited by an estranged European grandmother. Tells her about a wealthy crown prince in Europe who has just died….what does that have to do with me? That crown prince was also your father. … Then that would make me – a princess.
Peter to the church? YOU are royalty. Not just any kind of royalty – but royal priests.
Lakewood, take a look at yourselves – this is a priestly bunch of folks!
This isn’t Peter’s idea – it’s been around for awhile. Like, book of Exodus kind of awhile.
Turns out God had this grand idea …
GOD’s VISION – from Exodus 19-20?
o God bring Israel out for divine purpose (Gen 12) – ILLUS: Building a bridge over the creek on my chilhood homestead. God is looking for people to be bridgebuilders.
o God seeking a nation of kohenim (priests, lit. ‘drawn near ones’). What does this look like? 3 things
• To be set apart (condition)
• to share God’s holy character (qualification)
• and to be brought near God’s presence (function).
o Yet Israel unable/unwilling to pay the price of priesthood.
o Aaronic priesthood est – yet the heart of God remained – what if ALL of my people could be ‘drawn near ones? Rev. 5:9
MAIN IDEA: Church, take your priesthood seriously! God has called you to be Mediators to a broken world. A church of priests – collectively offer worship, who go out to minister, who ‘draw near’ to God and share his holy character.
LAKEWOOD – A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS
1. Requires willingness to be in the ‘dangerous love of God’
• Hebrews 12:28-29 - Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
• ILLUS: Aslan – “not safe, but good”
• The priesthood of God is a dangerous thing. It just might demand your career, your wealth, your self-reliance, your own kids.
2. Requires a willingness to share His character.
• 1 Peter 1:15-16 “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
• Psalm 24 – “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
• ILLUS: EStanleyJones – met a Hindu man in India – man says to Jones ‘just as Christ and the Bible has saved you, so Krishna has saved me’, - Jones invites man to come and serve the poor with him. Man says "Sahib, I am saved ... but I am not saved that much!"
• A call to the royal priesthood is a call to total transformation - heart and life.
3. Requires a life of ‘sacrifice’ – Romans 12
• Romans 12:1-2 - I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
• OT priests? Daily offerings of sacrifice. Your life? Daily offering a ‘living sacrifice’
4. Requires a life of intercession for others –
• The ancient priest? Daily sacrifices –daily intercession/mediation between a holy God and un unholy people.
• We call this ‘ministry’ – and yes, it is for everyone – you’ve got some unique giftings that you have been called to put to use in ministering to others.
• 1 Peter 4:7-11 - 7The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.