Summary: This message explores the question of whether a believer is living as a sacrifice before the Lord.
Is the sacrifice on your altar?
1. The identity of New Testament priests
1 Pt 2:9 – key: royal priesthood
Reformation – sola Scritura; rediscovery of the role of the average believer (believer-priest)
Not only are we the freest of kings, we are also priests forever, which is far more excellent than being kings, for as priests we are worthy to appear before God to pray for others and to teach one another divine things.
-- Martin Luther
Represent man to God through intercessory prayer
Represent God to man by living as Christians
The African Bishop, Desmond Tutu, was once asked why he became an Anglican rather than joining some other denomination. He replied that in the days of apartheid, when a black person and a white person met while walking on a footpath, the black person was expected to step into the gutter to allow the white person to pass and nod their head as a gesture of respect. "One day" Tutu says, "when I was just a little boy, my mother and I were walking down the street when a tall white man, dressed in a black suit, came toward us. Before my mother and I could step off the sidewalk, as was expected of us, this man stepped off the sidewalk and, as my mother and I passed, tipped his hat in a gesture of respect to her! I was more than surprised at what had happened and I asked my mother, ‘Why did that white man do that?’ My mother explained, ‘He’s an Anglican priest. He’s a man of God, that’s why he did it.’ When she told me that he was an Anglican priest I decided there and then that I wanted to be an Anglican priest too. And what is more, I wanted to be a man of God."
Fundamentally, this is part of the vestment of being a believer priest -- we live in such a way that people want to be Christians because of what they see in us.
2. The failure of some Old Testament priests
Lev. 1 -OT sacrificial plan
1 Peter 1:19 – The OT plan pointed to the perfect fulfillment in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – therefore it demanded a sacrifice without defect.
Mal 1:6ff – The priests were accepting a substandard sacrifice.
They had in effect created a system for doing the Lord’s work at personal benefit by cutting corners. God always provided for the priests. This is gain, not sustenance.
Key thought: The sacrifice is to be without defect; without blemish.
3. The New Testament sacrifice
We become not only priest, but sacrifice.
Living sacrifice: characteristics – holy; acceptable to God.
Are you offering a substandard sacrifice?
When we come to the end of life, the question will be, "How much have you given?" not "How much have you gotten?"
-- George Sweeting, former president, Moody Bible Institute