Summary: Peter says we are a royal priesthood. What does that mean for the average church goer? (this sermon had great effect to prompt members to greater involvement in the church.)
OPENING: On the overhead projection we put up a cartoon showing a crazed man being led away from a church in a straightjacket. On the steps of the church building the preacher comments to another man “I’m going to miss Louis - he volunteered for everything.”
COMMENT: As funny as that cartoon is, there are many people who believe it is humorous because it depicts reality. They believe it is possible for a person to volunteer for so many things within the church that it can literally “drive them crazy.”
But that’s not true, and I can prove it. For, if it were true - that being “too involved” is what makes people “crazy” - then every preacher in every pulpit of every congregation in the land would need to be outfitted with straightjackets.
Of all the people within a church, the preacher is often THE most committed and involved of any. I knew of one preacher who was so driven that he set up his treadmill with a book stand so that he could read his Bible or other study books while he did his daily walks.
And if this cartoon depicted reality, then many of you within this congregation would be irritable and difficult to be around, because many of you are highly committed to serving God.
No. It’s been my experience that the “more involved” a person is in ministry, the more satisfied and fulfilled that person is - not the other way around.
People do get frustrated serving God. Sometimes it’s because they are faced with difficult circumstances, or difficult people, or a shortage of resources. But even those frustrations can be overcome if God’s people understand two things:
1. Who they are, and
2. Why they are doing what they do.
Peter addresses that issue by telling us that God has given us a special status in His kingdom:
1 Peter 2:5 "...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."
1 Peter 2:9 "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."
You and I are priests of God.
Back in the Old Testament, a priest was a very special person.
o They were “go-betweens” for men and God
o They led in worship and taught from the Scriptures
o They wore special robes that distinguished them from other worshippers
o Only they could handle the holy things of God (incense, sacrifices, the furniture of the tabernacle – anything related to worship)
o They had a distinctive initiation before entering their office
§ They bathed in water
§ Put on a new robe
§ And were anointed as marks of their office (ex. 29)
o And not just everyone could become a Priest - you had to born of the tribe of Levi
AND now, Peter tells us that we are a “a holy priesthood” (vs. 5) and a “royal priesthood” (vs. 9)
Peter was not the only one to tell us that. John wrote in Revelation: Jesus “… has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father…” (Revelation 1:6)