Summary: This is a highly foundational set of concepts, which every believer in Jesus Christ needs to grasp, in order to function effectively as the New Testament priest which he or she is.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
Hosanna Church: 1983 & 4/2/2017
The New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers, yet many Christians go through their whole lifetime with a mentality of being unable to approach God effectively. Jesus has actually purchased “throne rights” for every single one of us, and these things have tremendous implications for the life and power of all born again people. In the New Testament age, there is no priesthood separate from the other believers. Many believers in Jesus, who know this in their heads, have never learned to enter into the power of this truth. Let's explore it together now!
I. Origin of Priesthood:
A. Genesis 14:18: Melchizedek
1. foreshadowing of Christ
2. greater than Abraham
3. prior to the giving of the Law
4. received tithes and offerings
B. Exodus 28, etc: Aaron and sons
1. God made them priests (1 & 2)
2. consecration of them (chapter 29)
3. ordination or commissioning (Leviticus 8)
4. ministering begins (Leviticus 9)
5. Nadab & Abihu killed by God. (stress the holiness of God)
(Leviticus 21 makes clear that precise regulations had to be followed by the priests.)
II. Duties of Priests
1. To perform animal blood sacrifices for themselves and for the people
2. To offer up various and sundry offerings
3. To represent the people to God
4. To represent God to the people (limited role/ prophets did this in depth)
1. To care for the Tabernacle (later the Temple)
2. To run and administer the Tabernacle (later the Temple)
3. To take down, transport, herald, and set up the Tabernacle (with other Levites)
1. Priests could come only from the tribe of Levi
2. Levites did not have a land allotment in Israel, but only cities.
3. Most of the Law of God is written to priests.
III. How Jesus fulfilled the Law and brought the Old Testament priesthood to a close.
A. Jesus came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17 & 18)
B. Jesus: the ultimate (and final) sacrifice (Mathew 26:26-28)
D. The Temple curtain was torn in two by God himself. (Mark 15:37-39)
Note: The centurion marveled because Jesus died by the act of releasing his spirit to the Father.
IV. The present-day high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-5:10)
A. Sympathetic high priest: therefore we have
1. Boldness before God
2. We receive mercy
3. We find grace
B. Jesus' priesthood is forever, unlike the Levitical priests
C. Jesus is to be obeyed, in order to partake of His eternal salvation
(Hebrews 9:11-12, 24-26)
Jesus is also our advocate, our intercessor, and our shepherd.
(Touch on the false clergy/laity model of the Roman Catholic priesthood)
Since we are in Christ, we are a Royal priesthood. (I Peter 2:4-10, Revelation 1:4-6, 5:9-10) Since the veil to the Holy of Holies has been torn away, and since the writer of Hebrews tells us to come boldly to the throne of grace, why do so many Christians cower in a state of condemnation?
It is because of not realizing these things to be a living reality!
Because you, as a believer, are a priest, made pure before God by the blood of Jesus Christ, you need to:
1. See yourself that way: the righteousness of Christ, not the sinfulness of your old nature. That is, you need to be righteousness conscious, not sin or self-conscious. If you have given your life to Jesus Christ, then it is a fact that you are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. That is how God sees you!
2. You can walk in the blessings of the New Covenant be faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary. You can know the security that Jesus gives as your Great Shepherd. (Psalm 23 benefits)
3. You can boldly be filled with the Holy Spirit and fearlessly and effectively, as a priest of the most high God of the universe, represent Christ to the world.
4. You can reign in this life over sin, over division and destruction in your home and marriage, your children, and your life. You have authority! God will back you up when you use it to walk uprightly before him!
5. You can be free from fear and the torment that goes with it! The fruit of the Holy Spirit is your
Inheritance! God gives grace to His priests (all believers) for every situation.