Summary: A sermon about the priesthood of all believers in Christ.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that having a title isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s lonely at the top, even though you may have a name plaque that says something before or after your name. Really, it would be easier not to wear a title sometimes:
Stinky diapers mean more when your title is Mom or Dad
Court cases take on a different feeling if your title is “Juror #4”
Terrorist attacks have a different significance if your title is “Mr. President.”
You have to remember that church staff positions are something we create, not that we find in the Bible. So, what we call them can’t be found in the Bible either.
One day, someone called the church office in Hillsboro, OH. This person was trying to get to me, so she said, “I want to speak to the main minister, the preacher, you know, the Prime Minister!”
Titles means responsibility, not just privilege. That’s probably why, in the Church, we have allowed some titles to be dropped and forgotten through the years.
There’s this title, priest, that has shown up and fallen off through the years. Today, I want to talk about the way it really ought to be applied to all Christians, young and old, man and woman.
Wait a minute…”priest”? First of all, that’s those other guys, not us Christian church guys, and besides that, “priest,” that’s just for certain people in the church, isn’t it?
Those are fair questions. Please, go ahead and ask them with me:
• Should only certain people be allowed to baptize a person?
• Should only certain people be allowed to collect an offering, and to bring around the Lord’s Supper?
• Should only certain people be around to help or encourage those who are hurting, or sick, or injured?
• Should we send our friends, or our children, to a certain person on a church staff when it comes to telling them about Jesus?
• Should we leave studying the Bible up to certain people?
Some of you have wondered about some of these questions, and others like them. They really do matter, but the answer to them is bigger than just yes or know. What we’re looking at today is really a very foundational question for the way every one of us relates to the church. It keeps coming back to this concept that every believer is a “priest” in God’s Church.
And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
Look around the throne in Heaven, and the creatures and elders there are saying that Jesus has made men from every tribe and language and people and nation to serve God as priests. So, for forever, we’re going to be serving as priests. That’s not too hard to accept, is it? A lot of things are going to change when Heaven is completed and we finally receive our home there. What does that have to do with now?
There’s another bit of Scripture we really need to look at. Peter writes it to God’s elect – the people who are members of the Church, right now. Pay attention to the verb tenses, because this has to do with now, not just some future scene…
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. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for. 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. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
These verses call us a lot of things – living stones, spiritual house, chosen people, holy nation, people belonging to God. What I really want to especially catch today are the words that talk about the way every believer is a “priest” right now.