“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” I Peter 2:9
So I’ve been writing about “living the brick”, living within the choices God, the Father, makes for you. If you really want to enjoy life with all its change and uncertainty then you must learn to do this.
Over the next few days I want to talk about four boundaries or positions in Christ that are common to all people who choose to live their lives as “living stones” being built into “God’s spiritual temple”.
The four boundaries of a “living stone” can be described as:
The first boundary God gives to all His servants is the boundary of priesthood. If you are going to truly be part of the body of Christ, the “temple of God”, then you must accept that God has chosen you to be a priest. Whether you are full-time minister or a parishioner in the pew you are still a priest and God’s word says so!
“And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 2:5
Well to most of us that doesn’t mean a whole lot. A priest is no one special in our society. God might as well have said “You are My holy counselors…candy stripers…or people who throw pot luck suppers and eat lots of chocolate cake.”
Early on in ministry I had the interesting complication of working under and unbelieving senior pastor. Many strange encounters ensued out of this relationship but one which stands out as particularly cogent here happened on a Sunday morning shortly after he arrived at the church.
The body had come through a very divisive period over the removal of the former senior pastor. Our new interim was being heralded by all as “the one who could fix it”. I had not personally met him so I was as hopeful as the rest, I suppose.
He arrived one Sunday morning as I was finishing up with the final choir practice.
“Pastor I am so glad you are here. God has brought you at just the right time for a good work.” I went to shake his hand.
He took my hand but didn’t smile. “I don’t know about that. We ministers are pretty much useless for most of life until someone wants to get married or dies.”
Talk about knowing just how to kill a mood!
Good grief! If there are shepherds in our pulpits who entertain such a low view of Christ’s high calling it’s no wonder the laity disparages the priesthood of all believers (by the way I don’t mean to say that the priesthood of the believer in I Peter 2 is the same thing as the divine call to ministry in Ephesians 4. There is a HUMONGOUS difference but we can talk about that some other time).
Our problem is with our understanding of terms. Our culture has down-played the role of priest mostly because we have down-played the realm of the spirit. We don’t believe in the supernatural. So a priest in our minds is someone who sends get well cards, visits at the hospital, and arranges rummage sales or coffee hours.
Peter’s understanding of priesthood was something totally other. First of all the priesthood was not a job you applied for. You couldn’t go to school for it or earn a degree for it. No amount of O.J.T or charity work would grant you a space in the priestly order. You had to be born into it. The priesthood chose you from birth or not at all.
Secondly the priest’s primary job was not works of charity or kindness. It was protecting the people he was chosen for from the wrath of God by standing in for them and making sacrifice for them.
In Leviticus 4: 13-20 Scripture puts it this way:
“If the entire Israelite community does something forbidden by the LORD and the matter escapes the community’s notice, all the people will be guilty. When they discover their sin, the leaders of the community must bring a young bull for a sin offering and present it at the entrance of the Tabernacle.The leaders must then lay their hands on the bull’s head and slaughter it there before the LORD.The priest will bring some of its blood into the Tabernacle,dip his finger into the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD in front of the inner curtain. He will then put some of the blood on the horns of the incense altar that stands in the LORD’s presence in the Tabernacle. The rest of the blood must then be poured out at the base of the altar of burnt offerings at the entrance of the Tabernacle.The priest must remove all the animal’s fat and burn it on the altar,following the same procedure as with the sin offering for the priest. In this way, the priest will make atonement for the people, and they will be forgiven.”
In every religion across the face of the globe priests were endowed with the special privilege of authority to mediate between the spirit world and the physical realm. It was and is a position of great power.
Now the Bible says that we who follow after Jesus have priesthood as part of our identity. Everyone of us have the right to make “spiritual sacrifices.”
Our sacrifices though are not the blood of bulls and goats.
The Bible says In Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3,4 that the sacrifices or offerings of the saints (those living the brick) are their prayers. Have you ever thought of your prayer life as a priestly sacrifice? Christian it is by your prayer of faith that the protection of God is brought over the lives of those you pray for. It is by your prayer the people you are called to pray for are brought out from the wrath of God and into the mercy of God.
Never forget there is a priest in your brick.