“THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD OF CHRISTIANITY” (1 PETER 2:1-9) Kenny Burtch
(Isaiah 40:15) “Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket and are counted as the small dust in the balance: Behold, He takes up the isles as a very little thing.” (Psalm 103:14) For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”
To the person that reads these verses it would seem that man doesn’t amount to much of anything. He is like a speck of dust in an enormous world. Well, it is true that we are little compared to the vast size of the universe. However, let us not forget that man is at the height of God’s creation! Everything that was created was created for mankind! Our failure to remember this can lead to a very “Destructive Philosophy,” called “The One of Many,” Philosophy. Have you ever heard someone say, “It doesn’t make any difference if I vote. My little vote doesn’t mean anything.” But notice what history tells us about the importance of One Vote:
(1). ONE VOTE was Adolph Hitler’s margin of victory when he sought the Presidency of the Nazi Party in 1921. That single vote helped bring Hitler’s rise to National Power which led to World War ll, and the extermination of Six Million Jews. (2). ONE VOTE elected Rutherford B. Hayes President in 1877. In the U.S. Electoral College, which casts the official Presidential ballot, Hayes nosed out Samuel Jones Tilden, 185 Electoral votes to 184. (3). ONE VOTE more in each district of the State of Illinois would have given Richard M. Nixon that State’s 26 Electoral votes in the 1960 Presidential Election – and he would have been President instead of John F. Kennedy. (4). ONE VOTE was the deciding margin that allowed 2 of our largest States, Texas and California, to be admitted to the union.
TIME AND TIME AGAIN History has heralded the importance of ONE! One Vote. One daring decisive deed. One Individual! Yet, the thinking of many is: “Does my action really matter? After all, I am only one of many. I am not important!” Needless to say this “One of Many” Philosophy has made it’s mark of the Church. (1). It stops personal evangelism. (2). It hinders Church growth and attendance. (3). It hinders the Church budget. BUT GOD HAS GIVEN A DIVINE CURE FOR THAT KIND OF THINKING: It is simply stated like this: “Every Christian is a Priest” (1 Peter 2:5,9). Under the Old Testament there were family, Marital and physical requirements for the Priest: He had to come from the tribe of Levi. He could not be married to an immoral woman. Physically, he had to be without blemish. Obviously, That Priesthood was very limited! BUT THAT PRIESTHOOD HAS BEEN CHANGED “For the Priesthood being changed there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrews 7:12). The Old Testament was a kingdom WITH Priests, The New Testament is a kingdom OF Priests. The Old Priesthood was literal and limited (By and for one nation only). The New Priesthood, The Royal Priesthood, is Spiritual and Universal! GOD’S REDEMPTIVE SYSTEM OF GRACE PRODUCES A “ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, WHICH INCLUDES ALL OBEDIENT BELIEVERS!” In contrast to the Priestly system of the Old Testament, where the Priest did everything spiritually for the people, Every christian now, as priests themselves, have the responsibility of performing their priestly obligation themselves. These obligations cannot be ignored, neither can they be given to others.
It is here that we need to ask, “What are our Spiritual Sacrifices?” Unlike the Old Priesthood we do not come before God offering “Animal” sacrifices. We come before God offering our own bodies as “Living Sacrifices” (Romans 12:1,2) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
(Hebrews 13:15,16) “Trough Jesus therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – The fruit of our lips that confess His Name. And do not forget to do good and share with others, FOR WITH SUCH SACRIFICES GOD IS WELL PLEASED.”
(Philippians 4:18) “I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE, pleasing to God.” The “Royal Priesthood,” of Christianity is a religion of the individual! (For a meeting talk about the one-talent man here).
A man by the name of Celsus, who was one of the first critics of Christianity, made a statement about Christians, which was intended as criticism, but was actually a compliment! He said, “Wool-workers, Cobblers, Leather-dressers, the most illiterate and common of mankind are zealous Preachers of the Gospel. That was meant to be an insult, but he could not have praised these Christians more if he had tried!
Early Christians gathered to keep the Memorial Lord’s Supper of Christ, and then they scattered to teach Christ’s Word! Whenever a Christian met a non-Christian there was a Gospel Meeting! The plow handles of the farmer. The counter tops of the merchants. The desk of the business man THESE WERE THEIR PULPITS
Yes, you may be one of many – But you are important! Everything you do to help the cause of Christ will cause growth within the body! A monetary gift to help someone. A helping hand to fix something. A visit to a sick bed in a home, or hospital. A card of encouragement. These are “Spiritual Sacrifices,” that each of us who are part of the “Royal Priesthood,” can be performing, and we know, because the Bible tells us so, that they are pleasing to God!
At the beginning of this lesson I spoke of the importance of ONE VOTE. You and I have a vote to cast this morning. Two candidates are in the running: (1). You and (2). God. God wants first place in our lives! But so do you! (Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Our “Eternal Destiny,” will be determined by how you cast your vote this morning.