The conclusion expounded by Peter that "you are a holy priesthood’’ is a Biblical expression of a godly individuality; this is another Baptist distinctive. Believers are directly accountable to God through Christ for the activities of their lives. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Ti. 2:15).
In the Old Testament the office of priest was established as a type or symbol of the One who would become the Great High Priest. They would intercede with God on behalf of the people. Offering sacrifices and assisting in worship. With the finished work of Christ on Calvary, the priesthood was no longer necessary. Now we can come boldly to throne of God through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.
This biblical principle further defines the individual believers freedom and his responsibility. Each individual has the right to voluntarily accept or reject, and will ultimately be judged by God according to his choices. People are created as individuals, saved individually, accountable for individual action and are judged as individuals. Each one stands alone before God.
I. The New Testament Doctrine.
A. At Christ’s death, the veil in the Temple was torn. "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom..." cf Mt. 27:51a
B. Note the significance of this:
1. That era or time was over; the ultimate sacrifice had been made.
2. The way into the Holy of Holies was opened through His (Christ's) blood.
3. Jesus is our High Priest!
C. Now we are all priests.
II. The Meaning of the Doctrine.
A. All believers have direct access to God through Christ.
1. There is still restricted access to the presence of God.
2. But as we come through the blood of the Lamb of God, we can come into His very presence.
3. Note: Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:24-28; 10:19-22
4. 1 Timothy 2:5 - "For there is One Mediator ..."
5. The way to God is open!
B. All believers are equal in Christ.
1. There’s no "hierarchy" mentioned in the Bible.
a. Webster: "A priest is the 2nd rank of clergy, above a deacon, but below a bishop.
b. No division of clergy and laity.
c. "Brother" or "Sister" - we’re a family.
2. We are a kingdom of "believer priests" with responsibilities:
a. Worship (Gen. 22:5 - worship / offering)
1) Offer our person: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reason- able service." (Rom 12:1)
2) Offer our praise: "By him there- fore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." (Heb. 13:15)
3) Offer our purse: "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye." (1Cor 16:1)
4) Offer our prayers: "Having there- fore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus," (Heb 10:19)
5) Offer our service: (each priest had duties at the house of God)
b. Witness: Represent God to man.
1) Tell the "good news"-the Gospel.
2) Live the "good news’’.
Someone has said that "we are what we think". I do not totally agree with that statement, but I know that what we think will have an impact on what we do! So tonight, consider these thoughts as we close:
1. How do you think of yourself?
2. "Saints" ... "in Christ" ... "priests"
3. Are you functioning as a priest?
A man was diagnosed with a terminal disease and a pastor gave him a tract that the man promised to read. Some time later, the man’s sister called the pastor with an urgent request, "Come, he’s dying!" As the pastor arrived outside the man’s hospital room, he waited because a ‘priest’ was with the man. The pastor overheard the priest praying with the dying man: "Oh God, help us to live a life worthy of thee and reward us with eternal life."
After the priest left the pastor entered the dying man’s room. He called him by name and asked "Do you remember that tract I gave you? Are you trusting nothing but the blood of Christ?" The man responded that he was trusting in the blood of Christ and after a brief prayer the pastor left his room. The man’s sister met him in hall: "Pssst, come here! Do you think that’s enough?" Not only is it enough, it is all that will work!