“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:4-5).
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).
“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with You blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom of priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
Dear child of God in Christ, the verses quoted above identify you as a royal priest who is part of a greater royal priesthood. This truth hit me with a greater clarity this past Sunday when I quoted I Peter 2:5 in my sermon. In fact the thoughts that came to my mind as I read the verse to the congregation almost distracted me from carrying on with my message. Therefore, I left church on Sunday with a lot to think about, something that I did not see until reading that verse to the congregation.
What were the duties of the priests in the Old Testament? Offering up sacrifices for the people, interceding for the people, proclaiming God’s Word to the people. In light of the fact that Christ, the Lamb of God has become our ultimate sacrifice and that priests are no longer offering up blood sacrifices for the sins of the people, what type of sacrifices are you and I called to offer up in our office as priests in His kingdom? I believe that part of that answer is found in Hebrews 13:15, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of the lips that give thanks to His name.”
When we gather together as God’s people to worship Him, it is then and there that we fulfill our priestly duties. When we sing together, we are offering up sacrifices of praise unto our God. When we pray, when we pray together, we do it with and for one another. Through the preaching of the Word a third aspect of our corporate priesthood is fulfilled. As a kingdom of priest unto our God, the greatest expression of our priesthood is fulfilled when we gather together in corporate worship.
All too often people look at public worship only from the side of its usefulness to themselves. But the other side of the coin is of even higher importance, we must see to it that the Lord God is adored, honored, and held in highest reverence. The devotion of every heart when we gather together is to set our minds on being a blessing to Him, not being blessed.