Christians Are A Royal Priesthood
Those who read the Bible are familiar with the priesthood of Aaron’s family under the Old Covenant Law. This priesthood is called the Levitical priesthood. Even though the word “priest” is found in 479 King James verses and the plural term “priests” is in 376 King James verses the term “Levitical priesthood” is found only one time in our Bible. “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” (Hebrews 7:11) In the Old Testament worship of the Jews certain men from the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron were set aside to lead in the worship of God and to offer sacrifices to Him. It was God’s intent that the entire Jewish nation be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Sadly, sin kept that from happening. In Exodus 19:1-6 we read, “…And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Sin prevented God from allowing the Jews to enter into His presence. God spoke to Moses and said, “Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.” (Exodus 19:24)
It was only after sin had been properly dealt with by the sacrifice of Jesus that God’s people could become a kingdom of priests. The sacrifice of Jesus says that we have no longer have need for anyone to stand between us and God when we are cleansed by His blood. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-14) In Christ Jesus Christians form a wonderful priesthood of believers. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10) Through Christ God can transform us into the holy priests that He has designed us to be.
Christians, as a royal priesthood, are allowed access to God. Under the Old Law only the priest were allowed to approach God and to use sacred things. “And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.” (Numbers 3:10) Under the New Covenant all faithful Christians have unlimited access to the Creator. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16) When Moses was on Mt. Sinai the Jews were not allowed access. God commanded, “And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death.” (Exodus 19:12) While the Old Covenant Law was in effect the only the High Priest was allowed into the Most Holy place in the Temple and he could enter there only once a year. “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” (Hebrews 9:6-8) Through Jesus all faithful Christians have access into the Holiest of all. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” (Matthew 27:50-51) Through Jesus faithful Christians can now dwell eternally in the presence of God and see Him face to face.
Christians, as a royal priesthood, are allowed to make sacrifices and offerings to God. A major part of the work of the Old Testament priest was to make sacrifice to God. As God’s royal priesthood we offer up spiritual sacrifices to God. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) One sacrifice that we offer to God as a spiritual priest is our sincere obedience. The delight of our heart must be to do the will of God. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:6-8) As Christians we must serve God in loving obedience. Our love for God causes us to yield our heart, our eyes, our ears, our tongues and our entire being as servants to God. Faithful Christians learn to make the sacrifice of being obedient to the dictates of God’s Word. (Romans 12:1-2) Christians offer up their own hearts to God in sacrifice to Him as they dedicate themselves in His service. David wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalms 51:17) As spiritual priest we offer our thanksgiving and praise to God. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” (Psalms 69:30) What a joy it is to be able to bring sacrifices and offerings to God.
It is a great honor to be a spiritual priest in the kingdom of God. If you are not separated from the world, to be a part of this holy nation and spiritual service, you are missing out on the best of life. Offer your hearts to God through Jesus Christ. The direction of God for becoming a spiritual priest are that you hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) Our spiritual priesthood is through and because of Jesus, the Christ. As a priest, see that you do well your service to Him.
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Willie Ainsworth, LeRoy Boutwell, Mary Ann Bozeman, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Camren Coleman, Bonnie Croley, Debbie Cunningham, Marietta Faulkenberry, Devin Hawkins, Doris Hayes, Patrick Hicks, Felice Kendrick, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Alice Little, Arthur Little, Larry Lucas, Annie McKee, Jewel McNaughton, Charlotte Miller, Jeff Miller, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, Elizabeth Perdue, Emma Peterson, Payton Pierce, William Pierce, Tina Pouncey, Shane Prater, Amber Raines, Dan Raybon, Lydia Ann Raybon, James Reynolds, Peggy Rice, Brenda Richburg, Timothy Rowell, Rosie Rudolph, Chuck Shepherd, Nathan Simmons, Margaret Skipper, Preston Steven, Debbie Stone, Bobby & Sylvia Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Arlene Thomas, Frank Thomas, Corrine Till, John Tindoll (father of Tracy Wheeler), Jenny Trawick, Bobbi Walker, Dannie Waller, Gladys Warren, Jim Watts, Jim Wood, and Cody Yelverton. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Betty Findley, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Nelda Sanders, Annie Ruth Tetter, and Alice Thompson.
2. Requesting Prayers: Randy Futch responded to the Lords invitation Sunday morning. Please keep Randy in your personal, private prayers.
3. Bill Bagents In South Africa: Please pray for Bill Bagents and the group that is with him working for our Lord in Cape Town, South Africa.
4. Basics Training: Mitch Bozeman left Wednesday morning for Fort Seal, Oklahoma to start his basics training. Please keep Mitch in your prayers as he is beginning five months of basics training.
5. Great Meeting: Our thanks to Eric Lyons for being with us for our meeting. The preaching was very good and eternal good will come from this effort.
6. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: October 28th John Reynolds, October 31st Felice Kendrick and Dorman Murf, November 1st LeRoy Boutwell and Steve Hoffman, and November 3rd Madden Bozeman and Stacey Harrell.
7. Thank You: Thank you to Jason and Ashley Holladay for hosting the Fall Festival Saturday. It was an enjoyable occasion.
8. Jerry Barr Mission Fund: Please contribute to the “Jerry Barr Mission Fund.” This fund was set up by Joan and other members of Jerry’s family. This money will be used to help with mission trips, build building and support other mission needs. Make checks to Walnut Street Church of Christ – “Jerry Barr Mission Fund.” Jerry’s love for mission work lives on.
9. Carl Sessions Camp Fund: Please contribute to the “Carl Sessions Camp Fund.” This makes it possible for all Walnut Street Children to attend Bible camp. Make checks to Walnut Street Church of Christ and mark them “Carl Sessions Camp Fund.” A very special “thank you” is given to everyone who has given to this great work. Lives are being changed!
10. Be a Daily Bible Reader: It take about seventy-two hours to read the Bible completely through at an average reading speed. Fill your heart with the word of God daily.
11. Pray For Our Nation and Her Leaders: God said, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) PRAY “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1Timothy 2:20)
12. Pray For Our Elders: Elders in the church have great responsibility. Pray for Mike Bagents and Bobby Terrell daily.
13. Area Events: (a) November 2nd – Area Wide Congregational Singing – Capitol Heights Church of Christ – Time 7:00 pm, (b) November 4th – Family and Friends Day – Wald Church of Christ – Speaker Raymond Elliott – Service Times: Bible Study 10:00 am, Worship 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and (c) November 4th – 7th – Gospel Meeting – Cottage Church of Christ (Camden) – Speaker Ron Williams – Time: Sunday Bible Class 9:00 am, Worship 10:00 am and 12:30 pm and each evening at 7:00.
The Worst Part Of The Cross
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46) I close my eyes and I can see my own son hurting or suffering somewhere, and at that moment I feel I’m as close as I can get to understanding the LOVE that it took for our heavenly father to divert His face as His only Son died to save the world. It MAY not be possible to know the extent of what Jesus’ words here meant, but here’s what we do know: The human part of Jesus wanted to be spared from the agony of the cross. He said as blood and sweat poured from his worried body, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” (Mt 26:39) But the eternal plan required Christ’s blood to be shed. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?" (Mt 26:53-54) Jesus WILLINGLY gave Himself to die for us. But whether it was the weight of the world’s sins resting on Him, or his tormented body crying out for mercy, He felt forsaken as He died for us.
I wonder sometimes what the most painful wound Jesus suffered was. Was it the excruciating physical pain from the scourging, the repeated blows from soldiers, or the nails through His hands? Was it the shame of dying for crimes He didn’t commit? (Heb 12:2) Maybe it was the loss He experienced as He left heaven and was born a lowly human. But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:7-8)
Regardless of what was most difficult for Him, we should know that every wound He suffered was endured to save us. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Heb 2:9-10) Next time you are staring temptation in the face, remember these three truths: 1) Sin caused Christ’s death, and your sins crucify Him again. 2) Sin will wreck your life both physically and spiritually. 3) Sin will keep you out of Heaven. - - - - Darrell Powell
Don’t Just Own A Bible, Read It!
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, AL 36037-0551