Sermon on the Priests of God
Sermon on the Priests of God
This morning I want to look at the concept of the priesthood of all believers
Before we look at this we need to look at the priesthood of the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, you had two leaders in Israel. One was a king the other was a priest
This morning I want to look at the Old Testament priest and compare them to the New Testament priest.
What was a priest in the Old Testament?
Priest was the official ministers or worship leaders in the nation of Israel who represented the people before God and made atonement for their sins.
This job was performed by the father of the house before the days of Moses and Aaron.
The priests of Israel were always men who served in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple.
They were born into the priesthood, by being the sons of Aaron and later from the tribe of Levi.
All priest were Levites but not all Levites were not priest.
What were the qualifications of the priest?
1. Must be a descendant of Aaron
2. Leviticus 21 tells us they must be without defect. Look at verses 16-24.
No blind, lame, disfigured, midgets, eye defects, sores.
Could not save their heads or trim beards, no lacerations, not allow hair to hang loose or go to places where dead were.
3. Priest could marry but not just anyone. Priest could marry but only an Israelite maiden if she was a virgin.
Could not marry widow, divorcee, or former prostitute.
Later he could marry widow of another priest Ezekiel 44:22
Priest must also be ordained which lasted seven days.
Duties of the priest?
1. Take care of the tabernacle.
Dismantling and moving it, with the help of the Levites.
When temple built they lived around it and opened it every morning (I Chronicles 9:27)
2. To make atonement for the people- They served as mediators between the sinful people and God. They made sure the sacrifices were correct and worthy for God’s Alter.
Atonement is to not only forgive sins but also make righteous
3. Offer daily sacrifices-
Each day 2 male lambs offered.
One at 3rd Hour and one at 9th Hour.
On the Sabbath these sacrifices doubled.
There was also special sacrifices that began each new month
Offered sacrifices at 3 great annual feast
And individual sacrifices guilt sin
4. Other duties included tending the fire on the alter
The fire was not to go out and was to be used for burning incense.
5. Plus the priest was to teach the people. Listen Malachi 2:7
"For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction-because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty.
Deuteronomy also speaks of sons of Levi teaching the people.
6. Read the whole law every 7 years at Feast of Tabernacle. (Deuteronomy 31:10-13)
And to bless the people (Numbers 6:22-27)
The priests were busy people and always involved in the business of God.
And there was a High Priest-A chief priest from the tribe of Aaron the head priest translated the great one from his brother.
The High priest was distinguished from his fellow priest by the clothes he wore the duties he performed and the particular requirements placed upon him.
The most important service was to conduct the service of on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month each year.
He alone entered the Holy Place from behind the veil before God. After making atonement for himself and the people he would take the blood and sprinkle it on the mercy seat or throne of God and this made atonement for himself and the people for all their sins committed during the year that just ended.
This is wonderful to look at but what does that have to do with us today? We no longer have priest who offer sacrifices right?
First we still have a High Priest Christ.
Listen to Hebrews 9:11-28 listen carefully.
Hebrews 10:3 tells us the sins of the people were not forgiven by the blood of bulls but just pushed ahead until Christ could forgive them Himself.
Since Jesus is our High Priest, and we are in Jesus, what does that make us? (Priests!!!)
B. NT Texts which reflect this notion of Christians as Priests:
1. Hebrews 13:15-16. 4. 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9.
2. Romans 12:1. 5. Revelation 1:5b-6.
3. Ephesians 3:19-22. 6. In the New Covenant, everyone is a priest!
II. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SAY ALL CHRISTIANS ARE PRIESTS?
A. What the Priesthood of All Believers DOES NOT Mean:
1. We no longer need a mediator (not "clergy" but Jesus--1 Tim. 2:5).
2. Everyone in the church is the same.
a. All have equal standing/value before God (Gal. 3:28).
b. The NT clearly teaches different ROLES or FUNCTIONS.
B. What the Priesthood of All Believers DOES Mean:
1. Everyone is a priest with a task to perform and a mission to fulfill!
Last week we talked about how we are called to be set apart and if you call yourself a Christian with your mouth make sure your actions agree.
We are called to serve, remember Christ and the basin and the towel as He washed the feet of the apostles and said this is an example for us. Serve.
And we are called to evangelize. To go baptize and teach as Matthew 28 the Great Commission tells us.
2. Force of the Biblical teaching of our being God's priests is not the STATUS we possess, but the TASK we perform! (God wants us to DO something!)
We must do what the Old Testament Priest did:
Take care of the tabernacle or the church
Offer daily sacrifices now how can this be?
Teach the people
III. HOW MAY WE ENCOURAGE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS?
A. Preach/teach the truth on the subject! (Not obscure NT doctrine)
C. Emphasize the equipping task of leaders, rather than expect leaders to do most of the work (Eph. 4:11-13).
D. Encourage each member to view themselves as priests and remind them they have a ministry to perform.
1. Emphasize spiritual gifts of Rom. 12; Eph. 4.
2. Create opportunities for ministry.
1. God doesn't want "priests in the kingdom;" he wants a "kingdom of priests!"
2. Are you a priest? Do you see yourself that way?
3. May God help us to PRACTICE the priesthood of all believers!