Friday, July 24, 2015

A Priest, Who Me?

Chuckle: Q: What kind of man was Boaz before he met Ruth? A: He was Ruth-less!!
Quote: When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package." --John Ruskin
WHO ME, A PRIEST?
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (I Peter 2:9 NIV).
The Bible says every believer is a priest. It's important that each of us understands the meaning and significance of this truth. You probably have a mental image of what a priest looks like and what he does; and you may not see yourself fitting that image.
In Old Testament times, the priest was the intermediary between the people and God. The priest approached God on behalf of the people. Even today, some choose to confess their sins through a priest. However, after Christ's victory over sin and death on the cross, the pattern for our interaction with God changed dramatically. Now each of us has the glorious privilege of coming directly into God's presence without fear. In the name of Jesus, we can now speak directly to God and have him speak to us through his Word and his Holy Spirit. The New Testament refers directly to the priesthood of believers five times: 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10; 20:6. The priesthood of believers involves both privileges and clear responsibilities.
Our Priestly privileges include:
    (1) Direct access to God in the name of Jesus, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). "For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. . ." (I Timothy 2:5 NIV);
    (2) The right to interpret Scripture. This right and privilege means you and I, as individual Christians, can study and interpret Scripture for ourselves while depending upon the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.
Our Priestly responsibilities include:
    (1) Offering spiritual sacrifices (I Peter 2:5). According to Lavonn Brown, this involves four dimensions; "(a) a spiritual sacrifice of worship (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15); (b) a spiritual sacrifice of witness for Jesus (I Peter 2:9); (c) a spiritual sacrifice of stewardship (Philippians 4:18); and (d) a spiritual sacrifice of service (Hebrews 13:16)."
    (2) Being priests to others. The overriding principle here is that Christians have the God-given responsibility to minister to the needs of others in the name of Jesus. Although churches set aside (ordain) vocational ministers for certain ministry positions, all believers are personally and equally called to be ministers. Our most important ministry is to help others come to faith in Jesus Christ -- the ministry of reconciliation.
"And he (God) has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us" (2 Corinthians 5:19b-20a NIV). Faithful exercise of your priestly privileges and responsibilities will please our Lord and bring you much joy and fulfillment!
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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