If you read our values at CCC you’ll see that #3 reads:
“SIGNIFICANCE: Every member ministry. All believers have been given natural and spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s purpose for them. (Eph. 4:11 - 16, 1 Peter 2: 5 - 9, 1 Peter 4:10 - 11, 1 Cor. 12 - 14, Rom. 12:6 - 8)”
In theological terms this is known as the priesthood of all believers (I Peter 2:4-10). In the Old Testament the priests were responsible for leading and carrying out proper worship of God at the temple. The priests were needed because all humans have a tendency towards decline. If you’ve ever tried to change your lifestyle you know this; inertia easily gets the best of us and it takes effort to get off the couch. Our spiritual lives are much the same. Without effort it is easy to allow our spiritual health to decline and fade away. The priests in the Old Testament were to call people to proper and vital worship of God without allowing the urgency of worship to fade away. Now, in the New Testament era, every single believer is a priest! What does this mean?
Direct Access: Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again. He opened the way to God the father. All believers have direct access to God. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.…16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb 4:14, 16).
Spiritual Sacrifices: Just like the Old Testament priests we have responsibilities in worship. Our temptation may be to shift responsibility for our own faith onto the church service, our spouse, the pastor etc. However just as the Old Testament priests offered animal sacrifices to God on behalf of the people we are all called to offer sacrifices to God. Our sacrifice is spiritual: We offer our lives, everything we are and do and say to God (Roman 12:1-2).
Declaring the Gospel: By our lives and words we are called to share the gospel with those around us. This gospel is amazing and inspiring. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (I Peter 2:9) Without Jesus there is no level of goodness that enables us to be closer to God. We are lost. The message of the gospel is that there is a way to be found.
Worshipping as a Local Church: In the Old Testament worship was accomplished corporately with everyone playing a role. Likewise we have individual roles but priesthood is not individualistic. We are responsible to gather with other believers for corporate worship.
All believers are priests with a purpose. I was just talking this week with someone about the difference between being an employee and being an owner of a business. As an employee hopefully you are responsible but as long as you are getting a pay cheque you may not be too concerned about the big picture functions of the company. However an owner sees a different picture. If the company is not making money, no one gets paid. As priests we are called to think like owners. We have to take personal responsibility. Christians need to stop thinking like religious consumers.
In your house you probably have both thermometers and thermostats. Thermometers tell you the temperature. Thermostats allow you to change the temperature. In a culture that does not always have your best interest at heart you can be a thermometer and simply reflect the temperature that culture has set or you can be a thermostat and change the temperature. All believers are called to be priests which means all believers are leaders. You have an influence on people around you. How will you use that influence? Don’t settle with being a participant (thermometer); be a priest (thermostat). Every member of the body of Christ is a minister.
Until next week,