Sermon 10/13/19

Sermon 10/13/19

Reading Hebrews 13:10-16  Verse 1 Peter 2:9

If someone said to you: I know you. You are one of those Royal Priests!  How would you react?

Really?  What on earth does the concept of “royal priesthood” mean to us today?  I get “royal” but what does the word “priesthood” bring to mind?  Some of you probably picture a man with a black shirt and a white collar.  For some of you Bible students, your mind probably turns to the people of Israel, maybe animal sacrifices, or the family of Aaron, who were priests of Israel.  Or maybe you think of those priests who were the enemies of Jesus Christ in the gospels. These priests felt so threatened by Jesus and His influence, they conspired together and put Jesus to death on the cross.  Later, they also tried to stop the church from spreading the news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Whatever your mind’s eye pictures about a priest, we need to recognize and accept as a Christian, you are one of them.  In fact, our identity and function lies in what God says about His church as His chosen people, His royal priesthood, His holy nation, who by His mercies belong to Him.

What I’d like to stir up among us today is the notion that God has made every member of His church to be a part of His royal priesthood.  Every Christian is called by God to serve as a royal priest.  In fact, from way back, God has wanted all of His people to be priests. This was God’s plan revealed back in Exodus 19:3-5 as God was preparing Israel to receive His laws. (read).  But that’s not all.  Let’s look at just a few other scriptures on this.  Isaiah 61:1-7, Malachi 2:1-9, Romans 15:14-16, 1 Peter 2:4-9, Rev. 5:9-10, 20:6.

So, what about us today?

If you have answered the call of the gospel and have been baptized into Christ, you are part of God’s royal priesthood.  This priesthood is above that of the Levitical priests in the Old Testament.  Look at Hebrews 13:10 again. (Read) God not only gives you that place of dignity and authority, but God also hold you responsible to perform on it.  Priesthood is not just a position; it is also a job description.  Men and women are included in this royal priesthood.  While we all have different roles, we all share the same Spirit, the one body, the one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  Royal Priests are God’s children.  And we are also God servants.

This is a place of duty from God as well as an amazing privilege from God.  We will all answer to God for how we served using this gift and charge from Him. Priests don’t make the rules, they obey the rules God gives them, or face the consequences of God’s judgment.

Jesus once told about a man who put his servants in charge of his goods.  Matthew 25:14-30.  You probably know this parable well.  To one servant he gave five talents, to another two talents and to another one talent, each according to his ability.  

Notice first that the servants were given different amounts.  Why?  They had different abilities.  But all received at least one talent.  None were left without responsibility.  That’s true of Royal Priests too. Everyone of us has been given duty that fits our ability to be put to work for our master. 

What did each of these servants do with what their master had given them?  Well, the one with five went out and traded with them and gained five more!  The one with two went out, and gained two more!  How’d you like to have those two guys manage your retirement?

But one of them, the one who had received one talent, didn’t do a thing with it, but instead he went out, dug a hole and buried his master’s money. What do you suppose this servant did while his master was gone?  Did he kick back and ride on the labors of the other two?  We don’t know what he did after burying his master’s talent, but we do know what he did when his master finally returned home.  After having done nothing, and taken no risk, this servant dug up the talent, came before his master and then accused his master of being a hard man, reaping where he had not sown and gathering where he hadn’t scattered.  This servant turned in his master’s talent saying, I was afraid, so I buried what you gave me, here it is!  Take what is yours!

Did you know that our master, our Lord, Jesus Christ, our High Priest, has given each of us a position of royal priesthood?  Did you know that?  We all have varying levels of skill and ability.  Jesus Christ, our master, knows what we are able to handle.  He passes out various amounts of responsibility to each one of us, according to the measure of our faith.  Look at Romans 12:3&6.  We each have a measure of faith and have received a gift of grace.  Our Lord and master knows us.  Jesus said, “I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.”   What are you going to say to Christ when He returns?  What are you going to tell Him about what you have done with the measure of faith and gift of grace He has given you?  

For our size, this church is one of the most talented, gifted groups of people I have ever seen in the brotherhood.  We have more financial resources, more educated members, more gifted teachers, more talented cooks and skilled workers.  We have five elders and about 20 deacons.  We have a slew of song leaders and gifted singers.  We have the full spectrum of ages with the balance toward the youth!  This church is blessed!  We have been given a great measure of talent and grace.  I stand before a gathering of Royal Priests today to share this message from our Master’s own lips.  Jesus expects us to practice our Priesthood outside of these walls, not just recognize it, not just bury it in an assembly and hide it under this church building roof.  But to carry it forth from here and hold out the word of life for others.

Royal Priests do not all have the same talent and position, but every royal priest is gifted by God according to his or her measure of faith.  The parable here begs the question: what are we doing with our gift of grace?  How are we serving our Lord by using it for His purposes and to advance His cause?