09-28-2014 Preparing Our Hearts for Worship: A Kingdom and Priests

The leaves are beginning to turn, and that means that my drive from Morton into Peoria becomes one of my favorite parts of the day -- especially that turn on I-74 when the hills on either side of the highway separate, and you can see the hills and valleys filled with a kaleidoscope of color, with the Peoria skyline nestled in between them.  It’s kinda glorious, actually.

But then, I’m kind of an “Autumn” kinda guy.  I love it when the weather starts getting cloudy, the temperature starts to dip, the leaves begin to fall, etc. -- basically, “football weather.”  These, too, are the days that the Lord has made... :)

We had a wonderful time in the Lord this Sunday, and we had the great privilege of being able to have lunch afterwards with FCC alumni Frank and Faith Zosky, who were visiting for the weekend.  It’s seemed like every time they’ve been here in the past several months, something or other has thwarted us being able to do that, so it really was a blessing to be able to spend a little quality time with them.

In the message this week, we continued looking at Preparing Our Hearts for Worship, looking at what it means that we are a “Kingdom of Priests,” because that’s not always clear to everyone.

See, I run into this a lot, when explaining my job to people who don’t have much of a church background.  They think that being a “pastor” is basically just the Protestant version of being a “priest” in the Catholic church, but that’s not really true.  A pastor is just a shepherd, helping to oversee God’s beloved flock (see 1 Peter 5:2-4), keeping them from harm and trying to bring them home safe and sound at the end of the day.

But a priest stands between the people and God -- but the only one between us and God is Jesus (see 1 Timothy 2:5), not some human priest.

A priest offers up a sacrifice for sin before God -- but Christ has made the only sacrifice that saves us from sin (see Hebrews 10), and no human priest needs to offer it up again and again for us.

A priest speaks the word of God to people who can’t hear it themselves -- but Christians have Christ’s Spirit within them, sharing God’s Word to them (see 2 Corinthians 2:10), and we need no human priest in order to hear from God.

So when it comes down to it, we as Christians don’t need other Christians to be priests for us.  We need to be brothers and sisters to one another, and we need to help shepherd one another, but we don’t need anyone to stand in the gap between us and God

But the world desperately needs us to be priests for them.  The lost and broken world is in desperate need for someone to stand in the gap between them and the God whom they don’t know personally.  We are called to lift up the world to God, and God to the world, as if God had committed the ministry of reconciliation to us (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

So when all is said and done, you are the priest that this world so desperately needs.

How can you and I help one another to live that out on a daily basis?