The Shepherd’s VoicePastor Randy JunkerThe Priesthood of All Believers (by Dr. Art Lindsey) (This the third article in a series I have chosen to give understanding of the Laver in the C&MA logo. Pastor Randy)There are at least four positive implications of the priesthood of all believers for our lives. The first two are spiritual privileges and the last two are responsibilities for our work in the Church and the world.1. Direct Access to GodIn the Old Testament, only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies. Today, we have the privilege of direct access to God through Christ. We can come boldly unto the throne of grace. According to Ephesians, it is because of Christ that “we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” The book of Hebrews tells us to have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus: “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” This is a tremendous privilege, yet it is so easy for us to neglect it. When we fail to utilize this privilege, the consequence is spiritual decline. 2. Spiritual SacrificesWe are still to offer sacrifices. However, these are no longer offerings of bulls and goats but sacrifices such as prayer, praise, thanksgiving, repentance, justice, kindness, and love. 1 Peter 2:5 spells out this function. We are a holy priesthood in order to “offer up spiritual sacrifices wholly acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In Romans 12:1, we are to offer our lives as “living sacrifices,” in Philippians 2:17, “a sacrificial offering of faith,” in Philippians 4:18, the “services of love as a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” In Hebrews 13:15, the spiritual sacrifice is praise and thanksgiving: “Through him let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Above all, believers can be confident that God will accept their sacrifice.3. Prophetic RoleAs a “royal priesthood,” one of our responsibilities is to “declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”13 This is not to say that all should be preachers or teachers. There are about thirty terms used in the New Testament to describe different kinds of prophetic proclamation: announce, explain, say, testify, persuade, confess, charge, rebuke, admonish, exhort, etc. Everyone can and should bear witness to Christ in some way—according to their gifts.4. Agents of ReconciliationWe must mediate Christ’s love into a dark and troubled world. Just as priests are agents of reconciliation to God and others, so are we to be such mediators. 1 Timothy 2:1 says that believers should offer prayers, supplications, and intercessions for all men, particularly for rulers. We should pray, in other words, not only for the Church but for the state. The Apostle Paul was called to proclaim Christ to Gentiles, Jews, and kings. Ananias prophesied that Christ “is a chosen instrument of mind, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.”15 Clearly, the prayers and proclamations are to influence the highest levels of our nation.ConclusionCan we see our work in the world as a priestly act, as part of a royal priesthood? Can Christians use their professions to serve those around them? The notion that all believers are priests can revolutionize the Christian’s work in the Church and in the world, encouraging believers to serve the Lord in whatever capacity or profession they find themselves. With this ministry-oriented mindset toward all areas of life, God’s followers can come boldly into his presence, praying for fruitfulness in their own professions, being prophetic about things they see that are unjust, and acting as agents of reconciliation in their offices, schools, and community.[Pastor Randy]As a priesthood of believers set apart for service in this world does it not make sense that we acknowledge Christ as our Sanctifier. That we count ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ presenting our bodies as instruments of Christ’s love to serve this world. So let us symbolically visit the LAVER washed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry out our priestly duties.