"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Spiritual Sacrifices Acceptable To God (2:5) INTRODUCTION 1. An important principle taught in the New Testament is that of "The Priesthood Of All Believers." a. It is true that under the Law of Moses there was a distinction made between priests the common people b. Even today, many religions professing to be "Christian" have developed a clergy-laity distinction c. But the New Testament teaches otherwise - Re 1:5-6; 1Pe 2:9 2. The fact is, in Christ we are ALL "clergy" a. I used to say that we had no clergy in the church, but in reality we have no "laity" b. Does this mean we are all free to use "clergy-parking"? I'll let you discuss that with the security guards at the hospitals!
3. As "a royal priesthood", our responsibilities are described in 1 Pe 2:5 a. "to offer up spiritual sacrifices" b. "sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" 4. My goal in this lesson... a. Is to make sure that we understand our duties as "a holy priesthood" b. And to encourage us to carry them out faithfully [Let's take a closer look at the idea of "spiritual sacrifices"...] I. SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES A. TYPES OF SACRIFICES TO BE OFFERED BY CHRISTIANS... 1. Our bodies, as "living sacrifices" - Ro 12:1-2 2. A lifestyle characterized by sacrificial love - Ep 5:1-2 3. Praise and thanksgiving, which we do in prayer and song
- He 13:15 4. Doing good and sharing with others - He 13:16; Php 4:15-18 5. Even in the way we die for the Lord! - Php 1:20; 2:17; 2Ti 4:6 B. THE PURPOSE OF THESE SACRIFICES... 1. In the Old Testament, sacrifices were offered for one of two reasons... a. For those OUT of fellowship with God, to restore them back to the Lord b. For those IN fellowship with God, to express thanksgiving, praise, love and devotion 2. But in the New Testament... a. Only Jesus can provide the sacrifice needed to restore us back to God - He 10:11-18 b. Therefore, it should be clearly understood that our sacrifices are not to "remove sin" or in any other way to try to "earn our way" into heaven! 3. Rather, to express thanksgiving and praise, love and devotion, for the goodness and mercy God has shown to us! [Such is the nature of the "spiritual sacrifices" we offer to God. But as our text says, they must be "acceptable to God". We can learn some valuable lessons from the Book of Malachi about what constitutes "acceptable sacrifices"...] II. ACCEPTABLE TO GOD A. IT MUST BE THE BEST WE HAVE TO OFFER - Mal 1:6-8 1. Otherwise we despise the Name of God by offering "defiled food" 2. Would we render the same kind of service to our employers,etc.? 3. If not, God would rather someone "shut the doors" or let someone else serve Him - cf. Mal 1:9-11 B. IT MUST BE OFFERED WITH SINCERITY AND ZEAL - Mal 1:12-13 1. Lack of zeal is evidence of lack of sincerity! 2. Lack of both results in offering "blemished sacrifices", which brings a curse from Him who deserves proper reverence
- Mal 1:14-2:9 3. How does this apply to our spiritual sacrifices? a. Like singing praises? b. Like doing good to others? C. IT MUST BE OFFERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH RIGHTEOUS LIVES - Mal 2:13-16 1. The priests of Malachi's day had been quick to divorce their wives 2. Even Peter taught that our treatment of wives would have a bearing on the effectiveness of our prayers - 1Pe 3:7 3. This can be applied to many other things as well - cf. Ps 41:1-3 CONCLUSION 1. Some in Malachi's day did not think it of any value to serve the Lord faithfully - Mal 3:13-15 2. But others heeded his words, and it is touching to read what was said about them - Mal 3:16-18 3. Shall we be among those who serve God? May we never forget that in the sight of God we are to be "a royal priesthood", called to offer "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ"! May God help us to truly be one of His "jewels"!