Priesthood of Some Believers - The Believer's Manifesto

I want to clarify something before I get going. I've heard a few comments about the lack of emphasis on Scripture and its role in the life of the priesthood. It is not emphasized because I believe that it holds its proper place in most churches. The Reformation brought about the superiority of Scripture, a belief that hasn't left us yet. We are quick to do Bible studies yet slow to live them out. We have no problem organizing another small group to do a study, but it seems like we fail to ever organize small groups to do service projects. The Bible is at the forefront of most churches, so it is not heavily emphasized in any of the manifestos. The manifestos deal only with things that are being ignored.

The church will only be renewed if the clergy, believers, and structures all change. Only one changing will cause a big headache for everyone involved.

Now onto...

The Believer's Manifesto

1. Live as if you were a priest.

(1 Pet 2:9 NASB) "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

There is no special clergy class in the kingdom of God. We are all brothers and sisters, all priests, all equal, all responsible. There is only one high priest and that is Jesus Christ. Some of us have different roles and we all need to step up and live the role that has been made for us, but we are all equal, all responsible. Take off the training wheels and live as God has called us to live.

2. Dig deep roots so you can provide great fruit.

(John 14:21 NASB) "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."

Our spiritual life is the most important part of each of our lives. However, it does not grow only in some abstract way by "experiencing" God through meditation or the study of Scripture. It grows by living out God's will and doing his commandments. He will continually fill those who are emptying themselves for his sake. Our spiritual life should not be sought after for selfish reasons. We grow in order to provide fruit to help the body of believers around us to grow. We grow so we will shine as a light in the world, not as individuals, but as a collective priesthood - as the kingdom of God.

3. Get your priority straight.

Every aspect of our life should be placed into God-focus. We shouldn't have one area that is God free. There isn't a list where we can put God on top, church second, family third, and hobbies last. We need to live a life where God is in everything. God is our only priority. When we have that squared away we will have a healthy family, a healthy job, healthy entertainment choices, and a healthy church. God needs to permeate all aspects of our life, not just take the place on top of a list of priorities. His will should be the overriding factor in our whole life.

4. Make the church the hub of your life.

If you are to have more responsibility in the church, you need to make it a central part of your life. The church is just a community of believers. We don't have to have a building. We don't have to have a paid minister to be legit. We are the church if we are a community of believers focusing on the will of God. We can have a building and a paid minister and still not be the church. However, a church cannot function without a paid minister if the people that are in it don't take it seriously. We need to take our responsibility as the priesthood of believers seriously and let our life stem out from our involvement in the church. A healthy church will be the center of a healthy life.

5. Take your spiritual education seriously.

The most important things that we will ever learn are spiritual truths. We need to train and study as if to be ministers ourselves. We each have a great responsibility and a high calling - the priesthood. We need to train to be the excellent priests. We need to get into the Word, get into books, and get into discussions about the Word and books with others. Successful education is essential to an effective priesthood of believers.

6. Reevaluate what we think of church.

When we go to church, what do we measure its goodness by. Do we think it is a good church if the sermon was inspiring? Do we think it is a good church if the singing was emotional? Do we think it is a good church if it is clean and kept up? None of those things are what makes a church good. It's a good church if believers know one another, minister to one another, and are the priesthood of believers.

7. Move evangelism out of the church.

It is not the leaders of our church's job to evangelize the lost we know. God has placed us where we are for a reason, and that is to be a light to those around us. Do not bring someone to church to have someone else share the good news with them. We need to do that ourselves. Move evangelism back to where the lost are - the streets, the apartments, the workplace, the communities, the restaurants. We can bring them to church to show them what a community of believers do together, but each of us are priests that are called to help people be right with God.

8. Listen to the Holy Spirit

Each of us has been filled with the Holy Spirit. We are each called to a life of faithful ministry. We need to wake up and realize it. God wants us to do various tasks for him down here, so it makes sense that he would tell us what those tasks are. Listen to him. Listen to his word. Live out the life that he is leading us to live. We can only be the priesthood of believers when we are taking orders from God and not man.

9. Expect the ideal and never compromise

(a side note to Shannon first - this point was already written before you replied yesterday. I thought that was interesting.)

God has laid out an almost unattainable call to us. But as we see throughout Scripture, he helps those whom he has called to do extraordinary things. The Israelites crossed the Red Sea and were released from Egypt. Daniel prospered in captivity. Elijah proved that God was God on Mount Carmel. Twelve men headed up a church that now has millions of followers. The stories are many, too many to list them. Each person had to believe and chase after an ideal that seemed unattainable. If we are to see another great awakening in our time, a genuine revival of the church, each believer will need to quit compromising their actions becasue the ideal seems unattainable. If we continue to compromise, we will continue to wallow in a church that is a pale reflection of God's plan for the church. Chase after the ideal and we will see the Kingdom of God manifested in extraordinary ways. It will shine through the world and be a beacon of hope for many who have yet to know God.

"Idealism is one of the greatest forces in the world. It makes seeming impossibilites possible and succeeds where prudence fails. But unless the idealist is brave and has the courage to face the truth, his idealism creates nothing." - Grenville Kleiser

Watch out for the potholes.