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Becoming Acceptable Sacrifices and Holy Priesthood

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It’s not just me that’s a priest, but you are the priests. We live in a time where we have convinced ourselves that we hire people to priests or pastors to do the work with us. But if that’s the case, then we strip away from what Jesus did on the cross.
When you think about a living stone, its a miraculous statement because if you had to picture anything to be dead, a stone would be the most dead. There is a miracle when something most dead becomes alive.
Ezekiel 36:26 NRSV
26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

How Spiritual Sacrifices Become Acceptable to God

Notice, in these verses, six steps in the way God gets spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him.
1. Jesus Christ, the Living Stone
First, in verse 4, there is Jesus Christ the living Stone. Peter calls him a stone because of prophecies in the Old Testament: "Behold I am laying in Zion a stone" (). "The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner" (). We'll come back to this.
2. Those Longing for Him Come to Him
Second, in verse 4 those who have tasted the kindness of the Lord (recall verse 3 from three weeks ago)—those who have tasted that the Lord is kind and now long for him the way a baby longs for milk—they now (in verse 4) come to him: "And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice [=chosen] and precious in the sight of God."
3. We Are Shaped into Living Stones
Third, the result of this coming to him is that we are shaped into living stones for use in a spiritual building. Verse 5: "You also as living stones are being built." Contact with the Living Stone makes us alive and fits us for our place in his architectural plan.
4. We Are Built into a Spiritual House
Fourth, when we come to the living stone and are shaped into living stones ourselves, we are built into a "spiritual house." Christ is the builder here. He builds individual Christians into a spiritual temple. It's spiritual because it houses the Holy Spirit. "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (). That's a reference to the local church, not to individuals in this context.
What we see so far is that God lays this stone, Jesus Christ, in Zion, that is, in Jerusalem, and men reject it—crucify him—but God has chosen this stone and regards him as infinitely precious, and raises him from the dead and makes him an ever-living stone, and gives him the place of highest honor at the head of the corner. All of this to the end that Christ might gather a people who would themselves be alive like him and would make a temple, a church—an eternal dwelling place for the Spirit of God.
5. We Are a Holy Priesthood
Fifth, the greatness of the reality forces the imagery to break down. Not only are we living stones being built into a spiritual house for God's habitation, we are also a "holy priesthood." In other words, we are not merely the passive building where God dwells; we are also the active participants in worship. And not just participants, but a special kind of participant, the priests. All of you. This is the great teaching about the "priesthood of all believers."
We all—lay people and vocational elders—are the priests of this new spiritual house, and our privilege now as priests is to draw near to God with spiritual sacrifices. The priests brought the sacrifices into the tabernacle in the Old Testament. But now that tabernacle is replaced by the Christian church. The atoning altar is replaced by Jesus Christ and his shed blood. And the priests are replaced by you, those who believe in Christ.
6. Spiritual Sacrifices Are Offered to God Through Christ
Sixth, the goal of all this is that spiritual sacrifices would be offered which are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Make sure Jesus gets his due right here. God's aim is that we offer him spiritual sacrifices (we'll talk about what that is in a minute). And we can only do that "through Jesus Christ." Jesus is the Living Stone. Everything hangs on our coming to the Living Stone. If we don't come to Jesus, the Living Stone, then we don't have life and we are not built into a spiritual house, and we do not become a holy priesthood, and we will not offer spiritual sacrifices. It all hangs on Jesus and connecting with Jesus—coming to Jesus. That's why Peter ends verse 5 with the words "to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
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