Cooperating with the Lord to Recover the New Testament Priesthood of the Gospel

1 Pet. 2:5 You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.We need to be one with the Lord and cooperate with Him to recover the New Testament priesthood of the gospel, bringing every member of the Body into function in his measure in the Body of Christ.

The revelation in the Bible concerning us as believers and members of the Body of Christ has been lost, neglected, misunderstood, and put aside; we need to come back to what the Bible reveals concerning us and realise the universal priesthood of the gospel.

It is not only one or two that are qualified to serve God, but we all are priests, and together we are a priesthood, a holy and royal priesthood, to bring God to man and man to God, for God to be satisfied with the saved sinners as acceptable sacrifices, and man to be filled and satisfied with God becoming everything to us.

We should not take the degraded situation in today’s Christianity as the standard but come back to the Word of God, seek the Lord for His revelation in His word, and practice the scriptural way to meet and serve as seen in the word of God.

In particular, we need to realise that all the meetings of the church, as the practical expression of the church, should be in mutuality – and all saints need to function in their measure for the building up of the church.

The church as the Body of Christ is not something of organization, and what is needed in the genuine church life is not more experienced people who can sort things out, organise things, or arrange things. The church is an organism produced by the mingling of God with man, and we need to remain under the divine dispensing to be produced and built up together as the Body of Christ.

Everything we do in the church life, in all the meetings of the church, should be with the building up of the organic Body of Christ in view.

Whether we preach the gospel by visiting people in their homes, nourish and cherish the new ones by going to their home to shepherd them, are being perfected and taught in the group meetings, and prophesy for the building up of the church, everything should be done in the Body, with everyone working, functioning, and speaking, for the Body builds itself up in love.

The Lord is working to recover the reality of Eph. 4:11-16 in the genuine church life, so that the gifted members would perfect all the saints to function in their measure for the building up of the Body.

He is also working to recover the proper prophesying, the speaking for the Lord in mutuality in the church meetings, so that each member of the Body of Christ would function in his organic measure for the building up of the Body of Christ.

May we realise and enter into our function in the New Testament priesthood of the gospel for the building up of the Body!

Being one with the Lord and Cooperating with Him to Recover the New Testament Priesthood of the Gospel

Rom. 15:16 That I might be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.We must be one with the Lord and cooperate with Him to recover the New Testament priesthood of the gospel (Rom. 15:16).

From the time of John the Baptist onwards, the priests that God desire are not those who offer goats and sheep and bulls on the altar in the temple, but those who preach the gospel of the kingdom to save sinners, perfect them, and offer them as acceptable spiritual sacrifices to God.

All believers in Christ are New Testament priests of the gospel, and we all need to be going out to preach the gospel that calls for repentance, baptizing the believing ones, and offering them up in Christ to God. This is our responsibility in the New Testament priesthood of the gospel.

In his first epistle Peter says, “You yourselves also…are being built up…into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” (2:5). Paul also speaks of being a laboring priest or the gospel in Romans 15:16, and thereby he confirms the vision seen by Peter in 1 Peter 2.

The apostle Paul became a spiritual priest, a gospel priest, one who is offering up to God spiritual sacrifices; these acceptable sacrifices are the sinners saved through his preaching. Hence, every New Testament believer should be a priest offering up the saved sinners as sacrifices.

God has saved us and brought us to Himself so that we may be a kingdom of priests, a priesthood; all the saved believers of God in the New Testament are priests, and together they are a universal priesthood (see Rev. 1:5-6; 5:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9).

The New Testament reveals that God’s desire is to have a kingdom of priests, and we as believers in Christ should all function as priests who bring man to God and God to man.

We need to be one with the Lord and cooperate with Him to recover the New Testament priesthood of the gospel.

In our natural concept we may consider that our function as priests of the gospel means that we invite our friends to the gospel meeting, help with ushering, counseling, record taking, and other similar activities; actually, these are works that Levites would do, not the priests.

The Lord Jesus didn’t arrange for His disciples to organise and help with the many people that followed Him; rather, He sent them out into every city and place where He Himself was about to come, so that they would preach the gospel (Luke 10:1).

What we see in Christianity today in the big gospel meetings with one or two preaching the gospel while many others doing practical things – this may seem to be right in goal but it is wrong in means.

The reason is that such big gospel meetings have changed the nature of the universal gospel priesthood of all the believers to that of the exclusive gospel priesthood of the qualified few.

We must be one with the Lord and cooperate with Him to recover the New Testament priesthood of the gospel (Rom. 15:16). All the saved believers of God in the New Testament are priests; together they become the universal priesthood (Rev. 1:5b-6; 5:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). The main duty of the New Testament priests is to preach the gospel to lead sinners to be saved and to offer them up as spiritual sacrifices; this is why they are called the priests of the gospel (Rom. 15:16). The Genuine Church Life (2017 Thanksgiving Conference), outline 5What should be normal is that all believers should preach the gospel daily to their friends, relatives, work mates, and those around them, functioning as priests of the gospel wherever they are.

The economy of God today is for every saint to be a priest of the gospel. We need to practice speaking the gospel to those around us, and we need to encourage one another to pick one or two names of people close to us to pray for and care for, bring these names to our group meeting, pray for them, and then we may have some going to visit them, have a dinner for them, and speak the gospel to them.

We need to be impressed with and participate in the New Testament priesthood of the gospel, which is a universal priesthood.

As soon as someone is saved and baptized, his function needs to be activated; just as the Samaritan woman who drank the living water and then went into the city and told everyone to come see Jesus, so the new believers have the function of speaking the gospel.

The new believers actually may be the most fruitful ones in the freshness of their salvation. The main duty of the New Testament priests is to preach the gospel to lead sinners to be saved and to offer them up as spiritual sacrifices; this is why they are called the priests of the gospel (1 Pet. 2:9, 5; Rom. 15:16).

Lord Jesus, we are one with You for the recovery of the New Testament priesthood of the gospel. We want to cooperate with You to recover the universal priesthood of all the saints, so that all the members of the Body of Christ would function. Save us from relying on big gospel meetings for the preaching of the gospel. May we daily exercise to speak the gospel to our friends, relatives, and neighbours. Lord, may we function as laboring priests of the gospel offering up to You the sinners we have brought to salvation and have labored to cherish, nourish, and perfect!

May All the Members of the Body of Christ Function in their Measure for the Building up of the Body!

Whether it be in the vital group meeting, in the prophesying in the church meetings, in the preaching of the gospel by visiting people, or in the care for the new ones, the principle is the same — we must make all the saints the members of the Body of Christ, with everyone working, everyone functioning according to his measure, for the building up of the organic Body of Christ. The principle of the scriptural way to meet and serve is that all the members of the Body of Christ would function in their measure for the building up of the organic Body of Christ.

Therefore, we need to see that the church is the Body of Christ, an organism that issued from the processed Triune God; the Body doesn’t come into being accidentally nor by His creation, but by His dispensing and His producing.

In the service of the church we need to emphasize that the gifts would not over function to replace the saints but would work to perfect the saints so that the perfected saints would carry out the work of the ministry for the building up of the Body of Christ.

As the saints are being perfected and equipped, the will build up the Body of Christ directly; therefore, the gifts given by the Head need to perfect and equip the saints to do what they do.

We need to grow in life, be nourished with God’s word, be constituted with the truth, and exercise our spirit to speak for the Lord based on our experience of life and constitution of the truth.

Today the Lord doesn’t speak only through some specific ones in the church – He wants to speak through all the saints as they exercise their spirit to prophesy, so that God would be present among us and the Body of Christ may be built up.

Gospel preaching must be done by everyone personally through visiting others in their homes, not by big gospel campaigns; the saints should preach the gospel by visiting the new ones, practicing the New Testament priesthood of the gospel.

Whether it be in the vital group meeting, in the prophesying in the church meetings, in the preaching of the gospel by visiting people, or in the care for the new ones, the principle is the same — we must make all the saints the members of the Body of Christ, with everyone working, everyone functioning according to his measure, for the building up of the organic Body of Christ.

This is the crux, the heart, of the God-ordained way – no more “one man speaking” or “the trained and qualified ones functioning while the rest are listening”, but all the saints as members of the Body of Christ would function in their measure for the building up of the Body of Christ.

Exercising the New Testament priesthood of the gospel to beget new believers, visiting the new believers in their homes to nourish them and cherish them, perfecting and teaching one another in mutuality in the group meetings, and prophesying in the church meetings, all need to be done in such a way that all the saints function in mutuality for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ.

Lord Jesus, recover the function of all the saints as members in the Body of Christ. May everyone work, everyone function according to his measure, for the building up of the organic Body of Christ. Oh Lord, may we all learn to function as New Testament priests of the gospel, shepherding ones, and perfected ones, so that we all as members of the Body would build up the Body in the God-ordained way!

References and Hymns on this Topic
  • Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ricky Acosta for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1987, vol. 3, “The Scriptural Way to Meet and to Serve for the Building Up of the Body of Christ,” ch. 6, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Genuine Church Life (2017 Thanksgiving Conference), week 5, The Scriptural Way to Meet and to Serve for the Building Up of the Body of Christ.
  • Hymns on this topic:
    # Now the church is but the priesthood; / Thus the priesthood formed we need; / When the priests are knit together, / Then the church is built indeed. / All the building of the Body / On the priesthood doth depend; / Ever praying in the spirit / I this office would attend. (Hymns #848)
    # Living stones, we’re built together / And a house for God must be, / As the holy priesthood serving, / In a blessed harmony. (Hymns #913)
    # All the saints must serve as priests, / That the living stones they be; / Each must priestly work perform, / Then their functions we will see. (Hymns #849)
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About aGodMan

Hi there, I am Stefan Misaras, and I live and work in London (UK), meeting with the church in London. I love the Lord Jesus, His Word, the ministry of the age, and the saints. Enjoy the Lord!
PS. My personal website is StefanMisaras.com.