North Western Community Church

Feb 5 – A Joint Task

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Lets do a quick word association test.
What are the first 10 words that come to mind?
Here is your base word: ‘Church’. Go….

1. Priest
2. Pope
3. Preacher
4. Pray
5. Jesus
6. Bible
7. Bigot
8. Bread
9. Old
10. Hymn

For many people in the world, the word “church” reminds them of the Roman Catholic ‘Priest’ or ‘the Pope’. The whole system of a religious Priesthood does have origins in Israel’s history of Tabernacle, Temple, Priests and Levites. Christian leaders, and church rituals can, unfortunately, look rather like “a new priesthood”. However, the priesthood of the New Testament — God’s own people — is really rather different than this.

That whole system of ‘Priesthood’, was fulfilled, through one final sacrifice: Jesus.

The death and resurrection of Jesus has changed the way people view life. Jesus was killed as a Lamb to slaughter and sacrificed upon the altar of criminal punishment and cruelty, namely the cross of Christ. After Jesus was raised from the grave, the gift of God’s Spirit was poured out upon the human race. To receive God’s Spirit, from the Risen Jesus, gives birth to a wholly new sort of people.

Christians are, in effect, newly humanised people — a quite distinct people from those in any ‘religious’ system. Christians are firstly: PEOPLE!! We are human beings given a new freedom. When the first Christians found their message being rejected, they soon found themselves meeting without a Temple. Some found themselves exiled from their roots. Peter uses Temple and religious language to remind God’s people who they are.

They can live now, without intermediary Priests. For Jesus alone, is the High Priest (Hebrews 8:2), the one Mediator between God and humanity. And all Christians are now, “in Jesus”, and so are part of the new royal priesthood. That is, they know God, his forgiveness and grace, and are taught by God’s Spirit (1John 2:27; Jeremiah 31:34), and share in serving the world—with the teaching of life in Christ, through word, music, deed, all interceding in prayer for others, and a living out a truly “humanised” humanity.

For many reasons, we need to rediscover that there are not many classes of Christians. Not even 2 classes of Christians. It is true, not all are gifted to teach, but all are ministers. All are called to be a part of life in Jesus Christ, as “a royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9).

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