The following is an excerpt from Basics: Understanding the Foundations of a Healthy Church, a six-session Bible study that focuses on developing an understanding of the church, its organization, and its practices in order to strengthen our service and ministry as the body of Christ. Find more information at lifeway.com/basics.
The Work of the Congregation
As a member of the congregation, you’re a priest-king. Jonathan Leeman defines this term this way: “If a king rules, a priest-king rules on behalf of a greater king, God. That is, the priest-king mediates God’s rule and works to protect what’s holy.” Under the new covenant of salvation through Christ, Christians are set apart as the people of God. Our union with the true King—Jesus—gives us the responsibility to declare God’s rulership on the earth. Here are some practical ways church members can live out the faith as priest-kings.
1. Attend church regularly. We’re to faithfully assemble with the church (see Heb. 10:24-25). We need the encouragement and challenge of being with other believers. Additionally, they need our presence. Christians should see attending worship, Bible studies, and member meetings as important priorities.
2. Help preserve the gospel. The gospel is the primary truth that creates the church. In Galatians 3:1-5 Paul expressed his disappointment with the church in Galatia for being so quickly distracted from the gospel. As a congregational member, keep your mind and heart focused on communicating the gospel to the world.
3. Help affirm gospel citizens. By preserving the gospel message, we can know who is and who isn’t suited to be affirmed as a member of the body of Christ. We do this not from malice but from kindness. It’s the way churches know how to properly encourage a person toward Christlikeness. By affirming Christians as gospel citizens, we can disciple them toward maturity. Conversely, we can discipline those who are living counter to the gospel.
4. Share the gospel with outsiders. We’re called to make disciples of all nations. According to 2 Corinthians 5:20, we’re to “plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’” Exercising our authority isn’t just for the interior work of church life. It’s to declare the authority of the gospel to a world in rebellion. By doing so, we serve as priest-kings who are ambassadors of God and advocates for others to come under His good kingship.
Excerpted from Robert Bruce Jamieson III, Mark Dever, Jonathan Leeman, & Philip Nation, Basics Bible Study. © 2016 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.