It is not easy for Christians to understand what the real service is that we render to the Lord. The natural thought is that anything we do for the Lord is a service. The word service has even been damaged in Christianity today. People speak of the Lord’s Day morning meeting as a “service,” and in the evening they also have an “evening service.” What they mean by service is simply a Christian gathering. In the Bible, however, service has a much different meaning. The best portion to see the proper understanding of the service is in 1 Peter 2. Verse 5 says, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood.” In the original Greek of the New Testament, there are two words translated as “priesthood” in English. One word is used in Hebrews 7, referring to the priestly service, the service of the priests (vv. 11, 12, 24). The other, used in 1 Peter 2:5 and 9, refers not to the priestly service but to the group of priests, the priestly body. The spiritual house in verse 5 is the priesthood, the priestly body, and this priesthood is the spiritual house. Both the spiritual house and the holy priesthood are being built up. Verse 5 continues, “To offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” To offer is to serve; the offering up of spiritual sacrifices is the real service. The true service which we render to the Lord is an offering by a built-up body of priests, and this built-up body is the spiritual house. By this we can see that the genuine, proper service depends upon the building. If there is no building, there can be no house, and if there is no house, there can be no priesthood. The building is the house, and the house is the priesthood, the priestly body.
Today we speak of “service groups” in the church. This is a good term. In the biblical language, the service groups are the priesthood. “Service group” is simply a modern way to refer to the classical, or scriptural, term priesthood.The service of arranging chairs is a chair-arranging priesthood, and the cleaning service group is a cleaning priesthood. We also have the junior high, nursery, and clerical priesthood. The word priesthood should remind us that our service groups are the building up of the priests. If we are not serving as priests in this way, what we have is not a service group. Those who arrange the chairs in the meeting hall are not merely chair arrangers; they are priests. This means that they not only arrange the chairs; they render a service to God. Chair arranging is not their business, duty, or service. Their service is something holy and spiritual. In itself, chair arranging is not holy or spiritual; it is not a service. Our chair arranging is different. It is a holy and spiritual service rendered to God.
The first test of our service is whether we are serving as priests. The second test is whether we are serving as individual priests or as the “hood,” the corporate priesthood. Those who arrange the chairs are priests, but this is not enough. They should serve not as individual priests but as the priesthood. Priests are many, but the priesthood is one and unique. In the service groups there is only one priesthood, which is composed of the many priests. This implies the building up. The genuine service in the church has the nature of being priestly and of being built up. If our service is not of this nature, it is not genuine; it is a counterfeit and an imitation. Our service is a priesthood.
form: “Serving in Oneness as the Holy Priesthoold to be Built Up as a Spiritual House” by Bro. Lee. Available at lsm.org