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The Royal Priesthood Part I: The Chosen

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. I Peter 1:9
A generation of people chosen to inherit the royal bloodline of the Lord Jesus Christ. Received by faith and sacrifice of life, these priests of God are called to minister in the very throne room of the Almighty. The entrance to realms of light seen by no man, freely accessible to the called of God.
The highest calling in all of creation, given only to those who are willing to give all for the King of all kings, to offer up their lives in exchange for His glory! Anointed with the most precious of oil, the Holy Spirit, and washed with the purest of blood from the veins of the Lamb of God, the royal priesthood are empowered to represent Jesus, the highest of all priests in His kingdom on earth.
Called to conquer and equipped to defeat the powers of darkness, possessors of the keys to the kingdom of God and stewards of the mysteries of Christ, the priesthood is a formidable force to be reckoned with. A holy nation sent to harvest the earth of it's precious treasure of souls to be delivered to the Father, these mighty warriors carry a divine calling to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I Peter 2:4,5
"The kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come." Matthew 22:2,3
In the parable of the marriage feast Jesus is explaining the cost of salvation as it relates to the marriage vow. Everyone is invited to come and partake of God's plan of redemption but very few accept His invitation. The churches are full of people willing to show up for an hour a week and join the club, but very few are willing to sacrifice their very lives for the King!
There is very little commitment here in America when it comes to laying down ones life for Jesus, and spiritual warfare is having to drive to church in the rain. Dead rituals have replaced true relational Christianity and social networking has replaced meaningful human contact and fellowship. It was no different in Jesus day, people were more interested in themselves than in serving the living God. They were not willing to give up their time and effort to accept God's invitation to receive the greatest gift ever given, His beloved Son, sacrificed for them.
Jesus said in the gospel, that if anyone wished to follow Him let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. In order for one to deny himself he must die to all selfish ambition and crucify all his dreams and plans for his own life to serve the Lord Jesus. Death to self is a hard thing to accomplish and can only take place by submitting to the Holy Spirit's leading or else it becomes legalistic. To trust and obey is the only way.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1
'Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' Matthew 22:9
Then the King sent out his servants into the highways and invited everyone, even the bad ones in order to fill up the wedding hall. When the King entered to see His guests he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment and He asked him how he got in, but the man was speechless and the King had him thrown out into outer darkness. The wedding garment represents one being clothed with Christ, being washed in the blood and putting on the new man or new creation. To be without Jesus is to be without an eternal garment and the result is eternal damnation.
Jesus chose twelve to be the first of many "Royal Priests" in His assembly of disciples sent to represent Him to the world. All gave up their life and livelihood to follow Him and all but one were elected to be His chosen priesthood. You wouldn't want a half hearted spouse, or a half hearted warrior in your army and you certainly wouldn't want a priest that wasn't totally dedicated to you and your purposes or else they might not represent you properly to the world that you sent them into.
There was a story of a king who with five hundred men came up against another king with ten thousand. The king he approached said he was foolish to think he could defeat his army of ten thousand with so few, but the king replied and said to one of his warriors, "draw your sword and kill yourself with it," immediately without hesitation he obeyed. To another he said, "ride your horse off that cliff," and so he did. Then the king said, "I have five hundred more just like them." When the king with ten thousand heard these words and saw their dedication he and his men fled before them.
"Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:31-33
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. II Corinthians 5:14,15
The famous pledge of the Musketeers, One for all and all for One! I believe this was taken from the above mentioned scripture speaking of one laying down his life for the Savior, and the Savior laying down His life for us. This is also the pledge of the "Royal Priesthood" to lay down their life for the King and for all who would serve Him. Everyone who comes to Christ in repentance, asking for mercy and by faith receiving His blood to cleanse their sins, and receiving the Holy Spirit becomes a priest of God. 
There is no longer a "clergy/laity" or any other position of authority to rule the believer, for Christ is the Head of a man, and every believer has been given access to the throne of God. Leadership is a gifting not a position of authority over another and in God's kingdom leaders have to become servants in order to lead by example. Jesus didn't set up a system of leadership when He formed His new assembly of believers, He chose twelve humble working class men to receive His Spirit to intercede for the multitude to come. 
The first twelve called to be Royal Priests were trained and equipped by the Savior Himself, on the job training, twenty four seven was the order of the day, no bible college, no seminary, no PhD's, only the curriculum of servant hood was taught. The cost of entering this school of ministry was steep, it cost you your life and livelihood, family and all that you possessed to follow the Lord Jesus. Imagine following Jesus for three years seeing the multitudes healed and delivered, fellow shipping with whores and thieves, lepers and demoniacs, learning to love the unlovely and laying down your life for those with no hope.
As you can see, to enter the priesthood of Jesus will cost you everything and to wear the wedding garment mentioned in the parable is the sign of your belonging to the most prestigious order of ministers ever assembled in history, they may not look like everyone else, but within their heart burns the fire of Holy Spirit and within their soul, a love for all and a passion for the Kingdom of God.
"For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14