February 21, 2021
Sermon notes February 21, 2021
Scripture: Leviticus 22:31-33
These verses capture much of the meaning in Leviticus: God is holy. God is to be treated as holy, and God’s chosen people should pursue holiness. The details of Leviticus give instructions to the Israelites as to how they were to pursue holiness in their relationship with God and with other people. Leviticus provides worship instructions for approaching the holy God, be it in sacrifices, priestly procedures, commands to obey, and festivals to observe. Leviticus gives instructions on how to pursue holiness with others, with commands on providing food for the priests, laws to obey and punishments for offenders, master/slave relationship guidance, marital instructions and other details. We even have in Leviticus 19:18, the command to love your neighbor as yourself. In the midst of the instructions, we have another break with an account of a person who blasphemed God’s name and is stoned to death as part of today’s reading.
This morning, we are going to focus on three aspects of Leviticus 22:
1) God is holy
2) We are to treat God as holy
3) God’s people are set apart.
God is holy. There are many implications of this. One conclusion from knowing God is holy is to know God does not do bad. God is not unjust. God is not in error. Furthermore, if we say God, the Creator of all things, is not holy; then it is impossible to have a moral standard, impossible to have certain truth, and there is no reason to truly love God. But God is holy! Therefore, moral truth is not relative but is as the holy God states. God is holy so His Holy Word is trustworthy. God is holy! He loves us completely and perfectly as only a holy being could, and we are to love Him back.
We are to treat God as holy. This requires reverence, worship, and respect for God. The exact details that resulted in death in Leviticus show us the significance of reverence. Are you reverent before God or is your worship distracted? Is your focus on anything besides God? Reverence would have us put God first and show respect. Reverence does not turn worship into an attraction for people’s glory or entertainment. There was nothing entertaining in the rituals of Leviticus, but the rituals had to be obeyed in reverence to God. We have got to focused on God. Our worship cannot be incomplete or indifferent. The demands of God in the sacrifices and offerings were for the best. Do you worship with your best? Not singing during the song service is surely not your best. Not going to church is not your best. Not listening is not your best. Give your best to God.
God’s people are set apart by God. In the time of Leviticus, the Israelites were to be set apart. They had to live differently than the ways of Egypt or Canaan so that God would be glorified and so they could be blessed by God. Glorifying the Holy God was a tremendous calling for the people of Israel. The mission of living for God could have been life changing for so many people in the ancient world. An example of a nation living according to God’s way in comparison to all the evil in the surrounding pagan nations would have been such a great hope to the world! If the Israelites had done so.
Today Christians are to be set apart for the Lord and live differently than society’s norms that are in conflict with God’s way. We are to be set apart, and we do that with obedience to God. We should reject sinful lifestyles that hurt others, that cause harm, are selfish, are false, are confusing or chaotic, all of which result from sin. Instead as we live in obedience, set apart, we would demonstrate love, kindness, peace, hope, trustworthiness, and good things! Being set apart will bring glory to God and draw people to God which is the greatest hope for any person!
You may ask how? How can I possibly live a life set apart for a Holy God? The standard of holiness is too perfect and I am bound to fail. We have hope to live for God only when we trust Him. As Christians we have the Holy Spirit living inside us and by the Holy Spirit you and I can live a life of righteousness that points others to God. We have examples of people like Moses and Joshua and other ancient Israelites who by and large lived for the glory of God. And although they were not perfect their lives made a difference because they committed to obeying God. And our Almighty God can work through our human weakness to accomplish so much. Furthermore, unlike Moses and the other Israelites we know the story of Jesus! We know the Books of the Gospels that give us Jesus’ perfect example. We know the power of the resurrection and can trust that God, who raised Himself from the dead, is capable of transforming us from sinners to people of righteousness by His power and for His glory! Trust the Lord today and commit to living in reverence of our most Holy God!
God bless, Pastor Charlie