Itchy and Scratchy – Leviticus 12:1-8 & 15:31 – Sermon Notes

We should understand why these things are here but we don’t have to obey them. Within minutes of being rescued, the people turn against God. We live in a world that’s unclean. The people are told to make sacrifices but even then they disobeyed. God is clear that just by living in a world that’s broken you’re going to become further away from him. God is always calling people into a relationship with him.

What makes people unclean?

After birth: “clean from the flow of her blood” The pouring out of blood represents the loss of life. They can’t approach God.

Skin diseases: “anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out ‘unclean!'” They’re marked by death.

“Emissions:” A marker that we’re mortal and will one day die. You can’t approach God while demonstrating you belong to death.

People are “marked” by death

Why do people behave in an unclean way? We’re selfish and have one life. All of us live in a way marked by death. Most people have no hope apart from this one life so live for themselves. Death controls us so evil comes out of our hearts. If you belong to death, you can’t come near God who is the fountain of life.

Death can be fixed

The priest goes into the realm of death and the unclean person is pronounced clean. Every part of them that belonged to their dead life has to go. “Be clean.” The people near him got clean. He stepped out of the perfect place into this world of death. He entered never marked by death yet chose to take the uncleanliness of death on himself. Death is real. It’s an eternal wilderness separated from God. You don’t become clean by copying the priest. Jesus didn’t step into the world for us to copy him.

Shave freely

The person pronounced clean shaves off every part of their old life. Once you’re made clean you’re safe. Jesus’ victory over death is certain. Given that death is swallowed up in victory, don’t live now as though you only have one life. Death has not won. Living the Christian life is saying to death ‘you will not rule me.’

The God Diet – Leviticus 11:1-8 & 41-45 – Sermon Notes

The people live clean. Free of something that destroys you so you can function in your relationships. The map begins with food.

They belong to God

By not eating the foods that have been ruled out, the people show that they belong to God. God wins people and saves people from the bad stuff in their lives so they can belong to him. Jesus stands between us and him. The way you are can point others to him. We take what is our Father’s and use it to bring light to the world. The food laws don’t apply now but this type of belonging to God is life changing. There are plenty of ways that you should love clean, showing God’s holiness, that you might not understand or agree with. Belonging to someone you love is a life transforming thing, whether you like peas/bananas etc or not.

You can still eat ‘clean’

Leviticus says you belong to God, the God who became a person and who is intensely involved in all areas of life. We think food will bring us comfort but that’s not the way the Bible teaches us to eat. Food is a gift always to be thoughtfully taken in. Jesus taught us one set prayer and it contains a line about eating. You always need it and every day treat it as God’s intervention when you receive it. God provides but we don’t always see it that way. Jesus says eating is a way of loving and including and sharing. He also talks about fasting. It can be a way of growing as a Christian and to hunger more for God. Food isn’t heaven. The way we eat is still of immense interest to God. You can pass on his character to the world.

Holiness in Leviticus often goes with wholeness. Holiness requires you conform to the group to which you belong. When you’re set apart for God, that is the most human you can be. When Jesus makes you clean, you become more the person you were made to be.

Turbulent Priests – Leviticus 10:1-11 – Sermon Notes

Democracy limits people’s self-serving status. The stories of priests abusing their power are all too familiar. We are in some sense walking in the holiest of places. We can’t consider it without discomfort. We should all be scared of hearing what God says and then ignoring it.

God stands with the people (v10-11)

God tells Aaron the people need his help to do their job properly. God isn’t interested in the powerful elites. He’s interested in the everyday people. Priesthood is an amazing privilege. God always gives blessings so that it can overflow to people who don’t know him. The holy fire comes burning out when the priests have other motivations. God only has leaders so that blessings can overflow. There is no mystery. Jesus is the eternal son of God. He welcomes us into the mystery of how the eternal God relates within himself. Every single person can be let into this awesome mystery. Jesus is our only possible way to God. He opens his arms, clear for the world to see. God holds out the way of reaching him.

The closer you are, the more careful you should be (v1-5)

If you’re going to do this job of standing between God and the world, you can’t have your life being shaped by death. You need to be careful about how you approach death. You can’t do this job if you’re drunk. This world is merely the introductory chapter to a world that God is remaking. God is in the business of defeating death. There isn’t only one life for the Christian. If you’re close to God you have to be radically different in thinking about life and death. If you are drunk, how are you going to do the job of bringing God’s presence to others?

God is God and you are not (v3)

We think we made God. We were made to reflect what God is like and to point to and image him. We are made to honour God and in some way all of us will do that in the end. Don’t pick a fight with the God who will be honoured. Don’t play a game of jumping off the cliff. We find the story shocking as we don’t find what Moses says as a fact, but it is. You need to be careful about hoarding blessings for yourself. God has a community of priests to stand between him and the world because he wants to get to the world. God won’t be mocked.

Awestruck – Leviticus 9:1-6 & 15-24 – Sermon Notes

The book is a map; it’s not the real thing. It will help you find your way around the reality.

Being remade (v1-5)

God is going to have to remake the people into new human beings so they can pass on his glory to the world. The people who stand between God and the world need to be remade by spending time with him and come out as new people. Is Aaron a picture of bringing God’s blessing to the world? Is it accurate? Maybe we haven’t been remade. We come to church because we want to find God. If you spend time with him, you will find yourself being remade. Parts of you will die. Maybe we haven’t come to God as Aaron did.

Standing between (v15-19)

Christians either live good lives or live among the pagans but don’t do both. Priests make the sacrifice for the sake of others. They bear the pain so others can know God. You should be living differently, like Jesus did, repaying evil with good, as he did.

Carrying God (v22-24)

When you meet with God, you become his treasured possession. Christians are to tell out the truth of God to others. Aaron lifted the curse from God’s people. The first thing he kills is a calf. A sad reminder of when he led the people into worshipping a false god. He was now doing this, bringing the real God to the people. No one is beyond doing the job of the priest. Jesus’ death qualifies anyone to bring Christ to the world. If there’s room for Aaron, there’s room for you.

Owned by God – Leviticus 8:1-9 – Sermon Notes

The facts that God is both infinite and personal are hard to get your head around. Given both things are true according to Jesus, how can we get our heads around it? Revelation gives us the best picture of what God is like. Leviticus is a description of the life of one people group who got to know God. A map in history of how God sees the world. It’s like a Tube map. It has symbols to show us what it means to relate to the God who made the stars.

Holiness is made clear

The assembly has to gather together to see what happens. Unless we are reminded we tend to think God must be a bit like us. Everything has to be washed. We pollute everything. Even when we’re doing our best, we still pollute things in a way that God can’t be near us.

Set apart

Aaron had to wear a uniform. God marks him out to carry the people to him. He’s more infinitely holy than you could possibly know. He wants you to come in. God doesn’t need you but he does want you.

Paying it forward

Aaron offers more sacrifices for the rest of the people on their behalf. He’s told to come down from the altar and bless the people. We are under a curse. God wants the blessing to be brought into the world you live in now. Live as someone restored to God where you are now.

A normal person dressing up isn’t going to cut it. Hebrews 5:8. Jesus was the second person of the trinity yet he learned obedience from what he suffered. He really could do the job of standing between us and God. John 17:20. Jesus carrying us on his heart to God. Hebrews 7:25. He is alive now so that you can be welcomed into the presence of God we shouldn’t be capable of knowing.

Leviticus demonstrates truths that we need to know. The infinite God does call us to him for an eternity of peace with him. That starts now when we let Jesus carry us in.

Fire – Leviticus 1:1-9 & 6:8-13 – Bible Study Notes

1. What do you think of God when you are praying to him? What do you think he is like? Do you ever feel unable to approach him? Why?

Read Exodus 40:34 – Leviticus 1:1-9

2. What point in the Bible’s story are we here? What has God just done and what has happened to his people? Why? (Exodus 19:3-6)

God’s people have been rescued and he’s told them they are to be a kingdom of priests.

3. What does this show us about why God calls people to know him? How does that affect your life today?

The earth is his and we were created to glorify and serve him.

4. What are some of the strange details you notice in this description of the first offering? What is their significance?

Without blemish / laying hand on head / pleasing aroma to the Lord

Read Leviticus 6:8-13

5. What command is repeated again and again for the priest? Why – what does that represent about God? (Remember, this is at the centre of the place where they meet God)

The fire must not go out. God is at the centre of everything, burning with love and holiness.

Read Hebrews 12:28 – 13:4

6. What does Hebrews say about God’s nature? What effect should that have on us? What worship should be bring with reverence and awe? What does it mean to do these things with reverence and awe?

His kingdom can’t be shaken. We should share God’s love with others and outsiders.

7. Given this is all true about God, what is strange about Leviticus 1:1?

The burning fire of God spoke to Moses from the tent. People weren’t allowed in and offerings were required.

8. How does Jesus make a difference to this?

Jesus’ body was torn apart and he did that to make atonement.

Read Hebrews 10:1-4 & 8-10

9. How does knowing all of this about God change us today? How might it change how we think about God and how we approach him? How does Jesus take away the need for sacrifices?

Everything belongs to God. Our stuff is better in his hands and not ours. The one who owns us is also the one who atones for us. Our choices can be pleasing to God once we trust him. We are only made holy because of Jesus.

Pray, thanking God that God is a consuming fire and that Jesus makes full atonement for us.

Related Sermons:

Sin and Guilt – Leviticus 5:2-6 & 6:2-7 – Sermon Notes

The people were forming a community. They celebrate when thankful. They weren’t people like us. Often these celebrations turned into brawls. You will hurt others or be hurt at some stage. How do you deal with carelessly hurting someone or when someone hurts you? The whole universe has God at the centre and we gather round him. Our job is to show him to the world. Life is full of sins of omission.

Own it, but don’t pay for it

Things can be dishonouring to God even if they seem normal to people who aren’t Christians. We all bring from our backgrounds thoughtless words and actions that we’ve learned from people outside of God’s community. Hiding your sin is just pride. Church life causes thoughtless sins to come to light. It’s tempting to medicalise everything and to say it’s not your fault. The more influential you are, the more serious the sins are, no matter how unintentional they are. In world terms everyone is an influential person. The more your careless words cause a stir. The things you don’t mean can deeply affect others.

When you admit you have a problem, Jesus dies in our place. We own it but don’t pay for it. Church life will be full of finding out stuff that you bring with you. It’s uglier than you thought. Admit it’s yours but Jesus pays for it. Who are you to hold something against another person if God says they’re justified?

Live what God has made you

Propitiation. Expiation. When this sacrifice takes place, blood is sprinkled everywhere. It’s to convince the worshipper that it’s been done for them to be made clean. Jesus’ blood makes you clean so we don’t need to fear approaching God. This is a picture of freedom. Even if you did something unintentionally wrong the blood makes you clean. There is no one who is too damaged.

When you become a Christian you realise how much holier God is and how much worse you are. The sin and guilt offering is here to tell us that and Jesus paid for it. God is holier than you realise and you are worse than you thought. Jesus covers that, too.

Peace – Leviticus 3:1-5 & 7:11-18 – Sermon Notes

Leviticus is answering the question ‘how are we supposed to live?’ What does it mean to know him? Leviticus is a real life map that God has planted in history which shows God as the real king. God is in the middle of everything and people are brought to know him. The map isn’t the real thing. It’s there to guide you. This is the most simple offering so far.

One big idea

When you are saved by God and you know him, the way you live is celebrating his goodness to you, by sharing his goodness with other people. This offering helps us to understand relating to God is more than just telling others about him. When you trust God, it’s not as if God sucks you out of the life of this world. This world is an outpouring of God’s eternal love. He’s not lonely.

The difference is when you know the real God you include him in other things by sharing him with others. Be extravagant in your generosity. Include everybody. All of creation came out of his pure, self giving love, so if you want to thank him, share with others. Jesus was always criticised for being at parties. In these little things of life, can you involve God in sharing him with others? Invite lots of people to a less beautiful wedding. If you trust Jesus and your sin is atoned for, receive things as blessings from God and share them. This offering is not demanded, it’s a celebration. Doing it can make life better and richer.

Some people out?

Some people are barred from coming to the feast. Being unclean is a picture of not being made right with God. Don’t pretend. God will not be mocked. Don’t join in with the celebration to try to cover up the fact you haven’t trusted Jesus for yourself. Peace between us and God makes the same peace between us and others. We mustn’t pretend. Truly join in fellowship.

Blood and fat?

If God says something you do it, even if you don’t know why. Giving the fat to God means it’s not just a meal for us, God is sharing in it too. It’s the blood that pays for sin. Lose the rare steak but gain something infinitely better. The real blood that brings forgiveness has been spilled by Jesus. If you want to give something for God to use, it means you lose something. Involve God in everyday life.

Grain – Leviticus 2:1-10 & 6:14-23 – Sermon Notes

God has used these people as a map so we can know him. Relating to God as a small and finite people is complicated. He doesn’t need any sacrifice offerings. Once your sin is atoned for, you are changed.

It’s for God and for people

When you’re made right with God, the next response is to give something to him. He wants you to share so that more people can share in the atonement for sin. The grain offering that the priests eat is the most holy part as it’s most like God. The difference he makes is shown when we share.

It’s God’s and it’s yours

In what sense is it an offering? There wouldn’t be any grain if God hadn’t made it. Bring what you make to him. He wants you to do whatever it is you do with his stuff and offer the best to others. Most of us build things for ourselves. You can create like him, but when you do, it’s his.

It’s the priests’ work and God working

Why doesn’t God just provide? Jesus feeding five thousand; why didn’t he just make the food himself? He likes involving us in his recreating work. Jesus is the God of the tent of meeting in person.

The grain offering is about giving the best work of your hands so others can have atonement. The picture is of the people gathered around God to know him. Jesus turns us all into priests. Give whatever you can to help others in the church do that. Be hospitable. Pray wholeheartedly. Give your best so atonement is shared. There are some people with a priestly role (Romans 15:15-16). The people who go into the world must be looked after. If Jesus did atone for you, why wouldn’t you give?

Fire – Leviticus 1:1-9 & 6:8-13 – Sermon Notes

God’s people have been rescued and he’s said they need to be a kingdom of priests. God is in the middle and Leviticus shows us this picture. There is a glorious God from whom we all get life, in the middle of everything.

The fire that does not go out

God says to them three times that the fire must not go out. Our God is a consuming fire. At the centre of the camp, there is a fire that mustn’t go out. It gives us a picture of what is real. There is a God who is at the centre of everything, burning in his perfection. Holiness. God is three persons, loving each other. There is a dynamic of pure love in the middle of everything, burning with holy love. This burning fire of God spoke to Moses from the tent.

At-one-ment required

We can’t even get close to God without being destroyed. This sacrifice that’s given has blood sprinkled round the door outside the tent. God is all for us coming to know him but that can only happen if we see there’s a problem with us. If we are even going to start coming near the fire, our uncleanliness needs dealing with. You are not a good person who sometimes does bad things. We are all corrupt. Without atonement, we can’t get to the door. In ourselves, we are so fallen, so far from the perfection of God who’s at the centre of everything, that we need atonement. We think it’s us in the middle and God is on the outside. Jesus’ body was torn apart and he did that to make atonement. God seems to like the smell of these offerings. It’s admitting that God is at the centre.

He is the centre, not you

The centre of everything is the God who is the burning fire. It all belongs to him. How much do you need to keep? Once you trust Jesus, your choices can be pleasing to God. Jesus is the one who rules from the throne. The one who owns us is also the one who atones for us. It’s better for stuff to be in his hands than yours.