Preparing for the Journey  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
God is preparing Powerhouse for a journey in which we love God and one another more passionately than ever: where we actively embody His truth and hope within our community
Leviticus 1:1–9 ESV
The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock. “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Then he shall kill the bull before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. And Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
What was the indispensable element of the Israelites’ burnt offerings? FIRE! Noah offered a burnt offering after the flood. Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering in Genesis 22
Last week we explored the absolute necessity of God’s presence in our lives. His presence is often represented as fire in the Bible. We know that as we acquire the fire of God’s presence in our lives our faith will be ignited and our path will be illuminated…for the journey ahead.
The Hebrew word for burnt offering means to “ascend.” In other words, “go up in smoke.” Leviticus says the burnt offering was an aroma pleasing to the Lord, offered in repentance.
Fire burns out impurities from metals. Fire kills germs and sterilizes. Here’s another thing we know about the fire of God’s altar; it was never supposed to go out. God made that clear in Leviticus 6:12, “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out.” The priests were required to keep it going. Finally, the fire of the altar could not be substituted with some other fire…” strange fire”.
The ultimate, perfect, burnt offering is found in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. He wasn’t literally burnt, but His physical life was consumed, and He ascended up to the father. Most importantly, His sacrifice, once and for all atoned for our sins.
If you have accepted Jesus and are following Him as Lord, the fire is still important. The fire of His presence. We need the fire.
With all of this in mind, how do we, as individuals, and as a church, prepare for the journey on which God is leading us?
Big Idea: God’s fire purifies and qualifies; keep it not settle for counterfeit fire!
Interrogatory: When we say we want the fire of God, are we seeking the true fire of God?
Transitional: The fire of God isn’t always easy to face…but it’s necessary
GOD’S FIRE PURIFIES (Leviticus 4 & 5)
-Here’s the context of Leviticus; the people have fled slavery in Egypt and ended up at the foot of Mount Sinai, where God speaks to Moses, establishing a covenant (The Law)
They covenanted that He would be their God and they would be His people.
Leviticus is the explanation of the Law
Leviticus 4 & 5 explain the sin offering and the guilt offering
People sinned individually: intentionally and unintentionally -- But sin is sin and guilt is guilt
God showed His love by providing a way to bring holiness and relieve them from their guilt
How? Offering up burnt offerings on the altar of the Tabernacle…on the fire of God’s presence
Why do these burnt offerings matter to Christians today?
The Evil Nature of Sin
Our culture doesn’t take sin seriously…this bleeds over into the thinking of Christians – especially if we are not students of the word (disciples)
Sin is offensive and unacceptable to God
Sin pollutes our world and our lives…like smog in London or LA
Smog can be so heavy that it leaves residue
The smog of sin blinds us…we get used to it
God never gets used to it or accepts it.
What is Sin? Ten Commandments….he Words of Jesus or the Apostle Paul
Sin involves real actions…not just a state of mind - it means to miss the mark
It begins in the heart…but it leads to actions that alienate us from God as unholy
Why do these burnt offerings matter to Christians today?
The Amazing Grace of Christ
- Sin can only be cleansed through the shedding of blood…like a spiritual detergent
- This principle crossed over from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant established by Jesus
Hebrews 9:13–14 ESV
For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Why do these burnt offerings matter to Christians today?
The Reality of Recurring Offense
The Bible says that believers are the Temple of the Holy Spirit
We are told to keep the temple pure because, if we are not diligent to stay close to Jesus, we can still live in a way that grieves the Lord b/c of continual disobedience
This happened to Israel often…and they often faced God’s loving but unmistakable discipline
When we break our relationship with God through disobedience, thank God there is a way back
Through confession to God and others too b/c of the offenses we may have committed
The blood of Christ still covers our sin
Should we continue to sin, since grace abounds? God forbid!
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Our own attempts to be pure and good will fail…horribly
Thank God for the blood of Jesus and the purifying fire of God’s presence
Transitional: Since the fire of God purifies…it is important to stay close
GOD’S FIRE MUST NOT GO OUT (Leviticus 6:8-13)
…the command to Aaron and his sons
Leviticus 6:12–13 ESV
The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and he shall arrange the burnt offering on it and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.
The fire of God signifies…
God’s Presence Among His People
The God who spoke to Moses from a burning bush…the God who spoke to Israel from a fiery mountain and led His people from a pillar of fire in the wilderness.
If we allow the fire to go out we reject the presence of God
The fire of God signifies…
God’s People Worshiping Him
Worship, repentance, and grace were all present as they daily offered sacrifices on the holy altar of God’s presence
As the priests did the “menial tasks” of maintaining the fire, removing the ashes, etc., the importance of worship prevailed
This journey we are taking, individually and as a church family, cannot be successful, without the fire of God’s presence in our lives and among us
Keep it burning through repentant, humble hearts and continual attention to worshipping, serving, and honoring our King
Transitional: If we let the true fire of God go out in our lives…we risk finding a substitute that is not the real deal
Leviticus 10:1-2 That same day Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, took their censers, put hot coals and incense in them, and offered “strange” fire to God—something God had not commanded. Fire blazed out from God and consumed them—they died in God’s presence. MESSAGE
They used fire from an unauthorized source to light the incense.
God’s fire is exclusive…no substitutes. Why is this so important?
God’s Holiness is as Powerful as His Grace
- God is perfect in holiness, grace, mercy, knowledge, wisdom, love
- God is a jealous God – We tend to forget this
“You shall be holy unto me, for I the Lord am holy!” (Leviticus 20:26)
Those who attend to the altar (God’s ministers) set the example
The sons decided they could bring fire from another source before the Lord – a foolish and prideful decision
Those who tend the flock of the Lord must do so only by His grace and strength
God’s fire is exclusive…no substitutes. Why is this so important?
God’s Fire is the Only Fire for His people
What does “strange fire” consist of for you and me?
Short-cutting God’s presence by not seeking Him, studying His word, and not taking time to be discipled through corporate study, worship, service, etc.
Falling for teaching, doctrine, and ministries that preach something other than the pure doctrine of Christ!
The ultimate fulfillment of the burnt offering is in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross
The journey is upon us
What will we do to prepare for this journey?
What do you need to do to keep the fire burning?
Seek God with all your heart
Make it a priority – intentionally begin to talk to Him throughout your days and nights
Ask God to give you a fresh hunger for and understanding of His Word
Your faith will grow exponentially through immersion in His Holy Word
Keep yourself alert to strange fire through prayer, study, and discipleship
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more