It's All About the Blood

Leviticus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:04
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I have to be honest with you and tell you that I am one of those people that like to have my meat cooked almost well-done. I don’t like it flopping around on my plate. I don’t like it moaning and groaning. I don’t like it bleeding out right there in front of me.
Some of you have seen chefs on TV cook meat and barely sear it on the outsides. They then will take a sharp knife and cut into the meat and watch the blood just ooze out and talk about how tender and delicious the meat is. Some of you may like yours that way as well.
Tonight we are going to see that God had some rules in the Bible about where the people could kill their sacrifices and what they needed to do with the blood. Now, to be completely up front with you, God doesn’t care whether you eat your meat rare or well-done. But there are some things that we are going to see tonight in this chapter that do matter to us and I hope you will pay attention.
Tonight, I want you to no only fill out your outline, but I also want you to be thinking about what you can write down to turn into a prayer from this passage. When we read the Bible, it is helpful to look at it as a dialogue between you and God. God speaks to you through the Bible and you listen. Then you turn around and speak back to God. I promise tonight that I am going to give you plenty of time to do this and pray in your prayer groups. So, let’s dive in.
Read Lev. 17.
The first thing that we notice in verse 1 is that these instructions were for everyone. In many of the sections, the Bible says that the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, but here it says he spoke to them and the people. What God was about to say was very important.

1. There is a proper place to worship God (vv.1-9)

The first principle that we will cover tonight is that there is a proper place to worship God. I hope that as we have been studying the Book of Thessalonians on Sunday mornings, you have picked up on this over the last two weeks. God really cares about us worshiping together with other believers.
Here in this passage, the instructions to the people of Israel are actually rather bizarre. God tells them not to offer their sacrifices wherever they wanted to, but to come to the entrance to the tent of meeting. Why?
First, we need to understand that the people of Israel were very prone to idolatry and paganism. I believe that people from every generation struggle with this. Our idols may look different and the gods we worship may be more sophisticated, but we still struggle with worshiping a god of our own making. We naturally rebel agains the God who made us and deserves our worship.
In Egypt, the Israelites had been exposed to all kinds of pagan gods. One of the reasons that the Bible gives for the plagues that God sent on the Egyptians and the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart that God did was that God was showing the people of Egypt that He was the one, true God. He also was teaching the people of Israel this lesson.
The Egyptians worshiped many different gods and they used animals to represent them, but one particular god that they, and some of the ancient people of the land, worshiped was in the form of a goat. It was really a goat demon and was connected with the underworld. We get our word “satyr” from this goat demon.
Now, I’m not going to take us into the woods here, but it is important to understand for future chapters that one of the practices that was an abomination in God’s eyes and will probably make you cringe a little was that this goat demon was a male goat, and the women would often have sexual relations with it. God specifically ordered the death sentence for this kind of behavior (Lev. 18:23; 20:15-16).
The Israelites had been exposed to this type of pagan worship and in order to combat that and their tendency to worship God with aberrant worship practices (as we see in the Book of Judges), God specifically required that the sacrifice be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting so that the rituals God had prescribed could be followed and God alone could be worshiped.
What crazy ideas can people come up with when they are left on their own?
Do you know anyone that has come up with some unorthodox views of God that perhaps have not been gathering with their local church?
In what ways do you think that God uses His church and the physical gathering of the body to help ward off pagan worship practices and idolatry?

2. There is a proper mode of atonement (vv.10-16)

The next thing that we see in this chapter is the importance of the blood of the sacrifice. We see the proper mode of atonement comes through the blood.
I will come back to this point in a moment, but first let me ask you to think about how important your blood is. What does blood do for you? Blood carries oxygen to your body that it needs to survive. It also carries fat and nutrients around your body to energize your cells. Blood carries hormones throughout your body in the form of cholesterol. It also carries immune cells and platelets that help to heal your body. Pretty much everything you need to live on has to go though your blood stream to get where it needs to go.
You could easily say that the life of any animal or person is in the blood. This is the very reason that God chose blood to be the proper mode of atonement. Now, unlike the pagan deities of the underworld that Israel’s neighbors worshiped, God did not desire blood to drink it. He is not a blood thirsty God as some unbelievers try to caricature God as being.
God created all animal and human life to use blood as its life force. In fact, you could even say that God created plants that way too. Their blood is in the form of sap and not real blood like we have, but it functions the same way.
God, in covering Adam and Eve’s sin and covering ours, required blood to be shed to demonstrate the life-giving power of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. For this reason, God did not allow the people of Israel to ingest the blood of their sacrifices.
God called for the people to pour out the blood upon the ground and to eat meat that had no blood in it. This is not like those hunter dudes that kill an animal and pour the blood out to honor the life force of the animal. It was to represent the sacrifice that Jesus would pay for us all.
You see, there is no other way to be atoned but by the blood of Jesus. No works of the flesh or religion can save us. No one can live a good enough life for God to forgive us. The only mode of the atonement for our sins comes by the poured out blood of Jesus on the cross.
Have you thanked God for every precious drop of blood that Jesus shed for you on the cross?
How does knowing that Jesus gave his lifeblood for you lead you to worship Him even more?
Tonight, as we gather together for prayer, I want to encourage you to pray and think about the need to gather together as believers. Perhaps in your group you may choose to list the names of some people that aren’t in church. Maybe you choose to pray for the lost that you know by name. Pray for the service this coming Sunday, that people would see the importance of gathering so that the truth is preserved. The Bible says that the church is the pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Pray thanking God for Jesus’ blood that was shed for you. Think about how costly his blood was and that it was necessary for our sins to be atoned for and pray for God to remind you of this when you are tempted to sin. Think also of the relief that it provides us to know that our works cannot save us (Eph. 2:8), but that Jesus blood completely washes us whiter than snow (Isaiah 1:18; Heb. 9:11-12). The Bible says in Hebrews,
Hebrews 9:11–14 ESV
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 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, 14 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.
Let’s pray and thank God for the place to worship and the means to worship Him with a conscience that has been sprinkled clean.
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