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Playing by the Rules

Notes & Transcripts

1) 5-8-11…SBC…AM     2)

Intro:                           “Playing by the Rules”

there is quite a diversity among people in this world, but none more then when it comes to the subject of spiders

some people don’t mind them and have them for pets, others tolerate them, and others, well you know who you are

You are the ones that respond the same way if it is a spider or a lady bug

Squealing, screaming and climbing up on things to get away from something that is just a wee bit smaller than you are

You are the ones that really hope it isn’t true that we eat 8 spiders a year in our sleep

Illustration:  Morgan and Kayla encountering a bug in the bath tub—just about climbed on my back

Some would say…boil me oil, torture me, dismember me limb by limb but not spiders

 

the way that many people feel about spiders is how many Christians feel about the book of Leviticus

give me Revelation, Job, Jude, Song of Solomon…but whatever you do don’t make me read Leviticus

it is one of a few books when reading through the Bible in a year that we think, “Why am I doing this again?”

Why is the study of Leviticus so neglected?

Leviticus seems dull due to its lack of action and plot

Leviticus contains detailed “antiquated” rule and regulations with much confusing and uninteresting repetition

Leviticus describes a world of sacrificial worship and legal regulation which seems very far removed from the religious practices of today

What makes the book of Leviticus so important?

Leviticus reveals the sacrificial basis for salvation and for fellowship with God

Leviticus foreshadows the work of Christ as Savior

Leviticus places an emphasis on the holiness of God—in contrast to the exceeding sinfulness of man (estranged)

The Liberty bell even has an inscription on it from Leviticus 25:10

Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Leviticus describes the covenant relationship that Israel has with God from Israel’s side of the covenant

It is a bi-lateral contract between God and Israel and L. focuses on Israel’s responsibilities

focus of the covenant is on the nations staying in right relationship with their Sovereign

Covenants with Abraham, Noah, David were more focuses on the sovereign and his blessing upon the vassal

The sacrifices and offerings were designed to demonstrate the subservience of Israel, to atone for her offenses against her Sovereign, Yahweh, and to reflect the harmoniousness and peaceableness of the relationship being established or reestablished.[1]

In this specific covenant with Israel what is being communicated on the whole is the definition of holiness and unholiness

With God being the standard of holiness, human character and behavior must, if it is to be called “holy,” reflect the character and behavior of God Himself.[2]

He is the standard of holiness by which all else must be measured,[3]

Those whom He calls to servanthood must therefore understand their holiness not primarily as some kind of “spirituality” but as their uniqueness and separateness as the elect and called of God. [4]

But holiness must also find expression in life by adhering to ethical principles and practices that demonstrate godlikeness.[5]

This is the underlying meaning of being the “image of God.”[6]

Salvation in the OT

salvation was always by faith in the revelation that God had given to them—Abraham, Noah, David

Salvation is typically defined as what must be done in order to get to heaven after you die

Faith in the One that would come after them—the Messiah—Jesus Christ

It was never in something they could do to earn God’s favor, but in what God had done for them

God’s abiding favor with man was, is and always will begin by man placing His faith in God

Leviticus is written after Israel is already God’s chosen people—they were divinely elected to that position

This covenant is the vehicle by which Israel, the chosen seed of Abraham, obligated herself to be Yahweh’s servant people[7]

The degree of favor that rested upon Israel as God’s people depended on their faithful adherence to this covenant

Transition:  In this first section of Leviticus 26 that we are looking at this morning, we will see that…


Proposition:  Holy living brings the favor of God.

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Prayer

 

Transition:  v1-2 explains for us what the favor of God is…

The Favor of God is Known          v1-2

The major theme of the book of Leviticus is found back in 11:44 and it lays out for us a foundation of worship

Both of the laws presented in v1-2 have to do with the proper worship of God.

The placing of these laws on the proper worship of God at the beginning of the section on blessings and cursings indicates that the issue of blessings and cursings is intrinsically related to one’s relationship and response to God.[8]

Idols: the root of the word is translated “worthless; insufficient; inadequate.”[9]

Instead of just telling them to go and be holy God gave them a standard to shoot for - Himself

(Ill.Gatorade commercial – Be like Mike (Jordan) – the standard of basketball prowess)

Holy living demands avoidance of all forms of idolatry and false worship

Worshipping idols instead of the one true God is like trying to play a major piano concerto by downloading the piano app on your favorite device

The idols that can consume our lives are worthless, empty and insufficient when compared to true worship of God

Application:

God’s favor bestowed upon your life is not like a Indiana Jones type of archeological expedition--hidden

The first step towards gaining God’s favor is found in proper worship of God

Proper worship of God is not a twice a year thing, when I’m in town kind of thing, or even once a week thing

It is an every day, every hour, every minute type of endeavor—it is a reordering of life around worship of God

If we are not striving to worship God during the week we might as well stay home on Sunday because our worship will be hypocritical and in vain

The favor of God upon your life can only commence when we begin to break down the idols that have been erected in our lives—peace, comfort, fame, academics, image, money, possessions

Living for these idols and not in holy living before God only results in the disfavor of God upon your life

Transition:  v3-10 explain for us what the favor of God looks like…

2) The Favor of God is Tangible            v3-10

The first major section of Leviticus 26 delineates the blessings the nation will experience if the Israelites remain faithful to the Lord’s commands.[10]

The section begins with the phrase, “If you follow my decrees,” lit., “walk in my statutes” (26:3).[11]

The free will of man is recognized equally here with God’s controlling power

Obedience to God is compared to walking in his laws all throughout the OT. In the NT the equivalent is seen in obedience to the admonition “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:16).[12]

These blessings include agricultural prosperity (26:3–5, 10), victory in battle (26:6–8), and population expansion (26:9a).[13]

God’s intention and desire to bless humanity is a central focus of his covenant relationships. For this reason, the concept of blessing pervades the biblical record. [14]

The parallels between the OT and NT usages of blessing are striking. [15]

To be blessed is to be granted special favor by God with resulting joy and prosperity. [16]

The blessing of God is not just some euphoric feeling—for the one who sees through eyes of faith they can see God’s tangible hand of blessing upon their lives

I’m not saying we will have a life free of hardship and abounding in riches and never sick – false gospel

In the NT the emphasis is more on spiritual blessings but not to the exclusion of material blessings.[17]

Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4 –  if our spiritual blessings weren’t enough—we are promised the provisions we need

Mt 6:33 reflects the same formula as Lev 26 – a God who showers favor upon his people is worthy of worship

Application:

Let us not forget that the same words spoken to Israel were spoken to us as NT Christians – Hebrews 13:5

Holy living seen in our obedience to God’s way of living life will result in God’s favor upon us

That is not to say that we obey God with selfish motives salivating over the tangible blessings

We strive to live holy lives properly motivated by God’s glory and in gratitude for the blessings we have received

Transition:  Lastly, v11-13 explains where the favor of God is…

3) The Favor of God is abiding     v11-13

v11–13 reiterate the essential nature of Israel’s relationship with God. This special relationship with God is the goal of the covenant[18]

This special relationship with God is the goal of the covenant, for the Lord takes up residence among the Israelites in the same way he does in the tabernacle.[19]

The blessing of God’s walking among the people (26:12) reflects a return to conditions before the Fall (Gen 3:8).[20]—same form of the word used to describe God walking w/ Adam in the garden

The apostle Paul cites the language of 26:12 to describe what it means for believers in the church to be marked as the temple of the living God (2 Cor 6:16). [21]

This intimate relationship with God is the primary blessing of life (Pss 4:8; 16:2, 5; 63:3).[22]

Application:

Christians today do not possess God’s favor as if they are some sort of new replacement of Israel

We possess God’s favor as Israel in the sense that we are God’s chosen people the way I. was God’s chosen people

What we see in all of this how a faithful God acts towards his people who strive to live holy lives

Conclusion

Believer:

So what have you done to pursue holy living this week

Who did you worship more this week—God or yourself—the answer to this questions reveals who sits  on the throne

How much of holy living factored into your agenda?—we lead busy lives but are we to busy to plan for holy living

Who else did you seek to help live out a holy life this week?

Let’s say that we could put all your worship from M-Sat on the worship-o-meter and that amount would tell us how much you are allowed to worship on Sunday—how high would the scale go for you?

The favor of God upon us is determined by how willing we are to reorder our lives around the worship of God

What in your life needs to be reordered?

Unbeliever:

Maybe you sit here this morning and after all I’ve just said you thought…yeah I just need to live a more holy life

I need to go to church more, give to the poor more, and help more little old ladies across the street

Maybe you’re thinking that is the ticket to heaping portions of God’s favor upon your life

Maybe you’ve even thought that if you do all these good actions then God will have to let you into heaven for all the good that you’ve done

The kicker to all this talk about holy living is that you can’t

All attempts at holy living that are done in your own strength w/out Christ as your Savior will only get you to hell

You can’t be holy enough and do enough holy things to gain God’s favor and let you into heaven

It is only by admitting that you are a sinner, turning from that sin and placing our faith in Christ to save you that you can begin to live a holy life that is pleasing to God.

Let me explain it this way…2WTL

The only opportunity you have of gaining God’s favor in your life is if you chose his way and not your way

Will you pray today to accept Jesus as your Savior and reorder your life to worship Him.

Closing Song:  I Surrender All


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[1] Zuck, R. B. (1991). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (57). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Zuck, R. B. (1991). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (58). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Zuck, R. B. (1991). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (58). Chicago: Moody Press.

[4] Zuck, R. B. (1991). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (58). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Zuck, R. B. (1991). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (58). Chicago: Moody Press.

[6] Zuck, R. B. (1991). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (58). Chicago: Moody Press.

[7] Zuck, R. B. (1991). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (35). Chicago: Moody Press.

[8] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (314). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[9] Péter-Contesse, R., & Ellington. (1992). A handbook on Leviticus. UBS handbooks; Helps for translating (401). New York: United Bible Societies.

[10] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (314). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[11] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[12] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[13] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (314). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[14] Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. (1997). Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed.). Baker reference library; Logos Library System. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[15] Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. (1997). Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed.). Baker reference library; Logos Library System. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[16] Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. (1997). Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed.). Baker reference library; Logos Library System. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[17] Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. (1997). Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed.). Baker reference library; Logos Library System. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[18] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (315). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[19] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (315). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[20] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[21] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (315). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[22] Rooker, M. F. (2001). Vol. 3A: Leviticus (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (315). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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