LMOT-3 - Leviticus: Holiness to the Lord
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LIVING MESSAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
“Living Messages of the Old Testament: Lesson 3- Leviticus”
Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
God said, “You shall be holy for I am holy,” Leviticus 11:44.
Welcome to our study of living messages of the Old Testament. In
this series we're looking at various books in the Old Testament with an eye
toward the practical. How does the book of Genesis, or Exodus, or
Leviticus impact my life today? What can it do to help me live more faithful
to God? Ultimately we're looking at it with an eye toward seeing Christ.
Where is Christ and does that give us any view toward the New
The keyword to the book of Leviticus is the word holy or holiness.
This occurs some 87 times in the book. God is teaching His people the law
through the covenant, through sacrifice, and how they can be holy. The
problem is God is holy and His people are sinful or unclean- which occurs
194 times in the book of Leviticus. How can we bridge the gap? How can
we bring sinful man together with a holy and pure God? God's answer is
through the word atonement which occurs 45 times in the book of Leviticus.
Something must make a sacrifice and atonement. Its lifeblood must be
shaded so that the gap between God and man can be bridged.
Now the key verse which we initially begin with is Leviticus 11:44-45.
I want you to notice what God says to the people. God says ‘For I am the
Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves and you shall be
holy for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping
thing that creeps on the earth for I'm the Lord who brings you up out of the
land of Egypt to be your God you shall therefore be holy for I am holy.’
God is teaching Israel how to live correctly and how to live a life that
honors God. He is teaching them how to live a life of holiness. The heathen
people around them for many years have been involved in ungodliness,
sexual immorality, prosecuting, and idolatry of all kind. God is here
teaching His people to come out of that and be pure. Key phrase God says
21 times: ‘I am the Lord your God.’ He is emphasizing to His people that if
they trust in Him, follow Him, and if they don't look to the idols around the
nations- God can be there. God can lead them toward that ultimate promise
Now as we think about keys in the book Leviticus, the key chapter I
would suggest is Leviticus chapter 16. That great chapter of the Day of
Atonement, that day in Israel's history, when that Lamb is offered and
sacrifices offered for the sins of the people. It takes the sins of the camp
upon itself. It gives its life on their behalf. It is known to the Hebrews as
Yom Kippur. It's that great day when Israel sins were sent away. Friends,
that suggest to us that not only did Israel have a day of atonement, but we
as Christians have that great day as well-that day when Jesus made His
sacrifice on the cross, that day when the gospel is preached, and the day
when a person obeys the gospel and his life is made right with God.
Now the name Leviticus simply means ‘pertaining to the Levites.’
These are instructions for God's priest on things they must do during
sacrifice, during worship, laws of cleanliness so that they can be a pure and
There's a New Testament companion to the book of Leviticus and
would be the book of Hebrews. Hebrews makes many images or types
directly out of Leviticus. The sacrifice he talks about purity and holiness
much. To understand the New Testament you need to know the Old
God is pure and holy. God cannot lie, Hebrews 6:18. God is above
sin and above reproach, Habakkuk 1:13. ‘God's of pure eyes than to
behold evil.’ He cannot look upon wickedness, and yet man is sinful. We
have all sinned, Romans 3:23. ‘There is none righteous. No not one.’ The
Bible teaches in Romans 3:10, as result of our sin and God's holiness,
there's that separation. Isaiah 59:1-2 God is separated from us. We're
separated from God. The Leviticus answers this- how does a sinful man
approach holy God? The answer is through sacrifice.
I want you look at the words of Leviticus 17:11 and notice that blood
is key and essential in dealing with the sin problem. God says in Leviticus
17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood. I have given it to you upon the
altar to make atonement for your souls for it is the blood that makes
atonement for the soul.” What is it that covers sin? What is it that
atonement stands in the place and bears the guilt and the brunt? It's the
blood. It's that life that is shed- whether it is a lamb, whether be a goat,
whether be to turtledoves- something gave it’s life so that that gap, that
bridge, could be made between God.
Friend there's a beautiful passage in the New Testament in the book
of Hebrews that teaches us the same idea with a view toward the blood of
Christ. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no
forgiveness of sins.” Jesus made that that ultimate sacrifice that ‘once for
all’ sacrifice so that that man could be brought back to God and there would
be no more need for daily sacrifices as you see in the book of Leviticus.
Now there are many laws given in the book Leviticus. You have laws
of sacrifice- chapters 1 through 6. There are various levels given to the
priests specifically for them in chapter 6 through 10. There are laws on
purity and what the people can do to keep themselves pure- chapters 11
through 22. There are laws about the feast in the special days- chapter 23
through 25. There are various special laws given to the people-chapters 26
and 27. We remember the book Leviticus is God's laws on sacrifice and
purity and how to be holy.
Let's make some practical application. What are the living messages
of Leviticus? A person picks up Leviticus, and reads about the sacrifices.
They read about the laws and sometimes get bogged down. They may ask-
how does that apply to me? What's that got to do with my life?
Leviticus is one of the most practical books in the Old Testament.
Number one- we learn from Leviticus chapters one through five there is a
need for a sin substitute. Trespass offering, grain offering- you have all kind
of various offerings, sin offering, and in all these offerings in each
something is giving its life. Something stands in the place of something
else. There is the absolute necessity for a sin substitute for God and man
to be right. Now here's the important thing though- what about all those
lambs? What about all those goats? What about all those bulls that were
offered? Did they really fill the gap?
Listen to the words of Hebrews 10:3-4. The Scripture says, “But in
those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year, for it is not possible
that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin.” What did God
command? It was all predicated upon the blood of Christ. Hebrews 9:15-17
teaches us that it was in keeping with the law of God at that time, but could
it really take away sin? God said it's not possible. What is possible? What
can take away sin? Hebrews 10:12 tells us the answer to that. The
Scripture says, “But this man Jesus after He'd offered one sacrifice for sins
forever sat down at the right hand of God.” What happens if you commit
some sin and you have to make a sacrifice and the very next day you do
that again? You have got to go to the field and start all over again. Is that
the way it is today? Thank God we live in the age of Christianity where
there is that once for all sacrifice for sin.
Now does that mean we want to sin and live it up? Surely not! “How
shall grace abound if we continue in sin?” It won't. Romans 6:1 teaches us
we need to do our best to live a life free of sin. Friends we live in the age
where that one sacrifice has been made for sin. When Jesus gave His life
He became a ransom for sin, Galatians 1:4. He became our redemption,
Ephesians 1:7. He became are our hope, our mercy, and our grace that is
seen in His great offering. There is that great need for a sin substitute and
ultimately that comes in Jesus Christ.
Another living message from the book Leviticus is found Leviticus
10:1-2 and emphasizes the need for proper worship. God wants me and
God wants you to worship as He's directed-not as we feel or we think or not
based on what's popular or what everybody else is doing. We learn the
very powerful lesson about that in Leviticus 10:1-2. The Bible says, “Then
the sons of Aaron each took his censer put fire in it put incense on it and
offered profane fire before the Lord,” notice this, “which He had not
commanded them.” Fire went out from the Lord and devoured them. They
died. Some may say what does it matter- to God it was a big thing. God
said they offered ‘a strange’ some versions will say ‘unauthorized fire’ listen
now ‘which He had not commanded them.’ What did they do? They altered
God's law. They did something God did not ask for.
Friends when we worship God, we need to make sure and be very
careful that we only do what God asked us to do. God doesn't want a
circus. God doesn't want to a rock band on the stage. God doesn't want us
to do things are not authorized.
Think about some of the acts of worship. For example- the Lord's
Supper, what does God want us to do? “On the first day the week they
came together to break bread,” Acts 20:7. Every week that has a first day.
Christians assembled on that day, and they remembered the Lord's death.
What does God want us to do this? He wants to do it on Christmas and
Easter only? That’s not what you find New Testament. Does He want us to
do it once, maybe two of three times? No that is not what you find the New
Testament. What does He want us to do? Should we do it with something
other than grape juice and for the vine and unleavened bread? No, God
wants us to use the elements He chose. God wants us to do it when He
chose. What about something like preaching? Can we change preaching to
maybe acting? God chose the foolishness of preaching to save those were
lost, 1 Corinthians 1:21. God wants us to preach the word, 2 Timothy 4:2
and to speak as the oracles of God, 1 Peter 4:11.
What about maybe when it comes to music or singing? Does it really
matter if we pick a guitar, beat on drums, or play a piano? Here's what God
said, “Sing and make melody in your heart.” God wants us to use the
instrument of the heart. When God specified how, He told us the exact
instrument- that eliminates all else. 1 Corinthians 14:15, to sing with the
spirit and the understanding. God expects us to do exactly what He says in
Another very practical lesson comes from the Day of Atonement in
Leviticus chapter 16. That great day when the offering for the camp of
Israel was made, when the sins are placed on the animal, that animal is
sent out into the wilderness to bear the sin. John 19:34 the Bible tells us
that the soldier took his sword and be pierced the side of Jesus and out
came blood and water. Look at the offering that is made. Zachariah 13:1
comments that a fountain for sin and for cleansing was opened in
Jerusalem. When was that? When Jesus died on the cross. When is the
Day of Atonement for Christians? It began on the cross when Jesus gave
His life as that ultimate sacrifice. It culminated in the preaching of the
gospel in Acts chapter 2 when they cried out ‘men and brethren what shall
we do?’ The answer was ‘repent and be baptized for the remission of your
sins.’ They received that atonement. The blood of Jesus was applied to
their spirit. Any person who obeys the gospel from that time forward, the
sacrifice of Jesus has great effect for them as well.
Now the book Leviticus also deals with laws on purity, morality, and
how to live a pure and moral life. One of the things that Leviticus speaks
very candidly and very plainly about is the subject of homosexuality. We
live in a world where people refer to as an alternate lifestyle. ‘Don't pick on
that that's an alternate lifestyle.’ You can't say anything about two men if
they want to live together or two women if they want to live together. If we
say anything against that people have the idea that we're being mean or
unkind. How does God handle this today? “Is there any word from the
Lord?” Jeremiah 37:17. What has God said? What did He say in Leviticus
about homosexuality? And what does He say today on that same subject?
It's so sad that for a TV show to make it, it has got have homosexuals
on it. The more it’s promoted, the more people seem to like it. Why is that?
That shows the state that we've come to in our society and how godless we
are. Let's notice what God says on this sin. The Bible says in Leviticus
18:22 and in Leviticus 20:13 that it is a sin against God deserving of death.
Notice these two scriptures. God says Leviticus 18:22 ‘You shall not lie with
a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.’ 20:13, ‘If a man lies with a
male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an
abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon
them.’ When God says it's an abomination that's the fury, the red-hot fury of
God that's how much God hates homosexuality. Not only that, God says if
they're caught doing that, they’re deserving of death. It is a crime against
God. It's a crime against marriage. Friend it is immoral and ungodly.
Someone might say: ‘Today we're living under the age of grace and
isn't God going to allow people to live anyway they want to as long as they
love Him?’ Friend that's a false ideology! Romans 1:26-27 could not be
clearer that's homosexuality is still a sin against God. Look at these words.
Romans 1:26-27 says, ‘For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.’
He says in Romans 1:26, ‘For even their women exchanged the natural use
for what is against nature, likewise also the means leaving the natural use
of the woman burned in their lust for one another, men with men
committing what is shameful and receiving in themselves the penalty of
their error which was due.’
Notice how God describes it. It is a ‘vile passion.’ It is ‘against nature.’
It's ‘unnatural.’ It is something deserving of punishment. God could not be
clearer about homosexuality.
In the New Testament homosexuality is just as strongly condemned.
In fact 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says that such people ‘will not inherit the
kingdom of God.’ Homosexuals and lesbians will not inherit the kingdom. If
a person lives in that lifestyle and dies in it- without repenting and getting
right with God- the Scripture says they won't go to heaven. That's what God
says in His word verbatim. It is a sin. It is something we need to speak out
Another lesson that we learn from the book Leviticus is that one must
respect father and mother. Leviticus 19:3 and Leviticus 20:9 teach children
to respect and to reverence their father and mother. We need today to have
that same respect for parents. ‘Parents bring up your children nurture and
admonition.’ ‘Children obey your parents for this is right.’ There needs to be
that respect and obedience for father and mother. Just as we respect God
as our Father, so children must obey and respect the parent. Young people
listen carefully; you don't need to talk back your parents. You don't need to
rebel against them. You don't need to say things against mom and dad
around your friends. God wants you to respect and honor and obey your
parents. Failure to do that is a failure to obey Him.
Then we also learn the penalty for adultery found in the book
Leviticus. Leviticus 20:10: ‘If two people are caught in the act of adultery
they are to be put to death.’ Adultery, meaning a relationship with another
outside of the marriage bond, who are cheating or having a relationship
with someone. It is against the will of God. It is in that class that we
mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 part of those people who will not inherit
the kingdom of God. They will not go to heaven. Adultery is a sin against
the God of heaven and one must do his very best to stay away from that.
Another practical living message from Leviticus is the separation that
we find for God's priests. In Leviticus 22:2 God says to Moses and Aaron ‘I
want the priest to separate themselves from the holy things so that they
can be used solely dedicated to My servants.’ As I think about this
separation that Aaron that Moses that the Levites had to go through, it
made them unique. It made them special in many ways. How true it is
today the Christians are that separated, unique, and special people of God!
Look at the words of 1 Peter 2:9. The Bible says, “But you are a chosen
generation a royal priesthood, a holy nation His own special people that
you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into
His marvelous light.” We’re God's chosen, special, royal priesthood and
thus, our lives must be lives of separation from this old world. Paul said in
Romans 12:1, “I beg you by the mercies of God that you present your
bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God which is your
reasonable service, and do not be conformed to this world but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
When I think about the book of Leviticus, I'm also reminded of the
need for us to give God our best. Leviticus 22:20 God wanted the first
fruits. God wanted the best from His people as an offering to heal. How we
today need to give our God the best! God doesn't want anything but first
place in our life. God wants the best of everything. He deserves the best of
everything that we have. The words of Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, “But seek
first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these things shall
be added unto you.” Seek first- not second, not third, not last. God wants to
be first in our life.
Now one last practical lesson that I want us to notice and it's a very
practical one for us today- in the Bible sorcery mediums all those kinds of
things are condemned by God. Look in Leviticus 19:31. God says, “Give no
regard to mediums and familiar spirits. Do not seek after them to be defiled
by them. I am the Lord your God.” God has all the answers. God is the only
guide, and He's the only direction that we need. Men and women today still
need to avoid palm readers and fortunetellers and opening up the paper to
see what your astrological zodiac sign. Christians have all the direction we
need in the Bible. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man
comes to the Father except by me.”
The book Leviticus teaches us Jesus and the sacrifice He made. The
application is Jesus and the sacrifice He made is the permanent way to be
brought back to God.
Has that substitute of the blood of Christ been applied to your spirit?
If not, won't you become a Christian? Won't you hear the word of God
Romans 10:17? Won't you believe that Jesus is that that sin offering John
8:24? Would you repent of your sins Luke 13:3? Would you make that
great confession ‘I believe Jesus is the Christ the Son of God’ Romans
10:10? Would you be baptized in water for the forgiveness of your sins Acts
We hope today that as we study the book Leviticus each one of us
will be encouraged to be holy as our God is holy.
Study Questions for:
“Living Messages of the Old Testament: Lesson 3”
1. According to Leviticus 11:44, why should we be holy?
2. What is the key word in Leviticus?
3. According to Isiah 59:1-2, what separates us from God?
4. According to Leviticus 17:11, what makes atonement for the soul?
5. According to Hebrews 9:22, what must there be for forgiveness of sins?
6. What could not take away sins according to Hebrews 10:3-4?
7. What can take away sins according to Hebrews 10:12?
8. What happened when they didn’t follow God’s command in Leviticus
9. What does Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 say of homosexuality?
10. According to Romans 12:1, how should we live?