Sunday, September 26, 2010

Leviticus 4:1- 5:13 (Sin Offering)

The Sin Offering. As we go tearing down misconceptions of Leviticus and the five sacrifices that we find here we're just now entering into what are called the expiatory sacrifices or, sacrifices that deal with sin. The Sin Offering found in Leviticus 4:1- 5:13 is called Chata'ah in the Hebrew. The word comes from an archery term that technically means to miss the mark. That's what we're dealing with today, missing the mark. How many times do you feel as a Christian that you miss the mark? No matter how much we desire to be holy and pure we as humans make mistakes, it's a fact. Thanks be to our God who offered His Son as a one-size fits all sacrifice. Just by faith in His blood we have forgiveness of our sins, by His precious blood we are reconciled and made right with God. Thank You Lord!

This section of Scripture deals with unintentional sin. If we look at the contrary (intentional sin) we can get a better idea as to what unintentional sin really is. In the Hebrew the word intentional is defined as "done with a high hand", in other words it's sin done with a set purpose against God. Unintentional could be defined as passive sin. In this category sins such as the following would most likely be included: sins of ignorance, sins of omission, sins committed without conscious intent and intentional non-defiant sins (some example are in Numbers 15:22-31). I don't know about you but I've got some things like these in my life that need taken care of. Let's take a deeper look at the Sin Offering and pull out a couple principles along the way.

This passage is interesting because it's divided into four parts: The priests (vv3-12), the community(vv13-21), the leadership (vv22-26), and the common people (vv27-35). The first thing that sticks out to me is this division which appears to go from highest importance to lowest. In other words for each category God required a certain animal or animals, for the sin of the priest a bull was necessary and would have been of higher value than a female goat which would have been offered for a common person. The first thing we must know in our approach to understanding sin and it's effects is that the higher up you are and the more influence you have over the lives of others, the higher the price of sin for you. How is that to be applied today? If a Pastor sins and goes astray, how many more people will be affected than if a member of the congregation falls away and leaves the church? As leaders and representatives of God we need to realize that our sin has a high price, not only will it affect us but many others who follow us. In North America we really enjoy the idea of our "freedom". We don't want anybody to tell us what we can or can't do because we have our "rights", well let me tell you, you have fun living in your sin while you are young because people who you will love, people who you can't see yet, people who don't exist will feel the effects of your disobedience toward God. Many people tell me, it's just one smoke or one party, who's it going to hurt? The answer just might be the one's that you will grow to love the most. Our sin will always have consequences.

Next, in verses 4, 15, 24, 29 and 33 we see another interesting principle. The person who offered the sacrifice had to lay their hands on the animal and then it was acceptable for sacrifice. In the Jewish culture this laying on of hands was a symbol of taking responsibility for the sacrifice. The person was acknowledging that the animal was pure, without defect, and ready for sacrifice. We also see this in the New Testament when a leader was to be entered into the ministry. The apostles or leaders would lay hands on the man and acknowledge that he was a pure man ready to be used by the Lord in the ministry. Now that we know this, what does this actually say to us? Have you ever heard this? "The Devil made me do it!!!" I have and it's very much related with this principle. We must take responsibility for our sins and the consequences thereof. How many people run around wondering why their lives are falling apart. They don't even stop to acknowledge that it might have something to do with their licentious lifestyle that causes all to fall down. When we find ourselves far from God the first thing we need to do is recognize that we are the ones at fault. We must know that it's not God who separates us from Him but our very sin which acts as a vehicle which carries us far from our One, True Love.

The last principle that I would like to point out lies in Leviticus 5:7-13. If we go back to Leviticus 4:27-35 we see that the sacrifice was either to be a female goat (vv27-31) or a female lamb (vv32-35). In Leviticus 5:7-13 we see an exception. The Israelite if poor could offer a pigeon or turtledove. This wasn't so that the man who had lambs and goats could save money, this was for the poor, those who couldn't afford a goat or a lamb. How gracious of a God we have, One who understands our weaknesses and inabilities. God provided a way so that all could have a right relationship with Him. Although He is so big, He is so humble and loving, because of that He sent His Son Jesus to the earth to die for you and me. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, took our sins upon His very shoulders, and died on the cross in our place. The punishment that we deserved was taken on by Him. What does he ask of us? That we truly believe in Him, that we repent of our sin, that means turn 180 degrees and no longer live like we did before.

Although Christ died there are many who use His grace or unmerited favor as a license to sin. This is straight up wrong and disgusting. Let's go to 1 Peter 1:17-21. It tells us that we must conduct ourselves with fear while we are on this earth because we were redeemed by the very blood of God's Only Son. I ask that you be honest with yourself wherever you are, whoever you are. Are you using the blood of Christ as a license? Do you say to yourself that you can do it because God will forgive you? It says in 1 Peter 1:17 that God judges impartially according to each one's works. How is your heart, what kinds of movies do you watch, what kind of music do you listen to? God is coming back soon and He's coming back for a pure bride, a pure church. If He came back today do you think He would have reason to take you? God bless you all.

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