The first few verses today deal with trespass sins (of course the sins listed are merely examples0. Trespass is the invasion of the rights of others. It is sin as an intentional act. We sin because we are sinners – that’s our nature.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:7-8 (ESV)
The first sin is a sin of omission – a person who withholds truth to the detriment of another. It’s telling the facts, but not the entire truth. Have you ever told the truth but not the whole truth?
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17 (ESV)
If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath and comes and swears his oath before your altar in this house, 32 then hear in heaven and act and judge your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing his conduct on his own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. 1 Kings 8:31-32 (ESV)
The next sin mentioned is the law of uncleanness. A dead carcass caused uncleanness by contact. And today we know that:
The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 (KJV)
Today, we need to worry about our own “dead carcasses”. What do you see on the television that causes you to envy? Do you turn your eyes away from that guy/girl who looks “sexy”? Do you listen to “dirty” jokes and laugh along with them? Your music – is it uplifting to God, or do you listen to songs of lust, divorce, affairs, drunkenness and immorality? Some of these sins may be obvious, but with other sins, we may not even realize what we’re doing. We should always make sure that we ask God to forgive the sins we know about – and those we don’t!
Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Psalm 19:12 (ESV)
The third sin listed is breaking our promises (oath). How many times have you made a rash statement? Think of Simon Peter – promising Jesus he would not deny Him, but doing so three times before the night ended. Do you ever tell Jesus that you will follow Him through thick and thin, and then decide not to go to church because it’s raining, or cold, or you’re too busy? Do you tell your kids that you’ll play ball after work and then get home and tell them that you’re too tired? We really need to think about what we say before we say it. Not only does our rash promise hurt a loved one, it is sin in God’s Book!
What does God command when we sin? Confession. We are to confess our sins to God. We don’t have to bring a goat, turtledove, or bread for sacrifice.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (ESV)
In chapter 6-7 we find the laws considering deliberate sins: theft, dealing dishonestly, playing ‘finders, keepers’. Not only was the property to be restored, but a 20% penalty AND a sin offering was added! These sins are “against the LORD”. A sin against others is a sin against God. I am thankful that I do not have to bring an offering to God through a priest every time I sin against God!
The burnt offering was kept on all night to make sure that everything was consumed as GOD required. I never really thought much about this until now – if there were a couple million people in the camp, there were LOTS of bulls and rams offered every day; the fire would have to be maintained all night.
This continual fire speaks to us of the continual consecration we receive in Christ. We are to offer ourselves a living sacrifice to God. Fortunately, we don’t have to get on a literal fire, we just need to obey!
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15:22 (ESV)
Why did God require specific garments when the priest was carrying the altar ashes outside of the camp? Because God wants our flesh to be covered! Linen represents purity – and likewise, we are to be clothed in linen as we approach God. The ashes represent our sin, of course, and taking the ashes out of the camp reminds us that we are to take our ‘ashes’ out of our own lives. The fire shall never be quenched, just as we should always allow Jesus to refine us with His perfect fire.
Note that a tenth of the meal offering was to be given to the priests, and in turn, the priests were to offer a tenth back to God. What a picture! It reminds us that no matter who we are – rich or poor, new Christian or worship leader or teacher or church volunteer or preacher – we are all accountable to give our portion of our earnings back to God.
In Chapter 7 we see details of the priests’ responsibilities in the trespass and peace offerings. This is a picture of their service, and reflects the service that Christ has done and is doing for us today – at God’s right hand (1 John 1:9).
The peace offering is a freewill offering – an offering of thanksgiving. Likewise, we are to be continually thankful to God. A complaining, criticizing Christian is in no position to worship God!
Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Heb 13:15-16 (ASV)
Why is leaven included in this offering, when leaven represents sin? Because in this offering, we are in view. We have peace through our Savior, not through works and in sinless perfection. This offering represents us, with all our imperfections! How wonderful it is that we can come in thanksgiving, imperfect, and because of Jesus, we are pleasing God. The peace offering was to be eaten without delay. This reminds us to stay close to Christ. He gives peace to His own. God tells us:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:4-7 (ESV)
Rejoice! God is in the details. Be thankful for your many blessings. Are you thankful that you can come directly to Jesus without need to sacrifice? Jesus paid it all for you. If you do not know Him, you can accept His free gift today. How? Believe, confess! If you want to know more, ask the pastor – or email me.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:8-11 (ESV)
See you tomorrow. We can read through the Bible in 2012 – together!