Sermon # 28 Leviticus Sermons
Title: “When Ye Go Into The Tabernacle”
Things Necessary in the Worship of God
Text: Leviticus 10:1-11
Subject: Some Things God Taught Aaron the Day He Killed His Sons
Date: Sunday Morning – March 3, 2002
Tape # W-88b
Reading: Psalm 101:1 & Psalm 139:1-13
Proposition: We cannot and will not serve our families, serve the good of men’s souls—We cannot and will not be useful to men and truly useful to society as a whole—We cannot and will not be or do anything, if we are not first and foremost the servants of God.
As they journeyed through the wilderness, whenever Israel set up camp, whenever they set up the tabernacle, there were three distinct circles. At the center of the camp, the innermost circle, as it were at the very heart of the camp was the sanctuary, where the Lord God established his worship, where God promised to meet his people. – That sanctuary and all that it contained was a type and picture of our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:1-9). Try to picture the camp of Israel in your minds.
1. The outer circle of the camp of Israel was made up of those men of war appointed by God for the defense of the nation (Num. 1-2).
2. Next, there was the circle of the Levites surrounding the tabernacle (Num. 3-4). The Levites were appointed of God to maintain his worship among his people.
3. But in the center, at the very heart of the camp, at the core of the nation’s life, was the sanctuary and those divinely appointed priests who lived and died ministering about the holy things of the Lord—“Every one according to his service and according to his burden. Thus were they numbered…as the Lord commanded Moses” (Num. 4:49).
This divinely required order was not intended to be a model for church order, dividing clergy from laity. Rather, by these things the Lord gives us instructions regarding the spheres of our lives in this world as God’s priests. We must never forget that as believers, as those who are born of God and adorned with the garments of salvation in Christ, we are first and foremost the servants of God, priests of the Most High God. All believers are made to be a holy nation and a royal priesthood in Christ.
(1 Peter 2:5) "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
(1 Peter 2:9-10) "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."
(Revelation 1:4-6) "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (6) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
(Revelation 5:9-10) "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
We are God’s priests. Yet, we move in all the circles of the camp. The believer is and must be a man of war, constantly engaged in conflict (Rom. 7:14-23; Eph. 6:11-17; 1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). We are Christ’s soldiers, engaged in holy warfare. Yet, we are, like the Levites, ministers to God’s people. Each believer walks about, in the midst of God’s kingdom and people, serving his brethren according to the ability God has given him and in the sphere in which God has put him (Matt. 25:14-15; Phil. 2:1-8). And every child of God is a worshipping, sacrificing priest, ministering unto God in the holy place (Heb. 13:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:5-9)—Not part of the time, but all the time—Not just on Sunday, but every day!
(Hebrews 13:15-16) "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (16) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
I’ve said all that to say this.—We cannot function properly, we cannot walk aright in any sphere of live if we are not first and foremost serving God in the holy place, if we are not first and foremost engaged in the business of worshipping and honoring our God. Christianity is not isolationism. Christianity does not involve hiding from the world in a cloister, a convent, or a communion. Christianity is living in this world for the glory of God, to do the will of God. Christianity is a life that worships God!
I want to talk to you today about some things that are necessary in the worship of God. I want to show you some things God taught Aaron the day he killed his sons, Nadab and Abihu. Our text will be Leviticus chapter 10. Here are four things absolutely necessary in the worship of God.
I. Sacrifice—If we would worship God, if we would come to God and be accepted of him, we must come with a sacrifice.
Every man knows, by the law of God written on his conscience, that he must have a sacrifice. Man has demonstrated that fact throughout history. But, it is not sufficient to bring a sacrifice. We must bring the sacrifice God requires. We must bring a perfect sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice of infinite merit, a blood sacrifice, a sacrifice of God’s providing, a sacrifice God has accepted. This is what the Lord shows us in verses 1-2. Nadab and Abihu, like Cain (Gen. 3:21; 4:3), despised God’s Sacrifice (Lev. 9:15-24) and “offered strange fire before the Lord.”
(Leviticus 10:1-2) "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. (2) And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD."
No doubt, these sons of Aaron brought a burnt-offering as God had commanded; but instead of bringing the fire of God from off the altar, they brought fire of their own with the offering of God.
· Mixing Grace and Works
· Mixing Law and Gospel
· Mixing Linen and Wool
· Plowing with An Ox and An Ass
· Mixing Freewill and Free Grace
· Mixing Their Own Righteousness with The Righteousness of God!
(Romans 9:31-33) "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. (32) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; (33) As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
(Romans 10:1-4) "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (2) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
We cannot come to God, but by the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by him! If you attempt to come to God by some other means, if you attempt to mix your own righteousness with Christ’s righteousness, your own works with the merit of his blood, you trample under your feet the blood of Christ, and God will consume you in his wrath.
II. Submission—The worship of God, faith in Christ, at its very core, involves submission, the surrender of all things to Christ. This is what the Lord taught Aaron and teaches us in verse 3-6.
(Leviticus 10:3-6) "Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. (4) And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. (5) So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. (6) And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled."
What an astounding, instructive word we have at the end of verse three.—"And Aaron held his peace." I find that utterly remarkable!
What a solemn picture this is! Aaron’s two sons are struck dead at his side, slain by the fire of divine judgment. He had but just seen them clothed in their priestly garments—washed, robed, and anointed. They had stood with him, before the Lord, inaugurated with him into the priestly office. They offered, with him, the divinely appointed sacrifices. They saw with him the fire of God fall upon the sacrifice and consume it. They had heard the shout of triumph ringing through the assembly of adoring worshippers.
Nadab and Abihu were present and witnesses to all these things just the day before. Now, they lay at Aaron’s feet, dead, killed by the hand of God! What does he say? What does he do? Nothing. He stands in dead silence. Broken hearted, but silent. Hurting beyond imagination, but silent.—"Aaron held his peace."—"I was dumb and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it."—Like Eli after him, Aaron said, “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.”
In silent awe and reverent acquiescence, Aaron bowed his head in the house of God and worshipped. The pillars of his house were shaken. His heart was broken. His sons were dead. But Aaron knew that there was something more important than his house, his heart, and his sons. The glory of God, the people of God, the will of God, and the worship of God were more important!
Aaron stands before us here as a deeply-impressive commentary upon the words of the Psalmist.—"God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints; and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him" (Psalm 89:7).—"Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?…There is none like unto thee" (Jer. 10:7).
Aaron’s sons had despised God’s sacrifice, they despised his Savior, his Christ, his God. For that they were killed in the fury of God’s wrath. Not only did Aaron not rebel, he bowed. He said, by his silence, God has done that which is right. In the last part of the chapter, we are told that he refused on that day to eat the burnt-offering they had brought into the holy place, saying to Moses, If I eat their sacrifice, I would by that act approve of their sacrilege and sin against the Lord (vv. 16-20).
(Leviticus 10:16-20) "And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying, (17) Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD? (18) Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded. (19) And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD? (20) And when Moses heard that, he was content."
Faith comes to God only by the merits of Christ, with the Sacrifice God requires. And faith worships God in submission, humbling itself under the mighty hand of God.
III. Steadfastness—The worship of God requires steadfastness (vv. 6-7).
(Leviticus 10:6-7) "And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled. (7) And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses."
The Lord God spoke plainly to Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar. But let us be sure we hear what he said. This is God’s word to us, as well.
A. As God’s priests, as servants of the most high God, they must not bewail the burning which the Lord kindled.
Those who were outside, those who were not the priests of God might mourn, weep, and bewail the deaths of Nadab and Abihu, but not those who served in the house of God. They were to worship, giving glory to God.
(Psalms 101:1) "I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing."
(Romans 3:3-4) "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
(2 Corinthians 2:14-16) "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (15) For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
What does the picture before us in Leviticus 10 tell us? Just this—If we are God’s people, God’s priests, God’s servants, we are to live above the world. By the blood of Christ, by the anointing of his Holy Spirit, we have been brought into another world, another kingdom, another sphere of life. That does not mean we do not feel things that others feel. We feel them, just like others. Indeed, we feel them much more sharply than others. (Aaron knew his boys died under the wrath of God!) We are not stoics; but we are priests of the Most High God! As such, we are to live above the world, even above the range of nature’s influence (Col. 3:1-3).—For the glory of God, for the Gospel’s sake, for Christ’s sake, for the sake of men’s souls, we must rise above the claims of the world, the passions of our hearts, and the influence of nature, abiding ever in the house of God, in the sanctuary.
Illustrations: Shelby’s Surgery
Dr. Noel – “Take a leave.”
B. In verse 7, the Lord gives Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar a word of sweet assurance.
(Leviticus 10:7) "And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses."
1. First, he warns them not to go out of the tabernacle, “lest ye die.”—We must persevere!—We shall persevere!
2. Next, he assures them that they were still his priests.—“The anointing of the Lord is upon you!”—God is faithful!—In verses 12-15, the Lord reassures them that all the rights and privileges of priests in the sanctuary were theirs still.—God does not even impute our own sins to us, if we are in Christ. He certainly will not impute our family’s sins to us!
3. Then, we read, “And they did according to the word of Moses.”
Nothing is more difficult, nothing more contrary to nature than this. They not only bowed to God’s will, his obvious judgment upon Nadab and Abihu, but also continued steadfast in the worship and service of God. In a similar situation, David seems to have temporarily halted. “He was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?” (1 Chron. 13:12).
What is required in the worship of God? What is involved in this thing we call “faith in Christ”?
· Steadfastness. And…
IV.Sobriety—If we would worship and serve our God, we must live before him soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.
(Leviticus 10:8-11) "And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, (9) Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: (10) And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; (11) And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses."
While this word from God was a literal prohibition against the use of wine or strong drink by Israel’s priests, when the were engaged in their priestly services, it is not a prohibition against the use of such by God’s people. The Word of God nowhere teaches that believers are not to use wine or alcoholic drinks. The Word of God prohibits drunkenness and intemperance, but nowhere requires total abstinence.
What, then, is the significance of these verses to us? It is just this.—Wine and strong drink are things that excite and exhilarate nature. They commonly cause men and women to act according to their basest passions, losing moderation and reason. They prohibit that calm, well balanced condition of heart that is essential to walking with and worshipping God.
This is the doctrine of the passage.—We must not allow our judgment in spiritual matters to be clouded by our carnal passions. If we do, we will not be able to distinguish between holy and unholy, or between clean and unclean.
· In Doctrine
· In Sacrifices
· In Practice
· In Customs
If we are going to honor God, if we are going to serve Christ and his people in this world, if we worship God, we must be able to make that distinction. We must be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but, rather, we must ever be filled with the Spirit.
A. If we would worship God, if we would serve him as priests in his house, we must do so soberly (2 Tim. 2:15-26; James 1:27).
1. We must flee the youthful lusts of profane and vain babblings.
2. We must purge ourselves from all “strange fire.”
3. We must keep ourselves unspotted from the world.
4. We must keep ourselves in the love of God.
5. We must keep our hearts with all diligence.
B. There is a message here regarding the assembly of God’s saints in public worship, too.
We must studiously avoid those things that rouse passions, excite our carnal natures, and stimulate our base emotions in the house of God. When our Master overthrew the moneychangers’ tables, he said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
· Not A House of Politics!
· Not A House of Economics!
· Not A House of Entertainment!
· Not A House of Sensuality!
· A House of Prayer—Worship!—Preaching!—Praise!
(1 Thessalonians 5:21-24) "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (22) Abstain from all appearance of evil. (23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
(Titus 2:11-14) "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
(Philippians 3:3) "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
Application: This is what it is to call upon the name of the Lord. This is what it is to believe God. This is what it is to worship him.
1. It is coming to God by faith in Christ, his Sacrifice.
2. It is bowing to the Lord God in humble submission, surrendering all things to him, his will, his dominion, his glory!
3. It is steadfast adherence to Christ.
4. It is living here, by the teaching of grace, in sobriety, as priests of the Most High God!