Scripture reading for January 3rd: Genesis 8-10, Matthew 3
Key Scriptures: Genesis 8:14-17,20 “In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh–birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” . . . “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”
The Lord gave Noah instructions upon entering and now upon leaving the ark. God’s Word was critical to success in escaping the destruction of the flood and now in entering a new world, washed from violence by the flood. Noah and his family built an altar to worship God and offer acceptable sacrifices. When God smelled the offerings, He was pleased and made a covenant with Noah, promising blessing and no more water judgment! Baptism is a symbol of water judgment on sins!
Matthew 3:1, 11-12 “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”. . . “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His and, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for clear instructions to our forefathers warning of coming judgment and taking them through. Cleanse my heart, by Your Holy Spirit, and make it an altar where You dwell and we meet each day. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 22nd: Micah 6-7
Many people have tried hard to please their ‘gods’. Some live like hermits and take vows of poverty hoping to find favor with God. Others have sacrificed their own children to appease their god. Others have offered extravagant sacrifices and have built extraordinary buildings to try and honor a god. God Himself told the Israelites what He required of them. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
God makes it simple for His people. His instructions aren’t long and hard or burdensome. They could be easily done by anyone. We do have a major problem, however. It is our “sin” nature. We are sinners at our core and sin because it is our nature. David stated it well, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) Jesus told a very well-learned Pharisee, Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3) Because of our need of new birth and the inherited sin nature, we cannot ” love mercy, do justly and walk humbly with our God”!
That is why God’s people had been given the law and the sacrificial offerings under the Mosaic covenant. Faith and blood sacrifice helped the Israelites to know God’s mercy and understand His justice. The soul that sins must die. The innocent animal substituted for the sinner’s life and reminded him of the cost of justice before God. By faith, sin was covered and the humble sacrifice of the animal brought humility and the fear of the Lord to God’s people.
Today we have something even better! We have a better covenant made with a better sacrifice! (Hebrews 9:15) Jesus Christ, God’s Son came to earth to demonstrate God’s love for us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) We are justified freely by His blood shed for us! (Romans 3:22-26) We have been adopted as God’s children and become heirs of God through faith in Jesus Christ! (Romans 8:15-18) There is no condemnation and we are enabled by the gift of the Holy Spirit to walk humbly with our God! God’s requirements are fully met by faith in Jesus Christ who faithfully lived Micah 6:8.
In this podcast Pastor John continues his summary of the book of Leviticus.
In this podcast Pastor John begins his summary of the book of Leviticus.
Scripture Reading for February 3rd: Leviticus 4-7
What is the difference between an “intentional” sin and an “unintentional” sin? Does ignorance excuse us? How does God look at the person who doesn’t know anything about God’s law? Is there really such a person who is totally ignorant of God’s basic laws? If after we “ignorantly” sin, someone informs us that what we “ignorantly” did was a sin in God’s eyes and reads us God’s view from the Bible, are we thereafter guilty of an “intentional” sin? Is there any sacrifice for a willfully defiant sin? These questions come to my mind as I read these chapters of Leviticus. (See Leviticus 4:1, 13, 22, 27.)
God has made his basic laws known to all men through the conscience. Each person has a conscience and it is to be trained to know and recognize sin. (Romans 2:12-16) He will be judged by God according to the light he has. The conscience can be seared by repeated sin so that it does not “bleed” any more. This is like taking a hot iron to a bleeding wound to stop the bleeding. (1st Timothy 4:2) We are to keep a “clear” conscience by walking in love towards others. (1st Peter 3:16) Deacons must hold the deep truths of the faith with a “clear” or “pure” conscience. (1st Timothy 3:9) The conscience is the elementary voice of God that like a stop light lets us know when to stop and when to go and when to be cautious!
So, are there really sins of ignorance? Yes! We can have a conscience but not have it trained properly. This is part of the parents job. They are to instruct their children in right and wrong using God’s Word. They are to discipline and teach their children as they go through life and share their days with them. God was instructing the Israelites by these prescribed offerings about how to recognize sin and how deadly it is. Each time they offered and laid their hands on that innocent animal, they had a visual aid leading them to change their behavior and their consciences were strengthened! (Leviticus 4:29) Their confession of sin brought honesty and truth that set them free! (Leviticus 5:5,6)
God is instructing us today as well. The Holy Spirit convicts us when we sin. He does this to enable us to confess and repent and be free from the death penalty! (John 16:8) “If we confess our sins, , he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9) Our priest, Jesus Christ, has already made the blood sacrifice for us. He offered his own blood as atonement for our sins and bore them on the Cross! We can “intentionally” be made clean from our “unintentional sins”! Praise the Lord! What amazing love! (Intentional sins will be covered in a later Leviticus post.)