Sermons

Summary: Learning from the mistakes of Nadab and Abihu, we can be better prepared spiritually in heart, soul and mind to worship God individually (daily) and corporately (Sunday).

IRENAEUS, BISHOP OF LYON (130-202 A.D.) ONCE NOTED THAT: “NOTHING GLORIFIES GOD MORE THAN A HUMAN BEING MADE HOLY; NOTHING IS MORE LIKELY TO MAKE A PERSON HOLY THAN THE DESIRE TO GLORIFY GOD.”

WORSHIP. MY HOPE IS THAT THIS WORD IS MORE THAN JUST THE TERM YOU USE FOR THIS SERVICE ON SUNDAY. WORSHIP SHOULD BE AT THE HEART OF ALL THAT WE DO. WORSHIP IS NOT JUST A “SERVICE” CONDUCTED ON SUNDAY, BUT AN ATTRIBUTE OF WHO WE ARE BECAUSE IT IS AT THE CORE OF OUR VERY BEING.

WORSHIP IS OUR WAY OF LIVING OUT AND EXPRESSING WHAT GOD MEANS TO US. THE WORD “WORSHIP” COMES FROM TWO WORDS THAT LITERALLY MEAN “WORTH-SHIP” OR “WORTHINESS.”

WORSHIP IS A WORD THAT MEANS “ATTRIBUTING WORTH, HONOR, REVERENCE OR RESPECT TO SOMEONE.” THAT MEANS “WORSHIP” IS OUR WAY OF EXPRESSING GOD’S WORTH TO US. WORSHIP IS OUR EXPRESSION OF JOY AND THANKSGIVING THAT WE HAVE UNLIMITED ACCESS TO GOD THE FATHER.

HAVING AN AWARENESS OF WORSHIP SHOULD EMBODY OUR DAILY LIVES AND HOW WE PROCESS THOUGHT, CONDUCT OURSELVES AND RESPOND TO BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EVENTS IN OUR LIVES. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:31, “SO WHETHER YOU EAT OR DRINK, OR WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.” WORSHIP IS ONE WAY TO DO TO JUST THAT.

THE IMPORTANCE OF WORSHIP AND ITS CONNECTION TO THE HOLINESS OF GOD, SHOULD BE AN AWARENESS WE CARRY WITH US. I PRAY THAT WE WILL NEVER LOSE OUR SENSE OF AWE OR FAIL TO FULLY GRASP WHAT WE ARE DOING WHEN WE WALK INTO THE SANCTUARY FOR SUNDAY SERVICES.

WHEN WE WALK THROUGH THE DOORS AND ENTER INTO THE SANCTUARY, WE ARE, IN A SENSE, LEAVING THE FINITE WORLD OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING AND USHERING OUR HEART, SOUL, MIND AND MORTAL FLESH INTO THE SUPERNATURAL AND INFINITE PRESENCE OF A HOLY GOD WORTHY OF OUR ATTENTION, FOCUS, ADORATION, PRAISE AND WORSHIP. WE SHOULD BE TAKING IT THAT SERIOUSLY AND APPROACHING GOD WITH UTMOST REVERENCE.

THE LAST THING WE WANT TO DO IN CORPORATE WORSHIP IS TO APPROACH GOD WITH DISRESPECT, DISHONOR, DISTRACTIONS, AND A HEART AND MIND NOT FOCUSED OR READY TO WORSHIP. YES, IT REALLY IS THAT SACRED AND THAT IMPORTANT.

I BELIEVE THIS IS WHAT MAKES OUR SCRIPTURE LESSON SO POWERFUL, YET SAD AND DISAPPOINTING. AARON, THE BROTHER OF MOSES, HAD TWO SONS NADAB AND ABIHU WHO WERE SET APART AND CONSECRATED TO THE HOLY VOCATION OF PRIESTHOOD. YET, THESE TWO PRIESTS WERE CONSUMED BY GOD’S HOLY FIRE.

LET’S FIRST SET UP THIS SITUATION. REMEMBER FIRST, WHO STARTED THE FIRE ON THE ALTAR. LEVITICUS 9:24, “FIRE BLAZED FORTH FROM THE LORD’S PRESENCE AND CONSUMED THE BURNT OFFERING AND THE FAT ON THE ALTAR. WHEN THE PEOPLE SAW THIS, THEY SHOUTED WITH JOY AND FELL FACE DOWN ON THE GROUND.”

THE FIRE WAS STARTED BY GOD, HIMSELF, BECAUSE HE FOUND THE SACRIFICE ACCEPTABLE. THIS FIRE CAME DIRECTLY FROM GOD, SO THIS IS WHY IT HAD TO BE KEPT CONTINUOUSLY BURNING.

IF WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND THIS, WE MUST GO BACK AND REMEMBER GOD’S COMMAND BEFORE HE LIT THE FIRE. EXODUS 30:9, “DO NOT OFFER ANY STRANGE INCENSE ON THIS ALTAR, OR ANY BURNT OFFERINGS, GRAIN OFFERINGS, OR LIQUID OFFERINGS.”

GOD LAID OUT HIS WISHES, COMMANDS AND INSTRUCTIONS THAT WERE TO BE FOLLOWED EXACTLY AS HE SAID. NO ADDITIONS, DELETIONS, COMPROMISES OR DEVIATION. GOD’S WAY. PERIOD! THIS IS WHERE NADAB AND ABIHU MADE SEVERAL MISTAKES.

THEIR MISTAKES WERE:

1. THEY DIDN’T FOLLOW THE CLEAR AND DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS.

2. THEY DIDN’T USE COALS FROM GOD’S FIRE.

3. IT WAS AT THE WRONG TIME (NOT ONE GIVEN BY GOD).

4. WRONG CENSORS (THEIR OWN/NOT ONE OF THE TEMPLE).

5. THEY ASSUMED THE ROLE OF THE HIGH PRIEST (NOT THEIR JOB).

6. ASSUMING THIS ROLE, THEY APPARENTLY WENT INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES!

7. BASED ON VERSE 9, THEY WERE APPARENTLY INTOXICATED AT THE TIME. YES, DRUNK ON DUTY!

THAT IS A LOT OF MISTAKES ALL AT ONCE! YES, AS PRIESTS, THEY WERE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD, BUT BEYOND THAT IS THE REALITY THAT THEY ARE DRUNK, BEING SLOPPY, DOING THINGS THEIR OWN WAY AND NOT FOLLOWING THE COMMANDS AND DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS GOD HAD PLAINLY REVEALED.

THE REASON GOD TOOK THEIR LIFE? THIS IS STRONG CASE OF TRIVIALIZING THAT WHICH IS HOLY AND SACRED. WHAT HAD BEEN INTENDED TO BE MOST HOLY AND SACRED WAS BEING DEGRADED DOWN TO MAKING IT MUNDANE, ORDINARY, AND WORLDLY “GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS” RITUAL. WHAT THEY HAD DONE WAS A CLEAR VIOLATION OF GOD’S COMMAND.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO HAVE A WORTHY PURPOSE AND A PROPER SPIRIT WHEN WE ENTER INTO SERVICE AND WORSHIP OF GOD; GOD’S WORK AND WORSHIP MUST ALSO BE DONE IN GOD’S WAY. PURSUING THE RIGHT END DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY IMPLY USING THE RIGHT MEANS.

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