Summary: This sermon points out some principles in Leviticus that are still very practical for Christians.
ILLUS: Several prominent literary figures were invited to an open forum where someone interviewed them and asked them questions. One question that came up was this: “If you were stranded on a desert isle, and you could only have one book, which book would you bring with you?”
- The first person said without hesitating, “The complete works of William Shakespeare”
-The next said, “I would bring the Bible with me”
- They turned to the last writer and said, “How about you? What book would you bring with you to a desert isle?”
He responded, “Thomas’ Guide to Practical Ship Building”
I know that some of you have probably been longing for months to hear me preach a sermon on Leviticus. Well tonight is your lucky night!
-Among Christians, I think Leviticus might be our LEAST studied book of the Bible. In fact, I’ve known many a person to say, “This year I’m going to read through the entire Bible”. They sail through most of Genesis. They get slowed down in Exodus, and by Leviticus, their Bible is back on the shelf collecting dust.
-We’re all really really happy that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, so we don’t have to memorize that big complicated system of when to offer burnt offerings, or guilt offerings, or grain offerings, or sin offerings. We don’t have to fool with laying our hands on scapegoats on the day of Atonement to release into the wilderness.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice that satisfied all of the law’s requirements. Together, we say, “WHEW!”, I’m glad I don’t have to get all that stuff right.
HOWEVER, I think we all believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word. Part of something being inspired means that it is supposed to have something that isn’t just helpful to one generation, but to all generations.
As much as we see Leviticus as kind of irrelevant, or at least UNPRACTICAL, it never ceases to shock me when we see how the Old Testament people thought about the Law.
PSALM 119 is the longest Psalm in the Bible, and the whole thing is about the Law.
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
1 May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise;
42 then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
43 Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands because I love them.
48 I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.
It’s hard to believe that all that is about Leviticus, isn’t it? King David sounded pretty excited about having the law.
I want to make a couple of general observations about why it’s good that we have Leviticus, and I want to follow it up with three specific principles we find in Leviticus that can truly help us as Christians.
1. Because we have Leviticus, we can be sure that God really cares about mankind.
-ILLUS: It’s amazing how liberating it is to actually know what someone is expecting out of you.
-There was a family with a teenage son from the South who moved up North. The Dad had a new job, so they moved. The son started at a local school, and since he was fairly athletic. He signed up to play football. The family tells his terrible story about how one day the football coach got on to the boy and said, “Do you understand me?” the boy responded, “Yes Sir.” The coach said, “What?” “Yes Sir?” “Are you some kind of smart alec? “No Sir?” “WHAT?” “NO SIR”. This boy spent most of the rest of the practice doing pushups. The boy’s dad finally had to come to the rescue, as the boy was very desperate and couldn’t’ figure out what the problem was.