Monday, July 14, 2008

The Guilt/Reparation Offering

  1. Review and Context: How have each of the offerings pointed us to Jesus?
    1. Two so far include atonement
      1. Burnt Offering
        1. Need for a substitute to bear God's wrath
        2. Propitiation
      2. Sin/Purification Offering
        1. Need for the shedding of blood to purify us from uncleanness
        2. Expiation
    2. Two so far are celebration
      1. Grain Offering
        1. Sanctification and consecration of all of life
        2. Reminder of the covenant promises of God
      2. Fellowship/Peace Offering
        1. Celebration of peace with God through sacrifice
  2. The text: Leviticus 5:14-6:7,7:1-10
  3. The sacrifice
    1. A ram was required, no substitutes except possibly the monetary equivalent
    2. In addition to the ram, "compensation" was also required
      1. Restitution for the wrong
      2. Plus an additional 20%
  4. The circumstances
    1. A sin against the "holy things" of the Lord
      1. Its not clear what this is exactly
      2. Lev 22:14 - Eating a "holy thing" when one is not qualified
      3. Compensation goes to the priests, who were also deprived if someone took something holy that was for their sustenance
      4. Possibly could also include failure to carry through on a vow, dedication, or tithe
    2. "Doing what ought not be done"
      1. There is no reparation + 20% on this one
      2. May have been for a sense of guiltiness without knowing what exactly you are guilty of
    3. A sin against a neighbor
      1. Examples
        1. Deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security
        2. Robbery
        3. Oppression
        4. Found something lost and lie about it
        5. Swearing Falsely
      2. Restoration is made to the injured party, plus and additional 20%
  5. Application
    1. Jesus is the offering that covers our sin
      1. We have all done wrong in regard to the "holy things" and our neighbor
      2. For there to be reconciliation, this debt must be repaid
      3. Jesus pays it all for us--he is both the sacrificial ram and the restitution
    2. What about the reparation?
      1. How can you repay God?
        1. God doesn't live in a temple built with human hands (Acts 17:24)
        2. Everything is already God's, so how can you (re)pay him? (Job 41:11)
        3. Jesus' obedience (not just his sacrifice) repays what we really can't
        4. Our response: Rom 12:1 "In view of God's mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices...."
      2. If you have wronged your neighbor, you should seek to restore the loss
        1. Eg. Luke 19:8-9 Zacchaeus
      3. BUT Christians should forgive one another
        1. Parable of Unmerciful Servant (Matt. 18 21-35)
        2. Matt. 6:12 "Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us"
      4. On the flipside, be gracious to your brothers and sisters and ALLOW them to repay; this may be part of their process of reconciliation to God
    3. Broader principle of being reconciled to your neighbor
      1. Matt 5:23-24 "If you are offering your gift at the altar..."
      2. One another commands
        1. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Rom 12:10)
        2. Honor one another above yourselves (Rom 12:10)
        3. Live in harmony with one another (Rom 12.16)
        4. Stop passing judgment on one another (Rom 14:13)
        5. Accept one another ... just as Christ accepted you (Rom 15:7)
        6. Greet one another with a holy kiss (Rom 16:16, 1 Cor 16:20, 2 Cor 13:12, 1 Pet 5:14)
        7. Serve one another in love (Gal 5:13)
        8. Bear with one another in love (Eph 4:2, Col 3:13)
        9. Be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph 4:32)
        10. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19)
        11. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21)
        12. Forgive whatever grievances you may have (Col 3:13)
        13. Encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thes 5:11, Heb 3:13, 10:25)
        14. Spur one another toward love and good deed (Heb 10:24)
        15. Do not slander one another (James 4:11)
        16. Love one another (John 13:34-35, 1 Pet 1:22, 1 John 3:11, 3:23, 4:7, 11-12, 2 John 5)
        17. Live in harmony with one another (1 Pet 3:8)
        18. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Pet 4:9)
        19. Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Pet 5:5)
  6. Closing summary: The bottom line
    1. Just as the effects of sin are far-reaching, so is redemption
    2. Redemption is through Jesus' sacrifice, prefigured in these offerings
    3. Jesus' death reconciles us to God
      1. Averting his wrath (burnt offering)
      2. Purifying us, making us clean (sin/purification offering)
      3. Repaying God the debt that we owed him (guilt/reparation offering)
  7. Questions
    1. What does the guilt/reparation offering teach us about God? about ourselves?
    2. Which of the offerings do you connect with most and why?
    3. What is one specific application point from tonight or from this series so far for which you would like the people at your table to hold you accountable? (This means follow-up!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Sin Offering

We are on our fourth week of Leviticus and now we come to the "sin offering" in Lev 4-5:13; 6:24-30. I think simply posting my outline is not very helpful to many so I will try to at least make it annotated this time! I have to say that this has been a challenging book to teach through but it is getting easier as our knowledge and exposure to the text increases. The more I wrestle with it, the more sense it makes.

  1. Guilt is natural and all too common.
This passage is primarily about dealing with guilt for things we did and were not aware that it was a sin at the time, or that it had sinful consequences. I think whenever we feel guilty there is a natural desire to make up for it. We recognize we made a mistake and we want to make it right. Unfortunately, we make so many it is impossible to compensate for them all. This is the idea behind karma and reincarnation in Hinduism. You have so many mistakes you will need to die a thousand deaths to make up for it all. Really, karma is a depressing idea and very unchristian as well. For our God doesn't work like that, he provides a way for us to remove guilt through sacrifice.

In addition, there is this strange language in the Bible of "clean" and "unclean." I always had a hard time wrapping my head around it. But once I thought it about it (and was inspired by a good resource "The NIV Old Testament Bible Background Commentary"), we all obsess about being clean. We understand that what we do can cause us to feel dirty or cause other things to be dirty. This is one of the powerful messages in "Wall-E" (great flick by the way). We are very aware that what we do can pollute the world, or that what we eat can pollute our bodies. The problem is, we fail to understand that not only are we the reason for this pollution, but the its source lies within us and our desires. Our sins whether intentional or unintentional pollute us and everything we come in contact with. Think about it. Places or things where you have had "bad experiences" are tainted, contaminated, and you can't stomach being there, eating that, or seeing that person. You know that your guilt or the guilt of others that has not be paid for has contaminated everything associated with the act of sin.
  1. Becoming Clean, Lev 4:2 -
    1. the name of the offering is more appropriately called "purification" because it is intended to cleanse things but the Hebrew word for it is the word for sin.
    2. When to do it - "when one becomes aware of their guilts"
      1. ignorance does work, just like prosecution for negligence. I suppose the key is, when you become aware.
      2. Covers both inadvertent sins and sins of omission.
    3. Things can be contaminated by sin
      1. People often do this with old pictures or gifts from a failed relationship. In the movie "Forrest Gump" he does with the house of Jenny's abusive father. A very righteous thing to do.
      2. We are often contaminated by things associated with sins of our past. We should remove things, like drug paraphanelia, to be cleansed from our past and remove the temptation and guilt.
      3. We ought to consecrate or dedicate things to God. Cleanse your computer from porn then consecrate to be used in a holy way for God. It cannot do both, it is either clean or unclean.
  2. The Spreading of Sin
    1. The nature of things
      1. all creation is good, very good, Gen 1:31.
      2. No object is unholy in essence, God did not create sin.
    2. The nature of sin
      1. Sin is not a thing, it is not an object or a substance that possesses things or contaminates them.
      2. Sin is a perversion of the will (see Augustine's Confessions, book 7, article 12)
      3. It doesn't spread like germs it spreads through people using things for evil purposes rather than for good as God intended.
      4. It is the corruption of our desires and wills.
  3. The Presence of God
    1. The gravity of the responsibility = the gravity of the sin
      1. this is something I didn't talk much about but Lev 4 structures the sin offering from those with the most responsibility offering the most expensive animal to those with the least offering the smallest animal.
      2. In addition, they're access to the tent of meeting represents greater exposure to God's presence. Thus the holiest place becomes contaminated as a result of people not confessing their unknown or unintentional sin.
      3. The holiness factor proceeds from the Holy of Holies where the ark of the covenant was to the inner sanctuary, to the tabernacle, to the camp, and to the world. This becomes a picture of discipleship and Christian individually and collectively as the church. God's presence is most fully demonstrated in the holiest places.
    2. God is the source of life and death must come to things apart from God, those who sin, whether intentional or unintentional. Blood must be shed for the forgiveness of sin, Heb 9:22.
    3. God cannot be "present" with sin.
      1. Try to think of God's presence in relationship to sin as not spacial. God is spirit, Jn 4:24.
      2. God's presence is primarily displayed via his divine attributes, Ex 34:6 for the best display.
      3. This is akin to us as Christians displaying the fruits of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-26.
      4. Thus, you cannot display the fruits of the Spirit when in sin and God's presence is not a part of it in anyway. I recognize this is philosophically heavy stuff and it is something I have longed wonder what the relationship is between sin and God's presence. But if sin is not a substance it does not occupy space. Hence, you are either living in the spirit, with the attitude of God or of sin.
  4. The Temple of God
    1. One of the implications of this needed cleansing from sin is that Christ has cleansed us through expiation. We no longer need to offer sacrifices and the temple or tent of meeting is obsolete because Christ's sacrifice is superior to all others. As a result, the temple of God becomes Christians gathered in the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 3:16-17. Keep in mind this is a plural "you" not you individually but collectively. (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19 that is a singular you)
    2. Jesus says it is not what goes into a person that makes them unclean but what comes out of them. Matt 15:1-20
      1. You need to root our sin filled desires
      2. You cannot afford to be ignorant and unaware of the affects of sin in your life.
      3. We need to be cleansed internally. Eat all the organic food you want and live as green as you want be you will still not be clean.
  5. Be Cleansed from Sin by Christ through Confession
    1. The expiation of sin, the cleansing of sin and guilt and shame happens as a result of Christ's atoning sacrifice. Therefore, 1 Jn 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness."
      1. You must confess the guilt you carry. Lev 5:5
      2. Confess to God somethings but others things you need to confess to those you wronged. It doesn't do you any good to hide your sins from others by trying to pious and confess them to God. Own up to your mistakes and people will respect you for it, besides it is certainly more difficult and should serve as a deterrent against hurting them in the future, provided your repentance is true.
      3. Receive forgiveness from God
      4. Cleanse yourselves, humble yourself and God will lift you up! Jam 4:7-10
      5. Jesus Christ is your guilt offering and covers all you mistakes. He washes you clean from all guilt and can remove the sinful desires from your heart that you may live and dwell in God's Spirit always.

so much for annotated....

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lev. 3 & 7:11-38: The Peace Offering

  1. Read Lev 3 and 7:11-38
  2. Explaining the Offering
    1. An optional offering (3:1) a "if" instead of a "when" like the other two, but more explicitly, (7:12, 16)
    2. Requirements
      1. Male or female without defect (except Lev 22:23)
      2. If a thanksgiving/confession 4 different kind of cakes, must eat meat that day
      3. Vow or free will meat could be eaten the next day but no later
    3. Fat and kidneys for God
      1. Kidneys were the seat of the emotions
      2. Fat considered the best
      3. God gets our best and our deepest emotions
    4. Breast and legs for priests
      1. Taking care of the ministers
    5. Rest of meat for the worshiper
      1. One of the few times they would have meat
      2. A physical demonstration of the benefits of peace with God
      3. Truly a community event
    6. Often recited Ps 100 with it
  3. When and How the Meal Should be Taken
    1. Those doing it improperly will be held responsible (7:18)
    2. Everyone must be "clean" as well as the person (7:19-21)
    3. Do not eat unclean meat, the fat, or the blood, or this person will be "cut off" (7:19-21; 25-27)
      1. Not judgment within community but divine. God will deal with them in some manner, either through sickness or death.
    4. Not given for God to eat, Ps 50:12-13 (v.14)
    5. God's presence is specially near
  4. Reasons for having the Meal of Peace
    1. The meaning of "peace/fellowship" offering
      1. "shelamim" — "be complete" concluding sacrifice remembering the covenant
      2. "a gift" or "gifts offered to obtain peace"
      3. "shalom" not absence of war but health and prosperity and peace w/ God, i.e. salvation
      4. "confession" — or simply thanks for God's deliverance or done after fulfilling a vow
      5. Centers on God's mercy more than confession of sinfulness Ps 56:12-13
    2. 3 main reasons; Lev 7:12ff, examples 1 Kings 9:25
      1. Find Peace through Confession your need of God's mercy
      2. Find Peace through Keeping your word
      3. Find Peace through Expressing Thanks — in response to his grace and blessings
      4. Find Peace through orderly worship
    3. Deut 12:7 done out of joy in the presence of the whole church
  5. Peace Offering and the Lord's Supper
    1. Ex 24:8 Moses after burnt and peace offerings throws blood on people to ratify the covenant
      1. It is a special meal. Not just any meal, but the one meal. Likely the Passover was a once a year special celebration of this meal
      2. It is a reminder of the covenant we have made with God
      3. It is be taken with a "clean" heart, taking it improperly could result in removal from the community of faith or even death.
      4. It is to be taken with thankfulness and joy recognizing the peace with God and the blessings of being in fellowship with him we now have.
      5. It is a part of worship service with him
      6. It is only for those who are in the community
    2. Worship should be orderly and respectful
      1. Heb 12:28-29; 1 Cor. 14:33
      2. Attention to detail important for those leading others into worship
      3. It is a performance to a certain extent
    3. It is now fulfilled through Jesus in the Lord's supper! Matthew 26:26-30
      1. Heb 13:15-16 "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is please."
    4. It is a celebration. We can express our thanks and gratitude to God through sharing the Lord's supper and remind ourselves of the wedding supper we will have with him.
      1. 1 Cor 11:17-34 — we proclaim the Lord's death until he comes
    5. We do so with reverence and awe in respect for God's holiness
      1. 1 Cor 11:27-30 — some are sick and dying because they take it inappropriately
    6. We as Christians express our thanks to God through remembering our union, our covenant, our peace with God now through Christ.
    7. Once we were forbidden to drink the blood recognizing its sacred life-giving power. Now we drink knowing Christ's blood cleanses us from sin.