Evangelistic Visitation. In this lesson, you will learn several methods of evangelistic visitation and the skills needed to be productive.
The majority of humans believe there is a God. But we won’t let him be in charge of our life. Why Not?
- Worshiping a Holy God (1:1–17:16)
The Israelites have arrived safely at the foot of Mount Sinai, and the Tabernacle has been completed. The people will spend a great deal of time here as God shows them a new way of life with clear instructions on how sinful people can relate to a holy God. These instructions help us avoid taking our relationship with the same holy God too lightly. We learn about the holiness and majesty of the God with whom we are allowed to have a personal relationship.
|Purpose:||A handbook for the priests and Levites outlining their duties in worship, and a guidebook of holy living for the Hebrews|
|Date of Events:||1445-1444 b.c.|
|Setting:||At the foot of Mount Sinai. God is teaching the Israelites how to live as holy people.|
|Key Verse:||“You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (19:2).|
|Key People:||Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar|
|Key Place:||Mount Sinai|
|Special Feature:||Holiness is mentioned more times (152) than in any other book of the Bible.|
Suppose your father grants you a piece of land. Free. You can farm it and make a living.
There is only one condition. You first have to get the rocks out. And so you work. For hours and days you work. For hours and days you work. With time you see the task is too great. There’s just no way you can do it.
You give up. Then your father says you’ve don enough. “I have another plot of land for you,” he explains. This time the stones are gone.”
“Who removed them?”
You go to the acreage and find his promise to be true. The stones are gone, and you are left to farm/ And sow you sow in gratitude.
Nice story George, but what does this have to do with Leviticus?
The book of Leviticus is the deed to the farm. A rocky farm given by God to his children… Laden with stones, Heavied with tasks. Loaded with rocky rules and regulations.
Three months after their deliverance, the children of Israel spent a year at the base of Mt. Sinai. They were nomadic people in a barren land. Suddenly forced to live together, suddenly forced to travel together, they needed guidelines for hygiene and health. They needed rules for worship and community. For that reason, God gave them Leviticus. A practical guide for community and worship. But for us, it serves a still higher purpose. Leviticus reminds us that God takes holiness seriously.
Any person who tries to be holy is soon convinced he can’t There are too many rules. Too many rocks to remove. We need help. We need a Savior. “In other words, the law was our guardian, leading to Christ so that we could be made right with God through faith” (Galatians 3:24.
Holiness is what God desires. But holiness is what we cannot achieve. Just like the son couldn’t remove the rocks, so we can’t remove our sins.
But just like the father surprised the son, so our Father surprises us. He removed the rocks for us.
“God seems so far away … if only I could see or hear him.” Have you ever felt this way—struggling with loneliness, burdened by despair, riddled with sin, overwhelmed by problems? Made in God’s image, we were created to have a close relationship with him; and when fellowship is broken, we are incomplete and need restoration. Communion with the living God is the essence of worship. It is vital, touching the very core of our lives. Perhaps this is why a whole book of the Bible is dedicated to worship. After Israel’s dramatic exit from Egypt, the nation was camped at the foot of Mount Sinai for two years to listen to God (Exodus 19 to Numbers 10). It was a time of resting, teaching, building, and meeting with him face to face. Redemption in Exodus is the foundation for cleansing, worship, and service in Leviticus.
The overwhelming message of Leviticus is the holiness of God—“You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (19:2). But how can unholy people approach a holy God? The answer—first sin must be dealt with. Thus the opening chapters of Leviticus give detailed instructions for offering sacrifices, which were the active symbols of repentance and obedience. Whether bulls, grain, goats, or sheep, the sacrificial offerings had to be perfect, with no defects or bruises—pictures of the ultimate sacrifice to come, Jesus, the Lamb of God. Jesus has come and opened the way to God by giving up his life as the final sacrifice in our place. True worship and oneness with God begin as we confess our sin and accept Christ as the only one who can redeem us from sin and help us approach God.
In Leviticus, sacrifices, priests, and the sacred Day of Atonement opened the way for the Israelites to come to God. God’s people were also to worship him with their lives. Thus we read of purity laws (chapters 11–15) and rules for daily living concerning family responsibilities, sexual conduct, relationships, worldliness (chapters 18–20), and vows (chapter 27). These instructions involve one’s holy walk with God, and the patterns of spiritual living still apply today. Worship, therefore, has a horizontal aspect—that is, God is honored by our lives as we relate to others.
The final emphasis in Leviticus is celebration. The book gives instructions for the feasts. These were special, regular, and corporate occasions for remembering what God had done, giving thanks to him, and rededicating lives to his service (chapter 23). Our Christian traditions and holidays are different, but they are necessary ingredients of worship. We, too, need special days of worship and celebration with our brothers and sisters to remember God’s goodness in our lives.
As you read Leviticus, rededicate yourself to holiness, worshiping God in private confession, public service, and group celebration.
|A. Worshiping a Holy God (1:1–17:16)
1. Instructions for the offerings
2. Instructions for the priests
3. Instructions for the people
4. Instructions for the altar
|God provided specific directions for the kind of worship that would be pleasing to him. These instructions teach us about the nature of God and can help us develop a right attitude toward worship. Through the offerings we learn of the seriousness of sin and the importance of bringing our sins to God for forgiveness.|
|B. Living a Holy Life (18:1–27:34)
1. Standards for the people
2. Rules for priests
3. Seasons and festivals
4. Receiving God’s blessing
|God gave clear standards to the Israelites for living a holy life. They were to be separate and distinct from the pagan nations around them. In the same way, all believers should be separated from sin and dedicated to God. God still wants to remove sin from the lives of his people.|
|Sacrifice/ Offering||There are five kinds of offerings that fulfill two main purposes: one to show praise, thankfulness, and devotion; the other for atonement, the covering and removal of guilt and sin. Animal offerings demonstrated that the person was giving his or her life to God by means of the life of the animal.||The sacrifices (offerings) were for worship and forgiveness of sin. Through them we learn about the cost of sin, for we see that we cannot forgive ourselves. God’s system says that a life must be given for a life. In the Old Testament, an animal’s life was given to save the life of a person. But this was only a temporary measure until Jesus’ death paid the penalty of sin for all people forever.|
|Worship||Seven festivals were designated as religious and national holidays. They were often celebrated in family settings. These events teach us much about worshiping God in both celebration and quiet dedication.||God’s rules about worship set up an orderly, regular pattern of fellowship with him. They allowed times for celebration and thanksgiving as well as for reverence and rededication. Our worship should demonstrate our deep devotion.|
|Health||Civil rules for handling food, disease, and sex were taught. In these physical principles, many spiritual principles were suggested. Israel was to be different from the surrounding nations. God was preserving Israel from disease and community health problems.||We are to be different morally and spiritually from the unbelievers around us. Principles for healthy living are as important today as in Moses’ time. A healthy environment and a healthy body make our service to God more effective.|
|Holiness||Holy means “separated” or “devoted.” God removed his people from Egypt; now he was removing Egypt from the people. He was showing them how to exchange Egyptian ways of living and thinking for his ways.||We must devote every area of life to God. God desires absolute obedience in motives as well as practices. Though we do not observe all the worship practices of Israel, we are to have the same spirit of preparation and devotion.|
|Levites||The Levites and priests instructed the people in their worship. They were the ministers of their day. They also regulated the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws and supervised the health, justice, and welfare of the nation.||The Levites were servants who showed Israel the way to God. They provide the historical backdrop for Christ, who is our High Priest and yet our Servant. God’s true servants care for all the needs of their people.|
|Listed here are the five key offerings the Israelites made to God. They made these offerings in order to have their sins forgiven and to restore their fellowship with God. The death of Jesus Christ made their sacrifices unnecessary. Because of his death, our sins were completely forgiven, and fellowship with God has been restored.|
|Offering||Purpose||Significance||Christ, the Perfect Offering|
|Burnt Offering (Lev. 1—voluntary)||To make payment for sins in general||Showed a person’s devotion to God||Christ’s death was the perfect offering|
|Grain Offering (Lev. 2—voluntary)||To show honor and respect to God in worship||Acknowledged that all we have belongs to God||Christ was the perfect man, who gave all of himself to God and others|
|Peace Offering (Lev. 3—voluntary)||To express gratitude to God||Symbolized peace and fellowship with God||Christ is the only way to fellowship with God|
|Sin Offering (Lev. 4—required)||To make payment for unintentional sins of uncleanness, neglect, or thoughtlessness||Restored the sinner to fellowship with God; showed seriousness of sin||Christ’s death restores our fellowship with God|
|Guilt Offering (Lev. 5—required)||To make payment for sins against God and others. A sacrifice was made to God, and the injured person was repaid or compensated||Provided compensation for injured parties||Christ’s death takes away the deadly consequences of sin|
To the modern reader, Leviticus may appear hopelessly outdated with its strange rituals, disturbing economic practices and the blood and gore of animal sacrifice, yet the questions it seeks to answer are as important for us as they were for the Israelites. How do we remain reconciled to God? What is the proper way to worship a holy God? How are we to act toward each other within the context of God.
What three words define the state of your relationship with God? By what rituals do you maintain the quality of this relationship? What connection do you see between your own actions and the main topics of Leviticus?
When was the last time you felt your relationship with God was “broken” or in need of restoration? What did you “sacrifice” to accomplish this? In what sense was this similar to the sacrifices of Leviticus? How does your current view of a relationship to God move beyond the law and ritual in Leviticus?
1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, 2 for they will give you a long and satisfying life. 3 Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. 4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.
7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. 8Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. 10Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.
11 My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. 12For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding. 14 For the profit of wisdom is better than silver, and her wages are better than gold. 15Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 She offers you life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. 17She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. 18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.
19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens. 20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the clouds poured down rain.
21 My child, don’t lose sight of good planning and insight. Hang on to them, 22 for they fill you with life and bring you honor and respect. 23 They keep you safe on your way and keep your feet from stumbling. 24 You can lie down without fear and enjoy pleasant dreams. 25 You need not be afraid of disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. 28If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”
29 Do not plot against your neighbors, for they trust you. 30 Don’t make accusations against someone who hasn’t wronged you.
31 Do not envy violent people; don’t copy their ways. 32 Such wicked people are an abomination to the Lord, but he offers his friendship to the godly.
33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but his blessing is on the home of the upright.
34 The Lord mocks at mockers, but he shows favor to the humble.
35The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!
Loyalty and kindness are important character qualities. Both involve actions as well as attitudes. A loyal person acts responsibly. A kind person works for justice for others. Thoughts and words are not enough—our life reveals whether we are truly loyal and kind. Do your actions measure up to your attitudes?
Proverbs 3:5, 6
When we have an important decision to make, we sometimes feel that we can’t trust anyone—not even God. But God knows what is best for us. He is a better judge of what we want than we are! We must trust him completely in every choice we make. We should not omit careful thinking or belittle our God-given ability to reason; but we should not trust our own ideas to the exclusion of all others. We must not be wise in our own eyes but be willing to listen to and be corrected by God’s Word and wise counselors. Bring your decisions to God in prayer; use the Bible as your guide; and then follow God’s leading. He will direct your paths by both guiding and protecting you.
To receive God’s guidance, said Solomon, we must seek God’s will in all we do. This means turning every area of life over to him. About a thousand years later, Jesus emphasized this same truth (Matthew 6:33). Examine your values and priorities. What is important to you? In what areas have you not acknowledged him? You may already acknowledge God in many areas of your life, but the areas where you attempt to restrict or ignore him will cause you grief. Make him a vital part of everything you do; then he will guide you because you will be working to accomplish his purposes.
Proverbs 3:9, 10
This refers to the practice of giving to God the first and best portion of the harvest (Deuteronomy 26:9-11). Many people give God their leftovers. If they can afford to donate anything after the bills are paid, they do so. These people may be sincere and contribute willingly, but they are not obeying what God says. God wants the first part of our income. This demonstrates that God, not possessions, has first place in our life and that our resources belong to him (we are only managers). Giving to God helps us conquer greed, helps us properly manage God’s resources, and opens us up to receive God’s special blessings.
Proverbs 3:11, 12
Discipline means “to teach and to train.” Discipline sounds negative to many people because some disciplinarians are not loving. God, however, is the source of all love. He doesn’t punish us because he enjoys inflicting pain but because he is deeply concerned about our development. He knows that in order to become morally strong and good, we must learn the difference between right and wrong. His loving discipline enables us to do that.
Proverbs 3:11, 12
It’s difficult to know when God has been disciplining us until we look back on the situation later. Not every calamity comes directly from God, of course. But if we rebel against God and refuse to repent when God has identified some sin in our life, he may use guilt, crises, or bad experiences to bring us back to him. Sometimes, however, difficult times come even when there is no flagrant sin in our life. Then our response should be patience, integrity, and confidence that God will show us what to do.
Proverbs 3:16, 17
Proverbs contains many strong statements about the benefits of wisdom, including long life, wealth, honor, and peace. If you aren’t experiencing them, does this mean you are short on wisdom? Not necessarily. Instead of guarantees, these statements are general principles. In a perfect world, wise behavior would always lead to these benefits. Even in our troubled world, living wisely usually results in obvious blessings—but not always. Sometimes sin intervenes, and some blessings must be delayed until Jesus returns to establish his eternal Kingdom. That is why we must “live by believing and not by seeing” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We can be sure that wisdom ultimately leads to blessing.
Proverbs 3:27, 28
Withholding good is inconsiderate and unfair, whether it is repaying a loan, returning a tool, or fulfilling a promise. Withholding destroys trust and creates a great inconvenience for the other person. Be as eager to do good as you are to have good done to you.