Be Like Our Father

These are the sermon notes from June 16, 2013.

Today is Father’s Day.  I find it to be both comforting and challenging to be able to call God our heavenly father.  It is comforting because I appreciate the understanding that God loves us like a father loves his children.  I appreciate that He provides, protects and guides us throughout our lives.  It is challenging because as a father myself, I am challenged to treat my children in a way that is similar to the way that God treats us.  That seems to be a tall order, but I understand that, as Christians, we should all seek to be like God, at least as much as we can, given our obvious limitations.  It is natural after all, for children to want to be like their father.

I.  Challenged to be Holy:  Leviticus 11:44-45

 For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 45 For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

We have been set free from the Mosaic Law.  We are no longer concerned about the dietary laws, but what are we concerned about?  In I Peter, we are again admonished to be holy, but the question then becomes, if we are set free from the Mosaic Law, then what is holiness?

II.  The Need to Judge:  Leviticus 10:8-11

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, 11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”

We no longer have priests who are responsible before God to discern holiness for us.  There are religious leaders, of course, but  to which one do you listen?  Ultimately, each individual will stand before God and give their own account.

III.  Deadly Serious:  Leviticus 10:1-3

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:

‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.’”

So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu were priests, but they took it upon themselves to offer this incense.  They were struck dead on the spot as an example of the serious nature of the holiness of God.  Again, as Christians we are set free from the Mosaic Law, but question remains, “What is holiness?”

IV.  Before God and Man Leviticus 19:15-18

‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, he replied that the greatest commandment was to love God and to love one’s neighbor.   We are no longer required to keep the Mosaic Law, but we are required to keep the law of love.  We are to love God with our whole heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.  This begins in the attitude of our heart, and is revealed by our words and actions.  Some people would prefer nice list of does and don’t.  In some ways that is easier, and more clear.  Certainly there are things that I would like to place on a universal list, but then we would find ourselves arguing over the list.  For the message today, we simply want to recognize the starting point, and the starting point of holiness, is love.

V.  Pursue Holiness:  Hebrew 12:14

  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

As Christians, we recognize that we are saved by grace, through faith, for good works.  (c.f. Ephesians 2:8-10)  We do not pursue holiness out of fear, or an attempt to earn our way into heaven.  We pursue holiness, because God is holy, and we want to be like our heavenly father.

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4 Responses to “Be Like Our Father”

  1. Hershel L. Briggs Says:

    The prohibition of personal vengeance has precedence in the Old Testament. “`You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge but you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev.19:18). No one could successfully argue that the prohibition of vengeance in the Old Testament negated the death penalty then. And no one can successfully argue the same today.

    • Pastor Curt Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I am sorry it took a while to post. It had been placed in the spam box and I just saw it now as I was clearing out the spam.

  2. Damian T. Jennings Says:

    Jesus said that the greatest commandment in the Old Testament was, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” (Matthew 22:36ff; Deuteronomy 6:5). The second commandment was, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18). Then he said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets” (Matthew 22:40). This must mean that if a person understood and obeyed these two commandments, he would understand and fulfill what the whole Old Testament was trying to teach. Everything in the Old Testament, when properly understood, aims basically to transform men and women into people who fervently love God and their neighbor.

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