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Leviticus 18:1-5

Because the Lord is Your God

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • June 23, 2019

God gave instructions on how to have a good and godly character. He wanted Israel to understand how to take care of one another. If they were to be God’s people, then they must have God’s heart.

Is there an aspect of that for Christians? The answer is yes, Christians should be distinct from the world. You’re in the kingdom of God now and there’s a different set of principles that apply. The reason? Because the Lord is your God and He has called you out of the kingdom of darkness to live in the light. His desire is to bless you. By these principles you will have life and life to the full.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Because the Lord is Your God

Leviticus 18:1-5

The book of Leviticus begins with instructions on how Israel was to worship God through offerings and sacrifices.God was giving them the land which He
promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.He promised His presence would go with them. He also gave them instructions about how they should
live.

He gave instructions for living for two reasons; first, that they might be a people distinct from all other people on the earth.In other words, God wanted
it known that Israel belonged to Him, that He was their God and they were His people.Secondly, God gave them instructions that would help them to live
well, to keep them from healthy; to keep them from diseases.

God also gave instructions for how to have good and godly character.He wanted them to understand how to take care of one another.If they were to be God’s
people, then they must have God’s heart.

Illus – We can see good sense when God told them not to eat bats or rats or snakes or spiders. But we also see God’s heart when He told them not to harvest the corners of their fields, to leave that for those who were in need.

Is there an aspect of that for Christians? The answer is yes, Christians should be distinct from the world. You’re in the kingdom of God now and there’s
a different set of principles that apply. The reason? Because the Lord is your God and He has called you out of the kingdom of darkness to live in
the light. His desire is to bless you. By these principles you will have life and life to the full.

I. I’m My Beloved’s and He is Mine

  • Those are the words of a song we used to sing in church when I was young, but it communicates the point of what God is saying in verse 2.
  • In just these five verses He says, “I am the Lord your God” three times.
  • Because they belong to God and God belonged to them, that should determine how they lived their lives, “Because I am the Lord your God.”
  • The same is true for us…

1 Peter 2:9, You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

  • There is good reason to consider that you belong to God and that you owe Him your heart and your allegiance –

A.God gave you life

  • You are breathing His air and living on His planet…

Psalm 24:1, The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

Deuteronomy 10:14, Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.

  • If life itself is the result of random chance, then you could certainly do whatever you wished without any concern whatsoever.
  • But the evidence for God’s fingerprint is everywhere around us, so that man is without excuse.
  • In fact, the more we know, the more we can see the evidence for the amazing intelligence of God.

Romans 1:20, For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Illus – If you walk on the beach and see ripples in the sand, you could conclude it was a pattern of randomness.But if there on the sand you were to see a big heart with the words, “Rich loves Jordi,” you would conclude “this is not random; there is great intelligence behind such a clever design.”

Illus – The DNA of the human body is an amazing declaration of the greatness of our Creator. There are 3 billion base pairs in each cell fitting into a space just 6 microns across. If you stretched the DNA in one cell all the way out it would measure more than 6 feet in length. The DNA is encoded with a four-character chemical language which is the most efficient information storage system in the universe! Just one strand of human DNA contains 725 MB of information.

  • If you are made from God’s dust, and you are breathing God’s air, then you owe God your heart and your allegiance.

Illus – I was witnessing to a man in Russia named Valery.He was so close to accepting the Lord up, but there was still some resistance.So we sat down and I asked…

B.Don’t live like those in the world

  • In verse three, the Lord instructed Moses that they should not do what was done in the land of Egypt or in the land of Canaan.
  • In other words, the things being done in Egypt and in Canaan were abhorrent to God and harmful to themselves.
  • The rest of chapter 18 speaks of some of the practices of those lands.They commonly practiced incest, adultery, bestiality, and burning their own children
    as child sacrifice offerings to Molech or other gods.
  • It was for these reasons God said the Canaanites must be removed from the land.
  • If this was to happen in modern times, I can tell you how the world would respond; they would be offended. I know this because this is in fact what
    is happening today. It’s offensive to the world when Christians say this or that is a sin.
  • Why are they offended? Because they misunderstand the nature of sin. Sin can only be understood in the light of God’s nature. If they don’t believe
    in God, they don’t believe in sin. So why be offended?

Illus – If Christians were to say, “It is a sin to paint your house black.” Would the world take offense? No, such an edict would mean nothing; because in reality, they do not believe in the meaning of the word sin. They take offense because it’s a powerful weapon.

  • The new moral standard of society is offense. Anything that offends – anyone or anything – is condemned in the judgment of our postmodern society.
  • It all comes down to this; is Jehovah God or not?

Illus – Many years later when Israel was divided into the northern and southern kingdoms. The northern kingdom turned their back on God, so He sent Elijah, the most powerful prophet in the Old Testament. He gathered Israel together at Mount Carmel to challenge Israel and 400 prophets of Baal…

1 Kings 18:21, Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If Jehovah is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him. But the people did not answer him a word.”

  • If Jehovah is God, then He gets to say what is right. He has the right to define holiness. Here’s the bottom line; God is not intimidated by people
    taking offense. Being offended will not get you to heaven either.

Galatians 6:7-8, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows this he shall also reap. For the one who sows to his flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

  • The world is also offended when Christians say that Jesus is the only way to heaven, so while we’re on the subject, let’s speak to that as well. It
    all comes down to this; is Jesus who He said He is? Did Jesus speak truth when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to
    the Father but by Me.”
  • If Jesus is the Son of the living God, as He said, if He is the creator of all things, if He was raised from the dead on the 3rd day, then
    serve Him, receive Him, and open your heart to Him and trust the way of salvation He has opened for you.
  • Why did the people of Egypt and Canaan live this way? They were separated from God. Those who are separated from God live according to the flesh and
    the result is death.
  • If you belong to God, then be separate from the world and live according to God’s heart; and the result is life – and life to the full.
  • We use the word ‘worldly’ to describe the condition of the world around us. And there is a lot of pressure to conform to the world.

Romans 12:2, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

  • The word ‘conform’ means to be molded as someone molds clay; by pressuring the clay to become what he wants it to become.

Illus – Consider the pressure so many teens feel from their peers; pressure to fit in, to be accepted, to be cool.

The problem is that it teaches them to be more concerned about the opinion of others than the opinion of God. One of the things I say to young people is that when it comes to peer pressure, you be the pressure!

Illus – A daughter asked her father if she could do something and said, “But dad, everyone is doing it.” The father responded, “No, not everyone; ‘cause you’re not doing it.”

  • God wants us to understand the importance of being separate in a godly way. Do the right thing, even if you’re the only one doing it.

Illus – When Jesus healed ten lepers, only one went back to say, ‘thank you.’

  • But God says that you should not be molded –conformed to the world; but be transformed – made new, by the renewing of your mind.
  • The reason, God says, is because the world is passing away.It’s pursuing death; therefore, it is dying.

1 John 2:15-17, Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

  • Finally, God promises us that if you will live differently than the world, you will have the opportunity for a deep relationship to God.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18, Therefore, “Come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord, “and do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.

II.God’s Way is the Way of Greatest Blessing

  • God breathed life in you, He called you according to His purpose; to give you a future and a hope. His way is the way of greatest blessing in your
    life.
  • God designed animals with instinct that directs them in what to do and how to live.
  • Birds know where to fly without ever learning the directions; bears know how to hibernate. In other words, a dog does dog things because it’s a dog
    with a dog nature. A dog is a dog, a cat is a cat, a horse is a horse…
  • But you are given a choice. God lays out the best and asks you to choose the way which is right.

A.Perform the judgments of God

  • The word ‘judgment’ has several meanings. It can mean determining guilt or innocence, right or wrong; thus, the idea of condemnation.
  • But judgment can also mean the operation of the mind, involving comparison and discernment by which knowledge, values, intellectual concepts, logical propositions, or material facts, are obtained;
  • You might say that these are the reasons behind the action. Why do you do the things you do? What reasoning, by what estimation, by what judgment did
    you make that decision?

Illus – In the book of Daniel, the king of Babylon, Belshazzar, held a feast and was drinking wine from the golden vessels taken from the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Suddenly a hand appeared and wrote Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin on the wall. The prophet Daniel was called and interpreted the words, “You have been weighed in the scales and have been found lacking…”

  • Live by the discernment and judgment of God. You make thousands of decisions every day.
  • Grow in discernment and judgment, and you will know how to live more godly – more like God, in all you do.

Hebrews 5:13-14, Everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

  • There are many who misunderstand faith and how it relates to using good judgment in life.
  • Many make unwise decisions and say, “I will trust God to work this out.” But God is giving you good judgment, so you don’t get into those situations
    in the first place.

James 1:5, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

  • We all need both faith and wisdom.

B.Live in accord with God’s Word

  • Verse 4 – Israel should live in accord with them.
  • That means they are to live in agreement with the judgments and statutes of God, rather than being in opposition or resistance
    to them.
  • This would be what God was referring to when he asked Saul, who later became Paul, why he was “kicking against the goads.”
  • This is what Stephen was referring to when he said of the Jews after Jesus was crucified…

Acts 7:51, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.”

  • This is what God meant when He said that He would make a new covenant and that He would write the law upon their hearts.

Jeremiah 31:33, “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

  • When the law is written on your heart, you want to do what God wants you to do. You delight to do his will.

Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”

C.Living is good

  • Verse 5 contains the promise that if any man will keep the judgments and statutes of the Lord he will live.

Galatians 6:8-9, The one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

  • In other words, life comes from God’s ways because He knows the way to keep us from death.
  • When Israel was about to enter the Holy land, God asked Moses to present both good and evil before them…

Deuteronomy 30:19-20, “I call heaven and earth as a witness that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Joshua 24:15, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Leviticus 18:1-5    NASB

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall
not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall
not walk in their statutes. 4 You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the Lord your God. 5
So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord.

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