Sun, Aug 17, 2008

YOU WANT ALL OF ME? LEVITICUS 8

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
YOU WANT ALL OF ME?
LEVITICUS 8

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Leviticus chapter 8 as we look at the subject of consecration, dedication or as I have called this study: YOU WANT ALL OF ME? You see, this is tough for many today.  They feel they are in control of their lives, they will not surrender to anyone, no one will control their lives. And yet, as we will see in our study, they are being controlled every day by outside influences that tell them how to dress, what to think, what to watch, what to buy and-so-on.  But, if God controls you, then what influences your life will be good, not necessarily easy, but it will be what is best.

            Before we look at Leviticus chapter 8, let me share with you the words of several men who understood what consecration to God was all about. They wanted God to have all of their lives. Listen carefully to what they said, how they felt and I pray that as I close this morning everyone of us will be willing to place our lives on the altar of sacrifice as a complete surrender, totally consecrated, dedicating our lives to Him. We are told:

Charles Spurgeon was saved on January 6, 1850, and on February 1 he wrote the following prayer of consecration: O great and unsearchable God, who knowest my heart, and triest all my ways; with a humble dependence upon the support of Thy Holy Spirit, I yield up myself to Thee; as Thy own reasonable sacrifice, I return to Thee Thine own. I would be for ever, unreservedly, perpetually Thine; whilst I am on earth, I would serve Thee; and may I enjoy Thee and praise Thee for ever! Amen.

- Wycliffe, quoted in Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 235

May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love.”

- Andrew Murray

I will tell you the secret: God has had all that there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, even with greater opportunities, but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with me and them, on that day I made up my mind that God should have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.

- William Booth

At a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Bobby Richardson, former New York Yankee second baseman, offered a prayer that is a classic in brevity and poignancy: “Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen.”

- Source unknown

            That truly is what God desires of our lives, not just when we feel like it. Not just when we want to. Not just when we have the time.  But from the moment we wake up until we close our eyes at night our lives should, they need to be totally consecrated to Him. Not because we are forced to do this, but because we willingly come before Him and lay our lives down at His feet to be used for His glory.  With that said, let’s begin reading in Leviticus chapter 8, starting in verse 1 and see what the Lord has for us this morning as we look at consecrating our lives to Him!

LEVITICUS 8:1-12

            Here we see Aaron and his sons being consecrated for the priestly ministry, to be set apart for God. As these men gathered together at the door of the tabernacle, as the nation looked on, Moses washes them completely. Talk about a humbling experience and yet it needed to be done. They could not do it on their own; Moses had to wash these men.

Also, did Aaron deserve to be a priest before God? Absolutely not! He made a golden calf for the children of Israel to worship God by, and he allowed this worship to deteriorate into sexual immorality!  Then why did God allow Aaron to be the high priest or even a priest?  Because it was all based upon the grace of God.  Aaron didn’t deserve it but God freely gave it to him.

That is interesting, but what does that have to do with me? Folks, think about it. We have been washed in the blood of Christ, which cleanses us as white as snow. Can we wash ourselves? Absolutely not, the Lord does this cleansing in our lives. In Revelation 1:5-6 we are told, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And to be washed in His blood we must humble ourselves before Him, realizing that we are sinners separated from God and ask Him to be Lord and Savior of our lives. Now, do we deserve this forgiveness of sins, eternal life with God through His Son Jesus Christ, the cleansing of His blood in our lives?  Absolutely not! And yet, because of God’s grace He gives to us what we don’t deserve and that gift is only found in Jesus!  SO WE HAVE BEEN WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS!

Secondly, we see Moses clothe Aaron in the garments of the high priest. Aaron was not to put these garments on himself but Moses did it for him. These garments were not bought by Aaron, made by Aaron, but they were freely given to him.

Once again we have been washed by the blood of Jesus as white as snow, then we are clothed in His righteousness!  Paul, in II Corinthians 5:21 tells us this very thing as he wrote,For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  God took our sin as Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary and poured it on Him and He took the righteousness of Christ and placed it on us!

            In Zechariah 3:1-5 we see this idea played out for us as we are told, Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’ And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.

            Here stands Joshua the high priest and Satan is there opposing him.  And there Joshua stood in his own garments that were like filthy rags. And the Lord takes away those filthy garments and He replaces them with His clean garments or what we might call His righteousness!  God did this, not Joshua!

            Today many people feel they can come to God anyway they want. The most popular false doctrine regarding this issue is they feel they are a good person and thus, God will accept them because of this.  Yes, they are not perfect, but they are good. If you feel that way or you know people who do, listen carefully to the parable of the marriage feast found in Matthew 22:1-14.

            We are told, And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.’” But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.” So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

            Now I do realize that there is a lot to talk about in this parable, but I just want to focus on this issue of the man who came to the wedding feast without the proper attire! You see, he came to the wedding in his own garments and because of that the King, Jesus casts him into outer darkness. The only way you can come to this marriage feast is by wearing the right clothes!

            No, I am not talking about Calvin Klein’s or Eve St. Laron or this fashion or that fashion. You will not enter into the presence of God in your own righteousness, your own goodness, that is not how you are to be clothed!  Why is that? Because we are told, But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.  Isaiah 64:6.  In fact, many today walk around in their own righteousness and it is like the emperors new clothes, they are naked and they don’t see it, or they will refuse to see it until they humble themselves before God! Thus, the only way we can enter in is by having His righteousness imputed into our lives by faith, by allowing Him to clothe us!  SO WE HAVE BEEN CLOTHED IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!

And lastly, Moses took the anointing oil and poured it over the head of Aaron. And folks, don’t get the idea that it was just a few drops on his head. It is not like when I anoint someone who is sick with oil and rub a little on their forehead. No, we are told what it was like in Psalm 133:1-2, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.  In other words, Moses poured it over his head and it came running down his face and over his clothes! Not only that, but this anointing oil was special, it was only to be used for God, to anoint the priest.  Thus, you could smell a priest because of the fragrance that emanated from his life!

Folks, once we are washed in the blood of Jesus, clothed in His righteousness, then we are anointed with the oil of His Spirit! In other words, the Holy Spirit not only fills our lives but He empowers us for the work He has called us to do.  Paul put it like this in Ephesians 5:18-21, And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

In other words, who is going to control your life, artificial things or are you going to be controlled by the Spirit of God? And the point Paul is making, and we might miss it as the Greek is translated into English, but we are to be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit. Now, how is that done? By filling your life with the things of God and, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” You see, once you submit your life to the Holy Spirit, you will follow His directions, and your relationship with your fellow man, with family, with friends will be in line because your relationship with God is in line!  You will not submit to your fellow man until you first submit to God and if you refuse, you are quenching the work the Holy Spirit is trying to do in your life!

Also, the oil was poured over Aaron, overflowing just as the Holy Spirit should overflow in our lives like torrents of living water gushing forth and impacting those around us. You see, just as you could smell the priest because of the anointing oil that emanated from their lives, people should smell the fragrance of Jesus in our lives as the presence of the Holy Spirit covers the smell of the flesh and gives to us the fragrance of Christ!  It is as Paul tells us in II Corinthians 2:14-16, Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?  SO THE OIL OF HIS SPIRIT HAS ANOINTED US!

So we have been washed in His blood as white as snow.  We have been clothed in His righteousness. And the oil of His Spirit has anointed us. That is interesting to me because it reminds me of a couple of things that Paul has said. In I Corinthians 6:11 Paul said, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”  And in Romans 8:30 Paul tells us, Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

You see, we all were sinners separated from God by our sin. But once we come to Him we are washed, washed in His blood. Once we come to Him we are sanctified or His righteousness has been imputed into our lives by faith, we are justified and God sees this finished project He is working on.  Once we come to Him we are glorified by His Spirit giving to us the guarantee of the eternal inheritance!

Now that is what God has done for us and here is where the rubber meets the road you might say.  We are now to live out our faith. God has equipped us, He has given to us the tools we need and now we are to walk. Let’s pick back up in Leviticus chapter 8, starting in verse 22 and see what we are to do.

LEVITICUS 8:22-29

            Here we see the blood of consecration from the second ram placed on the right ear, the right thumb and the right big toe of Aaron and his sons Also, the best parts of this offering were put together with the bread, cakes and wafer and this was waved before the Lord with the burnt offering on the altar and it was a picture of complete consecration, complete dedication to the Lord!

            What does that mean to us today as Christians?  First of all the blood placed on the right ear speaks of having ears to hear, ears set aside to hear the voice of God.  Jesus, in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3, in His letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor He said to each of them and to us, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:6.  (Also seen in Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:13 and 3:22).

            Jesus is not speaking of physical ears to hear but spiritual ears to hear the voice of God. Jesus warned us in Luke 8:18, Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.  In other words, if you refuse to hear God speak to you, then He won’t speak to you.  If you refuse to listen to what He is telling you, He is not going to give you more when you refuse to listen to what He has already told you. God is speaking, the question is, are you listening?

An older couple had an ongoing semi-serious discussion about which one of them was losing their hearing. As time went on this became quite a bone of contention between them. The husband decided he would settle the issue once and for all. While his wife was enjoying a book in the living room he said in a loud voice, "Dear, would you like a cup of tea?" Upon hearing no response he progressed to the next room and said again in a firm voice, "Dear, would you like a cup of tea?" Still there was no reply from his wife. Lastly he went into the living room and stood directly behind the chair in which his wife was sitting. In an even louder voice he repeated, "Dear, would you like a cup of tea?" She turned to him with a slightly annoyed expression on her face and replied, "For the third time . . . yes!”

- Source Unknown

            You see, God is speaking to us and often we turn a deaf ear to what He has to say to us. Let me give you a good and sad example of what I mean!

            Solomon was the wisest man in the world, God had given to him that wisdom and yet, he did not apply it to his own life, he did not hear God’s voice in certain matters, and more likely, he did not want to hear what God said. Here is what God did say to the future kings of Israel in Deuteronomy 17:16-20, But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

            Pretty straight forward what God was saying here to say the least. Don’t multiply horses or trade them down in Egypt. Don’t multiply wives. And he was not to multiply silver and gold for himself.  King Solomon knew this, he just did not want to hear what God was saying, he ignored what God was saying to him. He multiplied horses and traded them down in Egypt, strike 1!  He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and I think that counts for multiplying wives, strike 2!  And he multiplied wealth by sending ships out to gather riches from all over the place, strike 3!  And it was his downfall because he refused to listen to the voice of God. He had ears to hear but he tuned God out and it took him till the end of his life when he finally got right with God again! He heard the voice of God and now he obeyed!

            Jesus said in John 10:27, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  Thus, are you hearing God speak to you?  The evidence that you are hearing is your obedience to what He is saying, you will follow Him! You may not like what God is saying, but don’t negate what He is telling you!  MAY YOU HAVE EARS SET ASIDE TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD!

            Also, the blood was applied to the right thumb, which speaks of our lives set aside to do the work of God. Listen to what Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  The Amplified Bible puts this verse like this, For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Here’s the thing. Works don’t save us but they are the fruit of our salvation, they show that we are saved!  And I love this; Paul says that we are God’s workmanship or POIEMA (poy’-ay’mah) in the Greek, which can speak of a poem or of a tapestry, a masterpiece.  When you look at the back of a tapestry it is a mess, it is ugly with threads going in all directions, you can’t tell what you are looking at.  But, when you look at the other side it is a beautiful picture, a masterpiece.  God is making us into a beautiful masterpiece and when we look at it through this side of heaven it may look like a mess, but when we get a heavenly perspective we see that God has made our lives into His beautiful masterpiece, what He began in us He will complete!

            Here is the problem today for many Christians. God calls them to do a work and they say, “What else do you have? I don’t want to do that?”  How sad a statement but how true a statement!  Folks, God never said it was going to be easy, but He has called us to do the work and there is blessing in obedience. You see, when you look at your life as a venture of faith as you wake up in the morning, you will be ready to work for the Lord, wherever and whatever He calls you to do.

            Jesus made some hard-hitting statements in Luke 17:7-10 regarding the work of a servant. He said, And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.  So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’

In this section we see Jesus speak of faithfulness in service.  It is your duty to serve! Too often when people serve they want the pat=s on the back, they want the recognition, they want something in return and Jesus is saying that is the wrong heart attitude to have in service.  In fact, Jesus said in Mark, giving us an example to follow AFor even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.@ Mark 10:45.  You see, you are to humbly serve, doing what you should be doing.

In Ephesians 6:5-7 Paul put it this way, ABondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.@  Who are you serving, man or God? When you are serving man you will become frustrated, angry, and just pull out of the work because you are not getting what YOU want! You may not agree with that, but over the last 25 years of ministry I have seen this over and over again.  When your service is unto yourself and not God, that is what will happen!  But, when you are serving the Lord you do it out of love, with a humble spirit, doing what a servant does, SERVING!

Listen to what Richard Baxter had to say regarding the Christian life. He wrote: “It is a most lamentable thing to see how most people spend their time and their energy for trifles, while God is cast aside. He who is all seems to them as nothing, and that which is nothing seems to them as good as all. It is lamentable indeed, knowing that God has set mankind in such a race where heaven or hell is their certain end, that they should sit down and loiter, or run after the childish toys of the world, forgetting the prize they should run for. Were it but possible for one of us to see this business as the all-seeing God does, and see what most men and women in the world are interested in and what they are doing every day, it would be the saddest sight imaginable. Oh, how we should marvel at their madness and lament their self-delusion! If God had never told them what they were sent into the world to do, or what was before them in another world, then there would have been some excuse. But it is His sealed word, and they profess to believe it.”

            Folks, we were created for good works and not as couch potato’s or spectators in the body of Christ! And I will tell you this, you may not like what God is calling you to do, but if there is a need and you do it, because you love the Lord, you will be blessed!  If you don’t, well, then you won’t, it is as simple as that!  MAY YOU HAVE HANDS SET ASIDE TO DO THE WORK OF GOD!

            And lastly, the blood was applied to the right big toe and the idea here is that we are to set aside our lives to walk in the path of God. The Psalmist said in Psalm 16:11, You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. And in Psalm 119:105 we are told, Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.  You see, walking in the path that God has set, you will find joy because you are in the presence of God and He will light the way we are going, we just need to follow!

            Paul, in Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

            You see, before we came to Christ, we were given over to the things of this world! You doubt that, then take an inventory of your life and what you have done and are doing and who is influencing you.  I will use myself for an example. Back in the 1970’s do you really think it was my idea to wear bellbottom jeans, those polyester shirts with “Let’s Boogie!” on them, those 3-inch platform orange and brown suede shoes?  Folks, I don’t want to take credit for that. You see, I was influenced by the world and I patterned my life after this world, as strange as that was!

            And that is what Paul is saying here. Before you were saved you walked according to the course of this world. You just meandered through life and when the wind blew in this direction, you were driven there and when it blew in that direction, you were driven there. There was no real direction to your life and what was manifested in your life was the lust of the flesh as you feed this monster by fulfilling the desires of your flesh!

            And a big difference is that this world drives you while the Lord leads you as you follow down His path and stop meandering through this life! Thus, we need to follow Him! It is not always easy to follow, but He will not lead us astray.  Remember when Jesus was teaching some very difficult things and many of His disciples left Him, they could not handle it, they refused to follow Him any longer. And in John 6:67-69 we are told, Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  That is the correct perspective to have. The world has nothing good for you, but the Lord does, follow Him!

            Folks, it all boils down to this. We are in a race and we need to finish the race that God has for us, following the path He has set for us. Paul picked up on this at the end of his life in II Timothy 4:6-8, when he wrote, For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul saw his life ending like a drink offering to the Lord, (Numbers 15:1-10).  You see, first there was the burnt offering to the Lord, then the grain offering and the last offering was the drink offering.  It is as Hiebert said, “His whole life has been presented to God as a living sacrifice; now his death, comparable to the pouring out of the wine as the last act of the sacrificial ceremony, will complete the sacrifice.”

            The word departure,” ANALUSIS (an-al’-oo-sis) in the Greek, carries with it a few different ideas.  It speaks of the unloosing of a ship from its moors, as Paul is ready to set sail home to heaven.  It speaks of the unyoking of a weary team of animals after a hard days work, and Paul has finished the work that God has called him to do, he is going to enter that rest.  It is the striking of a tent, taking it down so you can move on and Paul was going to leave this earthly tent for a mansion!  Paul knew he was going to die and he is passing the mantle of ministry to Timothy, his son in the faith.

            Paul uses his life as an example to Timothy.  He fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith and he is waiting to receive his rewards for faithful service when the Lord returns, which tells me he expected the Lord to come soon.  Are you fighting the good fight, finishing the race, keeping the faith, awaiting the Lord’s return?  Paul is encouraging you to do so and receive the rewards that you will one day present at the feet of Jesus for He is the one who has enabled all of us to do these things!

            Folks, may we stay on course by following Jesus, by finishing the race He has set for us, the work He has called us to do. Keep fighting against evil, keep the faith and you will be rewarded for your faithfulness.  MAY YOU HAVE FEET SET ASIDE TO FOLLOW THE PATH OF GOD!

            As I close this morning, listen once again to what God has done for us.  We have been washed by the blood of Jesus as white as snow. We have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ imputed into our lives by faith. We have been anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit for service.  Thus, may we have ears to hear and obey the voice of God.  May we have hands that are willing to get dirty and do the work of God. And may we have feet to follow the path of God.  In other words, may our lives be totally consecrated unto the Lord. And yes, THE LORD WANTS ALL OF YOU – WON’T YOU SURRENDER YOUR LIFE TOTALLY TO HIM TODAY!

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