Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20001227.htm
LEVITICUS: GOD'S CALL FOR A SEPARATED WITNESS
Part II: The Path Of Walking In Fellowship With God (Leviticus 11-27)
K. God's Call For Vigilance In Holiness Among Spiritual Leaders
Lesson: BECAUSE the levites were HUMAN, they were also just as susceptible to contamination by unclean DEEDS or ASSOCIATIONS as was anyone else; thus, they were to show special vigilance in keeping themselves unspotted in ALL areas of LIFE to be effective priests before the Lord.
- Once a person becomes a Sunday School teacher, a deacon, an elder or a pastor in a Church, or a parent or a husband in a family or a marriage relationship, that party is expected to be an example in that role.
- However, with the privilege of influence in leadership comes an awesome responsibility, one that cannot be taken lightly regardless of what the advancement is.
- Leviticus 22:1-16 gives directions and their reasons on this issue regarding spiritual leaders as follows:
- God's Call For Vigilance In Holiness Among Spiritual Leaders, Leviticus 22:1-16.
- The priests, being human, were subject to the same ritual contamination as were members of the nation at large, so they were called to watch that they not profane the tabernacle offerings of the Lord with such contamination, Leviticus 22:1-2. Failure meant excommunication as it undermined God's testimony of being separate from sin as was represented in the sacrificial foods themselves, Leviticus 22:3.
- Hence, the priests were responsible to watch all areas of their daily lives that they not be contaminated with ritual uncleanness and so risk severe punishment for contaminating God's testimony in the end:
- Aaron's descendants could not eat of the sacred sacrificial foods with themselves bearing skin infections, bodily discharges or while having touched a corpse, etc., Leviticus 22:4a.
- Aaron's descendants could not eat of the sacrificial foods while having been touched by something that was defiled from having touched a corpse, by anyone with an issue or by anything which had touched an unclean crawling creature, etc. Lev. 22:4b-5. If a levite were to be thus defiled, he would have to go through the required ceremonial cleansing to qualify again to eat of the sacrifices, 22:6-7.
- Aaron's descendants could not eat of the sacrificial foods while having eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals, Leviticus 22:8. Failure here meant capital punishment by the Lord, Lev. 22:9.
- The priests had to be holy in their family lives as it pertained to the sacrifice meals as well (22:10-13):
- Anyone who was not of a Levitical heritage could not eat of the sacrificial meals, Leviticus 22:10.
- Those who were considered part of his family who could eat of the tabernacle sacrificial meals were: (a) a slave purchased by the priest (22:11a), (b) a slave who was born of a slave owned by the priest (22:11b) and (c) a priest's daughter who had either been widowed or divorced and had returned to live in her former dependent status, and who was without child (22:12-13a) were each considered part of the priest's eligible family. All others were excluded from the sacrificial meals since they were considered by God not to belong to the priest's actual family, Leviticus 22:13b.
- If anyone ate of a sacrificial meal by mistake, he was to treat it as an inadvertent transgression against the Lord, and make restitution with a twenty per cent fine for damages to God's testimony, Leviticus 22:14.
- In any event, the priests were not to allow the non-levitical Hebrews to desecrate the sacrificial meals by eating of them, making them responsible to guard the holiness of God represented in these articles, Lev. 22:15-16a. God made these articles separate from sin, and they were to be kept that way, Lev. 22:16b.
Application: (1) Those in spiritual leadership, be they leaders in marriages (husbands), families (parents), or church (deacons, elders and pastors) are just as HUMAN and thus just as SUSCEPTIBLE to sin as anyone who is subordinate to them. However, such SIN in overseers disqualifies them for EFFECTIVE oversight before a holy God. Hence, overseers must be VIGILANT in EVERY area of life to live without sin. (2) If they DO sin, they must confess it as does anyone else to return to blessing in service, 1 John 1:9-10. (3) As the priests were judged by death for desecrating the sacrificial meals (Lev. 22:9), those in oversight are held to a higher level of accountability to God for their lives, Jas. 3:1.