Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Standard for Discipleship.


A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

Luke 6:40

When planning the goals and high points of a ministry that is charged with making disciples of all nations, the clear goal of the task is given for us by Jesus Himself. Jesus shows us the maturity process in a simple explanation: “everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Paul knew this. This is why He said simply to those he trained in ministry: “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Disciples grow to the level of maturity of those who disciple them. And disciples learn by doing what their teacher does. Nothing too complicated about that.

There are a couple of implicit requirements. The first (re-iterated to me recently by reading “The Trellis and The Vine”) is that disciples are not fully disciples until they are disciple-making disciples. The second requirement is that the disciple-maker was guard, build, and grow in his own spiritual walk above all else, since the goal is imitation of the teacher and hence THE TEACHER, Jesus Christ.

Again, this week has been consumed with thinking through advance planning thoughts for the coming year. And as I have done so, God has blessed me with particularly timely episodes from Jesus on the process of ministry and discipleship. Mill Creek can build a great discipleship map filled with programs, curriculum and experiences for the disciple. But we must not lose sight of the goal: to grow people to be like Jesus. And we must not bury the process in administrivia: keep disciples focused on imitating the spiritual maturity of those discipling them,

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to handle demanding people.

jesus-praying-2 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 5:15-16

People can make demands on us. No where is this more true than in ministry. As the gospel grows and as ministry demands increase, the great temptation is to try and manage it solely by sheer personal charisma, skill, or administrative ability. That is always a bad move. People do not create ministry, God brings it. And God brings the capacity to deal with it.

Jesus modeled the proper first step towards managing demanding people. When the ministry encroached into uncontrollable territory, He simply headed away from it (for a time) to immerse Himself in His relationship with the Father. The secret then of handling the advance of ministry is to strategically make personal withdrawal into the presence of God. Jesus needed to pray, to nurture His soul’s communion with the Father. He set the example for how His followers and His ministers should be when the demands and challenges come our way.

I am thankful for this insight today. Mill Creek Community Church is in a time of challenging growth, even as resources (including staff and volunteers) are being stretched thin. It isn’t just the economy that presents the challenge. It is also the culture and the opportunity. Lots of strategic thinking has been spent on our next steps. I am all for it. In fact, there will be more to come. But I know my soul. And right now, it needs to follow Jesus in the wilderness for a short nourishing stay with the Father.

The last three days have been spent analyzing the past year’s ministry initiatives and looking toward 2010. And God has given me some ideas and thoughts there. But I think that for the rest of today (except for one scheduled people appointment) I am going to follow Jesus into a desolate place. It is a beautiful day for it, with two more inches of pure snow on the ground, a pot of Starbucks on the warmer, and this passage to bring perspective. Here I go…

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ministry responses can send mixed messages.


And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

Luke 4:31-32

What makes this wild acceptance in Capernaum so amazing is the context in which the story is told. In just a few verse back (Luke 4:28-31) the synagogue in Jesus’ home town of Nazareth had tried unsuccessfully to publicly execute Him for His teaching there. He was rejected at home and accepted in Capernaum.

Jesus had announced His mission to the people who knew Him best on earth, His friends, family, and neighbors. He read Isaiah’s prophecy (see Luke 4:18-19) and announced that God had brought it to fruition right then and there with Himself. The crowd had doubtless heard Jesus before. He was thirty years old. He had faithfully attended Sabbath with these people since a child. It was probably not the first time He had been called upon to do the reading from the sacred scrolls. In fact, their first response was to remark on his gracious words (Luke 4:22). But Jesus went on to illustrate from the scriptures how the legitimate prophets had been rejected by the very people God had sent them to proclaim His message to, and He would be no different. That is when the atmosphere in the room went from cordial to out of control. I love how when they drove him to the edge of the hill at Nazareth intent on tossing him down and stoning Him, He simply, calmly passed through their midst and left them standing there in a rage.

Luke’s gospel has the authentication of Jesus' message take place after the Capernaum synagogue acknowledged His authority. It is at that point that demonic confrontation is met with rebuke and healing. And the people cannot get over His authority (Luke 4:32; Luke 4:36; Luke 4:42) so much so that they are the antithesis of Nazareth. Jesus’ hometown wanted Him to leave… permanently. These people wanted to keep Him from leaving altogether (Luke 4:42).

If Jesus received such a wild mix of receptions to His ministry, what should I expect today? Many reject Him, some as violently as His own home town did. Others can’t get enough and just want more and more of the gospel, of the teaching of the Word, of the work of the Holy Spirit, and of the joy of the Lord that attends all these things. Jesus revealed Himself to both groups of people, but stayed where the He was received as Lord and Christ. 

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Initiated into ministry

JesusBaptism Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Luke 3:21-22

The baptism of Jesus served as a powerful validation of the person of Jesus. Luke gives us much historical detail to root the start of Jesus’ public ministry in historical data. In fact, Luke 3:1-2 anchors these events securely in known historical details that are easily verified outside of biblical sources. Those liberal scholars with an agenda against the text who want to consider the content of the gospels to be second or third century legend have to deal with the fact that Luke lived close enough to these events to be able to carefully show the “news headlines” of the time in which they began. And he is accurate.

It is at the baptism of Jesus that we get a clear trinitarian representation of the Godhead. God the Father validates God the Son as the Holy Spirit of God descends on him “in bodily form”. This is pretty dramatic stuff. All three members of the Trinity can be verified by the human senses in this account. Jesus can be seen, heard, touched. The Spirit of God is seen. The voice of the Father is heard.

The gospel of Luke is a treasure trove for presenting the gospel to the modern empiricist. These are tough accounts to dismiss. It is one reason why C.S. Lewis was “dragged into the kingdom kicking and screaming”. He became convinced that Jesus was Who He said He was by a thorough reading of the gospels. This was a man who was an intellectual agnostic and thoroughly trained in the analysis of ancient myth at the doctorate level. And Lewis was convinced that the gospels read like history. He was finally convinced that it would be logically inconsistent to dismiss Jesus as merely legend.

Jesus began His ministry at a real time and a real place. And a supernatural event occurred in the midst of those real events. At a time thoroughly anchored in real space-time, Jesus began to preach the good news, heal the sick, call people to Himself, and the world has been changed. It is still being changed by Jesus because the story of the good news is still going forward. He is living in me and working in me and through me in a real time and place at this moment. He is doing so through His followers right now. His baptism only began the public transformation that has been ongoing for two thousand years.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Not your ordinary Jewish boy.

May 18, 2006
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For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

With Christmas eve upon us, this reflection on the birth of Jesus comes at no better time for me. The angels gathered Jewish shepherds on the hills outside of Bethlehem to announce the greatest birth the world would ever know. Why God chose to keep it with these humble sheepherders is part of the wonder of the story. Jesus came to the earth in a low profile, but He would not be any ordinary Jewish peasant boy. And just enough magnificence surrounded his entrance onto the world stage to let us know this.

The shepherds must have told someone about the angelic announcement and their visit to the new Savior. Luke was able to consider it a fact about Jesus’ birth and after enough investigation, he included it at the beginning of his gospel in order to show the nature of the Incarnation. There is both theology and imaginative wonder in this passage.

Today, we will begin Christmas celebrations. Their will be a few small presents to open. Should our prophesied snowstorm in the midwest be delayed, we will hold Christmas Eve services at church where my son and I will continue our tradition of a Christmas carol guitar duet. And we will celebrate the life that Jesus has brought us. He was no ordinary little Jewish baby. He is the Savior, Christ the Lord.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Reliability of the Gospels

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Luke 1:1-4

The prologue to the gospel of Luke thoroughly destroys the arguments of theological liberals that the gospel writers were fourth century papyrichurchmen bent on changing the Jesus story to fit their new religion. This is not the case. Luke uses clear, concise first-century Greek language to describe a historical and logical approach to the writing of his gospel account. He acknowledges that many gospels had been written (We have four extant gospels today), but that he had relied on what had been “delivered” (a technical term for direct transmission of oral accounts) from eyewitnesses and ministers of the “word” (shorthand for the gospel). These were undoubtedly the apostles with whom Luke had associated in the early decades of the church. And they were preaching the same things about Jesus which is why the synoptic gospels are so similar.

The motivation of the author of the gospel is clear. Luke assures his readers that he had followed things closely (literally “investigated”) for some time before attempting to write these things down. He kept notes. He was an investigative reporter on a mission to get the facts out. He also wanted to write an “orderly” account emphasizing some logical order to what Jesus said and did.

Luke has a goal in mind in his writing: that Theophilus might have certainty concerning what he had been taught. Notes on the NET Bible describe this word as denoting Luke’s desire for psychological confidence to come to the reader. He wants to encourage his reader in faith. This word assumes the truth of the report that he is writing. Nowhere is Luke offering conjecture or fable. He is writing out the researched and established facts of what Jesus said and did. There is no need for a team of egghead liberal scholars to cast colored beads for him to know what really happened. It was established by the eyewitnesses. Period.

So in the gospels I have an accurate record of events as they were believed and taught in the very first few years of the founding of the church. They constitute the facts as they were known and as they happened in the life of Jesus. There were too many eyewitnesses to the actual life of Christ alive at the writing to rebut any legend. Luke could not get away with lies, which is one reason why the gnostic gospels were so quickly rejected by the church. They came later and did not fit the facts of the eyewitnesses. Luke’s commitment to reporting these known facts is a hallmark of his gospel, and since he is synoptic with Matthew and Mark, it lends credibility to the accuracy of all the gospels.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Leviticus: the last word


These are the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.

Leviticus 27:34

I find this reminder a fitting way to end the book of Leviticus. I notice several things about the nature of Leviticus in this short seventeen word summary of the book. The first is the nature of the book. It consists of commands. The people of Israel did not negotiate these laws (unlike what gets done in the sausage-making legislative process in Washington). God simply spoke them and they became the legal code of the nation.

Secondly, we see human leadership as God’s spokesman. That was Moses’ job. He was a prophet. He simply delivered the message that God gave to Israel. And the role of Moses and of the priests is a major part of what was meant to keep Israel obedient to these laws and thus in proper relationship with God.

I must also mention the source of stable government for Israel under the Law. God was the source of it. God commanded Moses for the people of Israel. They did not have to wade through warped human reasoning to come up with the structure for their society. God provided it through His revelation. Theocracy in its biblical form is a remarkably streamlined and efficient form of leadership.

Fourthly, the relationship that God had was with a unique group of people: Israel. The nation had been chosen to bless the world, and God fully expected for the world to come to worship Him through Israel’s leadership. Provisions exist in Leviticus for this process. A holy God had chosen a holy nation to reach the world.

The final noteworthy comment has to do with the place that symbolized the law: Sinai. God had chosen to reveal Himself and His laws for the nation in an event on a mountain. This made a strategic historic point in the nation to look back on, much like any nation might look back at its founding. In this case, Israel saw Sinai as its birthplace as a nation under God.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Covenants & Self-Esteem

mirror But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 26:45

The way that God words His promises (and threats) to Israel does not ring well in the ears of coddled Americans who have been fed a steady diet of self-esteem philosophy. God wants to see Israel succeed as a nation not for their good feelings exclusively, but for His great glory. He will reward them for faithfulness to the covenant (first part of Leviticus 26) and punish them for breaking His laws (the last part of the chapter). And when and if they repent from failure, He will restore blessings because HE MADE A COVENANT with their forefathers. That is the part the stings to those of us steeped in feel-good self-esteem thinking. Basically God is saying, “Thanks for turning to me. I’ll reward you because your grandparents made a covenant with me.”

The success that Israel enjoyed clearly was held by God. They would be expected to follow the Law and keep God’s commands. But they were only getting blessing from God, not from their obedience alone. It was not formulaic. It was spiritual. It all depended upon God, which is why He got the glory. And they were to realize that they would be content in being a people who lived for His glory.

So God is not really into handing out trophies for our performance. The same is true for me. All I am is a result of the redeeming work of Christ. I get no credit. God gets the glory. My purpose is to bring glory to Him!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Responsibility for the poor.

street dude

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.

Leviticus 25:35-36

God did not want Israel to be a nation of abusers. They needed to remember their own history. They were at one point in time poor dispossessed slaves in Egypt. They came from something and were given everything by the gracious hand of God. They were reminded to never turn a blind eye to poverty as a result.

The responsibilities as described in these two verses are clear. First, they were to see the poor as family. Now, it could be that this only applied to extended family members, but I think “brother” here is meant to describe Jewish identity. They could not ignore the plight of a fellow Jew. This poor man was family. Secondly, they were to offer hospitality to the poor and not allow them to become totally homeless. That is what the phrase “support him as though he were a stranger and sojourner” means. It is Middle Eastern culture. It was unthinkable to turn a traveler away. The same was to be true of the poor. Of course, without that knowledge, we might be tempted to be OK with ignoring the needy, since American culture believes more strongly in stranger danger than in opportunity to care for them (and for good reason).

Thirdly, the hospitality was meant to be a personal investment. Relatives were to open their homes to the poor. If there was no family left, the responsibility fell to neighbors to take in the poor and support them. Fourthly, nobody was to profit from someone else’s poverty. There was to be no outlandish rent charged to them. There was to be no taking of interest in a load or exorbitant profit in a transaction. All financial concerns with the poor were meant to get them back on their feet.

The final observation here is that all this was done out of fear of God. There was a spiritual dimension to caring for the needs of the poor. It was not done to get attention to good works. It was not done because the eradication of poverty was the responsibility of government. It was done out of love and respect for God and His law. God made it clear that He expected obedience in this area as a marker of the sincerity of relationship with Him. He went to great lengths to instruct His people to care for the poorest among them out of relationship with Him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sometimes obedience is deadly serious.

So Moses spoke to the people of Israel, and they brought out of the camp the one who had cursed and stoned him with stones. Thus the people of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.

Leviticus 24:23

nocursing This is the first recorded instance of punishment for a capital offense in Israel recorded in Leviticus. The crime? Blaspheming the holy name of God. It was a crime of passion. Two men were fighting (evidently arguing) in the camp, and one of them cursed the name of God in the altercation. This probably happens like 18 times a minute in America. But Israel was a theocracy in a different relational economy with God. This was a crime punishable by death under the Law.

Moses brought the offender into custody and brought the matter before God before any action was taken. God responded with revelation (most of this chapter) detailing the reality of the offense and what constituted a capital crime. He also clearly elaborated on the punishments to insure that Israel did not become partial in the administration of this sentence.

And the pattern in Leviticus continues. As God reveals more of the Law, Israel responds in a step of obedience. This obedience was deadly serious. The people stoned the offender. And the result was serious. A man died for his disrespect for a holy God. If this happened this way today, what would American conversation be like? I am not advocating that we do this, just wondering out loud what different people we would be if we were executed for casually and irreverently taking God’s name in vain. Kind of gives the OMG acronym a threatening feel doesn’t it? Personally, I find the pause when I think over this to be very spiritually healthy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Your Feast Days

breakfast feast

These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.

Leviticus 23:4

It is my error to assume

that dull religion is following You.

You bring joy and gladness to me

Celebration is more what You want from me.


Holy convocations are called

to celebrate the soul enthralled

with Who You are, what You do in me

Feast days rejoice in the grace You bring.


Forgive my glum view of ritual attention

and fill me with a joy that is wild with affection

I want to feast with You my Lord,celebrating at Your side

for at Your right hand are pleasure that leave me forever satisfied.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Two motivations for holiness.

"So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the LORD. And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD."

Leviticus 22:31-33


God appeals ultimately to His person as a grounds for Israel living holy lives as His unique people. The reason we should worship and obey God is because He is the LORD. Period. Holiness is grounded in the person of God. But there are two unique things that God had done for Israel that are given as reminders for observing the law out of relationship with God.

The first motivation is the very holiness of God. He should not be treated any other way because He is holy. We cannot “profane his holy name” and except that any subsequent “worship” we offer in pure ritual will mean anything to Him. He is holy, and He sanctifies us to His service and worship. He expects holy living in us as a result. A holy God cannot produce unholy worshippers. That is completely out of the question.

The second motivation is that which comes from God’s grace. God appeals to His gracious dealings with Israel. He did the sanctifying. He did the delivering during the Exodus. The reason that Passover was the big event in Jewish history was because God was gracious. And it is that event that is brought to their attention in this call to holiness. If I really understand that kind of grace that God gives me, I am moved to worship and obedience. Grace to an undeserving sinner brings joy and peace and motivation for all of life.


Thank You for this reminder of Your holiness and grace. I need it now. Help me to keep it before me in the decisions of my day. Help me not to lose sight of how wonderful You are in Jesus. I recognize all that you have done for me in Your mercy, love, and grace.


Friday, December 4, 2009

a holy priesthood

aaron You shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I, the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy.

Leviticus 21:8

Aaron, his sons, and the generations of Levites that would serve the Lord in sacrificial service were uniquely called and set apart by God to God’s service. All of Leviticus 21 contains specific instruction for the life details of sanctification that were called upon by those in God’s service in this way. The list is long. The reason is stated in this one verse: “for I, the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy”.

I extrapolate a simple principle to think through this morning: God deserves to be served for Who He is. And because the defining characteristic of God is His holiness, and that is what He desires to achieve in us, it would follow that those who serve Him must concentrate on recognizing His holiness. They should be the first to be set apart to Him. They should be willing to be His completely. Holiness is not so much about haircuts or clothing styles as it is about the character of God coming through the person of the servant set apart to Him.

God sanctifies me (and really all Christians) to His service. He has set His seal upon us in the form of His Holy Spirit Who resides within us. He has equipped up with gifts and a calling to share the gospel with our lives. We are called a “peculiar” people, and in a sense we are all to live out the holy calling as Christ’s ambassadors. Could there be any more important task?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Relationship with God: motivation to holy living

two lanes

Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

Leviticus 20:7-8

Holiness is a two-way street. And this passage captures that truth well. God asked Israel to commit to relationship through Him through the covenant of the Law. They were to do so primarily through the motivation of worship. If they truly were God’s people and loved Him, they would do as He said for them to do. They would consecrate themselves and they would be holy because they would want to please God. That is a fine and wonderful reason to be sanctified.

We set-apart ourselves to God only if He first does something for us. A convicted man cannot find the graces of his judge be merit of his charms. Only the judicial decision can ever create anything better for him than his crimes deserve. And the same is true with us. We have sinned against a holy and just God. And only if He makes a move toward us can we move toward Him. That is exactly what the last phrase of this passage told Israel: “I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” They would be helpless in holiness if God had not decreed a righteousness for them out of the relationship with the Law that they would enjoy. They obeyed, but it was God Who made them holy.

Lest I forget this truth, God repeats this truth throughout the Old and New Testaments. The scriptures I could cite would be more than I could list right now. The New Testament makes it clear that I “work out” my salvation, making holy living a personal choice. But I can’t do that unless God first saves and sanctifies me. He makes me holy and clothes me in the very righteousness of His Son. So I am moved to holy living because Jesus is my Savior and I have a relationship with the Father through the Son. I am enabled for this task not because I am so good, but because God has sanctified me and given me truth for holy living in His Word. The Bible continuously shows me the choices that I must make that are pleasing to God. God makes me able to come to Him. But I must still choose to come to Him. God makes me able to live a righteous and godly life, but I must still make the right choices to live that life in Christ. I must allow Jesus to live in me if I am going to live a holy life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How to love my neighbor.


You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:17-18

There are three insights into social relationships that I think are interesting to talk about from this passage. The first has to do with the words that are used to describe relationships with other people. The concepts of brother and neighbor are used interchangeably in this context. I think the idea is that my obligations to other people are closer than I think. Of course I may be tempted to deal more fairly with a family member than with a stranger, and the point is I must apply myself in relationship with both. I cannot hate my brother. I should not sin against my neighbor.

The second insight is that sins on the social scale affect my walk with God. If I am not right with other people due to wrongs I have done to others, I am not right with God. The warning against striking out against brother or neighbor points out that sin will result. And this is just after a LENGTHY section of Leviticus has detailed the multitude of sacrifices meant to deal with sin issues. The point is not missed. Any sin is a serious matter. God sees sins against people as sins against Him as well. As a counselor, I often have to help people deal with the effects of how the hurt they have put on others has hurt their relationship with God. They have also hurt themselves. This is true stuff.

The third insight is the role of love. It is what defines our relationships with others. Since I would not hate myself, I should not hate my neighbor. Since I love and serve God, I should love and care for my neighbor. And Jesus made it clear that any person is my neighbor when He told the tale of the Good Samaritan. Jesus was bold enough to say that love defined the true two great commandments. The first was to love God. The second was to love my neighbor as myself. So this is no light obligation or minor suggestion. It defines the heart of all my relationships.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Culture does not dictate morality.

right-way-wrong-way1 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 18:3-5

This is the prologue to what has to be the most personally impacting part of the book of Leviticus. This entire chapter covers the subject of sexual holiness. Much of what passes as common sinful practice in human society is detailed here. The painfully sinful and abhorrent practices are prohibited including incest, multiple partnerships, polygamy, adultery, idol worship that included sexual activity (Molech worship included infanticide for sexual or fertility favors from the god), homosexuality, and bestiality.

The list is dark. The sad thing is that these issues still pervade human culture. Ask any pastor or counselor and we can tell you that even among Christians, the damage is often done in these sexual activities that destroy and hurt people deeply. God can forgive and grace can transform, but these are real issues. The key is to not let the culture dictate morality. In this little prologue, God reminds Israel of the spiritual impact of obedience to Him. They would be tempted to look to their past experience in Egypt to set the moral and sexual standard. That would be a wrong  choice. They would also be tempted to let their future home in Canaan dictate their moral choices. That would be equally wrong. Culture does not set my moral compass. God does. And I find that most fully in the revelation of His statutes. By the Word of God, I can know what is right to do sexually (monogamous marriage for life… sex only in marriage) and I will truly live by their instruction. These days with epidemic sexual disease that may literally be true.

Current culture is becoming more and more desensitized to the very issues raised in Leviticus 18. Every sexual deviancy is now the fodder of comedy routines and sitcom snickers. Our culture has marched relentlessly downward in rejection of God’s Word and God’s will for moral standards. Porn is everywhere, even the punchline of primetime TV. The result is that sexual deviancy is now considered some kind of human right, as long as consenting adults are doing the deviancy, and sometimes even if they just can’t help it.

This chapter ends with a warning (Leviticus 18:30) and a strong admonition to keep the charge that God gives to not practice the sexual activities prohibited here. I find that principle timeless. Sexual purity strengthens our character, our commitments, our relationships, and most importantly, our relationship with God.

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