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<p>Lev 20:1-2 “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Again, you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who gives any of his descendants to Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones.”
<p>Today it is acceptable to kill our children, by abortion, we call it choice, we say that the woman has the right to choose whether she wants that baby or not. We do not say that it is a sacrifice to our own selfishness but it might as well be to satisfy Molech. I ask this question, why do we kill the innocent and yet give murderers life? In the time that Leviticus was written, the people of the land that would become Israel, were practicing human sacrifice, they would throw a child into the fire before this god to placate him.</p>
<p>Lev 20:10-13 “The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”</p>
<p>Here we see sexual sins adultery, incest, and homosexuality all call for the death penalty. Today we do not kill people who commit these sexual sins, but up to the 1970’s we still condemned these as perversions. As time went on it became a victim-less crime if you committed adultery. Then divorce became no fault, so instead of adultery, there was not any cause for harm and of course this caused the laws to be changed so you could still divorce but it was a no fault, just incompatibility. In the case of homosexuality, it became an alternative life style, and today the courts have caused this to be an acceptable way of life and ordered that marriage was also allowed.
Sin however, is still sin, sexual sins are not victim-less, there is much pain in this type of activity, marriage between a man and a woman was supposed to be something you entered into for life. It was not something that you entered into with the expectation of sex outside of your marriage. Of course the really terrible part of all this loosening morals, comes to the forefront with the advent of incest. We now have at least one group who wants man boy love to be acceptable, and at least once or twice in any given month there are news stories of men or women having affairs with children. Then of course we all have had to see and hear reports of some priests and pastors having abused young boys and girls.
<p>Lev 20:14-16 “If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them.”
<p>Polygamy is also not tolerated, yet it too has raised its ugly head in some parts of our nation. Men marrying more than one woman, sometimes even a woman and her daughter. Now that we have begun to allow in our country for different types of marriage, there has been at least one case where a woman wanted to marry her German Shepherd, so far that one has not gained traction, but I wonder, in a society where sexual perversion has become the norm, can it be far off?
<p>Lev 20:21 “If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They shall be childless.”
In the Hebrew law there is one instance where a man shall take his brother’s wife to be his wife. If the brother died and there were no sons born to carry on the name of the family, the brother would marry his brother’s wife and hisfirst born son would be named after his brother in order to carry on the name of the family. One of the crimes of Herod was that he married his brother’s wife, Herodias, and his brother was still living.

 

 

Lev 20:22-24 “You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them. But I have said to you, “You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the people’s.”
<p>Lev 20:26 “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” The Israelites were to be a people separated out from the world, they were to show that God had a way for people to live, they were to possess the land of Canaan, (Israel) and destroy the people of that land so that the perversions they had practiced would be eradicated from the earth. They were to follow the dictates of the law, and were to also proselytize those of the lands around them to bring them into the family of God. They were to do this by living holy lives by hating that which God hated and loving one another. They were also to treat others in love not in hate, they were to show that God was the God of all people and would welcome any who would accept His way of living. We see that there were people who actually did come to accept Yahweh as God of all, but as time went on there were many things that were placed in the way of people becoming a part of the Jewish tradition.
<p>When the time was right, the scriptures say, Jesus was born, and 30 years later began to preach and teach. He was God in human form, he healed and taught, and died and rose from the dead. He defeated sin and death, and when it was all done and He returned to his rightful place in heaven, the men and women he had walked with and taught began to reach out to others and invite them to join the Kingdom of Heaven. In just 300 years they changed the way people perceived God, the Church was formed and began to supplant the pagan religions of the world with the truth of The Way of Christ. Along the way things got out of sync and today we have many groups claiming to hold the truth.
<p>However, we can see that for all the claims, the one thing that is sorely missing is this: Mat 5:48 “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” We are far from perfect, we have allowed ourselves to become as the ancient Jews. We have made our own rules and laws, and ignored God’s way of life. We who call ourselves Christians seem to have abandoned the way of Christ, and have decided that we are not in need of the rules that Christ set forth. The greatest of the Commandments is that you shall have no other gods before me, yet we have many gods. We worship at the altar of power, money, possessions, and worst of all, perversion. Many have also thrown out the 2nd greatest commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself.”</p>
<p>Many people these days don’t even know their neighbor’s, much less care anything for them or about them. How many of your neighbor’s go to Church, or even if they go to Church, do they know Jesus Christ as Lord? We have been tasked with completing the work that Jesus started and showed us, he sends us and gives us the abilities we need to touch other hearts and lives with the gospel that he taught his disciples. How many “Christians” are actually living for Christ, how many are living lives of love for others?</p>

1Pe 1:15-16 “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written,

“BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” “ How many of those who call themselves Christian actually, work at being holy? If what we concentrate on and what we work for is possessions, or fame, or fortune, are we working on holiness or are we just like everyone else in this world. We are called apart, not of this world, but of the Kingdom of God. God has set us apart that we might be his people and not of this world. Apeople that are set free from sin and living for Christ. Like Paul we should be people who are running the race to claim the prize, eternal life in the presence of almighty God. Just as the people of Israel were surrounded by pagans, so too are we this day. We can choose today to follow the world and its perversions, taking on the sickness of our society, or follow Christ and take on his persona, his way of living.

 
<p>As we have been called to be holy as God is holy, means we are to strive for holiness in our own lives. We shall not become perfect for we are not God, but we are to strive for that perfection, as Paul writes, Php_2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” in other words, spend time and effort in becoming like Christ. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our walk with Him, to give us that which we need in the situations of life, to show that we are not carnal, not of this world but rather, children of God.

We are to oppose sin where and when we can, we are to stand up for the downtrodden, the infirm, widows and orphans as it says in the scriptures. One other thing that Christ has said is important for all of us to remember, Mat_10:33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” When the Israelites entered the promised land, they were challenged by this: Deu 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;” The same invitation is given by God today: Choose life in Christ, not life in hell.

I was enjoying some quiet time this morning and came across this verse: ” Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” As I thought about this verse, I began to think about all the different opinions there are about the Scriptures. I have to note that there are way too many opinions, and not enough agreement as to what the scriptures hold for those who claim the name of Christ. It has been said that this is a good thing, since we have so many denominations each of them has their own view of scripture. There, of course is the rub, each of the denominations has their own view of scripture. So which of us really has the truth? The verse above from Psalm 119:105 says that the word of God is a light to my path. If it is a light to my path, why then do I believe one thing and someone else believes another?

Perhaps if we look at the truth of society we may see a glimmer of that light. The sun shines brightly, and we can see well in the light of the day, yet the best eyes cannot see very well on a moonless night. Then too one who is blind cannot see what the sun reveals and therefore even though there is plenty of light, cannot see the green grass or the rose in bloom. That person percieves the world around himself differently than we who can see do. It is the same with the light of God’s word in the world. There are those who can discern what the word says, yet, cannot see the the beauty of that word, nor the truth that is imparted by it. Some read the word of God only so they can dispute what it says. Some come to it with preconceived notions about what it should say, and so they find in it what they want to find, instead of what God has to say to them.

Some will come to the word when yet new to Christ and others with many years steeped in the life of Christ, that too gives a different perspective. Others come with prejudicial views, such as having grown up in an abusive household, knowing that their father was a very harsh man. When the word of God says that God is our Father in heaven, it paints a picture that is not pleasant for that person, so they refuse to see that God is referred to as male because God is the creator, the builder and not because God is male. God is Spirit not male or female, yet when Jesus walked the earth, God in Man, he came as a man and is the human personification of God. Jesus was loving and caring, so God is loving and caring, yet there are those who cannot see that.

Another question asked of scripture might be, if it is light for the path, why do we need preaching? Good question there, if people would read in the Spirit then perhaps that would be true, but how can they read in the Spirit if no one told them about the Spirit. Yes scripture is the light, but the Spirit is the author of the Light for the Spirit is also God. Without someone to come and explain to him what he was reading, the eunuch would never have known about Christ, or about the grace of God, and would never have been baptized into Christ. He would have gone on in ignorance instead.

Another question for us is the idea that we cannot know the will of God for our lives and yet, the scriptures are very plain in their speaking of the will of God. Jesus said that the “Great Commandment” is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, body and mind. Then he says, and the second is like the first, Love your neighbor as yourself. The will of God is for you and I to live in grace and love first for the God of the universe, the one God who created all mankind, and all that we can see around us. Then to live in His love so that we can in turn love one another. If you, in truth, love others as yourself, you cannot break the commandments. Truly the word of God is a lamp to my feet and a light to my pathway, that I might walk with Jesus through life. Learning from the word of God as I go, not hating others, but offering instead love through He who first loved me.

How about your life? Have you discovered that God wants you to walk in His way and love one another, have you forgiven those who have hurt you? Remember the words of Jesus prayer that he taught the disciples. “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12 ESV in other words forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us. This is a tough thing, yet it is a light to my path and lamp to help me walk rightly. I am to forgive others then I open myself to be forgiven. There are many differences between us, but, we are to live as Christ not as others do. </p>

Lazarus was in the tomb 4 days when Jesus came to Bethany. Martha, God loves her and she knew that He did, she says to Jesus, If you had been here my brother would still be alive. Yes, that is true, Jesus never did a funeral. He came across death often enough, the widow in the funeral procession, her son already wrapped and ready for burial. Jesus brings him back to his mother, end of funeral. Jesus goes to the house of the leader of the synagogue, Tabitha get up says Jesus, and there she is alive and well. That is why we can say without any doubt in our minds, that Jesus, God, is the God of the living.  Jesus says to Martha, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE! You just don’t get the message any clearer than that. Jesus said, I am the one who is in charge of everything. For I truly am the resurrection and the life. Jesus comes to the tomb, tells them to roll away the stone at the entrance. They do so, even though as Mary exclaims, Lord he has been in the tomb four days, there will be a stench.

 

 

Jesus then lifts His eyes to heaven, utters a prayer that all can hear, so all will know what is about to transpire. “Lazarus, come forth.” says Jesus, and here he comes still wrapped in the grave clothes. Jesus commands that they release him. God of the Living not of the dead, but of the living. It is necessary for us to look at this story because it applies to you and I today just as it did then to those folks who were present.

 

You and I were once like Lazarus, we were buried in our sins, for as Paul says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23, again in the letter to the church at Ephesus: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins” Ephesians 2:1 That is what sin really is, it is a trap that lures you in, and then buries you in the things of this world so you can’t see or hear God calling you. As we read in John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin”

Jesus came to the tomb and called Lazarus: Called him to come out and to live. Now of course we know that Jesus will call all who are dead on the last day to rise and meet him in the air, but Jesus is also calling you and me to be alive to Him today. To be filled with his grace, and to shed the death of sin from our lives. I love the verse in Luke 7:34 where it says: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” Thank you Lord that you have befriended me, a sinner destined to eternal hellfire, You have lifted me from that life of sin and death into a life of glory and hope. He calls us to walk with Him to talk with Him and to be like Him. He calls us to become children of God, brothers and sisters of Himself.

We live in a wonderful nation, we are free to practice our faith as we will, we are free to roam about as we will. However, that freedom comes with a responsibility, Jesus calls us to a work and to a life. Our freedom in this nation also calls us to justice and mercy toward our fellow man. Jesus has set us free in the Spiritual, and we also have a responsibility here too. We are to live for good works done because we love God and our fellow man. There are too many Christians who say that we need to allow the death of babies, we need to allow the poor to suffer, because Jesus said we should be tolerant of others and understand that it is a choice whether to have a baby or not. I hate to say it but I believe that God has a moral path for you and I to walk down, and it is not wrong to say that all life is sacred. That we can’t blame the unborn, for the decisions we have made. Meanwhile I want you to know, that Jesus is calling all of us today, to live, the church is supposed to be a living breathing reality. You and I are the Church, it is we who are the hands and feet of Christ today. Let acknowledge our Lord, let us realize that we are a living breathing part of the Church Triumphant. God empowers us to go and be and do all that He has for us to do.

 

 

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Pastor and Wife

John & Yvonne Quigley, John is a retired Pastor in the UMC. This blog is about the journey I am on with Christ.