Sunday School Material 2-21-16: Day of Atonement

(Leviticus 16:11-19; 2/21/16)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God called for sins to be atoned for, by way of animal blood. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live like we appreciate what Jesus’ blood does for us.

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Read Leviticus 16:11-14

I. Atonement for Priests. In our Sunday School material there are instructions for Aaron’s family’s sins. A bull is to be offered for a sin offering. Fragrant incense is to be offered. Blood is to be sprinkled on the front of the atonement cover.

Applications –

- The sins of the leader. Notice in vss. 11-14 that Aaron was the priest, but he still had sins in his life, and the life of his family, that needed to be dealt with.

First, those who have a title or who are respected as being a mature Christian should be conscious that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

And we all have sin in our lives today (see Rom. 3:23; I Jn. 1:8). Therefore, none of us should give the impression that we are living above sin.

Second, those who don’t have a title and who are not respected as mature Christians, it is important to stay focused on serving the Lord, instead of serving sinful people.

Our chief reason for following leadership should be that the Lord told us to (see Heb. 13:17), not the holiness of the person. Let’s be mindful of the sins of the leaders.

- Obeying God’s instructions. Notice in vs. 13 that God had instructions about how He wanted things done. First, even long term leaders should be careful about being too careless with doing the Lord’s work. All that is done should be done prayerfully for God’s agenda.

Second, followers should remember that God’s ways are not always in line with the fads of the day or what is popular. Thus, we should strive to obey God tells the leader, instead of trying to get the leader to what is popular or simply what we want done. Let’s work on being obedient to God’s will.

- Jesus our sacrifice. Notice in vss. 11-19 of our Sunday School material that Jesus does for us what bulls and goats did for those in the text.

First, Jesus is the substitute payment for the penalty of our sins. He was and is so perfect that His one death on the cross is sufficient for the entire payment for our sins (i.e., past, present, and future sins).

Second, we should feel obligated to live lives that demonstrate thankfulness for Jesus’ sacrifices for us. It is not enough to be fascinated by the comparison of Jesus with bulls and goats.

We are called to obey what God’s will to be saved and then live lives that are focused on loving God with all that we have and loving others, as we love ourselves. Let’s work on living like we appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus.

Read Leviticus 16:15-17

II. Atonement for People, Places. Instructions are given regarding the sins of the people in our Sunday School material. A goat is to be sacrificed. The blood is to be placed on the front of the atonement cover. No one is to be in the tent of meeting, while Aaron is in it.

Applications –

- Dealing with our sin problems. Notice in vs. 16 that there was a sacrifice for the people of God. Not only was their sin in the life of Aaron and his family, but there was sin in the lives of all of God’s people.

First, we should be careful about thinking that we are living above sin. Sin is much bigger than smoking, drinking, and sexual immorality. Second, we should understand that rebellion is sin.

When we know what God wants and we don’t do it, primarily because we don’t want to do it, that is sin. Think about why more members don’t invite and bring loved ones to church, don’t worship with enthusiasm, and don’t deliberately study, serve, and give. Let’s work on our sin problems.

- Serving in our roles. Notice in vs. 17 that it was God’s will for no one else to be in the tent of meeting, while Aaron was in there.

First, whatever the Lord says do and don’t do, we should obey simply because He said so. We should not need an explanation before we obey. Second, even though Aaron had sin in his life and the life of his family, God had anointed him to do what others were not anointed to do.

In like manner, we should be careful about trying to do what God has anointed others to do but has not anointed us to do. It is not strange in carnal and immature churches for officers and long term members to try to do what God has anointed the Pastor to do.

Disobedience leads to punishment. Let’s work on serving in the roles that God has anointed us to serve in.

Read Leviticus 16:18-19

III. Atonement for the Altar. In our Sunday School material when Aaron comes out of the tent, he is to come to the altar. He is to take some of the blood from the bull and some from the goat and put it on the horns of the altar. Blood is to be sprinkled for the sake of cleansing and consecration.

Applications –

- Living like clean and consecrated people. Notice in vss. 18-19 that the atonement of sin rituals included blood being sprinkled in such a way that the entire community of God’s people were to be cleaned and consecrated to the Lord’s service.

The Sunday School material did a good job of suggesting that in passages like Nehemiah 9:38 and Acts 19:18-20, we see similar calls to deal with collective sin.

Think about the challenges that we would have today, if there was a call for us to bring evidence of turning from our sins and to have at least the officers in the church to sign a covenant of how we will obey God’s will from here forward.

These challenges may help us understand why our churches are in the shape that they are in. Let’s work on actually living by God’s will, instead of simply being fixated on rituals.

Conclusion: Let’s work on living like we appreciate what Jesus’ blood does for us. God has much for those who obey His will.

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