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Monday, April 22, 2013

In the World, Not of the World!

set apart photo: Set Apart 3f5d19ad.jpg

Leviticus 18:1-5     Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'I am the LORD your God.  'According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances.You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God.  'You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD (NKJV).  

We had a really great lesson in Sunday school yesterday, and I'm finding myself wanting to talk about it a little more.  

Do you know what it means to be sanctified?  It means to be made holy, to be set apart.  Not necessarily secluded from other things, but set apart to be used for a special purpose.  That is the point I believe we must focus upon, and remind ourselves that we might be living in this world, but that shouldn't change our attitude about sin, nor our stand regarding what is right and wrong.  

When the Lord spoke to Moses in this passage, the children of Israel had been freed from slavery in Egypt and were on their way to obtaining the land that God promised to provide.  God was reminding the children of Israel that He had set them apart for a special purpose.  They were His chosen people; the people through whom He would reveal his plan of salvation for the entire world.  Therefore, they were to live differently than the people around them.

When they were slaves in Egypt, they witnessed the Egyptians commit all sorts of sexually and spiritually immoral behavior.  When they came to Canaan, they would again see many people groups behaving in ways that were sinful, but no matter how often they witnessed these activities, no matter how often it was spoken about, they were not to engage in the same behavior.  Just because it seemed like "everyone was doing it," that didn't make it acceptable for the people of God.

In fact, as this chapter continues, verses 24-25 say:  'Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.  'For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.'

The Lord would be uprooting these sinful peoples from the land to make room for His righteous people.  

So, what were these people doing that was so vile?  Here are just a few examples:

They were having sex with family members; committing incest (Lev. 18:1-17)

They were committing adultery; having sex with another person's spouse (Lev. 18:20)
They were offering child sacrifices (Lev. 18:21)
They were practicing homosexuality (Lev. 18:22)
They were committing beastiality (Lev. 18:23)

Do some of these things sound familiar?  Unfortunately, many of these same sinful activities have become front line news lately.  Even in our modern, "humane" society, we see child sacrifice taking place under the name of abortion.  Homosexuals are pushing our lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage.  People use sex as a means to hurt one another.  These things might be talked about often, they might be praised in movies, on TV, and made out to be trendy and fun, but it doesn't make them right.  We, as Christians, are called to live differently.

In addition, we are called to stand up for what is right.  We must uphold the boundaries God set out as proper human relationships, and at times, that involves speaking up.  Now, let me make a distinction here:  We are not called to be cruel, unkind, or condemning to people who do these things.  God loves all of us, and died for everyone.  However, showing love to someone doesn't include accepting immoral behavior.  Jesus, Himself, when he saved a woman caught in adultery from stoning, said to her to "go and sin no more" (John 8:11).

So, what is the point?  It's this:  sin is sin, and sin has consequences.  No matter how you disguise it, no matter what name you give it, no matter how trendy it becomes, no matter how many people tell you it's okay.  Secondly, God has called you to something much higher.  His plans for your future relationships are meant to be holy, blessed, and life-long.  Don't allow the world to push you into sinful behavior.  The world doesn't understand sex at all. They define people's "sexuality" based on a narrow stereotype, and try to impose a lifestyle upon people who don't fit their mold.  

The only standard you are accountable to is God's, and His standards lead you to a blessing.  Walk with Him, follow His commands, listen for His voice, and watch as He makes a way for you, even if, like the Children of Israel, it's in the middle of the wilderness!  

Have a great week, and God Bless! 

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