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Monday, July 26, 2010

Consecration - Part3

In Consecration – Part 1 we learned consecration is an act of worship whereby we are set apart for God’s use to serve Him wherever and however He sees fit. In part two we learned God selects us for consecrated service and we learned that consecration involves washing with the word, putting on Christ, being empowered by the Spirit, and being prepared through girding and discipleship. In this final part of Consecration we’ll look at God’s provision for as well as some very practical aspects of consecration.

Consecration involves the Blood of Sacrifice

Leviticus 8:14-21 - 14 And he brought the bull for the sin offering. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull for the sin offering, 15 and Moses killed it. Then he took the blood, and put some on the horns of the altar all around with his finger, and purified the altar. And he poured the blood at the base of the altar, and consecrated it, to make atonement for it. 16 Then he took all the fat that was on the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and Moses burned them on the altar. 17 But the bull, its hide, its flesh, and its offal, he burned with fire outside the camp, as the Lord had commanded Moses. 18 Then he brought the ram as the burnt offering. And Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 19 and Moses killed it. Then he sprinkled the blood all around on the altar. 20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burned the head, the pieces, and the fat. 21 Then he washed the entrails and the legs in water. And Moses burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Moses brought the bull of the sin offering before Aaron and his sons and had them lay their hands on it. He then killed the bull. This impressed on them the seriousness of sin and the concept of identification. It also communicated to them that they were sinners and needed a sin offering just like the rest of the congregation. The priesthood was not special in the sense of being a hierarchy or professional clergy; it was special in that they had been called to serve. And the fact that they needed the blood of a sacrifice to atone for them should have humbled them.

Moses then brought a ram of a burnt offering for Aaron and his sons to lay their hands on as it was sacrificed. This communicated they were being called to a full and forever dedication to the Lord and serving Him.

Similarly, we are sinners who need the cleansing of our sins by the blood of Jesus. Through faith in Jesus our sins are washed away by His blood (1 John 1:7, 9). Those who seek to serve the Lord must have faith in the shed blood of Jesus as the only means their sins can be cleansed (1 Pet. 1:2). In the Old Testament God passed over the sins of those who by faith obeyed His system of sacrifice. But at the cross the sins previously passed over by God were dealt with in actuality through the atoning death of Jesus. It is the shed blood of Jesus that brings us peace with righteous God (Rom. 3:21-28).

Consecration Practical Holiness

Leviticus 8:22-26 - 22 And he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 23 and Moses killed it. Also he took some of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 24 Then he brought Aaron’s sons. And Moses put some of the blood on the tips of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses sprinkled the blood all around on the altar. 25 Then he took the fat and the fat tail, all the fat that was on the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, the two kidneys and their fat, and the right thigh; 26 and from the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord he took one unleavened cake, a cake of bread anointed with oil, and one wafer, and put them on the fat and on the right thigh;

Here we see Moses literally and personally applying the blood of the sacrifice to Aaron and his sons. Aaron and each of his sons must personally have the blood of sacrifice applied to them. They needed to personally experience that which they were going to minister to the people.

Applying the blood to the ear symbolized consecrated listening. What the priest hears or listens to must be brought under the blood. Applying the blood to the thumb of the right hand symbolized that the work of their hands must be washed in the blood of sacrifice. And the application of the blood to the big toes was to communicate that wherever the priest would go must be covered in the blood. All of this implies a practical holiness, the application of the blood of sacrifice.

Similarly, a servant of God must minister from experience. The person who serves God must have personally experienced salvation through faith in Christ by God’s grace before they seek to serve God. The blood of Jesus and the holy cleansing must have been experienced by the one seeking to serve the Lord. The blood of Jesus and the holiness it brings must be seen and experienced practically in what the priest/servant listens to, the work of their hands and the places they travel.

Consecration involves Receiving God’s Provisions

Leviticus 8:27-29 - 27 and he put all these in Aaron’s hands and in his sons’ hands, and waved them as a wave offering before the Lord. 28 Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar, on the burnt offering. They were consecration offerings for a sweet aroma. That was an offering made by fire to the Lord. 29 And Moses took the breast and waved it as a wave offering before the Lord. It was Moses’ part of the ram of consecration, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Consecration involves receiving God’s provision. It means coming before the Lord empty handed to be filled by Him. That is what we see here as the parts of the sacrifices are put into the open arms of Aaron and his sons.

We too must come before the Lord to receive His provisions. Where God guides God gifts. When God calls a person to a task He will enable them to do it. It is only when we march out in our own devices, unequipped by God that troubles arise. Many a minister has crashed and burned because their venture in faith was not so much faith as it was their fleshly desires. We need to be equipped by God with His gifting to minister as He sees fit for us (cf. 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:11-12).

Consecration involves Anointing

Leviticus 8:30 - 30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.

Moses anointed by sprinkling Aaron and his sons. This points to the need for anointing of the Spirit. Notice the sprinkling was a mixture of oil and blood. In the same way the blood of Jesus and the oil of the Spirit make up the anointing of those called by God to serve Him. The priest will serve in the power of the Spirit and the sustaining cleansing of the blood of Jesus to counter the servant’s weaknesses, shortcomings and sin.

Consecration involves Communion with the Lord

Leviticus 8:31-32 - 31 And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of consecration offerings, as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it.’ 32 What remains of the flesh and of the bread you shall burn with fire.

Moses instructed Aaron and his sons to prepare a meal to eat before the Lord. This was a type of peace offering, a meal in the presence and fellowship of the Lord.

Service of the Lord is rooted deeply in communion with the Lord. The servant of the Lord must “eat” of Him in the sense that we come to His communion table and dine with Jesus (John 6:30-47). To serve the Lord we can’t rely on mere earthly food (John 6:27). We need the bread, the manna from heaven; we need Jesus. Jesus spoke of this necessity and many of His disciples were unable to accept it (John 6:48-60, 66). This is a spiritual meal that needs to be spiritually discerned (John 6:61-65). The body of Jesus only becomes repulsive to those who do not discern it in the Spirit. Without the Spirit it becomes an ugly cannibalistic meal (John 6:52). In this Spirit, such a meal becomes “words of eternal life” from “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:66-69). If the Spirit is left out of such a meal, the one who continues without the Spirit will in all likelihood end up like Judas (John 6:70-71).

Consecration involves Separation and Seriousness

Leviticus 8:33-36 - 33 And you shall not go outside the door of the tabernacle of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are ended. For seven days he shall consecrate you. 34 As he has done this day, so the Lord has commanded to do, to make atonement for you. 35 Therefore you shall stay at the door of the tabernacle of meeting day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, so that you may not die; for so I have been commanded.” 36 So Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses.

Lastly, Moses instructs Aaron and his sons to go separate themselves for seven days of the consecrating process. They were to spend time with the Lord to be prepared for the service God had called them too. This was not something they were to enter into casually. This was not something they should do by simply going through some motions. They needed to take their calling as priests seriously, “that you may not die.”

Serving the Lord is not something to be entered into lightly. It is something by which you should patiently and seriously pray through. God calls us to serve, but we should only do so as we have been equipped and directed by Him.

How about you? Do you understand a bit better what consecration is all about? I hope so. God is calling us to a consecrated life. That means we have to answer some questions. Are you ready to stand before God with open arms and heart to receive whatever he desires to give you? Are you ready to be equipped by God, filled to overflowing for the task He assigns to you? Are you ready to give Him your will? Ready to go where He wants you to go and stay where he wants you to stay? Are you ready to serve Him humbly? Are you willing to come before Holy God to have Him do His holy work in you? Are you ready to live a consecrated life? I pray you are.

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