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Strange Fire - Leviticus 10:1

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Radio transcript for the week of September 06, 2009

Harold Bigham preaches on "Strange Fire" on Seeking the Lost - International Radio.

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Thank you so very much for listening to "Seeking the Lost International Radio". My name is Harold Bigham. bro. Ricky Berger and I are the speakers for "Seeking the Lost International Radio".

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Lesson Text

Today we want to study a very important subject dealing with respecting God's authority. You know, some people do not really accept God's authority. They regard God as common and not someone who is holy. We have an historical account in the Old Testament about two brothers who did not respect God's authority.

Let's read the account for our lesson today. Turn in your Bible to the book of Leviticus chapter ten. "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord" (Leviticus 10:1).

Nadab and Abihu were priests of God (Leviticus 8 & 9). They were sons of Aaron. They were approved of God to do certain functions as priests under the old testament system of Judaism. For some reason, they decided to offer strange fire before the Lord. What was this strange fire? We are not told what the strange fire consisted of. Many have offered their ideas or thoughts about why this was strange fire but the Bible doesn't tell us why it was strange fire. The important thing that we are to understand is that the fire offered was something that was not approved and commanded by God. As a result it was strange fire. The consequence of their action was that fire came out from the Lord and devoured them. They paid their life for their rebellion toward God.

Now I want us to notice that in Leviticus 9:22-24, the account states about fire coming from God as a result of Him being pleased with the offerings. "And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces". So this was fire that came down as a result of God approving of what was done in regard to the offerings for the people. However the fire in Leviticus 10 was a fire that showed God's displeasure and unapproval of what Nadab and Abihu had done. Their action did not glorify God. They did not respect God. "Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace" (Leviticus 10:3). Nadab and Abihu lost their lives because of their sin. Their bodies were to be removed outside of the camp. "And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said (Leviticus 10:4-5).

What lessons can we learn from the account of Nadab and Abihu? Remember that Paul stated, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4). We are not governed by the Old Testament today but governed by the New Testament. However, we learned from the great lessons that are written in the Old Testament. Lessons such as our lesson today about Nadab and Abibu and respecting God's authority. We must do only what God has authorized in His Word. Isaiah spoke about the greatness of God and why His thoughts are greater than ours. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Let us study briefly about two areas where we must respect God's authority.

First, we must respect God's authority about scriptural worship. Divine revelation has authorized when we are to worship God and how we are to engaged in worship to God. Christians are to worship God on the first day of the week which is Sunday. Acts 20:7 states, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." They came together to worship God. In this worship Luke specifically mentions two of the items of worship that they did: they partook of the Lord's Supper and heard preaching by the apostle Paul. Scriptural worship consists of singing (Ephesians 5:19), partaking of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7), praying (Acts 2:42), giving back to God as we have been prospered (I Corinthains 16:1-2) and preaching (Acts 20:7). Let us never offer strange fire by changing what God has authorized about scriptural worship. Some offer vain worship and will worship. Not all worship is accepted by God. "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8-9). Paul wrote about will worship (Colossians 2:23). Worship God acceptably in spirit and in Truth. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

Second, we must respect God's authority about the oneness of the church. Jesus prophesied about His church. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). My friend, did you notice what Jesus said? He said "I will build my church". His church! The church belongs to Him. The church bears His name. How many religious organizations exist today? Multitudes of denominations exist throughout the world. Question, do they have the scriptural right to exist according to God's authority? That is the question, isn't it? My friend, please make sure that the church you belong to has a scriptural right to exist. Paul speaks of one body or one church. "There is one body" (Ephesians 4:4). The body has a head. The head is Jesus. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23). Now let's put this in perspective. Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18). His church was built on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). His church bears His name since he is the builder and the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). There is only one church or body (Ephesians 4:4). Now to the crux of the matter. If there is only one church that has a scriptural right to exist, why do we have all of the denominations and religious organizations in the world today? Can I know about the one true church that God approves of? We can know without any doubt by respecting God's authority. We can be a member of the same church that we can read of in the New Testament and by obeying the same commands that the early christians obeyed. The seed is the Word of God and it produces christians only. There are no prefixes or suffixes attached to the name christian. The Lord's church is the church of Christ. "The churches of Christ salute you" (Romans 16:16).

Please follow along with me in the New Testament as we read what God requires for us to be saved. We must hear God's Word. Paul wrote, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). After hearing God's Word, we must have faith. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). Christ commanded that we must repent of our sins (Luke 13:3). Repentance is a turning away from a life of sin. Paul said that God requires all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). Confession of the name of Christ is commanded by God. The Eunuch in Acts chapter 8 stated "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). The final act of obedience to God's terms of entrance is that we must be baptized for the remission of our sins. Acts 2:38 states, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." We reach the blood of Christ in baptism and we are added to the Lord's church (Acts 2:47) and we are christians. The church of Christ is the church that we can read about in the New Testament (Romans 16:16) and is found in countries, communities and villages across the world as people obey and practice the same gospel as they did in the book of Acts. Paul stated, that there is only one church (Ephesians 4:4). It is important to understand that the same thing that saves us also adds us to the Lord's church, the church of Christ. As a Christian we are to live a faithful life even unto death as we deal with persecutions of life. Revelation 2:10 states, "be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

My friend, will you not obey God's terms of entrance and be saved from your sins?

Thank you for studying the Bible with us. If we can help you in your study of the Bible please contact us. We love you and we pray that you will have a great day.

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