Sermon:  Learning from Levitical Worship

1.  Been spending time teaching in public school - I remember being in school
	a.  Every year, learn new things
	b.  Some times it was boring, but it didn't make sense
	c.  All began to come together the older we got
2.  Similar way in scripture through Old Testament to New Testament
3.  Gal 3:24 - The Law is our schoolmaster, our tutor
4.  What we can learn about worship from the temple and levitical priesthood

I.  Purpose of the Priesthood and Tabernacle?
	A.  At the beginning:  Ex 19:1-6 
		1.  God chose Israel to be his people
		2.  How would he and his people interact?
	B.  (Ex 25:1-9) - God instructed the building of a "sanctuary"
		1.  Purpose:  v.8 - That God could "dwell among" his people
		2.  v.9 - It had to be according to the pattern he would give them  
			a.  God commands the finest materials and art to be used
			b.  Analogous to having a royal visitor come
				- Everything to be perfect and beautiful
				- When someone important is coming, you use the best
			c.  This sanctuary needed to be fitting for God
		3.  (Ex 25:10-22) - At the center of the tabernacle is the mercy seat
			a.  Wings covering the mercy seat
			b.  v.22 - There is where God meets with his people
			c.  This symbolically is God's throne
			d.  Ex 26:31-34 - Placed in the holy of holies
		4.  Why is this the holy of holies?  Or most holy place?
			a.  Ex 3 - Burning bush is holy ground.  Why?  God's presence
			b.  (Ex 40:34-38) - Glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle
			c.  Dt 12:15 - His "name" dwells there as well
			d.  Since God's presence is there, it is most holy
	C.  God's dwelling place needed to be "holy" 
		1.  The closer one moved to God, the more holy the place was
		2.  Ex 30:26-33 - Everything had to be set apart, made holy, sanctified
			a.  All utensils had to be sanctified
			b.  Priests themselves had to be sanctified
				- They would officiate at the altar
				- They were to oversee the acts of worship
	D.  (1 Kng 8) - Later they build a temple to replace the tabernacle
		1.  It was for his people so they could look to it
		2.  v.41 - It was even for the foreigner who would seek God
		3.  v.6 - So that all the peoples of the earth know Yahweh is God
	E.  Sanctuary seemed to serve two purposes:
		1.  Place to meet God for worship and prayer
		2.  Ultimately so that the entire world will know he is God

II.  The people willfully sinned over and over
	A.  Idolatry, ritual pagan sex, oppression, extortion, etc.
	B.  God's reaction - Ezekiel's wheel in a wheel
		1.  (Ezek 10:4) - Glory of the Lord to Threshold
		2.  (Ezek 11:23) - Glory of the Lord left the temple and the city
	C.  Result - Temple, city, people were vulnerable to attack
		1.  City destroyed, they went into exile
		2.  Many were scattered
		3.  Temple was gone, the glory was gone
	D.  Crisis - Has God cast us off forever?  
		1.  (Ezek 11:19-20) - There would be a time or restoration
		2.  God would be among them as their God once again
	E.  Temple is rebuilt in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah
		1.  People are allowed to return from captivity
		2.  They rebuild the temple
			a.  Not the same, old timers weep
			b.  Glory does not fill the temple, it is gone
			c.  Even with Herod expands it, it is still not as glorious
			d.  Ark of the Covenant is apparently lost forever

III.  The glory of God Returns
	A.  (Jn 1:14)
		1.  Literally - And the word "tabernacled" among us
		2.  Not "templed" but "tabernacled"
		3.  Like Solomon said, God is not confined to a place
	B.  What this teaches us
		1.  God desires to come near
		2.  Through this "tabernacle" we can meet God in worship and prayer
			a.  John 14:6 - Go to the Father through him
			b.  Jn 14:9 - Seen him, have seen the Father
			c.  Jn 14:13-14; 16:23 - Prayer and worship in Christ's name
		3.  Through this "tabernacle" foreigners can come to God
			a.  Rom 16:25-26
			b.  Eph 3:1-6
		4.  But, Jesus has gone back to Heaven
			a.  Is there no sanctuary again?
			b.  If glory of God in Jesus, and he left, what then?
	C.  We are God's santuary
		1.  Jn 14:23 - Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he 
			will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come 
			to him and make Our abode with him.
		2.  1 Cor 3:16 - We the church are the temple of God
		3.  1 Cor 6:19 - Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit
	D.  God's ultimate sanctuary in the end
		1.  Picture of the New Jerusalem - Ultimate destination for the church
		2.  Rev 21:22 - God Almighty the Lamb are its temple
			a.  God no longer in the midst of people in a building
			b.  Rev 22:4 - In the New Jerusalem, will see his face

1.  God desires to come near
2.  Had sanctuary and priesthood to mediate his presence
3.  We can come near through Christ who is high priest
4.  We all are priests who come near and mediate