Leviticus 3 – Jesus, Our Peace (Preached at Shalom Church Singapore on 28 Mar 2021)

The sermon this morning is entitled – Jesus, Our Peace (Lev 3 & Lev 7:11-21)

I thank God for opportunities to preach from Lev chapters 1 & 2 previously.

Let me to do a quick recap of what we have covered from Lev 1 & 2.

Do you want to approach God and be accepted by Him?

Then a life had to be laid down to atone for our sins.

An animal had to be offered as a burnt offering sacrifice.

And this is a foreshadow of what Jesus did on the Cross as the ultimate sacrifice for sinners.

Christ “…bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live…” – 1 Pet 2:24

That’s what we learnt from Leviticus 1.

Now, Our God is also a Holy God.

You can’t approach Him because you have no holiness of your own.

And so a grain offering had to be offered as a symbol of perfection.

The grain offering had no leaven, no honey, but is full of oil, salt & frankincense.

These are symbolic representations of the perfection of Jesus.

He had no sin, no impurity, but was full of the Holy Spirit, Purity & prayer.

 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Cor 5:21 

So by the end of Leviticus 1 & 2, we have a double picture of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

We have the pardon of sin because Jesus laid down His life for us.

We are also justified before God because Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of God’s law in perfection.  

And That’s what it means to draw near to God on the basis of Jesus’s blood and righteousness.

We, who live in the new testament, no longer need to make such offerings.

Because Jesus has fulfilled all the requirements pictured in Leviticus for us to draw near to God.

Now, the book of Leviticus presents 5 different pictures of Jesus as our offering to God.

There are 5 different offerings because none, on its own, can provide a complete picture of Jesus’s work.

We’ve seen the pictures presented in Leviticus 1 & 2.

This morning, we come to picture #3 – The Peace offering.

And it is my desire that you may have peace with God this morning.

It is also my desire that you may have the peace of God when you depart from here.

And so, our meditation will be in the form of asking the following 2 questions:

  1. Are you at peace with God?
  • Do you have the peace of God?

And as we seek to answer these 2 questions, you will realise that:

You can be at peace with God, but not have the peace of God.

But you will never have the peace of God unless you are at peace with God.

What exactly do I mean?

Let’s start with our first question: 

  1. Are you at peace with God?

Let me read to you Eph 2:2-3

‘in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.’

You see in this verse that the bible tells us that we are by nature “…children of wrath”.

In other words, God is angry with us.

Why is He angry with us? Because…

We “walk according to the course of this world & according to the prince of the power of the air.”

Who is this “prince of the power of the air”?

He is the spirit who “works in the sons of disobedience…”

He is the one who tempted the first man Adam into sin.

“whoever is a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” – James 4:4

Therefore my friends, no matter how hard you try, the fact remains:

By our natural birth, we have NO peace with God. In fact, we are enemies of God.

And on this trajectory, Jesus tells us in John 8:24 that “…we will die in our sins.”

This is a clear warning to those of you who have not professed faith in Jesus Christ because you have no peace with God.

But let me also ask those of you who are of the household of faith – Has your peace with God been strained because of backsliding or sin?

How then can we obtain peace with God?

Let me highlight 3 things from the “peace offering” that we can learn about having “peace with God”.

#1 – You do not offer a peace offering to obtain peace with God.

Now, this may sound counter-intuitive.

But you need to know that the peace offering is a celebration of peace, not a propitiation for peace.

In other words, the peace offering is not for the purpose of appeasing or pacifying the anger of God.

Instead, it is offered to celebrate the peace that one is enjoying with God.

The NIV Bible translated this offering as “Fellowship Offering” – we will understand why study this.

The peace offering is a voluntary offering.

And it could be offered to God for 3 possible reasons:

Firstly, it could be given as a way to say “thank you” to God for His generosity, kindness & goodness. (Lev 7:12)

Secondly, a peace offering could be given after the fulfilment of a vow. (Lev 7:16).

Remember Hannah in 1 Sam 1?

God answer her prayer and gave her a son – Samuel. 

After she weaned Samuel, she brought him to serve in the temple just as she had promised God. 

And on that occasion, she offered a peace offering.

Thirdly, a peace offering could also be given to thank God for His deliverance.  

None of these three reasons to offer a peace offering had anything to do with propitiation.

So let’s be clear – the old testament worshipper did not make peace offerings to obtain peace with God.

And that brings us to the 2nd thing we learn from the “peace offering”.

#2 – To obtain peace with God, you have to approach Him in the way that He has prescribed.

I want to notice that Leviticus chapters 1-5 presented the 5 offerings in the following sequence:

1: Burnt Offering, 2: Grain Offering, 3: Peace Offering, 4: Sin Offering, 5: Trespass Offering

This is also the sequence in which I am trying to deliver this series of sermons.

God-willing, there will be opportunities in the future for me to cover the sin offering and the trespass offering.

But notice that The peace offering is 3rd in the order in which the offerings were recorded from chapters 1-5.

But there is a different sequence in the order in which these offerings were observed or carried out.

And Leviticus 6-7 and Leviticus 7:37 presents this sequence as follows:

Burnt Offering, Grain Offering, Sin Offering, Trespass Offering and finally, Peace Offering.

The point here is that “peace offering” is the last in the order in which the offerings were observed or carried out.

Why? Because there is no peace with God …

Until we have come to Him by a life laid down, Where our sins are borne by another.

There is no peace until we come to Him by the perfection presented by the grain offering.

There is no peace until we have approached God relying on the blood & righteousness of another.

In that sequence…

When the anger of God is turned away…..

When our individual sins are forgiven & forgotten…..

And we are reconciled to a Holy God. 

And so, the peace offering is not meant for someone who is far from God.

It is not for a guilty sinner who is seeking pardon.

It is meant for a person who has already experienced forgiveness.

So, to obtain peace with God, you have to approach Him in the way that He has prescribed.

And after you have done so, then comes the peace offering.

Because the 3rd thing that we learn from the “peace offering” is that:

#3 – It is a reminder & celebration of what it means to have peace with God

In this section, I want to show you what is involved in the entire sequence when a peace offering is made.

First of all – What does the worshipper have to bring for the peace offering?

He brings either a bull, a sheep or a goat. Lev 3 v1, v6 & v12

This is very similar to the previous offerings – burnt offering, sin offering & trespass offering.

In addition, the worshipper had to bring unleavened cakes & wafers mixed with oil (Lev7v12).

This is very similar to the grain offering.

But on top of that, he also had to bring leavened bread – Lev 7:13.

Now, what did the worshipper have to do with what he has brought?

He was to “lay his hand on the animal at the door of the tabernacle” – Lev 3:2, v8 & v13

This is to symbolically represent that his sins were imputed onto the animal.

He would then slay the animal at the door of the tabernacle.

Remember, it is not the job the priest to slay the animal. 

The worshipper had to do it himself. Why?

This is to remind him that he was the one who caused the death of this animal.

This animal took his place where he should have died for his own sins.

And then the dead animal is handed over to the priest.

Now, what did the priest do with the offering?

The priest would take that slayed animal & sprinkle its blood around the altar of burnt offerings in the tabernacle. (v2, v8, 13)

The animal would have been divided into 3 parts – 

The best parts (the fats) will be given to the LORD.

Part of it will be given to the priest.

And the rest of it for the worshipper later on.

And the priest would bring the parts for the LORD & place it on top of the burnt offering sacrifice.

The peace offering would go up with the burnt offering made by fire, as a sweet aroma to the LORD. Lev 3:5, v9 & v16.

Now, it is quite clear that a lot of this ritual seems to be “a repeat” of what was done in the previous offerings.

Why does the worshipper have to, so called, “repeat” what he had done in the previous offerings?

I suggest to you that it is because – one of the greatest enemies of faith is “forgetfulness”.

Let me give you an example from Exodus 14.

After the children of Israel witnessed the miraculous opening of the Red Sea, they were full of praise to God.

But as they journeyed into the wilderness just a few days later, they became thirsty and started murmuring.

You mean the God who parted the waters of the Red Sea & let you walk on dry land cannot provide water for you to drink that you have to murmur?

Thankfully, God was patient.

He did another miracle & provided water for them at a place called Marah – Ex 15:23.

After that miracle at Marah, they became hungry and they murmured again – Ex 16:3.

And this cycle of forgetting God’s goodness & blessings simply continued.

You see, it’s so easy for us to be clouded by circumstances & forget the mercies & blessings of God.

I don’t know about you, the more I read about the Israelites, the more I see myself in them.

I am even more forgetful about God’s mercies in my comfort than the Israelites in the wilderness.

And so, by going through what appears to have been done for previous offerings served as a reminder to the worshipper that peace with God rested upon a life laid down.

And it was only after they have gone through this ritual ….

This ritual that reminded them of what it takes to have peace with God, that they proceeded to the next stage.

And what was the next stage for the peace offering? 

They sat together for a fellowship meal – Lev 7:15-18

And we see here that Peace with God was celebrated with a meal.

And this is the first hint we have in the bible of the marriage supper of the Lamb mentioned in Rev 19:9.

Peace with God was celebrated with a meal/a supper.

So God had His portion through the parts that were burnt on the altar of burnt offering.

The priests had their portions of the animal, the cakes, wafers & the bread. 

And the worshipper also had his portions of the offering – the part that was reserved for him.

And they would sit together for a fellowship meal.  

You see – Peace with God was celebrated with a meal.

Oh what joy there was when the worshipper enjoyed peace with God.

And they rejoiced in fellowship together with the priests in the presence of God right there in the Tabernacle.

And this was how peace with God was celebrated. 

And this is also a picture of the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the peace we have with God through Jesus Christ.

I want you to note that the fellowship meal described was not a sacrifice.

It was only after the animal had been sacrificed that they sat down together to enjoy the meal.

The meal took place only after the sacrifice was made. 

So when we observe the Lord’s supper, we need to remember that it is not a sacrifice.

The sacrifice was already made once for all when Jesus died on the Cross for His people.

We come together to remind ourselves that it cost the life of Jesus for us to have peace with God.

And we celebrate this peace by observing the communion together. 

I hope various teachings of the bible are coming together as an integrated picture for you now.

I’m also glad we are observing the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis now.

Because we need to be constantly reminded of what it cost Jesus in order for us to have peace with God.

And may the love of God constrain us… so that we are reminded of how we should walk with Him everyday.

At this juncture, let me do a quick summary of what we have covered so far.

Are you at peace with God? 

We learnt 3 things from the peace offering:

  • #1: You do not offer a “peace offering” to obtain peace with God
  • #2: To have peace with God, you approach him in the order He has prescribed – through the blood & righteousness of another
  • #3: The peace offering is a reminder & a celebration of what it means to have peace with God

And the bible is full of passages that tell us that Jesus is our peace.

Isa 53:5 – “…. the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” 

Rom 5:1 – “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Just how did Jesus accomplish this peace?

Let me read to you Eph 2: 14-17 (ESV)

‘For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. ‘

That was a very technical explanation by the Apostle Paul.

Let me put this very simply – we are no longer enemies of God through Jesus Christ.

So, the call of the gospel is clear – 

You can only be at peace with God through His prescribed way …

And that is through Jesus Christ… 

who “…bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live…”

My friends, are you at peace with God?

If you are still sitting on the fence & have not believed that Jesus is God’s provision for peace, then you are not at peace with God.

And as long as you are not at peace with God, you will not enjoy or even understand what it means to have the peace of God.

And this brings us to our second question for today:

  • Do you have the peace of God?

Now, there are 2 things I want you to know concerning the peace of God.

#1 – The peace of God is not the peace that this world offers.

Jesus said in John 14:27 – 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you…”

What is the world’s definition of peace?

For many people, peace simply means “a state of tranquillity or quietness”.

For others it may be freedom from disturbance, wars or turbulence. 

Their idea of peace is a picture of a calm lake.

And they sit there with their eyes closed and practice what they call “mindfulness”.

And some even say that they have peace when they are one with themselves and with nature.

And they advocate that this can be achieved by meditation & good works.

But that’s not the peace that Jesus was referring to.

The peace that Jesus gives means much, much more that.

The Hebrew word for “peace” is “Shalom”.

Does that sound familiar? 

Have you heard that word before?

Yes, it’s the name of our Church isn’t it?

The word “Shalom” bring a wide connotation in its meaning. 

It embraces the ideas of “being complete”, “whole”, health, prosperity, rest, joy  & restoration. 

And when the Jew greets his brethren & say “Shalom”, he conveys the blessing of well-being that is associated with God’s presence with you.

When God is present with you, when the LORD is your Shepherd, you have everything you need.

When God is with you, who can be against you?

When God is with you, even if the future looks bleak in your perception, you have the assurance that He will work all things for your good.

And you have a state of peace associated with rest, protection & assurance that only God can give. 

Question – where can we find such a state of peace in human history?

The closest you can get would be the reign of King Solomon, where you find this phrase….(which is also repeated by many prophets)

“And Judah & Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine & his fig tree ….” – 1 Kings 4:25

If you recall our Pastor’s preaching on 1 Kings, this verse traces its roots back to the garden of Eden in the book of Genesis…..

Where Man & woman were complete & had rest in the garden of Eden when there was no sin.

And they had the presence & fellowship of God right there with them.

That was the true meaning of peace – when everything was in order, whole, safe & at rest.

But we know that that state was totally destroyed when sin came into the world.

And there was no peace throughout the history of Israel….

Not until Solomon became king.

And King Solomon’s reign was associated with blessings, prosperity, safety & well-being.

And he constructed the temple of God which represented the presence of God with His people.

And that state is reminiscence of the days in the Garden of Eden.

And you know what – the name Solomon means “peace”.

And when the temple was dedicated in 1 Kings 8, King Solomon made a peace offering to God. 1 Kings 8:63.

I hope you can see how the picture of “peace” fits together.

And now, one who is greater than Solomon is with us.

He is the only one who can restore us to the true state of peace associated with God’s rest & presence.

Listen to what the angel said when he announced Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:14:

‘“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”’

After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, this is what we read in Luke 24:36 – 

“… Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them (the disciples), and said to them, “Peace to you.””

The peace that Jesus spoke about is the peace associated with the restoration of God’s rest, presence & assurance.

The world seeks the benefits of peace.

But they will never understand that true peace is about having rest in Jehovah God and enjoying His presence.

And this is peace that only God can give. 

And you can have the peace of God only if you are at peace with God. Why? Because….

#2 – The peace of God is a fruit of the Holy Spirit

The peace that Jesus gives is not something that we can create or attain on our own.

It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit – Gal 5:22

When you are at peace with God, the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested in you.

There is Love, joy, PEACE – the “Peace of God”.

But what is it like when we have such peace that Jesus gives?

It is really hard to understand; it is an experience. 

And that’s why the Apostle Paul tells us that:

“…the peace of God surpasses all understanding, …in other words, it’s mind boggling.

And it “… guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” – Phi 4:7

So the best that I can describe is that it is a state of mind where you have absolute rest & assurance in God.

Where you are fully contented & confident of the safety net of God’s protection.

Because you can literally sense that He is right there with you.

And you have rest in the midst of turbulence.

Like I said – It’s difficult to describe.

So let’s see some examples from the scriptures that show us how people behave when they have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

First example: New Testament, Acts 7 – one of the first deacons of the Church, Stephen, was about to be stoned.

His enemies were all around him.

There was no hope for him in getting away alive.

What would you do if you were in such a situation?

Panic. Surrender. Fight – basically, the thoughts are inward looking, all about ourselves. 

What was Stephen’s reaction?

“he gazed into heaven & saw the glory of God, & Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” – 

He experientially knew that God was right there with him.

He had absolute peace in spite of all the turbulence around him.

“…the peace of God surpassing all understanding, guarding his heart & mind in Christ Jesus” 

What kind of a state of mind is that?

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we have that state of mind?

Second example.

Old Testament, 1 Kings 18 – Elijah was alone.

He stood against 450 prophets of Baal.

Now, don’t trivialise this – these guys have knives.

And they even started cutting themselves. 

There is nothing to stop them from running wild and start cutting Elijah.

But in the midst of all that turbulence, Elijah made a burnt offering sacrifice – the way in which God was to be approached.

And God responded by fire – His presence right there with Elijah.

And you know the rest of the story.

But that’s how one who has the peace of God conducts himself.

He is oblivious of all the turbulence around him.

He is mindful that he lives in the presence of his God, whom he must please.

Finally, In Mark 4, Jesus & His disciples were in a boat.

And a storm arose.

And the storm was so bad that the disciples thought the boat would sink & they will all perish.

But Jesus, in the form of a man, was asleep in that boat.

So in the midst of that storm, the Man Jesus, had absolute peace and even managed to sleep.

And when the disciples called out to Him in desperation, the bible says Jesus arose and rebuked the wind.

And He said to the sea, “Peace, be still”.

When you have the peace of God, you have “rest” even when you are surrounded by turbulence. 

Let me ask those of you who have not professed faith or believed in Jesus….,

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the peace of God?

Especially in the midst of all the cares, worries & uncertainties in life?

But you can’t have the peace of God, unless you are at peace with God. 

Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples in John 16:33 – 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

My friends, why would you want to remain an enemy of God & miss out on the blessings & His promises?

How is it in your interest not to have the peace of God?

Why would you not accept His way for “peace with God”?

So the call of the gospel goes out to you again:

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ so that you can be at peace with God. 

There is nothing to lose but everything to gain.

Let me now close with an exhortation for those who are of the household of faith.

I want you to notice a group of people that were highlighted in Leviticus 7:20-21.

This group of people were excluded from the fellowship meal that followed the peace offering sacrifice.

Who is in this group that was excluded?

They were the ones who were “ceremonially” unclean.

In other words, they have done something that is against the ceremonial law.

In other words, they may be at peace with God, but they did not enjoy the peace of God.

They don’t get to enjoy the sweet fellowship of God even though they are accepted by God.

Now, this is a reminder to all believers.

If you are harbouring some unconfessed sin in your life, it will ruin your fellowship with God.

You will not have the “peace of God”.

Your standing with God may not be affected because of what Christ has done for you.

You still belong to God. 

But your enjoyment of God & the peace of God in your life will be ruined.

You will not have the rest, protection & assurance accorded by the peace of God.

That uncleanness will have to be purged before you can be fully restored into fellowship with God.

I confess to you that I have experienced sitting in the congregation, without having the peace of God.

It could be because I had unconfessed sins.

Or simply unhappy because I didn’t understand why God allowed certain things to happen.

Or perhaps because I haven’t read my bible or prayed for some time due to my heavy schedule.

Whatever it was, I had no excuse because God is holy and I was sinful.

And there was only one way for me to have peace….

And that was to confess my sins and approach God on the basis of Jesus’ blood & righteousness. 

And plead on His mercy that He may restore to me the peace of God that surpasses all understand to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Every time we celebrate the Lord’s supper is an opportunity for us repent and return to the Lord.

My dear Christian friends, I don’t know what your spiritual state is like right now.

But don’t miss out on the peace of God.

For He says “…Return to Me and I will return to you”.

May God search our hearts & let all glory be given to Him.

Let us pray.

By Grace through Faith…..Eph 2:8-9

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