Monday, December 20, 2021

Leviticus Session 12 - Holiness The - Sanctity of Sex

The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is studying of the Old Testament book of Leviticus. The key to the book of Leviticus is found in verses 45 and 46 of chapter 11.

Leviticus 11:44‭-‬45 NIV I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

These are the notes to session 12.

Chapters 17-20 which constituted a legal code for the people of Israel, touching on many areas of their personal and public life. The emphasis isn’t simply on justice or civic righteousness, as important as they are, but on holiness. After all, Israel was God’s people and the law was God’s law.

Chapters 17-20 deal with four special areas of life that must be respected and kept holy: the sanctity of blood, or life (chap. 17); the sanctity of sex (chap. 18); the sanctity of the law (chap. 19); and the sanctity of judgment (chap. 20).

Last week in chapter 17 we talked about the sanctity of blood. This week in session 12 we look at chapter 18 and we talk about the sanctity of sex.

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Used By God

By Rick Warren

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21 (ESV)

If you want to be used by God, you don’t have to be a perfect person—but you do need to purify your heart.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:21, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (ESV).

God uses all kinds of people. He uses shy people and outgoing people. He uses people of different races, ages, stages of life, and backgrounds. He uses men and women. God will use plain vessels, and he’ll use ornate vessels. He’ll use big vessels and small vessels.

But there is one thing that God will not use: He will not use a dirty vessel. You have to be clean on the inside. But here’s the good news: No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you can be made clean.

How do you do that? How do you become pure? You do it through a simple word: confession. Augustine, a Christian leader who lived a few hundred years after Jesus, said, “The confession of bad works is the beginning of good works.” The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing” (GNT).

The word “confess” in Greek is the word homologeo. Homo means “same,” and logeo means “to speak.” So homologeo literally means “to speak the same” as God does about my sin. It means you agree with him: “God, you’re right. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a sin. It was wrong.” It doesn’t mean you bargain with God (“I’ll never do it again”). It doesn’t mean you bribe God (“I promise to read my Bible every day if you’ll forgive me”).

You just admit your sin.

That may seem too simple to you. You may say, “All I’ve got to do is admit it, and God will forgive me?” Yes! It’s called grace.

Here’s what you can do if you really want to be used by God: Take time this week to sit down with a notebook or journal and ask God, “What’s wrong in my life? Show me. I’m going to write it down, and I’m going to admit it. I’m going to confess it to you.” Then, when God gives you an idea, write it down.

The first time I did this, I thought I was going to write a book! And I’ve done this many times since. Make a list, and then write 1 John 1:9 over the list and say, “God, I admit these sins to you. These are wrong. I don’t want them in my life.” Ask God to cleanse your life. God will forgive you!

This is the starting point to being used by God. You must purify your heart.

Chapters 17-20 deal with four special areas of life that must be respected and kept holy: the sanctity of blood, or life (chap. 17); the sanctity of sex (chap. 18); the sanctity of the law (chap. 19); and the sanctity of judgment (chap. 20).

Last week we went through chapter 17 talking about the sanctity of blood because life is in the blood. 

Leviticus 17:11 NIV For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

Scripture told us that the blood was the life. When a sacrifice was offered and its blood was shed, it meant the giving of a life for the life of another. The innocent victim died in the place of the guilty sinner. Throughout Scripture, it’s the blood that makes the atonement. Any theology that ignores or minimizes the blood isn’t founded on the Word of God.

Believers today need to appreciate the importance of the “precious blood of Christ”.

1 Peter 1:17‭-‬19 NIV Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Among other things, through His blood, we are justified.

Romans 5:9‭-‬11 NIV Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


Ephesians 1:7‭-‬8 NIV In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,


Hebrews 13:12 NIV And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.

brought near

Ephesians 2:13 NIV But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

and cleansed

1 John 1:7 NIV But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

The church was purchased by the blood of Christ and therefore is very precious to God 

Acts 20:25‭-‬28 NIV “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.


We live in a sex-saturated society. It smiles at monogamous marriages, encourages abortion as a means of birth control, promotes and endorses kinky sex as a means of entertainment,claims that moral absolutes don’t exist, and really believes that people can violate moral standards and escape the consequences. Fulton J. Sheen was right when he said, “The Victorians pretended [sex] did not exist; the moderns pretend that nothing else exists.”

Authority (vv. 1–5). 

There are several reasons why the Lord gives clear instructions concerning personal sexual hygiene, sexual morality, and marriage. For one thing, we’re created in the image of God, and the Creator knows what’s best for His creation.

Leviticus 18:2‭-‬5 NIV “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

God certainly wants married couples to enjoy the beautiful gift of sex, but He also wants them to avoid the terrible consequences that come when His laws are violated.

God had chosen Israel to be the channel through which His Son would come into the world, and it was important that the channel be sanctified. The breakdown of marriage in the Jewish society and the adopting of pagan practices could threaten the plan of God for their redemption. 

Malachi 2:15 NIV Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

A Christian marriage should be a witness to the world of the love Christ has for His church, but if that marriage isn’t pure and faithful, the witness is destroyed. If husbands and wives can’t love each other as Christ loves the church, why invite their unsaved friends to be saved and share in Christ’s love?

Ephesians 5:25‭-‬33 NIV Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Three times in Lev 18:2-5 God said, “I am the LORD”. The phrase is used forty-two times in Leviticus 18—26. That’s all the authority we need for the standards that we hold! The Lord warned Israel not to look back and imitate the sins they saw in Egypt, nor to look around and imitate the sins of the Gentile nations. 

When the Jews entered Canaan, they would discover that the people there were unspeakably immoral; Israel would have to maintain a position of separation in order to be pleasing to the Lord. The church today must maintain that same position.

Colossians 3:1‭-‬11 NIV Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Verse 5 says obedience to God’s commandments brings life. Now we know that salvation is wholly by faith, totally apart from the works of the law however, after we’re saved, our obedience to the will of God, as revealed in the Word of God, is the basis for fellowshipping with God and enjoying the abundant life He wants us to have.

Standards vv. 6–23.

The repeated phrase “uncover the nakedness” simply means “to have sexual relations with.” These laws would apply not only to marriage but also to casual contacts that were immoral. The prohibitions are listed in this chapter; the penalties are spelled out in chapter 20.

Leviticus 18:7–18 deal with incestuous relationships. 

Leviticus 18:7‭-‬18 NIV “ ‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative. “ ‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness. “ ‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

Most modern societies prohibit consanguineous marriages (a consanguineous marriage is defined as a union between two individuals who are related as second cousins or closer) not because of what the Bible says but because of the consequences of such unions. There is a tendency for their children to inherit the recessive detrimental genes and bring out the worst in the family tree rather than the best.

Leviticus 18:16 NIV “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.

Notice however that Leviticus 18:16 did not prohibit what is known as “levirate marriage.” (“Levir” is the Latin word for “husband’s brother.”) This occurred when a deceased husband’s brother married the widow so as to beget sons who would continue the family name and protect the family inheritance.

Deuteronomy 25:5‭-‬10 NIV If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

The law stated in Leviticus 18:16 prohibited only illicit relations between brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

The seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery is expressly stated in Leviticus 18:20.

Leviticus 18:20 NIV “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.

The warning about Molech (Lev. 18:21) will be dealt with when we study chapter 20.  

Leviticus 18:21 NIV “ ‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

This section climaxes with prohibitions against homosexuality  and bestiality

Leviticus 18:22‭-‬23 NIV “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

These sins are defiling, detestable, and a perversion. 

Romans 1:24‭-‬32 NIV Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Consequences (vv. 24–30).

Leviticus 18:24‭-‬30 NIV “ ‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. “ ‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.’ ”

 The picture here isn’t a pretty one. Sexual perversions are like disease germs; they make a society and a nation sick. Please note that these were Gentile nations that were judged—peoples with whom God had not made any covenants, but He still held them accountable.

 If God so dealt with Gentile nations, to whom He’d never given His law, how much more will He hold accountable those who claim to know Him and possess His Word?

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