My main question for today is: what is heaven like?
We see all these ideas in an unexpected place in the Bible. Our Bible passage today is about a weird law that the ancient Hebrews had to follow. But it’s a law that helps us understand what heaven is like and it gives us something to look forward to.
When we fully understand, it should motivate us to make earth a bit more like heaven.
As strange as it may seem, our passage today gives us two ideas about Heaven:
As I prepared today’s passage from Leviticus 19, it reminds me of the one thing we have in common, no matter where we are from.
First, who knows this song:
“Loving can hurt. Loving can hurt sometimes. But it’s the only thing that I know. When it gets hard. You know it can get hard sometimes. It is the only thing that makes us feel alive.”
Who agrees with me that loving people is not easy? Although in my self-introduction, I always say “Hi I’m Lilian and my nickname is Love (That’s why I named today’s sermon Love is Our Nickname), undeniably love is so challenging. If we are not intentional in loving others, we will soon find ourselves spending a lot of time and money on making ourselves happy and comfortable, while being angry all the time.
Why is love so challenging? Here’s the answer that I’ve found in the Bible. Love is challenging because the standard of love is God. And we can’t meet that standard unless He helps us.
In all our own unique situations, we have issues that bring up feelings of guilt or even despair. Whether we’ve hurt people intentionally or unintentionally. Maybe we’ve been hurt ourselves and we are mourning the death of a trust or friendship. Or maybe we’ve invested everything into a dream that was supposed to fulfill us but it did not lead to joy or love, but rather this pervasive feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction. This all leads us to the feeling of despair. A loss of hope.
Today, our question is, “How does God deal with our despair?”
We get to see that he deals with our despair by getting to the root of the issue which is the sin and evil in our lives and in our world. We’ll touch on this a bit more later, but for now, this is the lens in which we’re looking at the problem of despair.
One of the great things about basketball is that it gives people a chance to be part of a team that shares a common mission. Even if they don’t make it into the NBA, it’s the journey that counts the most! It’s the friendships you make along the way. The character formation and the habits created.
These ideas carry over to other parts of life because life is a team game. And following Jesus is a team game and as Christians, we share a mission together.
So, my big question today is: How can we fulfill our responsibilities on God’s team?
We find two answers in our passage today:
We need to obey what God says
We need to bring him honor
We see these answers in our Bible story, which is about some serious drama that happened in the household of the high priest Aaron.
This week, we start our new sermon series on the book of Leviticus.
Suppose you had the power to go anywhere in the world and see anything. Where would you want to go, and what would you like to see? Sometimes people talk about places like Korea or Japan, or Europe. Those places sound really fun. It would be nice to visit a different culture and eat their food and travel with people we like. My question is more about seeing things. If you could see anything you wanted, what would you want to see? For me, that’s a hard question because I can just see things on YouTube and that’s good enough for me.
But imagine you had a special ability, almost a superpower, so that you could literally see anything, and there was no limit to what you could see. Well, then, you could use that power to see some of the most closely guarded secrets in the world.
I bring up this topic because as Christians we actually have something even more valuable to see. Which brings me to my main topic. Because the Bible talks about the ability to see God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8).
Now to be fair, God is invisible, so we can’t literally see him with our eyes. But the point is that we can experience him, and we can know him just as well as if we were seeing him. We can live with him and work with him and have a relationship with him. And if we could have that kind of relationship with God, it would be more valuable than anything in the world.
So my big question today is, how can we experience the greatness of God?
My task is to show you the answer that I’ve found in the Bible.