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Strange Fire

Leviticus 10:1-3

The PowerPoint sermon can be viewed here.

The PowerPoint sermon can be downloaded here.

Introduction

A.	Worshiping in error is a big problem.
	1.	You go to many churches, and you will find worship that does not fit New Testament 
		teaching.
	2.	Jesus knew that improper worship would be a problem: 
		a.	Jn 4:23-24.
			1)	Jesus here speaks of the two dimensions of proper worship:
			2)	"In spirit" means "right attitude": "In truth" means "right action."
		b.	Matt 15:8-9.
	3.	Improper worship has been a problem since man has walked the earth.
		a.	Cain's offering did not please the Lord (Gen 4:5).
		b.	In this morning's text, Nadab and Abihu offer "strange fire" before the LORD.
B.	This morning, we wish to explore the episode of Nadab and Abihu to learn an important 
	lesson: "God deserves to be honored in worship."

Text (Leviticus 10:1-3)

A.	v 1:
	1.	Nadab and Abihu were the oldest two of Aaron's four sons.
		a.	These two sons have been consecrated as priests (Ex 29:9).
		b.	They had great potential to serve God.
	2.	Each took his censer, put fire in it and put incense on it.
	3.	In so doing, they offered "strange fire" before the LORD.
	4.	What did Nadab and Abihu do wrong?
		a.	Nadab and Abihu did not get their fire from the altar of burnt offering (Lev 16:12).
		b.	Nadab and Abihu appear to have entered the Holy Place at the wrong time (Lev 
			16:1-2).
		c.	God tells Aaron not to drink wine or strong drink when they minister in the 
			tabernacle lest they die (Lev 10:8-11).
			1)	Why would God-immediately after the death of Nadab and Abihu-tell 
				Aaron not to minister when he's drunk lest he die unless Nadab and Abihu 
				were drunk?
			2)	It's my conviction that Nadab and Abihu were drunk when they offered 
				profane fire before the LORD.
		d.	It is likely that all three of these reasons came together to lead to the sin of Nadab 
			and Abihu.
	5.	Whatever the specific sin of Nadab and Abihu, the important thing is: They "offered 
		strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not."
		a.	The English Standard Version translates this: They "offered unauthorized fire 
			before the LORD, which he had not commanded them."
		b.	That is very much the idea.
			1)	Nadab and Abihu offered fire before the presence of the Lord that He had not 
				commanded them.
			2)	They worshiped in a way God had not commanded them.
B.	v 2:
	1.	Nadab and Abihu likely never knew what hit them.
	2.	Fire came from the presence of the LORD, devoured the priests, and they died in the 
		presence of the LORD.
		a.	I find it interesting that in the verse immediately preceding Nadab and Abihu, you 
			have fire coming from the presence of the LORD: "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" (Lev 9:24).
		b.	Both are fires of "judgment":
			1)	With the burnt offering, God is showing pleasure with the way that Aaron and 
				his sons worshiped.
			2)	With Nadab and Abihu, God is showing displeasure with the way that Aaron's 
				sons worshiped.
		c.	We can go from proper worship to improper worship in the blink of an eye-Nadab 
			and Abihu did.
			1)	We don't know how long there was between the burnt offering and Nadab and 
				Abihu. It could have been considerable.
			2)	Yet, I think these two episodes are placed side by side to demonstrate that just 
				because we honor God at one time doesn't mean we'll honor Him at another 
				time.
C.	v 3:
	1.	At first glance, Moses' response to the killing of his nephews sounds strange.
	2.	But, he says something important: "God deserves to be honored in worship."
		a.	Those who come near to God-Levitical priests in this context-had better come 
			before God appropriately.
		b.	They dare not come before God just any way.
			1)	God will be sanctified by those priests who come near Him.
			2)	If that means He kills them for disregarding His holiness, He'll do that.
	3.	Before the people, God will be glorified-God will not simply allow Himself to be 
		disrespected before the people.
	4.	Aaron held his peace-There was nothing else to be said.

Application

A.	"God deserves to be honored in worship."
B.	How is our honor of God in worship?
	1.	We need to make sure that our worship is always authorized.
		a.	Nadab and Abihu ran into trouble, because-for whatever reason-they did not do 
			precisely what God had said.
		b.	We need to examine the Scriptures quite carefully to make sure that we do exactly 
			what God wants in worship.
			1)	Many congregations have gone astray because they have failed to examine the 
				Scriptures carefully vis-a-vis worship.
			2)	All too often that sacrifice what is right upon the altar of what feels good, what 
				draws a crowd, what's pleasing to the eyes/ears, etc.
		c.	Let us make sure that this congregation always examines what we do carefully, lest 
			we incur the judgment of God!
		d.	Make sure that you study the Word of God for yourself so that you know you are 
			worshiping appropriately.
			1)	You are going to be held accountable to God for how you have worshiped-
				Nadab and Abihu teach us that.
			2)	If there's something you don't understand, please feel free to ask questions.
	2.	We need to make sure our hearts honor God in worship.
		a.	Nadab and Abihu clearly did not have hearts intent on worship.
			1)	If, as I surmise, they were drunk, it would not have been possible to have their 
				hearts in the right place.
			2)	In getting fire from the wrong place and in entering the Holy Place at the 
				wrong time, they weren't trying to serve God.
				a)	There are many who worship wrongly because they have been taught 
					wrong-these folks want to do right, but they are caught up in error.
				b)	Not so Nadab and Abihu!
					i.	They have been informed of the will of God, but they still worship in 
						error.
					ii.	We can't be sure why they continued to worship wrongly.
						i)	Was it just a case where alcohol clouded their judgment?
						ii)	Was it a case that they didn't think it mattered where they got the 
							fire?
						iii)	Did they believe God wasn't concerned about exactly when they 
							entered the Holy Place?
					iii.	They had a serious heart issue-they put themselves in the place of 
						God!
		b.	I'm afraid that when we worship, we sometimes have serious heart issues.
			1)	I'm afraid that sometimes that the heart is simply absent from worship 
				altogether.
				a)	"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me 
					with their lips; but their heart is far from me" (Matt 15:8).
				b)	A heart that is far away does not honor God.
			2)	Where is your heart this morning?
				a)	Do you have a heart that is clouded by sin?
				b)	Do you have a heart that is clouded by hatred for your fellow man?
				c)	Do you have a heart that is a million miles away-thinking about the 
					weather, about lunch, about this afternoon?
	3.	"God deserves to be honored in worship." Are you truly honoring Him in worship?

PowerPoint Presentation

Strange Fire from JJustim

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