Leviticus 21-23

Thursday Evening Bible Study

December 3, 2009


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

This is the manual for the Levitical priests.

There is a sense in which some this does not apply to us, since most likely none of us in this room are descendants of the line of Aaron and qualified to become Levitical priests.

But what we will look for are some of the principles that might be helpful for us.

In a sense, we are all “priests”.  As believers we are the ones that have the ability to connect lost people with God.

Leviticus 21

21:1-9 Priestly life

:1 And the LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: 'None shall defile himself for the dead among his people,

:2 'except for his relatives who are nearest to him: his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, and his brother;

:3 'also his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband, for her he may defile himself.

:4 'Otherwise he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.

This is talking about touching dead bodies.  One type of “defilement” can come by touching a dead body.

:5 'They shall not make any bald place on their heads, nor shall they shave the edges of their beards nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

This speaks of pagan practices, of how they worshipped their gods.  There is nothing wrong with bald heads or nicely kept beards.

:6 'They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy.


Purity and usefulness

Let’s say that you are a person that God has been using.  Let’s say that you’ve been developing your friendships with people and God is using you in their lives to help them grow in Christ.
And so there you are on your computer when a moment of weakness hits you and you begin to download some kind of a porn movie onto your computer.  And while you are engaged in this activity, the phone rings and it’s one of your friends that God has been using you with.  They call because they have a great need to pray with someone.
Don’t get me wrong.  God does use sinners.  If God can speak through a donkey, God can speak through me.
Yet there is a connection between being morally pure and being useful to God.
(2 Tim 2:20-22 NLT)  In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. {21} If you keep yourself pure, you will be a utensil God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. {22} Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

God wants us to stay in the “useful” place.

:7 'They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or a defiled woman, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for the priest is holy to his God.

:8 'Therefore you shall consecrate him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy.

:9 'The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire.

21:10-15 High Priestly Life

:10 'He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes;

:11 'nor shall he go near any dead body, nor defile himself for his father or his mother;

:12 'nor shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.

There was only one high priest at a time.  The rules for the high priest were very similar to the regular priest, but only more strict.  A regular priest could touch a dead body if it was a family member.  Not so for the high priest.

:13 'And he shall take a wife in her virginity.

:14 'A widow or a divorced woman or a defiled woman or a harlot; these he shall not marry; but he shall take a virgin of his own people as wife.

:15 'Nor shall he profane his posterity among his people, for I the LORD sanctify him.'"


Family and ministry

Did you notice how God was concerned about priests and their marriage?
It’s not that God can’t use you if your spouse is an ungodly person, but you’re definitely going to be having problems.
God’s desire is that ministry is supported by a complete marriage.
If you’re charging into ministry without your spouse’s support, you can have some slow going.
I’ve heard of pastors whose wives don’t even go to their own church.  Ouch.
Paul wrote to Timothy about leaders in the church:
(1 Tim 3:4-5 NLT)  He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. {5} For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?

Sometimes a person feels a sense that God wants them to serve Him more and more.  And they can feel like their marriage or their family is just holding them back.  Perhaps they feel that serving God is more important than serving their family.

You can only go as far in ministry as your family is willing to go.

If your family is not ready to serve as much as you are, then your priority needs to be with your family first.  When they are ready, then you go.

21:16-24 No Defective Priests

:16 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:17 "Speak to Aaron, saying: 'No man of your descendants in succeeding generations, who has any defect, may approach to offer the bread of his God.

:18 'For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long,

:19 'a man who has a broken foot or broken hand,

:20 'or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch.

:21 'No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the LORD. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.

:22 'He may eat the bread of his God, both the most holy and the holy;

:23 'only he shall not go near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a defect, lest he profane My sanctuaries; for I the LORD sanctify them.'"

:24 And Moses told it to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel.

This does not mean that God doesn’t like handicapped people.  This does not mean that God does not like imperfect people.

I see the application in a different light.


A few good men

Sometimes I get the idea from some fellows that they want to go into the ministry because they can’t seem to do anything else.
I think that those in ministry should be the cream of the crop.  I think that they should be people who would excel, not fail out in the secular world.
Here’s what Charles Spurgeon has to say about this (from “Lectures To My Students”, pg.35-36):
I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry – they were quite certain of it, because they had failed in everything else.  This is a sort of model story: - “Sir, I was put into a lawyer’s office, but I never could bear the confinement, and I could not feel at home in studying the law; Providence clearly stopped up my road, for I lost my situation.”  “And what did you do then?” “Why sir, I was induced to open a grocer’s shop.”  “And did you prosper?” “Well, I do not think, Sir, I was ever meant for trade, and the Lord seemed quite to shut my way up there, for I failed and was in great difficulties.  Since then I have done a little in life-assurance agency, and tried to get up a school, besides selling tea; but my path is hedged up, and something within me makes me feel that I ought to be a minister.”  My answer generally is, “Yes, I see; you have failed in everything else, and therefore you think the Lord has especially endowed you for his service; but I fear you have forgotten that the ministry needs the very best of men, and not those who cannot do anything else.”  A man who would succeed as a preacher would probably do right well either as a grocer, or a lawyer, or anything else.  A really valuable minister would have excelled at anything.  There is scarcely anything impossible to a man who can keep a congregation together for years, and be the means of edifying them for hundreds of consecutive Sabbaths; he must be possessed of some abilities, and be by no means a fool or ne’er-do-well.  Jesus Christ deserves the best men to preach his cross, and not the empty-headed and the shiftless.
I like those commercials for the Marines.  They aren’t looking for losers, they are looking for winners.  The few, the proud, the Marines.  Hoo-ah!
Play Marine2 Clip

It’s not that the ministry is for perfect people.  It’s for people who are willing to work through their imperfections.

Play Marine3 Clip

Ministry is not for “applicants”, it’s for commitment.

Leviticus 22

22:1-16 Handling the gifts

:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:2 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they do not profane My holy name by what they dedicate to Me: I am the LORD.

With the various sacrifices and offerings, sometimes a portion of what was given to God was in turn handed off to the priest.

This was part of how the priests provided for their families.

What we have here are some conditions as to who was allowed to eat of these offerings, and what kind of life they lived.

Summary of these conditions:

You could be a priest

You could be from the family of a priest.

You had to have a “clean” life.

:3 "Say to them: 'Whoever of all your descendants throughout your generations, who goes near the holy things which the children of Israel dedicate to the LORD, while he has uncleanness upon him, that person shall be cut off from My presence: I am the LORD.

:4 'Whatever man of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or has a discharge, shall not eat the holy offerings until he is clean. And whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse, or a man who has had an emission of semen,

:5 'or whoever touches any creeping thing by which he would be made unclean, or any person by whom he would become unclean, whatever his uncleanness may be;

:6 'the person who has touched any such thing shall be unclean until evening, and shall not eat the holy offerings unless he washes his body with water.

:7 'And when the sun goes down he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat the holy offerings, because it is his food.

:8 'Whatever dies naturally or is torn by beasts he shall not eat, to defile himself with it: I am the LORD.

:9 'They shall therefore keep My ordinance, lest they bear sin for it and die thereby, if they profane it: I the LORD sanctify them.

:10 'No outsider shall eat the holy offering; one who dwells with the priest, or a hired servant, shall not eat the holy thing.

:11 'But if the priest buys a person with his money, he may eat it; and one who is born in his house may eat his food.

:12 'If the priest's daughter is married to an outsider, she may not eat of the holy offerings.

:13 'But if the priest's daughter is a widow or divorced, and has no child, and has returned to her father's house as in her youth, she may eat her father's food; but no outsider shall eat it.

:14 'And if a man eats the holy offering unintentionally, then he shall restore a holy offering to the priest, and add one-fifth to it.

If you snuck into a priest’s house and ate some of the ribs in his refrigerator, you had to pay it back.

:15 'They shall not profane the holy offerings of the children of Israel, which they offer to the LORD,

:16 'or allow them to bear the guilt of trespass when they eat their holy offerings; for I the LORD sanctify them.'"


Live up to the gift

I see this as a principle mainly for those who make some kind of living off of the ministry.
Eli’s sons
The High Priest Eli had two sons who lived immoral lives:

(1 Sam 2:22 NLT)  Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle.

Their immoral lives were just part of the problem.  The other part of the problem was in how they ripped off the people who were bringing their offerings to the Lord:

(1 Sam 2:17 NKJV)  Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

When you are supported in some way by the ministry, you have an obligation to live as an example.  You have an obligation to live a “clean” life.
When a pastor gets drawn into a lavish lifestyle or some immoral behavior comes to light, what happens to God’s people?

People get disillusioned with the things of God.

Unbelievers have a new target to aim their mocking at.

22:17-30 Acceptable Offerings

The next section talks about what kinds of things you were allowed to offer to the Lord as sacrifices.  One verse sums up the whole thing:

:17 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:18 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel, and say to them: 'Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, who offers his sacrifice for any of his vows or for any of his freewill offerings, which they offer to the LORD as a burnt offering;

:19 'you shall offer of your own free will a male without blemish from the cattle, from the sheep, or from the goats.

:20 'Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf.

:21 'And whoever offers a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, to fulfill his vow, or a freewill offering from the cattle or the sheep, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.

:22 'Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to the LORD.

:23 'Either a bull or a lamb that has any limb too long or too short you may offer as a freewill offering, but for a vow it shall not be accepted.

:24 'You shall not offer to the LORD what is bruised or crushed, or torn or cut; nor shall you make any offering of them in your land.

:25 'Nor from a foreigner's hand shall you offer any of these as the bread of your God, because their corruption is in them, and defects are in them. They shall not be accepted on your behalf.'"

If you felt like you were supposed to give God a present, and you looked out at your flock, the temptation might be to give God the sickest looking sheep.  What would God care?  The animal is just going to die, isn’t it?

Those animals with defects were not acceptable as sacrifices to God.


Give God your best.

Don’t give God your leftovers, don’t give Him your second-best.
It isn’t a sacrifice if it doesn’t cost you anything.
David and the land for the temple.
There was a plague in the land due to David’s sin of wanting to be prideful in the nation by taking a census.  He needed to offer a sacrifice to stop the plague.  A man with land and animals offered to just let David take his property and use it.
(2 Sam 24:24 NKJV)  …”No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.”

:26-30 – (skip)

:26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

:27 "When a bull or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall be seven days with its mother; and from the eighth day and thereafter it shall be accepted as an offering made by fire to the LORD.

:28 "Whether it is a cow or ewe, do not kill both her and her young on the same day.

:29 "And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will.

:30 "On the same day it shall be eaten; you shall leave none of it until morning: I am the LORD.

:31 "Therefore you shall keep My commandments, and perform them: I am the LORD.

:32 "You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you,

:33 "who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD."

Do you remember what the main theme is for the book of Leviticus?  It’s all about “holiness

Holiness means to be separate.  Different.  Unlike other things.

God wants us to demonstrate that He is holy.

He is unlike any other.
The fact that we obey Him by being “different” gives people a glimpse at God, that He is different.
People need to see a difference.
They need to see that there’s a reason to change, a reason to be different.

Leviticus 23 – The Feasts

:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.

convocationmiqra’ – convocation, a calling together

The Jews would be spending 40 years together, kind of like one great big retreat, but when they got into the promised land, they would "all go home".

So, it would be important to set up with the people the regular times when they would come together for fellowship.

A time when the believers got together.

We call it fellowship.

There were to be a whole lot of times during the year that the believers were to get together.

:3 'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

There should be a weekly getting together of believers.

23:4-8 Passover / Unleavened Bread

Once a year, in our March - April time.


Remembering the Lord's deliverance from Egypt.

Unleavened Bread

The seven days after the Passover, remember how the people didn’t have time to make leavened bread as they fled from Egypt.

These two feasts are often seen as the same feast – referring to one refers to the other.

:4 'These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.

:5 'On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord's Passover.

:6 'And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

:7 'On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.

:8 'But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.'"

23:9-14 First Fruits

This was a feast that would be celebrated after the nation finally arrived in the Promised Land.

When the fields were finally ready to harvested, you were not to eat anything from the field until you first gave God an offering, the “first fruits”.

The offering would be given on the day after the Sabbath when the fields were ready.

This was done on the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

:9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:10 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.

:11 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.

:12 'And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD.

:13 'Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin.

:14 'You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

23:15-22 Weeks / Pentecost

Seven weeks after the firstfruits was this feast.  “Pente” means fifty, this feast was celebrated fifty days after Passover.

It was also called the “Feast of Harvest”, taking place around June, a celebration of the end of the wheat harvest.

The celebration included an offering of two loaves bread to the Lord, each loaf weighing close to five pounds.

There were also offerings of lambs, a bull, rams, and goats.

:15 'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.

:16 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.

:17 'You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD.

:18 'And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD.

:19 'Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering.

:20 'The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.

:21 'And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

:22 'When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.'"

23:23-25 Trumpets

Silver trumpets were normally blown on the first day of every month (Num.10:1,10).

Here, in the seventh month(our Sept. - Oct. time period), their blowing was to herald a day of rest.

Possibly to remind people that this "seventh month" (of the Jewish calendar) was a big month, there was an upcoming big date, the Day of Atonement, also the Feast of Tabernacles was coming up.

:23 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:24 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.

:25 'You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.'"

23:26-32 Day of Atonement

In Hebrew, “Yom Kippur”

Takes place during our Sept. - Oct. time period, we just passed in on October 10.

See Lev.16 for more details...

This was the one day of the year when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and make atonement for the sins of the nation upon the mercy seat (God’s throne).

It too was to be a day of holy convocation - fellowship.

:26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

:27 "Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.

:28 "And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.

:29 "For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.

:30 "And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.

:31 "You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

:32 "It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."

23:33-44 Tabernacles

Also took place in the same "seventh month" (Sept. - Oct.).  Lasted for seven days.

Was to celebrate how God took care of the nation Israel in the wilderness, while they lived in tents, or "booths", or "tabernacles".

Jewish holiday of "Sukkoth" (booths)

The idea was that you would build a shelter out in your back yard with your kids, made out of branches, and live outside, camping, with your family for seven days.

Kind of like a vacation!  Jesus was invited!

:33 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:34 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.

:35 'On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.

:36 'For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.

:37 'These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day;

:38 'besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD.

:39 'Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest.

:40 'And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.

:41 'You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

:42 'You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,

:43 'that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.'"

:44 So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.

:43 generations

Another reason for these feasts was to be a teaching tool to pass on from generation to generation.

I think one of the reasons God did this was because of the prophetic pictures painted within each feast.  God made a way to pass on these truths by creating holidays which would be teaching tools.

The Feasts Prophetically

There is prophetic significance with these seven Jewish feasts.  Some are obvious, some aren't, yet.

We see a prophetic significance because some significant things happened on these specific feast days, things which are just too coincidental...

1.  Passover

Jesus fulfilled the idea of the Passover by dying on the cross.  Guess when?  On the Passover.

Jesus is called our Passover Lamb (1Cor. 5:7)

2.  First Fruits

It was to be celebrated "the day after the sabbath", and that could possibly refer to Sunday, the day of resurrection.

Jesus in His resurrection is referred to as the first fruits (1CO 15:20)

3.  Pentecost

Fifty days after first fruits.

Fulfilled with the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost.  The early church was the first season of the harvest.

A Pause?

These first four feasts take place at the beginning of the year, Pentecost being almost two months afterward, but still tied in with the first set of feasts.

The next three feasts all take place in the seventh month.
Could there be some sort of correlation between the first and second coming of Jesus?  The first set of feasts fir the first coming, the second set of feasts for the second coming?

There have not been any significant prophetic events that have happened yet during the last three feasts.

4.  Trumpets

We wonder if this might be tied in with the Rapture of the Church.

It is interesting that the two main verses that describe the Rapture, also contain references to trumpets (1Th. 4:16; 1Cor. 15:51-52)
(1 Th 4:16 NKJV)  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
During the Sept. - Oct. time period.
This is why some of these books have come out in recent years saying that the rapture is going to happen in either September or October ("88 Reasons why the Rapture is going to happen in 1988...")

5.  Day of Atonement

Some see this as fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus, and the salvation of Israel based upon Jesus' death at His first coming.

(Rom 11:26 NKJV)  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

6.  Tabernacles

Prophetic of when God dwells again with man on earth, during the Millennial Kingdom

It also happens to be the only feast mentioned as being celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom:

(Zec 14:16 NKJV)  And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Lessons about fellowship...

God provided LOTS of opportunities for these “holy convocations”.  He wants His people to get together often.  This is fellowship.

1.  Fellowship is belonging.

 (Heb 10:24-25 NKJV)  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, {25} not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Sometimes we can feel like we just don’t belong in life…


They worked together every day at the furniture delivery company and didn’t know. Gary would lift one end of the couch and Randy the other. People said they looked alike, but they chalked that up to coincidence. Randy had been researching his family history. He was an adopted son, and a new law in Maine allowed him to finally see his birth certificate. He learned that both his parents had died but that they had another son, born June 10, 1974. Then, on a furniture delivery run, it happened again. A customer commented on how much Randy looked like Gary. Randy started nonchalantly asking Gary some more personal questions—like when his birthday is. “As soon as he said his birthday, I knew,” Randy said later. Gary is his brother.  Here they had grown up in neighboring towns and attended rival schools—only a year apart in age—and never known about each other. It was a shock to both of them. “Phenomenal,” said Gary. “I still can’t wrap my head around it.” A co-worker, Greg Berry, said, “There’s nothing like family, especially when you don’t have one. Now they’ve got it.” But that’s not all. After their story appeared in the local paper, “a teary-eyed woman showed up at the brothers’ workplace clutching a birth certificate.” She was their half-sister, born five or six years before the two men to the same mother. “After all these years,” she said in an interview with a reporter, “here I am 41, and now I finally found my brothers.”

Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois; source: AOL News (9-19-09), quoting an article entitled "Adopted brothers reunited by work," from the Bangor Daily News and The Nashua Telegraph (9-22-09)

That’s us beloved.  We have a place where we belong.  We belong to each other. 

2.  Encouragement to keep going.

(Heb 3:12-13 NKJV)  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; {13} but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

I see it all the time when a person stops coming to church.
Then they get used to not coming.
Then they fall away. They get a hard heart, and no one is around to catch it.
One of Satan’s favorite techniques is “isolation therapy”, getting you off by yourself, then making you feel like nobody understands you or can help you...

What we need in our lives are people who will speak encouragement into us, people who will help us not quit and give up.

Kind of like the coach in “Facing The Giants”.
Facing the Giants is about a Christian high school football team and their coach, Grant Taylor (Alex Kendrick). In six years of coaching, Grant has never had a winning season. After realigning himself with God, Grant delivers his team a new philosophy. But he will need the leadership of one of his key seniors, Brock Kelly (Jason McLeod).   He will need Brock to learn how not to quit… (play video clip)

We can probably go a little bit farther than we give ourselves credit for.

As the players are gathered for practice, one of them asks, “So coach, how strong is Westview this year?” Brock answers, “A lot stronger than we are.” The coach asks, “You already written Friday night down as a loss, Brock?” “Well, not if I knew we could beat ‘em,” Brock responds. The coach says, “Come here, Brock. You too, Jeremy.” “What? Am I in trouble now?” asks Brock. “Not yet,” answers the coach. “I want to see you do the death crawl again [a training exercise where Brock will crawl with a player on his back, without his knees touching the ground], except I want to see your absolute best.” “What, you want me to go to the 30?” asks Brock. “I think you can go to the 50.”  “The 50? I can go to the 50 if nobody’s on my back.” “I think you can do it with Jeremy on your back, but even if you can’t, I want you to promise you’re going to do your best.” “All right,” Brock answers.  “One more thing,” Coach Taylor adds. “I want you to do it blindfolded.” “Why?”  “’Cause I don’t want you giving up at a certain point when you could go further.” As Brock takes his position and Jeremy climbs on his back, the coach calls out: “All right, Brock, let’s go. Keep your knees off the ground. Just your hands and feet. There you go, just a little bit left. Show me good effort. That a way, Brock, you keep comin’. There you go, it’s a good start.” Brock then asks, “Am I at the 20 yet?” “Forget the 20. You give me your best. Now, don’t stop, Brock. You’ve got more in you than that.” As Brock slows to a stop, he utters, “I’m not done, I’m just restin’ a second.” The coach continues to yell encouragement until Brock cries out, “It hurts!” “Don’t quit on me,” the coach answers, “your very best—keep drivin’.” “He’s heavy,” Brock wheezes.  “I know he’s heavy.”  “I’m about out of strength.”  “Then you negotiate with your body to find more strength,” Taylor yells, raising his volume to exhort his player, “but don’t you give up on me, Brock. You’re doin’ good. Do not quit on me. It’s all heart from here.” By now the entire team is standing speechless, watching Brock continue on. The coach shouts: “30 more steps…20 more…10 more…1 more,” until Brock finally collapses.  “It’s got to be the 50,” Brock cries. “It’s got to be the 50; I don’t have any more.” “Look, Brock,” says the coach, “you’re in the end zone.”
Facing the Giants (Destination Films, 2006), directed by Alex Kendrick