07 Jan 2024

The Big Picture Of Leviticus


Leviticus is like Cinderella, the forgotten sister of the Bible. Many people avoid it, thinking it is incomprehensible, irrelevant and weird. So many are familiar with Genesis and Exodus, but will conveniently skip Leviticus. And I think it is a pity. God has declared that all His Word is profitable (2Ti 3:16), and is written for our instruction and hope (Rom 15:4). A Jewish child growing up in the Yeshiva actually reads Leviticus as his or her first book. So, what is Leviticus all about? 1. A Purpose. Leviticus is a book about "drawing near to God". It is relevant for the seeker, the backslider or the follower. 2. A Problem. Leviticus reminds us that God is holy, but we are not. We are thus separated from God. 3. A Provision. Enter Leviticus! It presents the priestly services to ceremonially cleanse and purify God's people, that man can approach God. 4. A Portrayal. But the Levitical priesthood is not the ultimate thing- for it cannot cleanse man of their sins. It is a copy of heavenly things. It points us to Jesus, who alone is the Lamb and our Great High Priest who can save us. Find out more in this sermon, and develop a gospel-centered lens to learn from this rich book! May you draw near to God in 2024!



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As was mentioned, as a church, we begin a new journey in the book of Leviticus in 2024. Leviticus is a book few people have really studied, I think, and it's a book that few churches have really preached through.

I want to ask, "How many of you have sat through or been through Leviticus as a preaching series in your previous church or in any church that you've been to? Can I see by a show of hands? Anyone have been through a Leviticus sermon series?" In the first service, I had six hands. Second service, how many hands, can I see? Anyone? Zero. Alright, so we will embark on something that is quite uncharted in a sense, even for you as an experience.

I begin with a story. I'm a rather weird guy, I think, because when I go to hawker centers, when I see a differential in queues, one stall with a lot of people queuing up and another stall with no one queuing up, I will go for the ...? I will go for the one with no queue.

Most people like to go to long queue, but okay, you may say, "Stupid to go long queue, wait very long." Well, there's a reason why long queue is long queue, because apparently the food is good. But I go to the short queue or no queue, some, not all times, but I go to one where there's no queue, not because I want to save time, but because I kind of feel bad for the stall owner who has poor business.

So I kind of remember once when I was at Beach Road to buy something, army stuff, and that's a long time ago, and there was two laksa stalls there, side by side — one long queue, one no queue. And I bought from the laksa stall because I kind of felt bad and I kind of understood why no queue. Huh huh, huh, huh, huh.

Well, ah, but any case, recently I went to Maxwell Food Center, there were lots of famous stalls there, long queues. And I walked by this one stall that sells ang ku kueh, uh, not very long queue, zero people. Actually when you walk by the stall, you can't even tell what he is selling, it's not clear on the signboard, it's not clear on the display.

But in any case, for some of you who are overseas, you are not familiar, what is ang ku kueh — ang ku kueh is a Chinese delicacy, it's a confectionary, it's a pastry, uh, a kind of dessert where you have uh, pastries that wrap around, or this filling of peanuts and coconuts in the middle of this kueh, or pastry.

So I saw this stall, this is not my photo, it's taken from off the net. So this uncle, he just sits there, and you can't quite tell what he's selling, right? But I saw that there was no one, I just walked by, and I saw that he's selling ang ku kueh. So I said, "Okay, I'll get some from him," and I bought six ang ku kueh at $1 each. And well, I'll tell you how it feels like later on, what it tastes like, my verdict will be out in a while.

But I mention this ang ku kueh stall, because when I think about Leviticus, I think about this ang ku kueh stall. If the books of the Bible is like stalls in a hawker centre, then Leviticus is like the ang ku kueh stall, because very few people go and patronize, very few people eat from it, very few people would actually read Leviticus.

Why? Why is Leviticus so rarely read or studied? Well, some people think this is a book that is totally incomprehensible, don't understand. You read the details there and you get lost about the sacrifices, about the animals, about the blood, about the organs. It's just ... to you, boring and irrelevant and you don't make sense out of it. I ... I ... I can understand that. Or some people, they are turned off from Leviticus because they read about skin disease and bodily fluids and they say, "Eee, yukes, it's so weird!"

So for all those reasons, people avoid the book of Leviticus. So a typical reading program of anyone who has his hands on the Bible is that he starts with Genesis. He reads Genesis and he finds it, "Ah, interesting ah!" Well, first three chapters, creation, this serpent, and then he reads on Abraham. And maybe he gets lost in a while but he still trudges along. And he comes to Exodus, wah, the interest is rekindled.

Wah, Exodus, very exciting leh, burning bush, ten plagues and then the crossing of the Red Sea. Then now he begins to drift because he reads about the laws and the ceremonies and the tabernacle. And he says, "This is really difficult for me to understand." So he fast forward, you know like you watch Netflix, fast forward, fast forward, or YouTube, fast forward, you just skip lah. So he skips, skips, skips and skips until Leviticus, he hopes that there's something easier, and then he's stunned.

The whole book, fast forward, fast forward, fast forward, and he doesn't really understand what this book is about. So most people start off reading Genesis and they lose steam, by they come, by the time they come to Leviticus. And so we kind of chuck it away. Or maybe we skip to Matthew, the New Testament, say, "That one's easier lah, Old Testament, too chim lah, too difficult lah, too irrelevant."

Well, we avoid Leviticus, but it might be of interest to you to realize that a Jewish child who is raised in rabbinical teaching, starts, or in a yeshiva, he or she starts with the book of Leviticus. So we avoid it, but the Jewish boy starts with Leviticus. Your pastor is a bit weird, he likes to go to the hawker store where there's no one, so today, you will have to suffer ... not suffer lah, hah, you have to journey together with me through a rather difficult book - Leviticus.

Now, my basis for studying this book is simply because God said in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and all Scripture is therefore profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction of righteousness, that the man ... that the man of God may be perfect or complete, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

So, I know we are not going to waste our time together.

Now, back to Ang ku kueh, huh. So what's the verdict? "You bought six, you ate them, right?" "Yes, I ate them. I ate them on the spot." I bought it, I ate, I didn't finish six lah, huh, huh. I ... I bought a bit more just to support. I ... I ate two, so what's the verdict of the ang ku kueh?

Let me tell you. The skin is a bit too thick. You know, in Chinese we say: 皮薄馅美 [pí bó xiàn měi] 皮薄馅美 means a good Chinese confectionary or pastry is that the skin should be thin, it's just enough to wrap the liao, the filling inside. And the liao is called the 馅 [xiàn] liao... the filling is called 馅 [xiàn]. It should be thick, it should be a lot, it should be tasty.

So unfortunately, uncle's ang ku kueh is a bit thick lah, the skin. But when you bite through it, or when you... What I did is I took out the skin, huh, huh. If you bite through it, you take away the skin, the inside, takong you know! Uncle sells it at $1 but he packs a lot of stuff inside leh! So if you can get past the skin, it is actually very nice.

Well, Leviticus is like that ang ku kueh, the skin quite thick ah! Wah, rituals, offerings, priests, wah, quite chim ah, but once you bite through it, oh, the filling is actually very satisfying, and ... and sufficient, and pleasing.

So I hope you will journey together with me in Leviticus and eat this ang ku kueh together, alright? Now, it's a difficult book, so I think we should not go straight into the book, verse by verse, chapter by chapter and so on. We are not going to do that anyway, but it's helpful to maybe just have a helicopter view of what Leviticus is about. Some books we don't need to do that because it's relatively straightforward and easy. Some books, like Leviticus, I think it's necessary.

So today it's going to be a light and easy orientation for you — what is this whole book about? I think this is probably the most important sermon. Maybe, I'm not sure, I'm not sure about the next few, but it's probably the most important one because if you get this, the rest of the 13 weeks or 14 weeks, 14 weeks together will be rather comfortable and easy. So, I urge your attention to understand the big picture of Leviticus.

[1] Purpose
I begin with the question that people always ask, and this question, if unanswered, will turn people off. But therefore, we need to get, we need to get to the purpose of Leviticus. The question is — what is Leviticus all about? Why should you and I study this rather chim, seemingly irrelevant, Old Testament book? What's its purpose?

Well, in Care Group, my Care Group last night, we kind of discussed Leviticus. And the care group members, they have studied it, they have read up on it, and they ... they gave good suggestions as to the overall theme and big idea of Leviticus. They quoted verses like chapter 11:45, 19 verse 2, where it says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." That's an often repeated phrase in Leviticus. So holiness, purity, cleanliness, is a wonderful suggestion or possibility as a purpose of Leviticus,

But I suggested something else. I suggest this morning something else, it's not divorced from the idea of purity, but I think this might be a more workable and maybe more accurate, if I may suggest, big idea. And the big idea, I think is this - The purpose of Leviticus is to teach us what it means to draw near to God.

And that is an exciting idea for the new year for each and every one of us. Some of you today are not Christians and you're wondering what is Christianity all about. I say this is a great time for you to join us in the Leviticus series because this is teaching you and me what it means for man to draw near to God. How can you know God? Leviticus will teach us that.

Maybe today you are a Christian, but you're not living right. You've been staying home for this one or two years, you don't want to come back to worship services, you're not joining the community life, you're struggling in your work life, you're struggling ... struggling in your family life, and frankly, you're struggling with sin and you're kind of filled with guilt and shame. But deep in your heart, you don't want this, you want to draw near to God, deep in your heart, you want to start aright. Hey, I say, Leviticus is a great book for us, for you to know that you may come back to your Father.

Or maybe today you are a flourishing Christian, you're a good Christian man or woman, but you say, there is more. You want more, you want to draw nearer to your Lord. I say this is also a great book for you to study. So, Leviticus is about drawing near to God and I think it's relevant for one and all.

Why do I say this is a book about drawing near to God? Now, you must understand Leviticus is the third book in the Bible and really the third book of the Pentateuch.

What's the Pentateuch? The Pentateuch is the first five books in the Bible written by Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. When one reads the Pentateuch, you should really read all five books together, understanding that they are one continuous flow.

So in Exodus, as we were saying, prior to Leviticus, Moses was writing a lot about the tabernacle. The tabernacle is a special tent where God's special presence would dwell. Israel and their tribes will be organized around the tabernacle because God's idea is to communicate to them that, "I am to be in the midst of your people."

But the tabernacle, though constructed or the instructions to construct it were given in Exodus, there is that tension, that is highlighted in chapter 40 and verse 34. Even though all these instructions are given and the tabernacle is erected, "Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting." [Exo 40:35] He can't! So it's built, it's set up, but there are barriers and Moses himself can't draw near to God there. So, that's where you have that cliffhanger in the last chapter of Exodus.

Now, Leviticus continues that narrative. And in chapter 1 and verse 1, this is the very first verse of Leviticus, it says, "The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from ..." The word there is "from" or out of the tent, so it means God is in the tent, Moses is not in the tent, he's not there yet. But as you read on, you see in chapter 9:23, we will see that, "Moses and Aaron went into the tent." Interesting!

In fact, in chapter 9 in our Scripture reading just now, we read about the first worship service at the tabernacle, people were drawing near to God. And now Moses and Aaron were inside and when we go to the next book, so Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, guess how the next book starts. Numbers 1 and verse 1 says, "The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai in the tent of meeting." That is a contrast to 1:1 [Leviticus] "from the tent of meeting".

So something happened, they understood and they did some things in Leviticus that allows that access to God. The purpose of Leviticus is about drawing near to God. So, today you can know God if you are a seeker, today you are, if you are backsliding, struggling in your spiritual life, this can be a fresh start for you, drawing near to God, and if you are a serious-minded Christian living faithfully, hey, we can still press on nearer, still nearer to our God.

So this is why I say, it's worth your while studying this book together.

[2] Problem
The second thing I like to highlight in the book of Leviticus is that this book presents to us a problem.

We want to draw near to God but Leviticus reminds us of a problem. You say, "What's the problem in Leviticus? What's the overwhelming issue in Leviticus?" The issue in Leviticus is that God is holy. That's a problem! You say, "Jason, how can this be a problem? God is holy is not a problem. God is holy is good." I say, "It's good, but it's a problem to us because God is holy but we are not." So that's the problem!

God is holy, that means He's set apart, He's separate, He's glorious, He's clean, He's pure, but we are not. We are unclean, we are impure, we are filthy, we are common, we are profane. So that means, man, though created in God's image and created for God, cannot draw near to God because of our uncleanness.

A man who is diseased is not allowed to go to a community where they are clean, and we, as sinners cannot draw near to the holy God. Now this is not unique, of course, in Leviticus, although it is highlighted in Leviticus. This is the story, the entire narrative that began in the Garden of Eden.

You recognize that Adam and Eve were living in communion with God, but they chose to rebel against God and they were hiding from God in guilt and shame and fear. And as part of the punishment, God evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and made sure they never came back because He placed there an angel with flaming sword. Why this graphic description? To communicate to readers that man have fallen into sin, and are now unable to approach the holy God.

That's the problem - God is holy but we are not, we are sinful.

Fast forward some years down the line, God chooses a family, from out of all the people, He chooses a family, Jacob's family. Jacob's family have multiplied in the land of Egypt, and now God says, "I will bless your people, I will bless your family, Jacob." And He led the people out of Egypt and brought them to Mount Sinai. But Mount Sinai is not paradise, is it? Because Mount Sinai is a scary, foreboding place.

Why? Because this is a place where God will establish a covenant relationship with the people of Israel. But it's also a place where God communicates to Israel, "I'm holy and you are not." So He says in Exodus 19:12, "Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death."

"This is where I dwell now and if you touch the mountain presumptuously, you shall be put to death." And there were visual and audible clues and communications as to the holiness and the separateness of God when the Bible says, "There were thunders and lightnings and thick cloud and a very loud trumpet blast so that all the people in the camp trembled." [Exo 19:16]

The idea is to strike a sense of awe as to the separateness or the holiness of God. So, "Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln and the whole mountain trembled greatly." [Exo 19:18]

"Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord and look and many of them perish." [Exo 19:21]

Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it." [Exo 19:23]

So, when we come to Leviticus with the tabernacle, God is reminding Israel that - He is holy but we are not.

Why is the church called to give the gospel of Jesus Christ? Because God is holy and man is not. There must be something that changes in your life, in order for you to get back to God.

Why is it that some of you pray and it seems as if God is not answering prayer? Why is it it seems like you have no intimacy with God? Because God is holy and we are not. So the reason why man cannot draw near to God on our own is because God is holy and we are not, we are sinful. That's the problem!

So, the Bible says in Leviticus 19:2, "For the Lord your God am holy." This is the problem. But this is also where God says, "I'll give you a provision, you shall be holy, I will tell you how you can be holy." [Lev 19:2]

[3] Provision
So thirdly, in the book of Leviticus, we see God's provision to deal with this problem in order to fulfill the purpose of drawing near to God. And the provision God gives in the book of Leviticus is simply, what's the whole book about? The priestly services offered by the Levites.

So the book of Leviticus is called Leviticus because the word, "leviticus" means matters relating to the Levites, and the Levites are the tribe to whom the priestly duties are entrusted.
So all these things are given by God, instructed by God, so that Israel, though sinful may be able to perform these things in order to gain some access, ceremonial access and draw near to God.

So, let me kind of break down Leviticus for you. Leviticus is 27 chapters, but you can look at them in seven different parts, as depicted by the seven structures here. Is it an octagon? Yah, octagons, octagons here. And I've colored them as such because I want you to see that there's a symmetry, the left and the right, the beginning and the end. There's a kind of mirror imaging, we call this a chiasm, but it's a kind of mirror image, that's all.

What this means is the first seven chapters [Chapter 1-7] and the last five chapters [Chapter 23-27] are mirror images, in that they deal with the same idea of sacrifices. So the first seven chapters deal with the sacrifices that you are familiar with — he burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering — the five offerings. And then in the last few chapters, you will see the seven annual feasts, that Israel is to celebrate, sacrifices are needed during the feasts. So, the first and the last segment deals with sacrifices.

The second and sixth, or second and sixth yup, huh, second and sixth components deal with priesthood. So first eight to ten [chapter 8-10] deal with the duties and anointing of the priest and a story of how an unqualified priest was or were severely dealt with by God. And then in chapters 21 to 22, you see the qualifications of the priest.

Chapters 11 to 15 deal with the purification, this refers to the ritual purification. And then 17 to 20 deals with the moral purifications. Things like sexual purity, loving your neighbor, and so on and so forth.

[Day of Atonement]
So it leaves us then to the central focus of chapter 16, which is about the Day of Atonement. We will come to that, basically it's a day where the great high priest makes atonement for the whole nation. That's kind of like the high point, and we know that that's kind of a high point, because of the literature structure of Leviticus, how Moses has written it.

So, this may be one way you can look at Leviticus, the central book in the Pentateuch is Leviticus, and the central focus of Leviticus is the Day of Atonement, that speaks of how there can be cleansing for the nation of Israel. So the heart of God, if I may say, is revealed in the provision through the priestly services. The heart of God is that He wants to enable people to draw near to Him.

Yes, we are cut off because of our sin, but the heart of God is to draw us back to Him. And majority of Leviticus, this is interesting too, the majority of Leviticus is not narrative, it's not a story, but the actual verbatim quotations from God Himself. So, God is speaking directly to tell what are the things we need to do or that Israel need to do in order to draw near to Him.

So, that's the third point about provisions.

[4] Portrayal
Finally, I want to end off by reminding you that the priests during Israel's time never complete their job. Because every day they have to repeat their sacrifices. There's no rest day. Every day sacrifices need to be made, every year the same sacrifices need to be made because it is to communicate that somehow the sins of the nation are not completely dealt with. And the reason is because God wants the Levitical priesthood to be a portrayal.

God wants the Levitical priesthood to be a picture, a foreshadowing of something that is even better, something that really permanently deals with all sin. So, what is Leviticus a portrayal of? One word, probably the most important word in all of the Bible - Jesus.

Leviticus, in the sacrifices, in the clean-sings, in the priesthood, it is all pointing to Jesus, because the priest could never do the job, but God wants them to do what they are doing to point people to Jesus who has finished the job. It's all about Jesus, and I have a scriptural basis for that. It's not what I think, it's what the writer to the book of Hebrews has to say himself.

"Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things ..." [Heb 9:23]

What an interesting word, "copies", types, pictures. The Levitical priesthood with the sacrifices and rituals are copies. They are kind of a picture of the heavenly things to be purified. Of course, "... the heavenly things themselves must be purified with better sacrifices than these." But the idea here is that the Old Testament priesthood pictures a greater priesthood that is to come.

The Hebrews author continues to say in chapter 10:11, "And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins." And now, he compares it with Jesus. "But when Christ had offered for one or all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God." [Heb 10:12]

So, here you go - I can now look at Leviticus and understand that all the things that are described there should be viewed with Christ-centered, Gospel-centered lens. They are filled with details because often times they depict the work and ministry of Jesus Christ, although Jesus' ... Jesus' priesthood far exceeds that of the Levites.

So let me do a side-by-side comparison, the Levitical priesthood and Jesus, the Great High Priest. Uh, for those who were with us before we came to Punggol, it may be a bit more familiar because we went through the book of Hebrews as a preaching series. But I don't think it will be hard for you to follow even if you did not join us there.

[Levitical Priests vs[/] Jesus, our Priest]

[Work Never Done/He Sat Down]
First of all, the Levitical priesthood is involved with a work that is never done. That is never complete, because they have to keep repeating the same sacrifices year after year because their sacrifices cannot deal with sin. But Jesus' priesthood is one where He, after He has offered Himself, sat down. Sat down means job is done.

[Of Levi/Of Melchizedek]
The Old Testament Levitical priesthood came from the tribe of Levi. Let me ask you, Jesus came from who? Judah. No ... yes, yes, from the tribe of Judah, but His priesthood is not from Judah. His priesthood comes from ...? From who? Melchizedek. I always remember the name because in Chinese, when we were preaching in Chinese last time, it's 麦基洗德 [mài jī xǐ dé] Just a bit off, but it's Melchizedek.

Now why did I mention, or why does the Hebrews author mention Melchizedek? Because this is 30 seconds of chim stuff, Levi came from Abraham, right? Because Abraham, then Isaac, Isaac had Jacob, and Jacob had 12 sons, one of whom is Levi. So, Levi came from Abraham, and in the Bible, Abraham met Melchizedek and gave Melchizedek a tithe, or 10% of what he has gotten.

In other words, the Bible is saying, "Abraham gave to Melchizedek to demonstrate that Melchizedek is greater than Abraham." You offer gifts to your king, right, because the king is greater. So Abraham is offering to Melchizedek almost as a recognition that Melchizedek is greater. So Melchizedek is greater than Abraham, Abraham is greater than Levi, therefore Melchizedek is greater than Levi.

[Old Covenant/New Covenant]
The priesthood of the Levites is inferior to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The Hebrews author wrote about this because the Jewish believers were feeling a kind of a FOMO, fear of missing out. "Oh, we are leaving our Levitical priesthood, are we suffering?" No! Jesus is the better Priest, you are not missing out at all. But anyway, you can wake up now, 30 seconds over.

The Levitical priesthood operated under the Old Covenant arrangements, the new, or Jesus operated in the new covenant arrangements, that is something highlighted in Hebrews chapter 8. You can read about that if you like, I will not spend time explaining more here.

[Animal Sacrifices/His Own Body & Blood]
The Levitical priests offered animal sacrifices, Jesus offered His own body and blood, we read that in Hebrews 9.

[Cleanse Flesh/Cleanse Conscience]
The Levitical priesthood dealt with the cleansing of the flesh, I take that to be ceremonial ritual cleansing. But Jesus cleanses the conscience, the soul. There is a difference!

[Temporary access/Eternal Salvation]
So, the Levitical priesthood offered people a means for temporary access to God in their lifetime for certain periods, but Jesus purchases for us an eternal salvation that we may always enter into God's presence.

So, Leviticus is a beautiful book that tells us of the portrayal of the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

I'm so glad I'm born in this generation and I'm called to be a pastor and not born in those days and called to be a priest. Because every morning got to wake up and psss, psss, aiyoh, every day I've got to, I like surgery by the way, but I don't like cutting up the goats and see all the entrails and all the intestines and urgh. But that's what the priests have to do every day, today no need to do, today we don't need animal sacrifices anymore, because Jesus has already given Himself to save us from our sins. We preach Christ, we do not perform sacrifices, animal sacrifices to save ourselves anymore.

So what this means is that if you are a seeker today, you can draw near to God. You don't have to bring a goat, you don't have to bring a turtle dove or pigeons or anything like that, because the Bible says, Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me." [John 14:6]

"You want to draw near to God, O, then come by Me," Jesus said, ",don't come by works, don't come by your own deeds, your own deeds cannot save you, you cannot draw near to God by yourself. You need a priest, you need a sacrifice." And Jesus is the Great Priest, Jesus is the Great Sacrifice. So He says, "I am the way, the truth and the life; and there's no other way to Him, to God, but through Him."

So, I'm glad you're here this morning because we want to tell you it's about Jesus. He's the only One, He's the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. We pray in this journey with us, you will see your sin, and you'll turn from your sin, you'll turn from your works, and trust in the Lamb to be the sacrifice to save you.

Maybe today you are a backslider, you're not living right with God, you're caught up with your work, you're caught up with the things of this world, you're caught up with life. God is very secondary in your life. You know it, but you hate this, you want to do right, you want to get back to God.

And I want to encourage you, you can, you can! Not because you deserved it, but because Jesus paid for you. This is the amazing reality. The Bible says in 1 John 2:1, "My little children, I'm writing these things to you so that you will not sin ..."

I ... I ... I hope that as you read this book, 1 John, John is saying, "You will be reminded to live in purity, in holiness, in obedience to God, but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." In other words, John is saying, "I want you to walk right with God, but even if you do sin, don't give up, don't despair, don't drift away from God, but by faith look to what Jesus has done. He's the Righteous One who died for you, and He's going to plead your case before God, plead your case, not because of what you have done, but because of what He has done."

So you may be living far away from God in sin, and you say, "God, I don't deserve this." You are right, but don't forget, Jesus deserves this, Jesus has earned for you an access and a right to God. He's going to plead your case, and you can come back, come home to God.

I'm glad you chose to come back to worship service. I know many of you have been somewhat kept away from worship service for some time. I'm glad you're here, despite the rain, and I hope you'll keep it up. And I know God opens His arms wide, your Father opens His arms wide, for you who are returning.

And finally, I say to all Christians, hey, life as a Christian is meant to be spent in communion with Him, constantly asking God for what we cannot do. There's nothing wrong with coming to God, because He's a generous, magnanimous, indeed lavish God. So Hebrews 4:15 reminds us, "For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet He did not sin."

So, it's not as if Jesus doesn't understand our struggles in the flesh, the only difference is that He did not succumb to any temptation, but He understands the struggle. And so, "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find help, grace to help us in our time of need." [Heb 4:16]

Approach the throne of God with confidence, why? Not because of me, but because Jesus is my Great High Priest, and He offered Himself, His body and the blood. So don't look to yourself, don't trust in yourself, don't parade yourself, but trust in Jesus and what He has done.

Well, back to Mr. Ang Ku Kueh, the uncle at Maxwell Food Centre. I realized, well, after I ate the Ang Ku Kueh, I came home, I was just curious, Ang Ku Kueh store, Maxwell Road, googled it, and I realized, after internet search, that I'm not so weird after all, there are plenty of people like me. In fact, I read articles where people say, this is, I think, from Asia One, "No bright signboard, no problem. Netizens rally to support Maxwell Food Centre's traditional kueh store, and most courteous hawker uncle"

So what it says was that netizens during COVID saw that his business was really bad, and they kind of promoted it on social media, and people came to buy from uncle. But by the time I went there, again, no one. Uh, uh anyway, there are people who have been to that store, bought the Ang Ku Kueh, tasted it, enjoyed it, and are spreading the word around.

I hope in this journey, 14 weeks, you will buy the Ang Ku Kueh, and I'm not saying go Maxwell Road, but you will eat the book of Leviticus, taste it, and share it all around — what it means for men and women to draw near to God.

May God bless this new year with a message that we will embrace in our hearts in drawing near to Him. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

Father, we thank You this morning, we can start this brand new year with a simple but important message on drawing near to You.
I believe this is Your heartbeat, as is clearly expressed in this wonderful book. Yes, perhaps in our minds, the skin is rather thick, but Lord, help us to bite through it all, and may we savor the beautiful substance that is within. May we realize what it means, and may we obey what it means to draw near to You in this new year.

Lead sinners to Yourself, struggling saints to restoration, and flourishing Christians to press on even more. Thank You, we pray all this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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