Leviticus Chapter 4 – Seven Lessons in Restoring Fellowship After Sin

Introduction. A believer in Christ cannot lose his or her salvation by sin (Jo. 10:27-28; Heb. 13:5; Matt. 7:21-23; 1 Jo. 2:19). Yet, sin can break our fellowship with God. Among other things, if you have not repented of the sins in your life, your prayers may be “hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). If a believer has sinned, what must he or she do to restore fellowship with God? Chapter 4 of Leviticus offers seven lessons. First, you cannot restore fellowship if you never had it in the first place. For this we review below the lessons of the first three chapters. Second, we must repent of our sins for Christ to forgive us (1 Jo. 1:9). Third, out of gratitude, we must humble ourselves and make “spiritual sacrifices” to God, symbolized by the various animal sacrifices below (1 Pet. 2:5). Fourth, chapter 4 reveals that the sins of our nation, our states, our communities, and our churches can also break our fellowship with God. We must therefore seek to cleanse our nation of its sins. Fifth, chapter 4 reveals that the sins of our leaders can cause us to sin. We must therefore pray for and seek to restore our leaders. Sixth, chapter 4 reveals that the sins of those around us can also break our fellowship with God. We must therefore also pray for their restoration. Finally, to restore fellowship after sin we must be obedient to God.

1. You Cannot Restore Fellowship If You Never Had It in The First Place

  • The Burnt Offering. (Justification). God requires a “burnt” offering of sinless blood to atone for a person’s sins (Lev. 1). “[W]ithout the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11). Christ, however, relieved us of the need to continue the blood sacrifices by offering us His blood as a one-time sacrifice for all: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14). Yet, this atonement is only available after you accept with faith that Jesus is both your Lord and Savior who died for your sins: “[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:25; Gal. 3:13; Mk. 14:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24; Is. 53:4-5, 10, 12). Without being “justified” or made right before God by Jesus’ holy blood, you cannot have true fellowship with God.

  • The Grain Offering. (Sanctification). A person saved from his or her sins should offer the works of his or her life (symbolized by a grain offering) in gratitude as a “living sacrifice” for God (Lev. 2; Ro. 12:1). If we are not motivated to do anything in gratitude, our faith is “dead” (Jam. 2:14-26). And it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6). The elements of the grain offering reveal seven ways that the life of a person can be a “living sacrifice,” set apart or “sanctified” for God. First, the person must be led by the Holy Spirit (the oil) (Lev. 2:1-2, 4, 6-7, 15; 1 Sam. 16:13). Second, the person must live a life without intentional sin (the “unleavened bred”) (Lev. 2:4, 11; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9). Third, the person needs to allow the Spirit to crush his or her own will (the “fine flour”) (Lev. 2:1, 7; John 6:34; 2 Cor. 4:8). Fourth, the person needs to have regular righteous prayer with God (the “frankincense”) (Lev. 2:2; Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3). Fifth, the person needs to live a life that convicts others of sin and causes others to thirst for the living water of God (the salt) (Lev. 2:13; Matt. 5:13). Sixth, through denial of the flesh, God fills the believer with the joy of the Holy Spirit (the honey) (Lev. 2:11). Finally, the person making a grain offering was to share his or her offering with the leaders to have tithes distributed to those in need (Lev. 2:10; 2 Cor. 9:6, 8-14). A life devoted to God is a necessary step to finding fellowship with God.

  • The Peace or Shalom Offering (Communion). For those who want intimate fellowship with God, He offers to “dine” with the believer (Lev. 3:11, 16; Rev. 3:20). God’s shalom or peace is not the peace that the world offers (Jo. 14:27). Instead of offering to make your surroundings comfortable, God offers the believer the opportunity to respond to trials and tribulation with the peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). To have the Godly Shalom peace, a believer must do seven things. First, the believer must remember “daily” that his or her peace comes only through Christ’s blood (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:13-15). Second, the believer must offer from his or her life “spiritual sacrifices” (1 Pet. 2:5). For the bull, the believer gives up his or her strength to let Christ strengthen them. For the lamb, the believer submits to Christ the way He submitted to death. For the goat, the believer casts off his or her old sinful self to let Christ make the believer a new creation. Third, the believer offers spiritual sacrifices in proportion to the “talents” that God has given to the believer (Matt. 25:14-30). Fourth, the believer needs to give the best of his or her life and deny certain pleasures for God (the “fat” offering) (Lev. 3:3, 9, 14, 16-17). Unless a believer empties his or her glass of selfish desires of the flesh, there is no room for God to fill the believer with the fruit of the spirit, which include peace. Fifth, the believer needs to be pure inside by handing over to God his or her eyes and thoughts, the things which regulate purity (the “kidney” and “liver” offering) (Lev. 3:4, 10, 15). Sixth, the believer must be obedient to God’s commandments to find peace (Lev. 26:3, 6). Finally, the believer must open the door of his or her heart to Jesus by diligently searching Him out (Rev. 3:20; Ps. 119:2; Jer. 29:13; Dt. 4:29). The believer then celebrates his or her peace and “dines” with God through the Communion, Christ’s body and His blood (Matt. 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:24).

2. A Believer Who Sins Must Repent. Lev. 4:1-12.

  • Leviticus Chapter 4: “1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them, if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He shall bring the bull to the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull and slay the bull before the Lord. Then the anointed priest is to take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil of the sanctuary. The priest shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense which is before the Lord in the tent of meeting; and all the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. He shall remove from it all the fat of the bull of the sin offering: the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat which is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys 10 (just as it is removed from the ox of the sacrifice of peace offerings), and the priest is to offer them up in smoke on the altar of burnt offering. 11 But the hide of the bull and all its flesh with its head and its legs and its entrails and its refuse, 12 that is, all the rest of the bull, he is to bring out to a clean place outside the camp where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.” (Lev. 4:1-12).

  • We are God’s “holy priesthood.” During Old Testament times, the “anointed priests” who sinned had to offer again the blood of a bull without defect, -- the most expensive kind of animal -- to have his or her sins forgiven (Lev. 4:3). At first blush, this might seem to have nothing to do with a believer today. Some might assume that this applies only to Old Testament Jewish priests. Others might assume that this only applies to the people with white collars who preach in Catholic Churches. Yet, God is not confined to human tradition. He declares that all of His believers are part of His “holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). “Anointed” means “chosen for service to God.” He chose believers before time began (Eph. 1:4). Thus, these instructions apply to all believers in Christ.

  • If we repent, Christ can forgive us of our intentional as well as unintentional sins. The blood of an animal could only cover the “unintentional” sins of the priest or believer (Lev. 4:1). The priest or believer who “intentionally” sinned was put to death (Nu. 15:30-31). Yet, for a believer in Christ, we can give thanks that we can obtain forgiveness from even intentional sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter.” (Mk. 3:28-29). Paul was a murderer of believers in Christ (Act 22:4; Col. 15:9). This was the worst sin you might imagine in God’s eyes. Yet, God forgave Paul and transformed him into one of His greatest evangelists. Is there any sin in your life that is too big for God to forgive? Have you held yourself back from service because you fear how others view your old sins? If so, is God truly in control of your life? Or, does the devil have veto power through his false blackmail of your old sins?

  • To be forgiven, we must also forgive. If someone sins against you, Jesus says that you must forgive that person “up to seventy times seven” times (Matt. 18:22). If a believer does not forgive another believer, God will not forgive the believer (Matt. 18:35). Maybe you have become like Paul before he was converted. Are you gossiping about another? Are you slandering someone else? Have you refused to forgive someone who hurt you? If so, stop and repent of this sin. Forgive those who have wronged you.

  • Only those who blaspheme the Spirit by disavowing Christ’s covenant will not be forgiven. The only sin that cannot be forgiven with Christ’s blood is the sin of blaspheming “the Holy Spirit.” (Mk. 3:28-29). What does this mean? To understand this, we must understand what the Holy Spirit does. He testifies of Christ (Jo. 14:26). A believer blasphemes the Holy Spirit when the believer rejects the Spirit’s testimony and disavows what Christ did on the cross: “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:26-29). In other words, any sin can be forgiven with faith in Christ’s blood. Yet, if a believer consciously disavows the power of Christ’s blood, that person’s sins will not be forgiven by their own choice.

  • Without faith it is impossible to please God. The priest puts his hands on the animal before it is sacrificed (Lev. 4:4). This symbolized faith in the transference of sins. This foreshadows our need to have faith in the transference of our sins to Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Mk. 14:24; Isa. 53:4-5). Without faith in what Christ did on the cross, nothing that we do is pleasing to God. “[W]ithout faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6).

3. To Restore Fellowship, the Believer Must Also Make “Spiritual Sacrifices.

  • The grotesque spilled blood symbolizes how grotesque our sin is before God. The blood had to be carried into the Tent of Meeting (Lev. 4:5). The priest then had to dip his finger in the blood seven times in front of the veil to the Holy of Holies, a number of completeness (Lev. 4:6). This process would have been gross to watch. God uses this gross process to remind us how gross our sins are before Him. He winces at our sins, the same way we wince at spilled blood. The curtain symbolized a barrier of sin that separates mankind from God (Is. 59:2). Christ’s death caused the curtain to rip from the top to the bottom (Matt. 27:51; Mk. 15:38). Today, as an anointed priest, you don’t need to buy the most expensive bull and engage in the gross process of dipping your fingers in its blood – Christ did that for you. This should cause you to feel gratitude for what Christ did for you. Out of gratitude, He wants you to make your life a “living sacrifice” for Him (Rom. 12:1). He also want you to give thanks by making “spiritual sacrifices” to Him (1 Pet. 2:5). Each sacrifice that the priests made to cleanse their sins has an equivalent spiritual sacrifice in your life.

  • Make a sweet aroma of prayer before God. Some of the blood was placed on the horns of the altar of incense (Lev. 4:7). The horns symbolize God’s power. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2; 89:17; Luke 1:69; Lam. 2:3; 1 Kgs. 1:50; 2:28). The altar of incense was there to create a sweet aroma to God. It also symbolized the power of prayer. Our prayers create a sweet aroma to God (Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3). As a “nation of priests” (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6) we have been given access to the Holy of Holies and the altar of incense by the blood of Christ. When we confess and cleanse our sins, our prayers through Christ have great power. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Jam. 5:16; Matt. 17:20). What are you doing with this access to God and your powerful prayers? Are you petitioning God to forgive yourself and others of their sins? Are you praying for healings? Or, are you offering up complaints?

  • To restore fellowship, we must deny our selfish desires. The priest was also to give the “fat” of the offering to God (Lev. 4:8-9). This might seem like an odd repetition of the Shalom offering (Lev. 3:3, 9, 14, 16-17). Yet, whatever the sin was, it most likely originated because someone failed to sacrifice the pleasure of his or her life before God. The fat was a pleasure and a delicacy because it was considered the best tasting part of the animal. Likewise, although fat tastes good, it can be bad for you if consumed in excess. Thus, it is good for us to give up the fat in our lives. This is what Christ meant when He stated that those who want to follow Him as His disciples need to “deny” themselves. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’” (Matt. 16:24-25; Lk. 14:28-33; Jo. 12:25-26). We are like a pitcher. If we fill our pitcher up with selfish desires, there is nothing left for the Spirit to fill up. We then become filled with darkness (Matt. 6:22-23). “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.” (Rom. 6:12). If we empty the pitcher of selfish desires, we allow God to fill our pitcher with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23; Tit. 2:11-14). Is the fruit of the Spirit pouring out of your life? Or, are the deeds of the flesh the only thing pouring out of your life? (Gal. 5:19-21). When was the last time that you fasted so that the Holy Spirit could completely fill your pitcher and guide you?

  • To restore fellowship, let God control what keeps you pure. As part of the sin offering, the priest had to sacrifice the “kidneys” and the “lobe of the liver” of the animal (Lev. 4:9-10). This may again seem like an odd repetition of the shalom offering (Lev. 3:4, 10, 15). Yet, whatever the sin was, it most likely also was caused by the believer’s failure to allow God to control the things which make the believer pure inside. This is symbolized by the kidneys and the liver. These organs remove toxins and waste from the body. God wants us to give to Him what regulates or controls what we see, touch, go to do, or think about. To restore fellowship, we must be “unstained by the world.” (Jam. 1:27; Matt. 5:8; 1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-5; 19:2; 20:7; Is. 35:8). If you are looking at things that you should not be looking at, make a covenant with your eyes like Job did. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). If you love the things of the world too much to do this, the love of God is not in you. “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jam. 4:4; 1 Jo. 2:15-16).

  • To restore fellowship, humble yourself. The sacrifice involved a bull. The bull symbolized strength. Christ gave up His strength for us. At the end of the sacrifice, the remaining parts of the bull –i.e., its flesh had to be taken outside of the camp (Lev. 4:11-12). If the priest had to drag the flesh outside of a camp, the entire congregation saw it. It was shameful and embarrassing. We are to make a “spiritual sacrifice” (1 Pet. 2:5) by giving up our strength and by humbling ourselves. If we do so, Christ will then strengthen us and restore us: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Jam. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6).

  • To restore fellowship, remove the things that cause your flesh to stumble. Taking the flesh outside the camp and burning it was symbolic of removing from a believer’s life the things that cause the flesh to stumble. Christ was killed outside the camp of Jerusalem on Calvary Hill to fulfill this Law. “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Heb. 13:11-13). We also need to remove those things from our life that cause us to stumble: “If your right eye makes you stumble tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matt. 5:29). Are you still entertaining things in your life that cause you to stumble? If the internet is causing you to stumble, set filters and have someone else keep the password. If there are friends who cause you to drink, take drugs, steal, or use profanity, stop hanging out with them.

4. To Restore Fellowship, We Must Also Pray for the Sins of the Nation, the States, the Communities, and the Churches. Lev. 4:13-21.

  • Leviticus 4:13-21: 13 ‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty; 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a bull of the herd for a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting. 15 Then the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the Lord, and the bull shall be slain before the Lord. 16 Then the anointed priest is to bring some of the blood of the bull to the tent of meeting; 17 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil. 18 He shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the Lord in the tent of meeting; and all the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 19 He shall remove all its fat from it and offer it up in smoke on the altar. 20 He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. 21 Then he is to bring out the bull to a place outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.

  • The sins of the nations, the states, communities, and the churches also require a sin offering. Here, God reveals that the sins of the nation, the state, the community, or the congregation can also break our fellowship with God. Without a sin offering for these peoples: “they become guilty.” (Lev. 4:13). This includes believers today. If the Church ignores the sins of the world around it, its fellowship with Christ will be broken. If this seems hard to understand, we need only look at the nation of Israel. It was sent into captivity because of its disobedience. The righteous people like Daniel did not get to stay in Israel. They paid for the collective sins of the nation. Likewise, we can see how righteous people today suffer when an entire nation sins. As one example, if a nation over consumes with debt. Eventually, a bubble will form in either the stock market or the real estate market. The bubble will then burst. The values of stocks, homes, or both will plunge in value. Thousands of people, including righteous ones, will lose their jobs. Likewise, if a church becomes divided with one group seeking to follow public opinion with another seeking to follow the Word, the church will eventually divide and become engaged in strife (Matt. 12:25; Mark 3:24). As God’s “nation of priests” (1 Pet. 2:5), all believers have a responsibility to pray for the sins of the nation. Like Jonah, believers need to learn that part of our calling as a nation of priests is to be burdened by the sins of the nation, the state, our communities, and our churches. What breaks God’s heart must break our hearts as well. You further cannot look to public opinion polls to determine His will. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.” (Is. 55:8). You must instead let the Word and the Spirit guide what is right and wrong in your life. Are you burdened by the nation’s sins around you? Are you and others in your church praying and fasting for your nation?

  • Intercessory prayer works through the blood of Christ. The priest sacrificed a bull for the nation, the state, the community, and the congregation (Lev. 4:14). The blood on the horns was a powerful and sweet aroma to God. Our intercessory prayers today create that powerful aroma: “Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, that he may see his face with joy, and he may restore His righteousness to man.” (Job 22:26). “O God of hosts, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.” (Ps. 80:19). There are many examples in the Bible where God relented after intercessory prayer. God relented from destroying Israel because Moses stood in the breach on multiple occasions and prayed for the nation. For example, he saved the nation after they made the golden calf (Ex. 32:11-14). He saved them when they murmured against God (Nu. 11:2). His prayers also saved the nation when the Jews rebelled at the edge of the promised land (Nu. 14:18-22). His prayers, along with Aaron’s prayers, also saved the nation after they rebelled regarding Korah’s death (Nu. 16:21-24). Is your faith in the power of intercessory prayer weak? How often do you pray for the nation, the states, the communities, and those around you?

  • Christ forgave the Jews when they rebelled against Him. One of Christ’s last seven statements before His death was the following prayer: “Father forgive them for they known not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Christ had the power to forgive the rebels who killed Him, even though they did not repent. If God the Father forgave the Jews’ rebellions in response to Moses’ prayers, should we doubt that He did after Christ’s prayer?

  • Yom Kippur – the national day of intercessory prayer. Christians can pray for the nation any day they want to. Yet, with the freedom to pray any day, many Christians never pray at all. Yom Kippur was the day that God appointed for prayers for the nation. Christians are freed of any obligation to observe Yom Kippur (Col. 2:16). God does not want any worship made out of obligation. Yet, Yom Kippur has still has two important purposes for Christians. First, if you lack the discipline to pray and fast for the nation on other days, it is God’s national day of prayer for believers to pray for others and the nation. Second, it is the day God appointed for believers to voluntarily give thanks to Christ for doing what we cannot do on our own. To understand this, we must realize that Yom Kippur brought together (1) the holiest man, (2) in the holiest place, (3) on the holiest day. The High Priest was to go alone into the Tent of Meeting to intercede on behalf of the people (Lev. 16:17-18). Today, Jesus is our High Priest (Heb. 8:1-2). He is the one and only mediator between man and God (1 Tim. 2:5). While the High Priests of the Old Testament could only enter the Holy of Holies once per year (Lev. 16:29), Jesus sits in the Holy of Holies interceding daily on our behalf (Heb. 9:1-10). We in turn are called upon to intercede for others. Christ’s death tore from top to bottom the “veil” of the Holy of Holies that separates us from God (Matt. 27:51; Mk. 15:38). According to the Midrash, the High Priest had to wear a rope to be pulled out in case he died inside the Holy of Holies as a result of failing to properly follow God’s procedures. By contrast, we can now enter the Holy of Holies with “boldness” to pray for others. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God;” (Heb. 10:19-22 (KJV)). With this special access that Christ made possible, He wants you to “boldly” pray for your nation. Are you doing you part? Or, do you lack the faith to believe that your prayers matter?

  • We must petition to remove that which is wrong in the nation. The sin offering for the nation also required that the flesh be removed from the camp (Lev. 4:21). The fat was given to God (Lev. 4:19). We need to do more than just pray. We must also be active in politics to remove the things in our nation, state, or community which cause people to sin against God. When our churches deviate from the Word, we must also bring our leaders back to the Word: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). In other words, we must be salt and light to those around us (Matt. 5:13-14). Are you and your church an irritant in the wound of sin when others sin around you?

5. The Sins of the Leaders. Leviticus 4:22-26.

  • Leviticus 4:22-26: “22 ‘When a leader sins and unintentionally does any one of all the things which the Lord his God has commanded not to be done, and he becomes guilty, 23 if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a male without defect. 24 He shall lay his hand on the head of the male goat and slay it in the place where they slay the burnt offering before the Lord; it is a sin offering. 25 Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 26 All its fat he shall offer up in smoke on the altar as in the case of the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.” (Lev. 4:22-26).

  • The sins of our leaders can also break our fellowship. God also reveals that a leader who sins requires a sin offering. The priest was to sacrifice a male goat without defect (Lev. 4:23). Our leaders are appointed by God (Rom. 13:1). We are required to obey our leaders and serve them: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls . . .” (Heb. 13:17; see also, 1 Tim. 6:1-5; Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22-4:1). A leader who sins can affect our fellowship. For example, when a church leader sins, the church frequently breaks up. The sins of a President can also bring down a nation. President Nixon’s sins at Watergate, for example, brought the nation into a malaise. President Clinton’s sexual sins and alleged perjury following the initial sin also divided the nation. Thus, we must also pray that God will forgive and restore our civic leaders.

  • Our leaders must also break from their sins. The sacrifice for the leader was the goat. The sins of the leader were cast onto the goat and driven away (Lev. 4:24). A leader must also cast off his sins. The leader gave up the fat in his or her life (Lev. 4:26). The restoration of a leader will not only prevent the group from falling down, it can restore others as well: “Then, I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning, after that you will call the city of righteousness a faithful city.” (Isa. 1:26). Thus, our prayers should also include a request that the leader repent and be restored to help others.

6. The Sins of the Average Member of the Community. Leviticus 4:27-35.

  • Leviticus 4:27-35: “27 ‘Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty, 28  if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without defect, for his sin which he has committed. 29 He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. 30 The priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. 31 Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the Lord. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. 32 ‘But if he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring it, a female without defect. 33 He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they slay the burnt offering. 34 The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. 35 Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the Lord. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has [committed, and he will be forgiven.” (Lev. 4:27-35.)

  • The sins of those around us can affect us. When a co-worker, a neighbor, a school mate, or a friend sins, those sins can also break our fellowship with God. The offering for the average citizen who sinned was a female goat or lamb without defect (Lev. 4:28, 32). We must pray for those around us to cast off their sins (the goat and the fat offering) and submit to the will of God (the lamb offering). As a nation of priests, we must be burdened for all those around us. We must keep our co-workers, our neighbors, our colleagues, and others in prayer.

  • Seek to restore a sinner out of love. Our goal should never be to condemn a sinner. That is what Satan does as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). Instead, our goal should be to restore the person who has sinned: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restores such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1). If we have no interest in restoring a sinner or if we just enjoy the challenge of debating a sinner, there is no love within us.

7. Restoration Requires Obedience.

  • God’s sacrifices were specific. God offered a detailed way for us to restore fellowship. Primarily, this involves the blood of Christ. First we accept Him as our Lord and Savior (the burnt offering). Second, we offer our lives as a living sacrifice (the grain offering). Third, we draw close daily, purify ourselves, and deny ourselves (the peace offering). When we sin as believers, we confess our sins. We also pray for the sins of the nation, the states, the churches, the leaders, and the people around us (the sin offering). God gave us a detailed way to find and then restore our fellowship with Him after we sin. We cannot expect to restore fellowship if we refuse to follow the path that God has set for us.

  • God promises restoration for those who obey Him. We cannot find or restore this fellowship if we refuse to be obedient: “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit . . .I shall also grant you peace in the land.” (Lev. 26:3-6). “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God.” (Dt. 28:2). These blessings include the promise of restoration after sin: “Therefore, thus says the Lord, ‘If you return, then I will restore you . . .” (Jer. 15:19). Our nation can also be restored to its greatness if it will repent and follow God’s law: “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.” (Dt. 28:1). Many of the founders of America were God-fearing people. They sought after God in all the decisions that they made. The stated in the Declaration of Independence that their laws and their freedoms all came from God. As part of God’s nation of priests, you can be praying for a revival and stay engaged in politics and by being His salt and light (Matt. 5:13-14).