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Defiled and Cleansed

In Christ the defiled and excluded are now healed and accepted.


Today we're going to look at Numbers 5:1-10. This chapter is easy to outline because of the phrase that is repeated three times, in verses 1, 5, and 11: "Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying …." Moses didn't have chapters and verses when he wrote down the Scripture for us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The people of God knew how to outline this passage because Moses repeated phrases in order to distinctly break up the material and explain to us something of the logic of the passage.

Notice that verses 1-4 deal with physical impurities that caused the people of God to be removed from the camp. They have to leave the near proximity to that physical, visible symbol of the presence of God with his people, the tabernacle. Verses 5-10 deal with moral offenses. Finally, in verses 11-31, we see that domestic tensions are a concern with regard to dwelling in the presence of God.

But today we'll look especially at verses 1-10. We'll read into the eleventh verse just to see those three phrases together, but we're going to concentrate on these physical impurities that require exclusion of even members of the covenant community from the camp, the presence of God; and the moral offenses that also constitute defilement in the people of God. We're going to see not only lessons for Israel, but lessons for us.

In the Book of Numbers so far we have seen God remain faithful in his answer to prayer, taking a group of people that went down into Egypt numbering only 70 and bringing them out with 603,000-plus fighting men. We have seen him number them; we have seen him arrange them; we have seen him count the priests; and he has taught us great spiritual lessons in all of these things. Now he is going to teach us about ...

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Ligon Duncan is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Lessons learned from physical impurities

II. Lessons learned from moral offenses