Sermons Archive


American Baptist - United Methodist

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

4 JUNE 1995


Leviticus 23:9-21
John 6:47-51
Acts 2:37-42

Since today is both Pentecost and the day we celebrate the Lord's Supper, I thought it would be fitting to compare a significant aspect of the Hebrew celebration of this day with the Christian celebration.

During the Passover/Easter time, some seven or eight weeks ago, we discussed the fact that there was to be no leaven in the bread, for leaven was symbolic of sin, and there can be no sin in the presence of God.

But we also have discussed how God sends the Holy Spirit to touch sinners where they are at, that we all might be redeemed.

In this light, let's look at what we are told about this holiday celebration (Shavuot) in Leviticus 23:9-21.

9. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

10. "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.

11. 'And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

The celebration of First Fruits occurs during the Passover celebration.

And since Passover lasts eight days, there is always a Sabbath within the celebration time, and this is the day following the first Sabbath during Passover. In other words, the first Sunday following the first Saturday during Passover.

12. 'Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the Lord.

13. 'Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine.

The “soothing aroma” is caused by the repentant sinners' "burned up" sin, which rises in the smoke.  It is not to odor of burnt flesh.

We should always remember that the Lord desires obedience and not sacrifice.

If people were obedient to the Lord, there would have been no "need" for the sacrifice, then, any more than it is needed today.

14. 'Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

And remember that this is still without leaven.

15. 'You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths.

16. 'You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord.

Note the significant difference with this offering:

17. 'You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.

This time the bread is baked with leaven; thus, symbolically, that which is waved before the Lord has a sinful content.

The waving action of the priest is symbolic of waving off the evil spirits.

And following the waving from side to side, the offering was then lifted up towards God, as an offering to Him to be accepted.

We are as this bread.

We come before the Lord with a sinful content.

We come before the Lord in the hope of having Him keep the forces of evil away from us.

We come before the Lord in the hope of being received by Him.

18. 'Along with the bread, you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd, and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their libations, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord.

Remember that the soothing aroma is not the burning of the offering, but what it is meant to do.

The offering of the soul of the innocent animal for the soul of the guilty was the price paid as a covering of, or for a remission of, our sin.

The soothing aroma is the smell of our sins being burned.

19. 'You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings.

20. 'The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the Lord; they are to be holy to the Lord for the priest.

21. 'On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.

I hope we all understand that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price of our sins, and He did this by taking upon Himself the sins of the whole world.

Note what He said of Himself in John 6:47-51.

47. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

48. "I am the bread of life.

49. "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

50. "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

51. "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."

Did not Jesus, in a way, wave Himself before all the people, taking upon Himself our sin, our leaven, and was He not lifted up, that the Father would receive us?

The Holy Spirit is here today to wave us, and lift us up, just as He was on the day of Pentecost when 3,000 were saved.

Note what happened after the Holy Spirit came upon those gathered together, and after Peter spoke (Acts 2:37-42).

37. Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

38. And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39. "For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself."

40. And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

41. So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

42. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

I have waved you before the Lord.

I have lifted you up before the Lord.

The Holy Spirit has been, and will continue to be in our presence.

But unfortunately not everyone fully believes.

Now is the time to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Now is the time to do His bidding.

When these 3,000 saw the evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit upon the people, they were convicted of their own sins.

Now is the time for us who know the Lord to go forth and show others the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Bread of Life within us.

Now is the time for our community to come together, as they did some 2,000 years ago.

Today is the day of salvation.



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