We are a church of around 90 adults plus lots of children. Salford Elim Church is a neighbourhood church – most of us live within walking distance of the church. We are made up of a range of ages and life experiences, and have some folks who became Christians last year, and some who have been on the way for more than 50 years.
I’ve been part of the church for over 25 years in various roles, and now am one of a few of us who are all employed by the church on a part-time basis.
We have been committed to equipping and encouraging people for their frontlines for years now, keen that people get a sense of the range of ways that they can serve God’s Kingdom in the places that they spend most of their time.
So to Leviticus. Our practice is to preach systematically, mostly through biblical books. It ensures that we reflect a wide range of issues, avoid too many hobby horses and give people confidence to read the Bible intelligently for themselves. As part of this, at least once a year, we will purposely engage with parts of the Bible that might be less well-known by the congregation. This year we chose Leviticus.
I’ve suggested that the central theme of Leviticus is found in 19:2
Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
I’ve explained that while holiness does have ethical dimensions (and we will explore them), its fundamental usage in scripture is that we are set apart for use by God in his world. Negatively, then, if we allow sin to continue to warp us, then we will be unable to be used by God for his purposes.
The approach I want to take is to enable people to see how this section of scripture which can seem so very odd, so very disconnected and remote, has a relevance for understanding the whole of scripture. I need to walk the line between giving people the impression that we need to live as orthodox Jews, or that we can dismiss the Old Testament. Therefore, I will always want to point people ahead to the New Testament to see how the ministry of Jesus feeds into this reading, and how the New Testament suggests that we live in the light of the law that God gave his people.
If you’d like to listen to the sermons, visit our Leviticus series page, where we’ll be uploading them to our website as Neil preaches each week.
See the next few pages for Neil’s sermon notes.