Numbers 4:3—30 to 50 years of age. Kohathites, Gershonites, Herarites.
Leviticus 21:16-21—The physical disqualifications of a priest.
The consecration of the priests—Exodus 29.
They were washed with water, clean, clothed, anointed with blood, and anointed with oil.
Leviticus 10:1-3—Strange fire. See 9:24; 16:12-13.
Numbers 12—Miriam’s sin. She was shut out of the camp seven days “and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in.”
Let us now see how this works in the NT church.
God prepares His servants.
Acts 2—The church is filled, baptized, sealed, anointed at one and the same time. The result is a pure and active church that is blessed.
Acts 4—The Christians were again filled. They spoke the word with power, they were of one heart, of one soul. They were endued with great power, and great favor rested upon them.
Strange fire—Acts 5. This chapter introduces a note of tragedy. Into that pure church came the sin of insincerity, hypocrisy, and lying in its most grievous form. Describe this incident. The result was the removal of the guilty ones.
Sin in any church is a hindrance to blessing. Nothing will sap the power of a church more than pews filled with sinning Christians. Nothing will evoke the displeasure of God more than unqualified servants offering strange fire.
A pure church is always a powerful church.
If God worked today as He did then our churches would be turned into cemeteries.
Let us consider for a moment the hindrances that a sinning believer can be to a local church.
1. He can impede its spiritual progress—Miriam.
2. He can stumble others in the way—Romans 14.
3. He can stop the power—Joshua 6.
For this reason it is important that every brother and sister should be clean and should know that the present service engaged in has the approval and commendation of God.
According to Paul the church is like a human body. Some members are seen, some are not. Some occupy a more prominent place than others, but all are important and necessary to the ideal condition of the body. Think of the situation that would arise if the hand suddenly decided to be a foot, or if a leg decided that it could serve better as an arm. The situation would be comical but it would also be tragic because: (1) the physical from would be spoiled, and (2) its efficiency would be negated. (3) It could not perform the function expected of it. (4) Think of the pain and discomfort that would ensue from such a monstrosity.
Did it ever occur to you that such a condition can and does happen in a local church because:
1. Believers have never bothered to ascertain their proper spiritual gift and place in the assembly.
2. Like Nadab and Abihu sometimes believers take upon themselves self-appointed tasks for which they are not qualified and which are not approved by God nor appreciated by the local company.
The result is a spiritual monstrosity.
Now let us have a look at what one would term “the ideal Church.” Acts 11.
The church at Antioch was characterized by:
1. The preaching of Jesus Christ crucified, risen, exalted, and coming again.
2. The hand of God was with them.
3. A great number were saved.
4. God both raised up and sent teachers among them to teach them more perfectly the mind of the Lord.
5. They were a liberal church. They gave each one according to his ability.
In conclusion let me sum up the main points of our discussion: “Who are qualified to serve God?”
1. Only those who are called of God should serve Him publicly.
2. There is a dignity in the service of God.
3. A servant must be a clean vessel.
4. One who determines his own course and place in the assembly will sooner or later evoke the judgment of God.
5. The ideal Church is one where every member is fitly joined together and in their God appointed place. Anything less than this will draw forth God’s disapproval. It will impede the spiritual progress and stop the spiritual power of the whole assembly.
The Scripture says, “Let a man examine himself.”