Confessions of a Church: Be Different

The Psalm writer wrote:  Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received.   This is the word of God.  It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.   
Deuteronomy 14:1-21 “You are the sons of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
“You shall not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. Any animal that divides the hoof and has the hoof split in two and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat. Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these among those which chew the cud, or among those that divide the hoof in two: the camel and the rabbit and the shaphan, for though they chew the cud, they do not divide the hoof; they are unclean for you. The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses.
“These you may eat of all that are in water: anything that has fins and scales you may eat, but anything that does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you. “You may eat any clean bird.  But these are the ones which you shall not eat: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, and the red kite, the falcon, and the kite in their kinds, and every raven in its kind, and the ostrich, the owl, the sea gull, and the hawk in their kinds, the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, the pelican, the carrion vulture, the cormorant, the stork, and the heron in their kinds, and the hoopoe and the bat. And all the teeming life with wings are unclean to you; they shall not be eaten. You may eat any clean bird.
“You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
We have read a passage that the ungodly mock.  If you say homosexuality is a sin, they immediately ask, do you eat shellfish?  And then they accuse Christians of picking and choosing.  And so, we are tempted to be ashamed of scripture.  We are tempted to be ashamed of the Old Testament.   And we then are tempted to be ashamed of God.  Why did God focus so much on food and cleanliness?  
God’s people are supposed to be set apart.  This is what He was teaching His people through these commands.  They were to be different than the people around them.  The were called to be separate from the world.  Now in Christ, the separation between Jews and their diets and gentiles is eliminated.  Both Jews and Gentiles can be saved. The dietary laws were complete.  But they still teach us an important truth.  Christians are separate from the world.  We are called to be Holy. We are to be clean from sin.  The separation is not between Jew and Gentile but between Christian and the worldly.  
Therefore let us repent where we become unclean with our love of detestable sin.  Let us repent of our shame at God rather than our shame at what is ungodly.  Let us be friends with God and not friends of the world. 
If you are able kneel with me and lets pray for God’s forgiveness. 
Prayer of Confession: (Kneel if able) Confession of how we have failed to keep God’s Law
Dear heavenly Father,
You have called us out of darkness into light but we keep looking longingly at the shadows of evil.  We find ourselves wanting union with the ungodly rather than you union with Christ.  We united ourselves with sin through our pride, our lusts, our unfaithfulness to you and your word.  Oh God, please do not remove your Holy Spirit from us.  But create in us a clean heart.  Wash away the stain of idolatry.  Wash away the poison that comes from our hearts.  Help us God to abide in the love of Christ.  Fill us with that love so that we may be useful for your kingdom.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the head of the church and the one who loved us and laid down His life for us.  Amen.
Assurance of God’s Pardon (Standing): 
Leader: Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:  
John 15:9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
Leader: To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts! 

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