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Leviticus 10:1-3, “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron,
took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon,
and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.”
“And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they
died before the LORD.”
“Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I
will be sanctified in them that come night me, and before all the people I will
be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.”
Nadab was the oldest of Aaron’s
four sons. Aaron was the first High Priest of Israel and Moses was the leader
of God’s people. Abihu was the second oldest of Aaron’s sons. Nadab the oldest
and Abihu the second oldest did something that was very unusual for they
offered strange fire on the altar.
The Brazen Altar was in the
Courtyard of the Tabernacle and that is where the lamb was slain. The fire on
the Brazen Altar was supposed to be burning all of the time. It was never
supposed to go out. Then from the Brazen Altar one would find the Laver inside
the Tabernacle, then on the left side as one entered in the Holy Place itself
was the Golden Candlestick while on the right side was the Table of Shewbread.
As one got closer to the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was,
there was a veil that separated the Holy of Holies from where the Mercy Seat
was placed.
Just outside of the veil was a
little piece of furniture called the Altar of Incense. On that Altar was burnt
sweet smelly savor, incense, or a perfume kind of savor. The fire on that Altar
had to come from the Brazen Altar out in the Courtyard.
The Brazen Altar was the place
where the fire never went out but the fire at the Altar of Incense, God said,
had to come from the fire of the Brazen Altar. There was a reason for that
because the lambs had been slain and the coals were bloody coals on the Brazen
Altar and God said only the blood on the coals will work! Thus, the bloody
coals were on the Altar of Incense had to come from the Brazen Altar.
Nadab and Abihu were the two
oldest sons of Aaron the High Priest and they decided to take a censor and put
in the censer their own fire. They did not take the fire from the Brazen Altar.
They put their own fire in that censer. They went to the Altar of Incense and
burned the incense with their own fire.
“Preacher what in the world is
the big deal?” I’ll tell you why it was such a big deal because God said He
wanted the fire on the Altar of Incense to come from the fire of the Brazen Altar.
There is a lot of religious fire today but it doesn’t originate at Calvary. It
is not blood fire!
A lot of religious people today
have much zeal but the zeal is no good unless it originates at the Brazen
Altar, which is the cross of Calvary. The main reason to do it this way is
because God said so!
What was the problem? Nadab and
Abihu, the sons of the High Priest, had become so accustomed to all of this and
this became old hat to them. The church house was their second home. So, one
day they just casually used their own fire. Others would have never dared to do
what these sons did. Those outside would have realized how sacred this whole
process was but to Nadab and Abihu, being the sons of the High Priest, it was
old stuff for them to see the Tabernacle. It was an old thing for them to see
the animal sacrifice. It was old stuff for them to see the fire being taken
from the bloody Brazen Altar to the Altar of Incense.
Maybe, much like the altar in the
average Baptist church is old hat now to their members or maybe like soul
winning is now old stuff to the average member. Maybe much like Sunday school,
Sunday morning preaching, Sunday night preaching, Wednesday night Bible study,
baptisms, standards, or the Christian school has become so routine that it is
taken for granted. Maybe much like the King James Bible has become old hat to
the average Christian. Instead of being the Holy Words of an almighty God given
to us it has now become a textbook.
Thus, these sons took their
censors and took their own fire to light the fire on the Altar of Incense but
as soon as they did fire came down out of Heaven and destroyed them and killed
them on the spot.
Why, because they thought nothing
about it. They never gave it another thought that it made any difference because
it had become old and trite. They had become accustomed to the house of God and
their activity. They had become so familiar with the house of God. They had
mentally brought the Brazen Altar, Laver, Golden Candlestick, Table of
Shewbread, Veil, and the Altar of Incense down to their level of thought. They
just casually took it for granted and probably said to someone who questioned
them, “Oh, this is no big deal. Our dad is the High Priest and we have been
here longer than you” and the result was that God killed them.
You who take lightly the
preserved inspiration of the King James Bible for the English speaking peoples
have become so accustomed to it that you now take steps to intellectually
critique the Holy Words of an almighty God are walking in dangerous territory.
Those who support such heresy will also suffer like Uzzah who innocently
touched the Ark thinking he was doing the right thing but he died too. That is
why those who are not sons of the High Priest look at these so-called men of
God and shake their heads in unbelief that such things would occur especially
in fundamental Baptist circles.
I was thinking this morning that
such statements that put a question mark on the King James Bible could only
occur in a college atmosphere where a large college dominates the local church.
If I were to say something like that when I pastored the Longview Baptist
Temple of Longview, Texas, I would have had 33 deacons knocking on my door. My
board was not made up of TEXAS BAPTIST COLLEGE grads. These were really laymen
who would not put up with such nonsensical statements.
There is another story in the
Bible to be considered and that is about Uzzah. He was the son of a man named
Abinadab. His dad was known for one thing in the Bible. The Ark of the Covenant
after being captured by the Philistines was brought back to the city of David.
On the was to the city of David the Ark of the Covenant had to be kept
somewhere when they would stop to rest. Abinadab allowed the Ark of the
Covenant to stay in his house.
This man, Abinadab, had a son
whose name was Uzzah. This boy lived in the same house with the Ark. No doubt
he became use to its presence. He couldn’t touch it but he knew it was there.
No one else had this privilege until then. The actual Ark of the Covenant that
holy powerful little piece of furniture, over which rested the Shekinah glory
of God, rested in Uzzah’s house.
When it came time to take the Ark
of the Covenant out of the house of Abinadab to be taken to the City of David
Uzzah followed along as they transported the Ark of the Covenant to the city of
However, they did something they
should not have done. God had said they should have the Ark of the Covenant
transported by the hands of men known as Kohathites. These folks were one of
the families of Levi. It was their job to transport the Ark of the Covenant and
the other furniture of the Tabernacle.
God said He wanted it carried by
the hands of men. However, they decided to put it on a cart. So, they placed
the Ark of the Covenant on a new cart and they put some oxen out in front of
it. The oxen pulled the Ark of the Covenant on this new cart. “Preacher that
sounds much better to me to place it on a cart.” However, it doesn’t matter how
it sounds to you. God said He wanted men to carry it by their hands.
This inspired King James Bible
not only tells us of a divine message but it also tells us of a divine method
of doing things. This Bible not only tells us the message but it also tells how
to spread the message. This Bible not only tells us what to preach but how to
preach. “But preacher soul winning doesn’t build a church.” Ok, and then don’t
build a church but go soul winning! I’d rather do it God’s way and not build a
church than not do it God’s way and build a church! God said by the
“foolishness of preaching” not by the foolishness of “dramas.” America needs
old-fashioned preaching, soul winning, and standards of holiness again!
God doesn’t need a new cart!
Throw away your new cart! We find this Ark of the Covenant on this new cart
being pulled by some oxen. “But preacher is looks so much better on the cart!
The cart has wheels on it! After all this is a new day and we must keep up with
the latest methods. It seems to me like this is much more efficient and the best
way to do it.” The trouble is it doesn’t matter what you and I think, or like.
It only matters what God likes and God thinks!
Observe what happens! As these
oxen pulled the cart they stumbled and the cart began to shake.  Uzzah instinctively reached out his
hand and touched the Ark. No man was supposed to do that! Nobody was to touch
the Ark and as soon as Uzzah touched it he was stricken by death. His life was
snuffed out immediately.
Wait a minute! Why did God give
us the story of Nadab and Abihu? Why did God give us the story of Uzzah?  Why the story of Nadab and Abihu
offering strange fire? It is simple because they were so familiar. Remember
their dad was the boss man! They drew strength from that authority to challenge
God’s Word!
What is the deal with Uzzah
reaching and touching the Ark because he had become too familiar? It is so easy
for those of us who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and do God’s work
to become too familiar with that which is sanctified.
I believe that the lives of God’s
people ought to be centered on their local church. I believe it is God’s will
that the young people and children build their lives around their local church.
No child of God has to prostitute to the devil’s crowd to have fun. You can
have fun with God’s people.
Church is not something that
takes place an hour on Sunday morning and then you go out and live like the
devil all week long until you come back to church. Church is a place to come
for 2 hours on Sunday morning, 2 hours on Sunday night, 2 hours on Wednesday
night, 2 hours for soul winning night, 2 hours for sports, time for fellowship,
time for your education, and for your fun. However, when that is true it can
become very easy for God’s children to become too familiar with that which is
Familiarity can breed contempt!
Just like what happened to Uzzah. He happened to possess a privilege others did
not have and because he had a privilege he thought it gave him privileges! He
happened to have the Ark of the Covenant in his house. Give thought to this for
in that the Ark dwelt the actual Ten Commandments on the Tablets with God’s own
handwriting on those Tablets. In that Ark dwelt the Golden Pot of manna that
fell every morning from Heaven in the wilderness. In that Ark dwelt Aaron’s rod
that budded! All that was in Uzzah’s house. He became too familiar with it and
when the Ark on the cart shifted a little he reached out to steady the Ark but
God had said, “Don’t touch it!”
Likewise, Nadab and Abihu said,
“We’ll just take some of our own fire and put it into our own censers and stick
it into the Altar of Incense because this is so much easier! However, they had
become too familiar with the work of God.
The church building is not a
sanctuary and it is not the place where God lives but on the other hand it is a
place sanctified for the service of God almighty. That’s one reason we built at
Longview Baptist Temple the beautiful school building for Longview Christian
Academy. Why, because it is easy for the LBT Auditorium and building to become
a little too familiar for our children. I believe if that which is not sacred
but is sanctified can lose its sanctification if God’s people are too familiar.
That is why, in my opinion, gym-auditoriums are dangerous.
The church auditorium is sanctified
not sacred but it is set aside for the preaching, teaching, singing, and
praising God. That is why Texas Baptist College has it’s own buildings. There
ought to be something about the church building that is not too familiar to
God’s people. When I pastored LBT I did not come into the auditorium one or two
times more than our church services. Why, because I wanted it to be a special
place or a sanctified place if you please. The children should not be allowed
to run around in the church auditorium. The truth is your children should be
with you are some other responsible adult when on church property. The church
auditorium is not sacred but it is sanctified1
God’s house is not in the sense
that He lives there but it is God’s house because He owns it and it is set
apart for His service. There is nothing wrong with the laughter or
fellowshipping that occurs but there is something wrong with having a Ben Hur
chariot race in there. This is not the place to eat or to drink. God’s house is
a sanctified place!
I do not believe in formal church
services, liturgy, or high church worship services but I do believe in dignity
and propriety for God’s house. Too many parents bring their children to the
house of God and turn them loose not knowing where they are and what they are
doing. Although we should not revere the house of God we should respect the
house of God. It is sanctified!
I Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know
how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of
the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
The chairs, pews, songbooks,
piano, organ, pulpit, microphones, etc., were paid for with God’s money thus
they belong to God are sanctified for His service. The house of God ought to be
Uzza became too familiar with the
Ark of the Covenant and he felt he had liberty because of familiarity to
disobey God. Be careful familiarity gives no one the right to disobey God!
Nadab an Abihu were familiar with
the Altar of Incense, the Brazen Altar, the Temple, the Tabernacle, and they
felt liberty because of familiarity. After all their daddy was the High Priest.
So, they offered the fire they wanted to offer and in so doing all three of
them were killed. 
May we look at today’s Temple? It
is not a building made with hands.
I Corinthians 6:18-20, “What? know ye not that he which is joined
to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.”
“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but
he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which
is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
God dwells in my body just like
He dwelt in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant in the early days.
My body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit! It is not sacred but it is
When I trusted Christ at age 11
God sanctified my spirit and set aside my spirit for Heaven. My salvation was
settled and I’m set aside for a home in Heaven! When Jesus comes again this
body of flesh I possess will be changed and then I will be totally set aside. I
will have a body like Jesus and I will be totally sanctified. In the interval
I’m being sanctified as I grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every redeemed person’s body is
the Temple of the Holy Spirit just as much as Solomon’s Temple. Thus, the body
should be treated with the same care that the Temple of the Old Testament was
Supposed someone brought some
tobacco into the Old Testament Temple and poured it all over the altar. Suppose
the High Priest had come in puffing on a cigar or suppose he is sipping on a
cocktail, or has acid rock blasting over a boom box what would have happened?
If Nadab and Abihu were stricken
dead because of strange fire and Uzzah was stricken dead because he attempted
to steady the Ark of the Covenant can you imagine what would have happened to
someone entering smoking a cigarette or come in there drinking liquor?
Go to the airport and see how
much little respect people have for themselves by the way they wear their
clothes or don’t’ wear clothes? Look at some of the old news clips of the
ballparks in Babe Ruth’s day? You will see men dressed up and the ladies
dressed up too! You will see the men in suits, white shirts, ties, and they
look like businessmen! Boy have things changed in America!
The house
of God is sanctified
The body
of the believer is sanctified
leader is sanctified
It is important to understand
that no follower should become too close to his or her leader. God has given to
all of us what Dr. John Rice used to call “God’s Deputies” for leadership in
every area of life. I am not Father Gray but I am sanctified Gray!
No church member ought to call
his or her pastor by their first name. Whatever role of leadership God has
given you make sure that there is a respect for the position.
It is a shame when children call
their dad “the old man” or call their mother “the old lady.” God is not pleased
with that and when parents allow it to be said they are hurting their children
more than they are themselves.
The house
of God is sanctified
The body
of the believer is sanctified
leader is sanctified
Scriptures are sanctified
Gospel is sanctified
nation Israel is sanctified
It is imperative that God’s
people do not become too familiar with that which is sanctified or it could be
a deadly thing. There should and must be a respect for the house of God, the
body of the believer, the leader, the Scriptures, the Gospel, and the nation Israel. 

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