More than Numbers: Part 1

The book of Numbers has several of my favorite parts of the whole Bible. Andy Gries said that everyone thinks Numbers is just the same as what Deuteronomy is, but it’s not that at all! Here are the rough notes I preached from.

Download: Numbers Part 1 – 05072017 or subscribe to the Podcast.

Intro to the Book of Numbers (In the Wilderness)

Census was all men over 2
Army was men over 20
Levites that could work were men 25 or 30 up to age 50. After age 50 they keep guard, they help and attend to things, but they don’t do the priestly work that goes on inside.

There were 8,580 total Levites, 30–50 years old, that could work with the Tabernacle.

Aaron’s sons would cover everything up. Kohath’s sons would come in and carry it all, but even they weren’t allowed to look under the blue covers over the equipment.

Numbers 5 – Unclean and Restitution

Numbers 5:1–4 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous1 or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead. You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.” And the people of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the Lord said to Moses, so the people of Israel did.

This begins the explanations of order in the camp. What is good and what is bad and what to do about it.

They start off with laws about a jealous husband and the very sad and difficult process of proving a woman’s guilt.

Next they talk about a Nazirite vow, which is a set-apart time dedicated to the Lord.

These are short-term versions of what Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist did for their entire lives.

Men or women could take a Nazirite vow for any amount of time, and their shaved heads would show that they were in the middle of it! When they were done, here is what sacrifice they had to bring:

Numbers 6:13–15

[13] “And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting, [14] and he shall bring his gift to the LORD, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering, [15] and a basket of unleavened bread, loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and their grain offering and their drink offerings. (ESV)

This was what Paul paid for 4 men when he was arrested in Acts.

Priestly blessing Numbers 6:23–27

[23] “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
[24] The LORD bless you and keep you;
[25] the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
[26] the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
[27] “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (ESV)

Moses sets up the tabernacle and people are moved to give things to the Lord’s service.

Numbers 7:1–3

[1] On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and had anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils, [2] the chiefs of Israel, heads of their fathers’ houses, who were the chiefs of the tribes, who were over those who were listed, approached [3] and brought their offerings before the LORD, six wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon for every two of the chiefs, and for each one an ox. They brought them before the tabernacle. (ESV)

Moses divides up all of the six wagons and twelve oxen among all of the Levites…except for the Kohathites. The Kohathites had to carry the temple furniture by hand, not by carts.

Numbers 9 – first Passover in the wilderness

Numbers 9 they celebrate their first Passover in the wilderness. There are some unclean guys that come and ask Moses, “We’re unclean, what do we do?” They don’t want to celebrate it if they aren’t allowed to, but they don’t want to miss it if they are!

Moses asks the Lord and the answer: No matter if you are unclean or not, keep the Passover!

The Cloud that followed them

When the clouds stopped, they stopped.

Numbers 9:22

[22] Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. (ESV)

When they set out for Canaan Numbers 10:33–36

[33] So they set out from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey. And the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them. [34] And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.

[35] And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” [36] And when it rested, he said, “Return, O LORD, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.” (ESV)

Romans Chapter 3 Sermon

Here is my sermon on Romans 3 and Justification. You’ll find my rough notes after the download.

Romans 3 Sermon – Justification (Download Link)

When we last left off, Paul was talking about circumcision or any other outward sign of the law or of being Jewish is worthless toward righteousness if you don’t keep the whole law.

The key issue in this whole section of chapters is the thing that everyone really wants: to be right.

The Pharisees thought that they were right because of the families they were born into. They were kind of like the guy that when you knock on his door and offer to pray for him says “That’s ok, my dad’s a pastor.” And then closes the door in your face.

It might sound like it was pointless to be Jewish at this time, and that the Jews didn’t do any good towards God. That’s not true either. Just like if each one of us is judged by our own faith and not by our families, what good does it do to be raised in a Christian home? It’s still good, but it won’t make you righteous before God.

That is where Paul begins here.

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar,

This is one of the greatest truths about God. He isn’t whatever we believe Him to be. He is who He is and that’s really who He is. No matter how many people call me Snow White and no matter how many people really think I really am Snow White, I’m still Dan Sullivan. Just because people are confused doesn’t change who I am.

It would be great if that message could go out to all the world. “God isn’t who you think He is! He’s Himself!”

Paraphrase v. 5-8

5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

If my being sinful shows off God’s mercy, if my wickedness makes a great story of forgiveness and redemption that makes God looks good, then what right does God have to judge me for being evil? That’s what Paul is asking here. How can God be just in condemning me if my evil looks good? Again, good is good and evil is condemned. Evil that makes God look good isn’t good, it’s still evil.

Paul’s preaching was so free from a law, that people accused him of saying “let’s do evil so that good will come from it” They accused Jesus of drunkenness and gluttony. These guys lived so free in the Father’s love that the law-makers and the law-keepers couldn’t understand it.

We are all Sinners

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11  no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13  “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14  “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16  in their paths are ruin and misery,
17  and the way of peace they have not known.”
18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Justified: to be proven right. You did the right thing, that means you are justified.

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.


This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.


28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Palm Sunday and the Maccabean Revolution of Jesus

This is from Palm Sunday 2016.

Download here:


Here is the outline of what I preached.


In 166 BC, Judas Maccabee lead a revolt against the Greek-influenced Jews and the Greek leadership of the Seleucid rulers.

Antiochus Ephiphanies had sacrificed a pig in the temple and set up an idol to Zeus INSIDE the Holy of Holies!

(At one point the Seleucids invaded areas of Pakistan with an army of 600,000 men and 9,000 war elephants) They were bad dudes.

Judas Macabees defeated the Greeks, took down the idol, cleansed the temple, and in triumph of making Judaism Jewish again, the people laid their tree branches and coats along the road for him to walk along. They re-instituted a new non-greek High Priest and ruled. The rulers then gave them religious freedom and slowly worked to rule another way.

Herod married the Great great great grand daughter of Judas’ brother who was the high priest.

Holy Week

Mary puts perfume on His feet, and He says it’s for His burial.
Judas objects. He isn’t happy with Jesus getting this big of a gift wasted on him. $43,600

Bethany is as far away from the temple as Mulzer stone or Tropicana is from Westminster.

[37] Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, [38] so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

[39] Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

[40] “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”

[41] Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.

(John 12:37-41 ESV)

We’ve been talking about this mystery a little bit this week and this morning I came across a verse that cleared this up for me.

[25] Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. [26] And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
[27] “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

[28] As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. [29] For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. [30] For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, [31] so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. [32] For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

[33] Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

(Romans 11:25-33 ESV)

Just like Pharaoh hardened his heart and became an enemy-tool of God, the Pharisees also became an Enemy-Tool. By their judgement and crucifixion of Jesus, we are all delivered.