Summary: Sacrificing to God has always been part of the man-God relationship. Abel and Cain made sacrifices. Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son. The Levitical system of sacrifices lay at the center of Jewish life. Today God calls for living, not dead sacrifice.
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A LIVING SACRIFICE
I. Introduce subject by reading Rom 11:33 – 12:3
II. Sacrificing to God has always been part of the man-God relationship.
• Abel and Cain made sacrifices. There was an issue of acceptability of the sacrifice. Abel’s was acceptable by faith, the Hebrew writer tells us.
• Upon emerging from the ark, Noah offered a sacrifice of every clean animal and bird, apparently from the 7 pairs of clean animals he had been directed to take into the ark (Gen 7:2-3).
• Abraham, obeying the bone-chilling command of God, took his son Isaac to a mountain and made every preparation to kill him as a burnt offering. At the last moment, “the angel of the Lord” stopped him, saying “now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
• Sacrifices in the Levitical system. (Summarize briefly)
1. Burnt offering – Lev 1 & 6 – Voluntary, signifying complete surrender, devotion, and commitment to God. A bull, ram, male goat, male dove, or pigeon was sacrificed.
2. Grain offering – Lev 2 & 6 – Voluntary, signifying thanksgiving for first fruits. Flour, bread, or grain, always unleavened, were used.
3. Fellowship, or Peace offering – Lev 3, 7, & 22 - Voluntary, signifying thankfulness to God. Any animal without blemish was sacrificed.
4. Sin offering – Lev 4, 5, 6, & 12 – Mandatory, made by one who had sinned unintentionally or was ceremonially unclean.
5. Guilt offering – Lev 5, 6, 7 & 14 – Mandatory, made by a person who had either deprived another of his rights or desecrated something holy.
6. Annual day of atonement – one goat was symbolically loaded with the people’s sins and released to the desert, and another was slain and its blood offered as atonement for sin.
• At the huge brazen altar, morning and evening sacrifices, etc. went on day after day including the Sabbath.
• While still in Babylon, Daniel foresaw the end of the Levitical system – prophesied by Daniel (9:27), done in AD70.
III. It is part of our nature to bring gifts to God
Your baby wants you to eat part of his baby food. It’s a game, but it’s also giving back to the giver.
School age children bring gifts they have made. Those gifts delight us and our children are overjoyed at our appreciation of their gifts. Years later, those gifts are still precious.
What sacrifice is ours to give to the one who created the mountains, valleys, rivers and oceans, and the stars, galaxies, and undiscovered worlds beyond?
• Psa 24:1 “The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…”
• 1 Cor 6:19 “You are not our own; you were bought with a price.”
• Rom 11:35 “…who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?"
There is something God wants very much, and only you can give it.
Rom 12:1-2 Present your body as a living sacrifice…do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed”
(It is our choice to be transformed, or not)
The transformation rests on the renewing of the mind.
How fervently does God want you to undergo this transformation?
Though you have nothing that isn’t already God’s, you are worth more than all the wealth in the world. You are worth Jesus dying for.
Only you have the power to grant or deny God HIS HIGHEST WISH CONCERNING YOU!
Your church contribution is not your “living sacrifice.”
God wants ALL of you. If your heart belongs to him, he also has the rest.
IV. Death, Burial, and Resurrection
1. To be a living sacrifice, we must first die.
In the Levitical system of sacrifices, the animals were slain in order to be sacrificed.
Death – we put self to death when we give ourselves to Jesus.
Rom 6:4 “We were buried with him by baptism into death”
What can that death possibly mean?
We die to pride, self-will, and sin.
Burial – we are buried with Christ in baptism and our sins are washed away, reconciling us to God; pure, unstained, and holy (Acts 22:16).
In baptism the believer signifies that he dies to sin.
In the literal sense, we bury the dead.
So it is in the spiritual.
Not only is the reign of sin dead. It is buried. The reign of sin in his mortal body is deceased. We are dead to our former way of life. We may sin in the future, but if we do, our sins are covered.