Summary: Are our offerings to God "sweet smelling aromas" to Him? Or are they something less?
The following sermon was used in conjunction with the book "Take God at His Word, Book 2: Expect a Harvest" written by Dr. Kregg Hood, Sweet Publishing (5750 Stratum Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76137)
Dr. Hood has an excellent packet to go with this sermon series that would be well worth your investigation.
OPENING COMMENTS: In our Sermon Series on the ABC’s of Stewardship, we’ve gotten to the C of Stewardship: CONSECRATION
To Consecrate something (American Heritage Dictionary): “to dedicate something to some service or goal.”
OPEN: (Paul Harvey, Nov. 1995): The Butterball Turkey company set up a hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years.
The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below 0 degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn’t recommend eating it.
The caller replied, “That’s what we thought. We’ll just give it to the church.”
APPLY: Why does that strike us as funny? She was consecrating that Turkey to God, wasn’t she? What she was offering was still good – wasn’t it??? BUT tho’ it may have been “consecrated”… though it still was “good,” it wasn’t going to taste good or smell good.
I. Offerings to God - that which is consecrated to God - should taste good. They should smell good.
Lev. 1:9 talked about the Burnt Offering that was to be offered to God. When properly prepared this burnt offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Lev. 2:2 describes the Grain Offering. When properly prepared this grain offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Lev. 3:5 tells us about the Fellowship Offering. When properly prepared this fellowship offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Lev. 4:31 introduces the Sin Offering. When properly prepared this sin offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Ex. 29:18 tells of the sacrifices that were to consecrate the priests for service. You got it: When properly prepared this sacrifices would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."
When Noah offered up his sacrifice after the flood, it says that “the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."
THAT WHICH IS CONSECRATED UNTO GOD. That which is sacrificed to Him should taste good. It should smell good.
II. So what can make an offering to God “smell good?” – Appeal to God
THE KEY is found in Mark 12:41ff (read) What’s Jesus doing here? There was something in what is happening in the Temple that was appealing to Him. He has been watching people put their offering into the temple treasury and… WHOA!
What does that say? It says he was watching people put their money in the offering? I don’t know if I like that! What I put in the plate – no one’s business but my own… isn’t it? Well, obviously not! What we give is important to God. And He does watch.
ILLUS: Did you know that in the Bible prayer is mentioned 371 times, love 714 times, and giving 2162 times? Where does the Bible put greater emphasis?
But why should it matter to God what we give? It’s the thought that counts isn’t it? He doesn’t even need my money. AND He shouldn’t need my money to know how much I love Him… should He?
ILLUS: Mrs. Baughman was a Sunday School class teacher in my 6th grade class. One morning she brought a pan of brownies to our class. As the goodies sat tantalizingly over by her chair she gave each child a slip of paper marked with a household expense: house payment, phone bill, credit card bill, entertainment, and so forth. My slip had "car payment on it."
Before long, Mrs. Baughman picked up the tray of fresh brownies and began naming the expenses named on the papers. As we gave her our expense slips, she redeemed each one for a brownie from the pan. Finally, the last brownie had disappeared. But one boy named Donald still held his unredeemed slip. "God!" called Mrs. Baughman. Donald came forward, hoping the teacher had one more brownie hidden somewhere.
With a knife, Mrs. Baughman scraped the crumbs from the bottom of the pan into Donald’s napkin. He got a pretty raw deal, I thought - just the crumbs.
"The brownies represent your money," the teacher explained to us. "If you don’t give God his share right away, he probably won’t get anything at all except maybe crumbs."