Summary: How we can rebuild the altars in our life that have fallen into disrepair.
Iliff and Saltillo United Methodist
May 29, 2005
Memorial Day Sunday
“Abram: The Altar Builder”
INTRODUCTION: Throughout the Old Testament people built altars to offer
sacrifices, a ritual through which the Hebrew people offered the blood or flesh of an
animal to God in payment for their sins. Sacrifices originated in the Garden of Eden. An
altar, usually made of stones or other rough materials, was built on which to offer the
sacrifices. Both Old and New Testaments confirm that sacrifices were symbolic.
Because of their sins, the Hebrews presented offerings by which they gave another life in
place of their own. These substitutes pointed forward to the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus
Christ (Hebrews 10:1-18) who laid down His life for the sins of all people.
Although we probably think of altars primarily as places of sacrifice in the Old
Testament there are SIX REASONS why Abram and others built altars. It actually
symbolized COMMUNION with God and commemorated notable encounters with Him.
You might wonder, “How is an altar relevant in any way to my life today in the
year 2005? What do I have in common with Abram of the Old Testament times? What
does it have to do with me as I sit here this morning?
In my research I found that we can apply all six of these things to our life today
because they are all relevant to the Christian life and to each of us today. Let’s see what
we can learn from this scripture.
Today most churches have an altar at the front of the church. It is used for
different things such as for weddings, baptisms, kneeling down for communion, for
prayer for salvation, healing or other types of things. Perhaps in past years the altar was a
more significant part of people’s worship experience than it seems to be today, but in this
church the altar is an open place where you can come and kneel to pray whenever you
want to. On Sunday mornings when I get here I usually kneel at this altar to ask God to
bless the service and to help me to do my best.
1. Purposes of the Altar: In verse 7 the Lord appeared to Abram and as a
result Abram built an altar. It was a significant time for this man. Some of the rituals of
the church serve as a special time to us to mark the place and to
(a) remember where we met God just as Abram did.
ILLUSTRATION: I remember when I was 7 years old I went to an altar at a
church and received Jesus as my Savior. You can receive the Lord many different places
and times, but for me this still stands out in my mind as the SPECIFIC place where I
knelt. Abram built an altar to signify that He had met God that day. It stood as A
REMINDER of God’s promises to him. Maybe when this day seemed to fade in his
memory, he could look back at the altar, the specific place and say, “I met God here.”
REMEMBERING your baptism, or your wedding vows or any number of things having
to do with the church altar is a significant milestone for you. Graduates, receiving Bibles
or gifts today marks a time you can look back on as you journey forward into your future.