Sermons

Summary: The central issue of human life, to be resolved, is that of worship.

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Complete Sacrifices

Montreal/Cornwall

September 18, 2004

The central issue of life is worship. This has been the case from the very beginning. Worship was the central issue for the first war. In eternity past, the sin of pride entered Lucifer’s heart and he became jealous of God, wanting to be the one who received heaven’s adoration and worship. He wanted all of heaven, including God, to bow down to him. He wanted to be the one in charge, and this led to the organizing of the universe’s first rebellion and war. There was mutiny in heaven, and it was over worship.

Lucifer and his followers were cast from heaven, but the effort to unseat God from His throne was not over. Following Jesus’ baptism, Jesus went to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. At the heart of this encounter with Satan was the issue of worship.

Matt.4.9- Worship was at the centre of the last offer Satan made to Jesus.

Because of this history, let us not think that worship is not central to our lives, too. The central and most important issue to be resolved, in human lives, has to do with worship. Who will you worship? Whom will those created in God’s image worship? Before whom will the heavens and earth bow? The reality is that we all have to serve somebody- we all have to worship someone, and we are called to choose. We have declared our choice, I know- this is what happens in public declaration of Jesus as personal Saviour, and in the public affirming of this in the ceremony of baptism. But let us not think that once this declaration has been made that we’re done. Let us not think that once done finishes the battle and the cause of worship in our lives. This is not the case. Daily, we have to declare our allegiance and faithfulness to God.

Ro.12.1- Paul, the mature Christian, through writing to the Roman church, tells us to be living sacrifices. This instructs us about the need for constant worship. Let us get some idea of what is involved by looking back at what was involved in primitive sacrifice.

Lev.1.1ff- what was involved here? What was involved was the sacrifice of everything. The whole being of the sacrificial animal was involved. Notice the detail of the process. What does it mean to ‘flay’? (Does anyone know?) What does skin provide? It provides protection, covering, beauty, hides flaws, toughness- but it all had to go before the sacrifice could be made- all that outer covering had to disappear first. There are some lessons in this for us, aren’t there? When we come to worship God, we have to do so without all we might use to protect us or cover us or make us out to be more, or different, than we really are ‘under our skin’.

Comparing Paul’s message and the example of the ancient sacrifices shows us that being living sacrifices requires more than form of us. It requires more than part of us. It requires our complete selves. It require more than just dedicating a closet to God, or a house, but takes hold of the entire person, and has the whole life dedicated to God.

How do we so offer ourselves? How do we so bow down before God continually? Jesus tells us how to do this, as he instructed his disciples. As his 21st century disciples, the same instruction and guidance are ours.


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