Summary: As we just read in Hebrews 13:10, “we have an altar” of our own now. Our altar of worship isn’t like what they had in the Old Testament. Our altar of worship is a place were we can come and offer up the fruit of lips that confess His name.
10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-- the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (NIV)
The Hebrew word for altar means “a place of slaughter or sacrifice” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ©1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers). The altar was a place were they carried out their spiritual rituals and religious practices of offering up some type of sacrifice to God as a form of worship.
As we just read in Hebrews 13:10, “we have an altar” of our own now. Our altar of worship isn’t like what they had in the Old Testament. Our altar of worship is a place were we can come and offer up the fruit of lips that confess His name.
Our Altar of Worship is . . .
1. A Place of Promise
In Genesis 8:20-22 we read of an altar that Noah built to worship God after the flood had destroyed the earth. Here at this altar God spoke to Noah and gave His entire creation a promise. “Then Noah build an altar to the Lord . . . never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” His altar became a place of promise.
Later in Genesis we read about a promise given to Abram, who would later be known as Abraham. “The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him” (Genesis 12:7). We see this covenant restated in greater detail in chapter 15 with the promise “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18). His altar too became a place of promise.
We have an ALTAR of Promise!
A. We will never be alone!
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." 6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (NIV)
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (NIV)
We can be confident that our Omnipresent God, the God who is everywhere all the time, will always be with us! He didn’t leave us as orphans destines to wonder the streets lonely and afraid. Continue reading John 14 and see how He has given us His Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be our guide, our helper, our strength, our voice. We have an altar of promise that we can come to and be assured that we are never alone.
B. We have a hopeful future!
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)
Not only are we never alone, but our omniscient God, who knows the past, present and future, has a plan already set out for our lives. His plan includes prosperity and protection. His plan includes hopeful future! If God loved us enough to sacrifice His only son, than surely He has a special plan us.
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells us “do not worry about your life”. He then goes on to give us this challenge. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow.” We have an altar of promise that we can come to and be assured of our hopeful future.
Our Altar of Worship is . . .
2. A Place of Sacrifice
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.