Summary: The purpose and the need of the altar in our church and most importantly, in our lives
Text Rom 12:1-3
1 Cor 1:27 - 29 (NKJV) 27But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29that no flesh should glory in His presence.
The word “salvation” is mentioned 156 times
The word “mercy” is mentioned 269 times
The word “grace” is mentioned 137 times
That’s a total of 562.
The word “altar” is mentioned 322 times
The word “sacrifice” is mentioned 302 times
That’s a total of 624.
There’s a lot of emphasis placed on “salvation, mercy and grace” and there should be because that’s the major theme of redemption. But without the altar and sacrifice there would be no mercy. There would be no grace and there would be no salvation. Redemption is beautiful but it was graphic.
What is the altar and Where is the altar?
1. Where – it could be anywhere – it’s the intent of the heart that makes the altar successful.
What is the altar?
1. It’s not just some old religious relic or icon. It is a place of covenant and therefore a sacred place.
The altar is a place with God and man meet.
2. It is a place where you come to our High Priest.
Heb 4:14 - 16 (NKJV) 14Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The Hebrew word for altar comes from the word “to slay”
The Altar in the Old Testament was recognized by it’s:
The altar is not a glamorous place
1. The altar is not a sterile place, it’s a place of filth, degradation, a place of pain, a place of sacrifice, a place of death.
2. Preaching to some is about looking good – Altar ministry is about getting dirty.
3. It’s a dirty place – where all your dirty hidden sins you bare to the altar
4. It is a place to bring your broken life,
A. your broken marriage,
B. your wayward children, your unsaved loved ones.
C. It’s a place to bring the impossible to God.
D. The altar is a place to bring your sickness, your anxieties, your cares.
1 Pet 5:6 - 7 (NKJV) 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
5. It’s a place to bring your career goals, what you want, what you are striving to achieve in life.
A. You are to be a living sacrifice.
B. The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar.
Abraham had the knife up ready to thrust it into the chest of God’s promise and that’s the precise moment that God gave Abraham a breakthrough.
The altar is a place where you pour yourself out to God.
Hanna – she poured herself out….
1 Sam 1:9 - 18 (NKJV) 9So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the £tabernacle of the Lord. 10And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” 12And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” 15But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16Do not consider your maidservant a wicked£ woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” 17Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” 18And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. She poured herself out before God!