PART THREE – WE RESPOND
WE OFFER SACRIFICE
We have already learned that we no longer need to offer sacrifices in order to be forgiven. Jesus offered Himself for us so that we may come to the Father freely as His son and daughters.
“But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool because, by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:12-14.
Why then must we still offer sacrifices and what do we offer?
BECAUSE OF GOD’S MERCY, we may now offer the sacrifices which come from our grateful hearts.
We often think that a sacrifice is something we have to give up even when we don’t feel like it and that a sacrifice costs us something. But when we look at it from God’s perspective, a sacrifice is an exchange. When the Israelites sacrificed their animals in obedience to God, they received the forgiveness of sins and the promise of God’s provision which was much more than they ever gave away. In the same way, what we receive is far greater than what we give.
What are the sacrifices we may give?
- We give our bodies
“Therefore I urge you, brothers, IN VIEW OF GODS’ MERCY, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1.
Paul urges us to give our bodies as a living sacrifice because of God’s mercy to us. But how can we give our bodies and still be alive?
Every animal sacrifice had its head and legs cut off and its inward parts washed. These are symbolic of what a living sacrifice is. Our heads symbolise our minds. When we yield our minds to God, He gives us the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16b – “We have the mind of Christ”)
Our legs symbolise our walk with God. When we allow Him to lead us and to take us where He chooses, He always leads us along the path of His will. We learn, as we obey and follow Him, that His will, although it may not always take us down easy paths, is always the best for us.
An animal’s inward parts were washed before they were burnt on the altar. We are also inwardly washed as we offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. Our sins are forgiven and hearts cleansed by the blood of Jesus. We are made acceptable to God through Jesus and may approach Him freely because we have been washed.
- We give our praise
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name.” Hebrews 13:15a.
A heart that is continually thankful and a mouth that is full of praise, is a heart that understands and responds to God’s mercy.
We will never properly worship God with thankful hearts until we understand what He has done for us. God owes us nothing. Everything He has done for us flows from His heart of love and mercy.
- We give our money
“I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” Philippians 4:18.
Generosity is another way of worshipping the Lord.
When we give of our resources to help someone in need, we are not only making a deposit into our heavenly bank account, we are also showing our love for God by taking care of His children. Whatever we do for our brother or sister, Jesus said, we are doing it for Him.
- We give our love
“And do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrew 13:15b.
Loving others simply means meeting their needs at our own expense. That’s what Jesus did for us. He knew we needed a Saviour. He came from heaven and died in our place because we could not save ourselves. It cost His life but He gave it willingly because of His love.
“Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.
When we willingly serve someone in need, God counts it as an act of worship of Him.
- We give our hearts.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.
What is a broken heart? It is not the heart of someone who is sad because he has been hurt or offended by another person; a mother whose child has died, or has run away from home; a wife whose husband has left her for another women; a father who has lost his job and cannot provide for his family.
A broken heart is the heart of a person who is submitted to God like a horse to the will of its rider. A horse that accepts a saddle and a rider is spoken of as “broken in.” God has to break us in through many difficult circumstances until we learn to obey Him instead of being stubborn and rebellious.
A broken spirit offered to God is pleasing to Him. When we trust Him, He can trust us, and entrust to us the privileges of being His children.
BECAUSE OF GOD’S MERCY, we respond by offering Him the sacrifices that acceptable and pleasing to Him.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!