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Archive for the ‘Sacrifice’ Category

Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:17-19

Philippians was actually a thank you letter from the apostle Paul to a Church for their financial aid.

He said their gift was a “sweet smelling sacrifice”. Not just a complement, this referenced a specific kind of sacrifice. You can read about it in Leviticus chapters 1 and 2.

Most sacrifices were mandatory but the “sweet savour” sacrifice was different — it was completely voluntary. A small part was burned for the smell and the rest given to a priest. Giving from a heart of gratitude gets God’s attention, like the smell of breakfast in the morning — bacon frying and coffee brewing — does to us. It warms his heart.

Priests, in the Old Testament, are symbolical for followers of Christ (Rev 1:6).

The Bible tells us that as we voluntarily give to Christ’s followers — fellow christians — God is pleased and returns a blessing.

— fritz@langgang.com
Related Post: Getting More – July 13, 2011

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Abraham …bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar … But the angel of  the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” …  “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” …  Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram … and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. – Genesis 22:9b-12-13 (NIV)

Why such a story like this in our Bible? A man being told to kill his son on an altar – the idea is repugnant to us today!

But human sacrifice was often demanded by the gods and religions of Abraham’s day.  What could be more dear to a man than his only son, and what could show his devotion more than sacrificing that son on an altar.

But the God of the Bible is different; Abraham had to learn that and so do we.  In this one event God established two (2) critical lessons:

  1. God doesn’t want human sacrifice like the other gods (demons) required. He’s not interested is us giving him some thing, no matter how dear, he wants us to give him ourselves.
  2. God institutes the concept of substitution.  God, himself, provides the substitute – here it was a ram for a son, but later it would be Christ tasting death1 for us that we may go free.

So, how was the sacrifice of Christ NOT human sacrifice?  Because it was Christ’s self-sacrifice.  Jesus was not the victim2 but the instigator and voluntary participant. He was on a mission – not to satisfy some whim of a deity but to free mankind from the bondage of sin.

Charles Wesley, an Anglican priest, brother to John Wesley and co-founder of Methodism expressed it this way,

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
3

– fritz
1 – Hebrews 2:9
2 – John 10:17-18, Matthew 26:53
3 – Hymn, “Oh For A Thousand Tongues” by Charles Wesley

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“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:1

God is not interested in a cold dead sacrifice. He wants something alive and functional in this present world.

Recently a popular movie called “The Bucket List” showed two dying men on a mission to complete the list of things they wanted to accomplish before they “Kicked the Bucket!”

Tear up your bucket list on God’s altar.

It’s “reasonable service” to pray,

“Father, here is my body – my hands, my feet, my eyes, my mouth, all of me – including everything I ever wanted to do with them.” – (Your name goes here)

– fritz

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