Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Are You Giving to God, Sacrifice or Offering?

Sacrifice or Offering

Reading: Genesis 22:1-18

The story is told of the pig and the chicken that went to the Church and heard of the Pastor’s birthday anniversary celebration. They offered to be part of the birthday celebration by making their contributions to his breakfast. The chicken suggested that they give the Pastor a good breakfast of bacon and eggs. The pig turned to the chicken and said “You are asking me to make a total sacrifice while you give a donation.” A breakfast of bacon and eggs is a total sacrifice for the pig but an offering by the chicken. Every Christian is either making a sacrifice or a donation.

What determines whether you are making a donation or a sacrifice is not how much you give of your money, your time, your talent or service or whatever you are doing for God, it is what you leave behind! People often think of money when you talk of giving. It is not only money you give to God – indeed God is not after the money you given Him, He is more after what in your life do you give Him. We are told of the Macedonian Christians in Second Corinthians 8:5 “they were an example to other believers because they did not only give of their possessions but first they gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.”

In preaching the Gospel we often make a wrong emphasis when we urge our listeners – “Give your heart to Jesus” that is not the total Gospel. We should really ask the listener to give God his/her all – his/her life to God. Christianity is a paradox- “What you keep you lose, and what you give to God, you gain.”

What then does God require of us – offering or sacrifice? 

Sacrifice because...

1. Because of the example of Noah – Genesis 8:20-22. The Sacrifice brought a promise and a covenant of blessing (Genesis 9:1-19)

2. Because of the example of Abraham – Genesis 22:1-19. To Abraham Isaac is his total life; without Isaac, he is simply not living – no continuation of the lineage, no fulfillment of God’s covenant. Already Ishmael is gone, but sacrifice introduces him to God’s new name- Jehovah Jireh – the God who will always provide.

3. Because of the example of Jesus Christ – Philippians 2:5-11. God lifted Him high above every other name in heaven and in the earth.

4. Because of the example of Paul – Philippians 2:17. His life is being poured out like a drink offering in sacrifice and this is responsible for the success of his ministry

5. Because this is what God demands from every Christian – Romans 12:1

God Demands our Sacrifice - Romans 12:1

Let us focus now on the last verse. Romans 12:1 is a call to consecration – a total life devoted and consecrated to God. What does this involve?

I beseech you brethren  - identified the group he is addressing – the Christians

By the mercies of God – let us for a moment shut our eyes and think back – what mercies we have received from the hands of God – mercies upon sinners. Think of what God has done, is doing in your life. Those represent the mercies of God and the mercies of God should be the great moral dynamic and spiritual incentive for the next command.

Present your bodies – we often sing – “I surrender all” but I am not quite sure how many really understand what that implies and involves. Why did he say we should present our bodies – not our hearts or our will? The body is the instrument of the soul and spirit, and God gets no service except it be manifested through the body: the hands, the feet, the mouth, the tongue. The body here includes the whole and total man. Now he wants us to present the body as a sacrifice – What type of sacrifice?

A living sacrifice –  To many of us sacrifice is defined simply as giving up something that we would rather not part with. The sacrifice that we are being urged to make here is not only giving up something, but it is giving it up to God with eagerness and joy – presenting it to Him. Again note that, in contradistinction to the sacrifices of the Old Testament which were dead, these are required to be living sacrifices. Christ died for our sins; we are not called upon again to die; we are called upon to live for Him. We  might die in a moment of time, but to live for Him will require a lifetime of service

Read More: Giving to God

If we live for Christ in all circumstances – in persecution, in poverty, in difficulties, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we will notice three wonderful things about the sacrifice.

1. The sacrifice must be holy 
How can the sinner make a holy sacrifice? - By the mercies of God ! You are not coming in your own merits but in His blood and cleansed and washed, made holy.

2. The sacrifice is acceptable
God will receive the sacrifice because it is well pleasing. What makes it attractive is that it is a present – not given forcibly or grudgingly. It pleases the holy God. Every father is pleased when the children show him love. Same is our heavenly Father!

3. The sacrifice is reasonable
Reasonable can mean "logical", that is to say, the only logical response to our realization that God bought us with a price is to belong to Him and serve Him (First Corinthians 6:19). Like the response of a slave to the master who bought him from the slave market

The second meaning of reasonable is in the sense that it is the only response of a moral creature made in the image of God and unlike a beast or a robot (Second Peter 2:12) Like the iron fillings reasonably respond to the attraction of the magnet.

The third meaning of reasonable is in the sense that it is the response of a creature who now rises to the highest point of priestly service under the direction of the Spirit of God. (Hebrews 9:1, 6) When we have realized and experienced the mercies of God, and have been purged by the blood of the Lamb, the Spirit now leads us to do only the right thing – respond in sacrifice to the living God.

What do you give to God? An offering of the remains – those things that you can do without? It was not so with the widow of the widow’s mite; it was not so with Mary Magdalene, who poured out her precious ointment. Note that in each of the two cases, the Lord Himself took particular note and commended their action. God wants you to pour out your precious ointment today for Him. If you love the Lord show it by what you do for Him, by the extent you want to go with Him.

The Lord of the harvest is watching and waiting. He will reward everyone accordingly. Please share your thoughts in the comments below

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