Sunday, Oct 20, 2019
Fr. Phil Eberhart
Rez Anglican Fellowship
An Acceptable Sacrifice
This morning we continue our stewardship series, "The Joy of Giving Up."
I heard a story this week about two guys that were marooned on an island in the middle of the ocean. The one was frantic, trying to figure ways to signal and attract attention from passing ships or planes. The other seemed unconcerned and was digging a hole in the sand that served as a chair for him to simply scan the horizon. The one fellow got a bit frustrated and finally asked, "How can you be so cool about all this? "
"Well, you see," He said, "I go to church and I tithe on the $10,000 a week that I make in my business! Believe me...
My pastor WILL FIND ME!"
This morning I want to start again with the 1st verse of Rom 12...
"I urge you, therefore, with eyes wide open to all God's mercies, to present yourself as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service... an intelligent act of worship "
Throughout the whole Old Testament the worship of God entailed sacrifices. There are a whole host of them throughout the Torah, prescribed as worship in various ways at various times of the year. We've just come through the Fall Feast days and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.
On that day each year, the high priest would make special preparations and would present blood from a pure, unblemished lamb on the golden altar, the Ark of the Covenant, inside the Holy of Holies in the temple.
This was to be a pure, unblemished lamb. A "perfect " sacrifice once yearly for the atonement for the sins of the people.
Jesus himself fulfilled this sacrificial role for us on his cross. We speak of this every time we celebrate the Holy Communion here.
All praise and glory is yours, O God our heavenly Father, for in your tender mercy, you gave your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption. He made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;
The blood of the Lamb was poured out as an oblation on the altar to make atonement for us through sacrifice.
Now we, in turn, are to offer our selves, "our souls and bodies"...
"And here we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice."
An acceptable sacrifice...
Today we're not making a sacrifice for atonement by giving money! That heresy was done away with in the 1500's. We cannot buy our salvation.
But today we need to be mindful that God deserves our best. Whatever we give of our time or our gifts and talents or our worldly treasures, God deserves our best.
The threat of death is done away with through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. But our response to that sacrifice is to be what the song calls our "all in all!"
In the next month we will celebrate THANKSGIVING.
Once a year we set aside a day to give thanks. I wonder what might happen if we did that as a matter of course every day?
We've used the metaphor here at Rez of a "treasure hidden in a field." What was the cost to buy that field?
Everything. All the man had.
In order to get the field, the man had to sell all - to sacrifice all for the sake of the field.
Today God's requirements haven't been lowered! If anything they've been heightened! Jesus often did that, but then he turned and offered us a way in too. By his own blood.
Today's sacrifices are the Thanksgiving type.
What are you thankful for today?
What does your attitude of gratitude prompt from your heart and from your gifts, your talents and from you're time and treasure?
That's the question we're asking ourselves today as we consider the sacrifice that is worthy of all our God hs done for us!
Holy God, you gave your only Son for us and He gave all for us and for our salvation. Help us, Lord, to come to you with grateful hearts and a sacrifice of praise. Help us to return to you from all that You have given us, as you enable and empower us to give.
And all for the sake of Your Kingdom and the fame of Your Name, Jesus.
Amen and amen.