Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Privileges Of God's Children: Access - Part 2

It's your job to offer a sacrifice but it's not a dead animal that God wants.

1 Peter 2:4-5 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What's more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

In part one of this post about our privilege of having access to God I learned that we are all priest and that we have direct access to God ever since the temple veil was torn at the time of Jesus death. (Matthew 27:50-51) Christ was an acceptable sacrifice and he makes us acceptable so that we can have access beyond the veil directly to God.

Now instead of a priest at the temple I am personally responsible for offering sacrifices to God! One of the jobs of the Old Testament priest was to make sure that the sacrifice met the requirements to be pleasing and acceptable to God and now that I am a priest that is my job. The question is: "How can I know whether my spiritual sacrifices really honor God and what kind of sacrifice does he want?"
Romans 12:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Present your body as a living and holy sacrifice.

Because of God's great mercy I should be willing to give God everything about my body and my mind, I should be keeping my mind clean and my body in good shape so that I can offer a pleasing sacrifice. I should use every part of my body for his glory and his service. (Romans 6:13)

We are to sacrifice ourselves, not by climbing on an altar but by submitting our lives to God, our thoughts, words and actions should display a willingness to let God be in control. We need to be willing to deny self to serve God and people. The apostle Paul was a great example of this, he said "my life has already been poured out as an offering to God" and he told the church in Philippi that their service to God is an offering. (2 Timothy 4:6, Philippians 2:17)

Sacrificing self comes down to whether I have given my whole mind and body and all my faculties as a living sacrifice to God to do with as He will? All my hopes and dreams included?
Hebrews 13:15-16 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name. 16 And don't forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

Bring the sacrifice of praise.

A phrase that can be over used in church circles is "praise the Lord." Bringing a sacrifice of praise goes a lot further than that. The book of Psalms shows us a great model for praising God. The praises focus on who he is, what he has done or they focus on thanksgiving for who he is and what he has done.
Romans 15:16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.

The sacrifice of new disciples.

Paul told the church in Rome that his work which created many new Christ followers was done so that he may present the new converts as an offering to God. Paul had a huge offering of new converts!

This must be the most neglected offering that we give, there are a lot of good Christ followers that are doing well in the areas of praise and living good clean lives but most of us don't consider the importance of this offering. It has been too long since I have lifted up the sacrifice of a new disciple to offer to God.
The only reason the church exists is to stimulate your priestly function. The church is not the end in itself. If all you do is come and go, that's not it. Unless you go out of this place to offer up spiritual sacrifices, we have failed and you have failed to respond.
-John MacArthur 
What are our spiritual sacrifices? Our whole self, praise, good works, sharing, generosity and the souls of redeemed people.