Friday, November 16, 2012

New Testament Sacrifices

One Year Bible
New Testament Passage (for Fri., Nov. 16, 2012): Hebrews 13:1-25

14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.  16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.  Hebrews 13:14-16 (NKJV)

Today we bring to a close our reading of this great Letter to the Hebrews. Throughout this book a comparison is made between Old and New - between Law and Grace. A key word has been "better".  All the incredible things we find in the Old Testament are shadows and prefigurements of the better things in the New Testament. 

One of the central themes of Old Testament worship is sacrifice. Yearly, monthly, and even daily, priests would bring the offerings of God's people to an altar to be killed and/or burned. We find that those atoning sacrifices are fulfilled in the New Testament in the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. Therefore, there is no longer any need for such regular slaughters. Praise God!  It is fulfilled and finished in the Cross!

So, we might ask the question, "Are there any New Testament sacrifices?" The answer may surprise some. It is "YES!"  But, let's be clear. These New Testament sacrifices are not for atonement. That has been accomplished and need never be repeated. They are the response of gratitude and allegiance to the One who paid the price. 

There are three basic New Testament sacrifices. Two of them are in our passage today.  The three are:
1. Your PERSON
2. Your PRAISE

Romans 12:1 says that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. He bought you at Calvary. Now lay down your life for Him. He wants ALL OF YOU. This is your PERSON. 

Then, we bring "a sacrifice of PRAISE". He is delighted in our daily declaration of His goodness. This is not some simple recitation of religious phraseology. This is heartfelt gratitude released in words that bring Him glory. 

Lastly, there are daily PRACTICES (as we find in vs. 16). Practices of service and kindness. We go out of our way to show the love of God. We sacrifices our time, our talents, and our treasures to serve The Lord and others. 

Our New Testament sacrifices do not get us to Heaven. Jesus does that. But they do bring Heaven down to earth. So boldly enter a life of sacrifice. In so doing, you will really live. 

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