New Creation Sacrifice
In the past few weeks, we've been looking at our status as New Creations and what it means for us. Today, we'll be looking at how the idea of Sacrifice has changed from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant--and as a result, the expectation from God of our sacrifice has changed as well.
To best show the contrast from the Old to the New--we're going to look at Hebrews 9-10. It's a simple format--read a segment of Scripture and highlight the points it makes. Taken together, we get a good idea of how things have drastically improved in the ministry of Jesus--how Jesus is superior in every way to the old system.
Sacrifice in the Old Testament typically took these forms.
• Fellowship offerings
• Peace Offerings
• Sin offerings—for unintentional sins
• Community Offerings for the Nation—Atonement once a year
Hebrews 9:1-5--describes it this way
Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.
• Very Limited Access
• Only priests—only High Priest into the Holy of Holies and the Presence of God
• Blood was required to Approach God
• Only good for sins committed in ignorance
• Not good for deliberate or rebellious sins
The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
• The Way into the Holy of Holies was still closed
• Gifts and Sacrifices were not able to clear the worshippers conscience
• These sacrifices were only a matter of external regulations
• Only intended for a short period of time, until the better replaced them
• Outward cleansing not an inward heart change
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.
• Outward cleansing not an inward heart change
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
• Only a shadow of the good that is coming
• Repeated Endlessly every year
• Can never make perfect
• Worshipers Continued guilty conscience
• Annual reminder of sin
• Impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
• The Priest must stand—always working
• Offers the same sacrifices over and over
• They can never take away deliberate sins.
Sacrifice in the New Testament
Hebrews 9:11-12— When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
• Jesus had access to the Presence of God as High Priest
• Jesus entered the Holy of Holies by His own blood
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
• The Blood of Christ cleanses our conscience
• So that we may SERVE the Living God
For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
• Christ entered the Real Presence of God, not just the representation on earth
• He only had to do it Once
• Jesus did away with sin and takes away the sins of many people
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
• They stand, but Jesus sits—His work is done
• Jesus has made us perfect forever
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
• We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place—the Presence of God
• Remember the Veil of the Temple was Torn Down
• We can draw near to God
• We can have a Sincere Heart
• We can have Full Assurance of Faith
• We can have our Conscience Cleansed
• We can have Hope
• We can Encourage One Another
• We have Good deeds prepared for us
• We have Reason to Meet Together
What about us? What how do we respond to this great sacrifice that accomplished so much on our behalf? Sometimes we are confused on what to do—sometimes we think we have to do something to earn it, sometimes we think we have to give something back to satisfy Him. And so we give—since I didn’t hear any clucks, moos, baas, oinks or any other sound while the offering plate was passed around, I assume if you give, you did so by giving money of some kind. But let me suggest something to you—something you don’t hear in church very often--God doesn’t want or need your money.
ISA 1:11 "The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the LORD.
"I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
Those things were our equivalent of money.
PS 50:8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
PS 50:9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,
PS 50:10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
In several cases, perfectly good offerings and sacrifices and even money was rejected. Cain’s offering was rejected all the way back in Genesis 4
Israelites who tried to sacrifice to God and to Baal had theirs rejected.
In the New Testament—amount is not very important—Luke 2:21—“As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
Acts 5 saw the offering of Annanias and Sapphira rejected because they did so for show and pretense under the guise of giving more—but God saw through it and revealed it to Peter 5:4—“wasn’t the money at your disposal?”—Keep or give, it’s up to you but don’t lie about it.
Acts 8—Simon the Sorcerer tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit and his money was rejected.
God is more interested in your heart than what or how much you give. Simply bringing a sacrifice and offering does not please or satisfy or fulfill some duty.
Psalm 51:16-17—“ You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
PS 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
HOS 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
God is more interested in you and your heart devoted to Him than He is your money and the amount you give. While money is often an indicator of your devotion to God, don’t think for a moment that just by writing a check you’re fulfilling what God requires of you. God is not interested in the leftovers of our time and money. He wants all of us—completely.
Romans 12:1—“ Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Colossians 3:17—“ And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
HEB 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Whether intentional or not, we all sacrifice something to God. Is He getting your best, not just of your money, but of you, your efforts, your commitment, your time? Why do you sacrifice at all? I hope it's not to impress anyone, or to earn points or any other reason than to show your devotion to Him. Continually sacrifice praise to Him--He is Worthy!