Pew 2 Pulpit
Posted January 10, 2016 by Pew 2 Pulpit in Bible Study, Education, Outreach, Ministry, Inspiration
What about our faith pleases God?

Hebrews 11:6

In my search for this answer, God revealed to me three components to this pleasing faith. The components to a pleasing faith are obedience, sacrifice and belief. Without these three in action, our faith cannot please God.

The second part of God pleasing faith is Sacrifices. I thank God that we do not have to bring bullocks, rams, lambs, doves and other forms of sacrifices of yesteryears. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for being my one and only sacrifice for my sins. I praise God for his baptism in water and for his Holy Spirit that dwells in me with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Yet, do we not have to sacrifice to God? Yes, we do. He enjoys and is pleased in our sacrifices. What do we sacrifice? So glad you asked. I asked the same question. In Hebrews 13:15-16, God shows me what sacrifices are pleasing to Him.

Hebrews 13:15-16, “By Him (Jesus Christ) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

I wanted to take some time and meditate on this second part of our God pleasing faith: Sacrifice. From every point of view that I have seen and heard of sacrifice; that is the part that seems to be hard to fulfill in one’s walk with the Lord. Obedience is hard, sometimes, but then to sacrifice makes it even harder. Alternatively, are we making it harder than it really is? In the obedience, we see that by being completely obedient to God’s Word and Spirit, we please God and receive benefits. Therefore, what about this sacrifice? My mind began to wonder. I thought of what sacrifice meant. My thoughts were not becoming any more pleasant. I decided to look up the word sacrifice. According to Webster’s Collegiate and to summarize what I read, a sacrifice is the surrendering of something of value, i.e. human life, animal life, or a thing of value to either a deity, or for the sake of something that possesses a higher purpose or value. One definition was to dispose of goods regardless of profit. What a sad and dismal representation of sacrifice. With that definition, no wonder why the world has such a sad viewpoint and understanding of the sacrifice Christ made for us. Then we turn that inward and find it hard to sacrifice to God. I wonder if Cain thought that when he sacrificed. I wonder if Cain was thinking, “I’m disposing of my goods for nothing. No profit.” Then we read Hebrews 13:15-16 and see the “sacrifice of praise” and when we are going through, do we feel that we are disposing the “goods” of our energy for no profit.

Let us take a real look into sacrifice and what it really means in the life of a Christian and how it pleases God. A great story and lesson in sacrifices can be found in the very beginning. Genesis chapter 4 gives a very accurate and thought provoking account of sacrifice. It also gives a very good definition of what type of sacrifice God is wanting and is pleased with.

Read Genesis 4:1-8

Cain and Abel show us the first example of sacrificing unto God. Now, before I get into this, I want to make clear that I am in no way saying that the scholars, teachers and others before me are wrong, but when the subject of this particular sacrifice comes up, it is always said that a blood sacrifice was needed because God killed an animal for Adam and Eve. I have read Genesis chapters 1-3 at least an hundred times and have not seen that verse of scripture saying that. We can assume that it happened, we can hypothesize that God gave Adam specific instruction on sacrifices and then later told Moses the complete picture. I want to give my hypothesis on this particular sacrifice since it is the first recorded version of a sacrifice in the Word of God. It says that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground as an offering unto God. Then it says Abel brought the firstlings of his flock and the fat there of as an offering unto God. Before this, it says that Cain was a farmer by trade and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Suffice it to say that both Cain and Abel brought the best of their profession to God. Now, and I will accept the touché, it does not say Cain brought the firsts of his fruits. However, this is not their first rodeo. I do not believe Cain brought a substandard sacrifice. Why? When you read further in the scripture, God never once mentions the type of sacrifice. He does, however mention the attitude. In the first four verses of this particular scripture, we see and are given the definition of sacrifice. It’s not that we are disposing of something of value for no profit, or that we are surrendering something of value to a deity or some god. Here we see that a sacrifice is offering up to God the best of who and what we are. Cain, as a farmer, offered up the best of his labor. Likewise, Abel, a keeper of sheep, offered up the best of his labor. God only wants us to offer to him the best of our labor. Hebrews says, let us offer up the sacrifice of praise…which is the fruit of our lips”. We cannot offer God one heck of a discount on a tune up or brake job. We cannot offer up to the Father of wisdom a free tuition or scholarship for learning. We cannot give the Great Deliverer a get out of jail free card. What we can offer up to God is our thanksgiving and praise for who He is and what He has done.

The other part in our God pleasing sacrifice is our attitude in the sacrifice. As we look closer to the scripture, it does say, “Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock.” So it would be safe to assume that Cain brought the best of his crops. So since we know that they brought the best, and since I can safely hypothesize that a blood sacrifice was not the only requirement here, why was Cain’s sacrifice unacceptable? Well, let’s go back to what the world’s authority on the meaning of words says about sacrifices. Disposing of goods for no profit, surrendering something of value to a deity or to something that possesses a higher value or purpose. Now, let us look at what God said to Cain, “Cain, Why is your countenance fallen. (in my momma’s term, what’s wrong with your face) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Both brothers brought the best of their offerings. God shows his approval for Abel’s offering and disapproval to Cain’s. Cain becomes angry. In fact, Cain was wroth. To be wroth or have wrath is to have an intense anger. I remember a time when I had did something for somebody, and they treated me as if I was a nobody and didn’t accept what I did for them. I was wroth. I mean I was so angry I know why Jesus taught on being angry with your brother is like killing him anyway. If I knew what “raca” meant then I would have said it. Cain was angry. More importantly, he was angry because his sacrifice did not please God. So what made this time any different from the other: attitude. Could, over the course of time, Cain have become worldly in his thinking? Felt that he was working too hard and after sacrificing, felt he wasn’t getting enough of the “good stuff”. Did he feel that he was disposing the goods of his labor for little return? Do we, in our giving, feel that we are getting little in our return? Do we not praise like we should, or give like we should, or study like we should, or pray like we should because we feel that we are sacrificing a lot for little return. Our attitude should not be about what we are getting back. We should think about what we already have. We have salvation through Jesus Christ and that provided by God. We do not have to go to hell. We do not have to suffer spiritual death. We do not have to live in an eternity of damnation. We have life, hope and freedom in Christ Jesus. I’m sure that Adam told his children of the Eden experience. I’m sure Cain and Abel knew of the mistake their parents made and how God had mercy upon them and the rest of mankind. However, like so many of us before we come to know God and some of us before we get to know God, Cain offered from a selfish point of view. Cain’s attitude was not pleasing to God. Thus, his attitude marred his sacrifice. That is why it is written that we should offer up the sacrifice of praise and the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Psa 107:21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (22) And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

Psa 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

Jer 17:26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.

Jer 33:11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth forever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.

-Min Mike Jones
http://www.thoughtsfromthepew.com/
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