Tag Archives: sacrifice

Bible Reading Blog — April 27, 2016

27 Apr

TODAY’S READINGS — Nehemiah 11-13 & Luke 6:27-36

The words of Luke 6:27-36 are among the most often excused and glossed-over words in Scripture. We always try to find a loophole to turning the other cheek or lending freely or living enemies. I believe there are two reasons for our hedging on these verses . . . we underestimate our sinfulness and we underestimate the transforming power of the gospel.

We offer excuses for not following the way of life unfolded in Luke 6 because we are fundamentally self-centered. We want to be served, we want what we want, we believe what we have is ours to do with what we want. So when we are confronted by the words of Jesus in Luke 6, our default position is to balk at them, sometimes even dressing up our resistance with words like “discernment” or “wisdom.” And indeed, it is clear that Jesus did not heal everyone, did not give to everyone, etc. But it is a matter of approach to life. And that approach to life which is open-handed rather than close-fisted can only happen through the transforming power of the gospel. The whole basis of this life of freedom and forgiveness is the fact that we have received mercy from God and should therefore freely give mercy. But what an unusual way to live. The way of love, really, but so often seen as the way of the doormat. In a culture of rights, in a culture where authority is both abused and resisted, this is indeed a counter-cultural way of living which actually could transform not only individuals, but communities.

Sunday Morning Sermon: The Story of Sacrifice

2 Apr

On this Palm Sunday, I wanted to take a few minutes to think about the sacrifice of Christ. The crowds that cried “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday would be drowned out by the cries of “Crucify!” a few days later. This all happened by the providence of God working through the evil designs of men. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross, along with the resurrection, is the very heart of Christianity. Truths at the heart of our faith are often the truths which are most forcefully attacked. Thus it is with the Trinity, the reliability of the Bible, creation, and of course, the cross. Wrong belief about the cross can have eternal consequences. So we really want to understand it from a right biblical framework.

I am indebted to Michael Lawrence for showing me more fully that framework in his excellent book, Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church. This story of sacrifice is one of the central themes in the Bible. The outline below explains this theme and its implications for our lives.

I.  The STORY of Sacrifice

A. Adam and Eve

B.  Cain and Abel

C.  Noah

D. Abraham

E. Passover

F. LEVITICUS (Major emphasis on the sacrificial system)

G. The failure of the sacrifices to purify the nation of Israel.

H. The coming of the Perfect Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus.


II. What We Learn About Jesus from the Story of Sacrifice

A. We learn that Jesus came not simply to be a good example or to defeat death but to die as our substitute (Isaiah 53).

B. We learn that Jesus’ sacrifice alone is sufficient to save (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 9:26).

C. We learn that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament sacrifices (Hebrews 10).


III. How Should We Respond to the Story of Sacrifice?

A. Repent and believe.

B. Remember that Christ alone can save.

C. Offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” out of gratitude to God (Romans 12:1-3).

D. Treasure the truths of the story of sacrifice that we see in Scripture.

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