Altars and sacrifices

SERMON TOPIC: Altars and sacrifices

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 16 September 2013


Sermon synopsis: The altar is not the table or pulpit up front or the offering bag, the altar is your heart, and before the sacrifice means
anything and is acceptable, the altar must be clean.
1 Kings 18:30 Then Elijah said to all the people, Come here to me. They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down.
What is the condition of your altar this morning, is there unconfessed sin, or do you have a divided heart?

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Altars and sacrifices.

The altar is not the table or pulpit up front or the offering bag, the altar is your heart, and before the sacrifice means anything and is acceptable, the altar must be clean.

1 Kings 18:30.

Then Elijah said to all the people, Come here to me. They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down.

What is the condition of your altar this morning, is there unconfessed sin, or do you have a divided heart?

Altars and sacrifices.

What is the condition of your altar this morning, are there ashes that need to be cleared away?

Have you ever tried to get a good fire going without clearing away the ashes from previous fires?

The ashes are yesterday’s blessings and encounters.

Too many Christians are stuck in the past and what God did, but the Lord wants us to experience something new and fresh.

Altars and sacrifices.


This is not a popular word in the Christian dialogue, especially in the Western world, but for the believer who means business with God, it must become a way of life.

Romans 12:1.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, this is your true and proper worship.

Ephesians 5:2.

Christ offered himself to God as a sacrifice for us.

Leviticus 1:1-9 mentions 8 characteristics of a true sacrifice.

The five offerings.

Leviticus 1-7.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

Leviticus 1:1-9.

The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock. If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord. You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

It is a tame sacrifice. (v2)

God never receives a wild sacrifice. Eg a crocodile or a snake. If we want to sacrifice our lives to God we must be changed by His Spirit. There must have been repentance from our old life and we must living a new life that has been tamed by the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 15:8.

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.

Reading this, I realized how easily we are deceived if we do not understand the uselessness of sacrifice. Sacrifice does not in itself sanctify what is otherwise abominable.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

Any sacrifice not arising from the love of God, is abominable and futile.

Psalm 40:6.

Sacrifice and offering you have not desired. And all this delusion because we think there is something noble in itself about sacrifice - honoured by men, but abhorred by the God of truth. How do we know our sacrifice is abominable? *Are we proud of this sacrifice, convinced that it bestows virtue upon us? If so, look no further, because as it is written, everyone that is proud in heart is abominable to the Lord.

Proverbs 15:8.

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

True sacrifice is only possible if we are motivated by love.

1 Corinthians 13;1-

Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

The sacrifice is unblemished (3b)

The animal is without blemishes or defects.

God wants our best, not our left- overs.

Look at what it cost Abraham to offer his son Isaac.

Look at what it cost the Father to redeem us from our sins.

Does what you give the Lord cost you, does it hurt?

A sacrifices is something that costs, that hurts.

It is not taking R10 out of your wallet before you leave home so that you have something to put in the offering bag.

A sacrifice is saying, I only have 2 mites left but I will give them to the Lord.

It is not saying, I don’t have anything on this Sunday so I’ll go to Church, but the next Sunday aunty Sussie is coming to visit with the kids so I can’t make it.

A sacrifice is saying,

My family won’t come to Church with me, but I will go alone.

I don’t have a lift to Church, but I will walk.

Don’t give God your left overs.

Malachi 1:6-14.

A son honours his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the Lord Almighty. It is you priests who show contempt for my name. But you ask, How have we shown contempt for your name? By offering defiled food on my altar. But you ask, How have we defiled you? By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you? says the Lord Almighty. Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you? says the Lord Almighty. Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar!

Don’t give God your left overs.

Malachi 1:6-14. (continued)

I am not pleased with you, says the Lord Almighty, and I will accept no offering from your hands. My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord Almighty. But you profane it by saying, The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, Its food is contemptible. And you say, What a burden! and you sniff at it contemptuously, says the Lord Almighty. When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands? says the Lord. Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king, says the Lord Almighty, and my name is to be feared among the nations.

Altars and sacrifices.

David would not offer the Lord that which cost him nothing.

1 Chronicles 21:18-26.

Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord. While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground. David said to him, Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.

Altars and sacrifices.

1 Chronicles 21:18-26.

Araunah said to David, Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this. But King David replied to Araunah, No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing. So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

It is a dead sacrifice (v5b)

This speaks of a crucified life.

AW Towzer quote.

A crucified person is facing in only one direction. A crucified person has no future plans for their life.

Galatians 5:24. (Dead to sin)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 2:20. (Dead to self)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

It is a bleeding sacrifice (v5b)

This speaks of the hurt and suffering inflicted on us because of Jesus.

1 Peter 4:12-14.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

The sacrifice is flayed.

The skin protects the animal, we have many skins to protect us. These skins are not sins, but they are things which give us a sense of security apart from God, it could be your job or your home or family. So many things cover us and hinder the Lord’s blessings. If we are dead, we won’t resist the flaying.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

The sacrifice is cut up (v6b)

This speaks of the broken life, sacrificed to God.

The animal now has no chance of fleeing. God wants to cut us into pieces so that we will not depend on self and flee from the altar. We are proud and arrogant and in His wisdom God cuts us.

1 Corinthians 11:24.

This is my body broken for you.

Psalm 51:17.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart you will not despise.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

It is a total sacrifice (v8,9)

God does not want a partial sacrifice, He does not want part ownership.

Are you master of your appetites and urges, you cannot offer to God what does not belong to you. This is one of the benefits of fasting, it shows your body that you are in control and not the other way around. The same principle applies to all our desires and God given appetites (sleep, sex) Even our finances bring us into slavery when we buy things with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

Characteristics of a true sacrifice.

The sacrifice is burnt (v9)

This speaks of the anointing fire of God.

We pray for the anointing fire of God in our lives, but do we know what the cost is.

Sacrifice separates us from a life of selfishness. We must be a tame, unblemished, dead, bleeding, flayed, cut and total sacrifice.

This is a sweet smelling savour to God.

Our lives like the life of Job can draw the attention of God and bring Him honour.

The fire (anointing) comes from God.

The fire must not go out.

Leviticus 10:1-6.

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honoured. Aaron remained silent. Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary. So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.

Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the Lord has destroyed by fire.

We need the fire of God, not gimmicks, personality and programs.

The fire (anointing) comes from God.

Leviticus 6:12-13. The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

Proverbs 26:20.

Where there is no wood the fire goes out.

God sends the fire, but we need to do our part.

We need to set the platform for the Lord to work in our lives, even making time is a sacrifice in our busy schedules.

Altars and sacrifices.

We may look at a picture like this and think of the great sacrifice that was paid by the early church Christians but there are many that pay the same price today. How much is your Saviour worth or do you just pay lip service?


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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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