08-24-2014 Preparing Our Hearts for Worship: A Case Study in Sacrifice

Families are sneaking in their last-minute, final Summer vacations; kids (and teachers) are going back to school; and FCC is gearing up for all of our Fall ministries.

For instance, Nikki Andrews and Sara Uhler shared with us this week about our upcoming MOPS ministry -- for “Mothers of Pre-Schoolers.”  We’ll be opening our doors twice a month to provide encouragement, support, mentoring, and Biblical foundations for parenting for mothers from every kind of background (and we covet your prayers as we launch this ministry this September).

In two weeks, we’ll be starting our Sunday School classes back up, and you’re all invited to join in the fun.  We’re breaking in several new teachers for the various age levels (so they’d really appreciate your prayer support as well), and we’re beginning the Renaissance in our Adult class covering Church History (back by popular demand).  If you’ve never checked out the Adult class, this is a perfect time to step in and try it out.

That same Sunday, we’ll also be hosting our annual Small Group Ministry Fair, when we highlight the various small groups in our church, and open them up for new members.  There’s no better way to connect with other Christians and dive deep into God’s Word together than in a small group setting, where you can interact with one another and with the text, share your life and your prayers together, and just knit closer together with your church family members.  If you’re not in a small group, come check them out.

In our message this week, we talked about “A Case Study in Sacrifice,” looking at the time when God asked Abraham to be willing to offer up his only son, Isaac.  But Isaac’s life wasn’t the only thing being sacrificed that day on Mount Moriah...

See, God had promised to bless Abraham and Sarah with a child... and they’d laughed at Him, since they thought that they were too old to be parents.  They’d even hedged their bets by trying to produce an heir through one of their servant girls, Hagar.  But God was very clear that He wanted to bless them with countless generations, born to the son born to Sarah.

So to Abraham, giving up Isaac as an offering wasn’t just being willing to sacrifice a son, but being willing to sacrifice God’s promised blessing.  And for that matter -- since it was God promising the blessing and God demanding the sacrifice -- Abraham had to be willing to sacrifice his thinking about how he understood God’s will to work.  Should he assume that God’s promises weren’t dependable?  Or should He assume that he should just ignore God’s commands?  It was a sacrifice for Abraham even to accept that he should obey without having to understand how it all worked together.

But there was another sacrifice going on as well.  A 100-year-old man simply cannot subdue and tie up a healthy teenager who doesn’t want to be sacrificed.  So Isaac himself appears to have been willing to offer up his own life in order to obey God.  It’s one thing for a chicken to offer up her only egg -- it’s quite another for a pig to offer up his bacon.

But then, God stopped them from completing the offering, providing a ram for them to sacrifice instead.  In the same way, we owe God a sacrifice for our sins -- and yet, He provided a perfect Lamb to take our place.   He has given us far more than He’s ever asked us to sacrifice in return.

So what (relatively) small thing is God telling you that you need to at least be willing to lay at His feet as an offering?