Christianity and Relationships Part Four

God's Message on the Web - My earliest podcasts.

Sacrificing animals, animal blood, the first fruits of a crop, and crop products to God was a way of showing dependence on and appreciation for God. For generations, people who sought God and depended on God sacrificed. Abel sacrificed. Abraham sacrificed. Sacrificial acts were a part of worship for Isaac, Jacob, the nation of Israel, and devout Jews early in New Testament history. The core of Passover involved sacrifice. Deuteronomy 16:16 instructed all the men of Israel to gather in the place God chose three times a year with gifts (sacrifices). Leviticus 1-7 states sacrifice was involved in burnt offerings, in peace offerings, and in sin and guilt offerings.

When God solved our problems produced by alienation through sin, He sacrificed. We have forgiveness available to us because God offered an enduring sacrifice. We can escape the eternal consequences of our sins because God sacrificed. We can become God’s people because He sacrificed. We can enter an eternal agreement or covenant with God because He sacrificed.

Today you can refer to yourself as a Christian because Jesus was the sacrifice. His body assumed our sins.

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed (1 Peter 2:21-24).

His blood atoned for our failures (Hebrews 9:11, 12). It is Jesus’ blood that makes possible our righteousness, justification, redemption, and propitiation.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:21-26).

Literally, we can come into God’s presence because God sacrificed Jesus for our benefit, and every Sunday we acknowledge that sacrifice in communion. We also acknowledge His sacrifice for us every day in the way we live our lives.

Without God’s willingness to sacrifice Jesus for us and Jesus’ willingness to be God’s sacrifice for us, there would be no Christianity, no church, and each of us would be helplessly ruled by our mistakes.

  1. At some point, sacrifice and the proper motive for sacrifice were separated in the human thought process.
    1. I challenge you to give some serious consideration to the way we think about spiritual realities.
      1. First, many of us think relationship with God is a matter of procedure, not a matter of motives and procedure.
      2. Second, many of us think if we do the correct things, those correct acts of themselves will produce a wonderful relationship with God.
      3. Let’s put those two observations in words we use every day.
        1. We often think relationship with God is just a matter of doing the right acts at the right time.
        2. What we really feel about God does not actually matter as long as we do the right things.
        3. Let me give you an example.
          1. Sunday morning it is essential that I be in a church building at the proper time for worship.
          2. When the congregation sings songs to praise God, I either need to listen to the singing or sing.
          3. When the congregation prays, I need to bow my head.
          4. When the congregation takes communion, I need to take communion.
          5. When the preacher preaches, I need to at least pretend to be listening.
          6. I simply cannot be anywhere else doing anything else until I have worshipped.
          7. However, why I come and what I feel is unimportant.
          8. I do not have to mean anything that I sing, I just have to sing or to listen.
          9. I do not have to pray; I just have to bow my head.
          10. I do not need to gratefully remember Jesus’ sacrifice; I just have to take communion.
          11. I do not have to think as the preacher preaches; I just have to pretend to listen.
          12. I do not have to engage my heart in praising God; as long as I do the right things, worship occurs.
    2. Long ago in 1 Samuel 15 God told King Saul explicitly how to avenge God’s wrath on the Amalekite people for their attack on Israel when Israel left Egypt.
      1. Contrary to God’s directions, King Saul spared the best of the animals.
      2. King Saul declared “the people” (his army) spared the best of the livestock for “sacrifice” to the Lord (1 Samuel 15:15).
      3. Samuel made this statement to King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22,23:
        “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”
      4. I want you to note one point: sacrifice to God is meaningless if it comes from a rebellious heart.
    3. Generations did not understand this truth.
      1. Once, the Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of violating the Sabbath because they picked and ate some raw grain.
      2. Jesus refuted their conclusion in three ways–two were examples they regarded as coming from an authoritative source, and one was a scripture they attributed to the will of God.
      3. The scripture Jesus’ quoted to them was from Hosea 6:6:
         But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent (Matthew 12:7).

        1. On God’s priority list, concern for people was as significant as sacrifice.
        2. To give God a sacrifice while having no concern for people is of no significance to God.
        3. Their problem was not created by not knowing what God said, but from not knowing what God meant by what He said–they saw the words, but they did not see the meaning.
  2. The problem.
    1. The problem existed because sacrifice to God was separated from love for God.
      1. The ancient concept that continues in human thinking today is this: what matters is a person’s acts.
      2. His or her motives behind the act do not matter.
      3. So, in worshiping God or living for God, acts matter, but motives do not matter.
    2. That has never been true!
      1. That is not true in human to human acts!
      2. Why should we decide that is true in acts dedicated to God?
  3. Let’s make an application of this incorrect view to marriage and the home.
    1. In your relationship with your spouse, are you happy and fulfilled if your spouse does the right things, but has no concern for you as a person?
      1. Are you happy and fulfilled as a person if your spouse tells you the right words but has no feeling for you behind the words?
      2. Are you happy and fulfilled as a person if your spouse tells you the right things in order to get you to do what he or she wants done?
    2. Before we go further, let’s make a clear distinction.
      1. We are NOT talking about toleration of a bad situation because you decide it is better to get something instead of getting nothing–so if your spouse does something right for the wrong reason, at least your spouse did something.
      2. We are NOT talking about giving up, saying to yourself nothing is ever going to change, nothing is ever going to get better–so, I best get what I can get.
      3. We are NOT talking about learning to “play the game”–whatever the form “the game” takes.
        1. Not the game of “it is my time to win.”
        2. Not the game of “if I approach you right, you have to do what I want.”
        3. Not the game of “you owe me because of what I did for you.”
        4. Not any other game that basically says that you are not important as a person, and I will use you in any way I must to get what I want to get.
    3. If in your marriage, one or both of you function on the basis of words or actions without regard to motives, honestly tell yourself how you feel.
      1. Do you feel appreciated as a person?
      2. Do you feel respected as though you matter?
      3. Do you feel used?
      4. Do you feel manipulated?
      5. Do you feel worthless?
      6. Do you feel you do not belong to yourself?
      7. Does your spouse have any idea of how you feel? Do the two of you talk and share or do the two of you fight and argue?
    4. And both of you are Christians?
      1. As Christians, do you fight or argue Sunday morning until you get to the church building, then behave like the ideal Christian family while you are at the church building, then fight and argue the rest of the day?
        1. Does that fit your definition and concept of being a Christian?
        2. Is that the way you treat everyone else?
      2. If someone came into your home unexpectedly, could the visitor slice the tension between you and your family as if were a block of cheese?
        1. Does that fit your definition and concept of being a Christian?
        2. Is that the way you act in other circumstances?
      3. Does what happen in your home depend on who gets and can maintain control?
        1. Does that fit your definition and concept of being a Christian?
        2. Is that the way you act in other contexts?
  4. May I make the point I have repeatedly made.
    1. If knowing God through Christ has increased your understanding of the link between godliness and respect, the first person who should benefit from your understanding of the importance of expressing respect because you are a godly person should be your spouse, and the second people should be your children.
    2. If knowing God through Christ has increased your understanding of the link between godliness and kindness, the first person who should benefit from your understanding of the importance of expressing kindness because you are a godly person should be your spouse, and the second people should be your children.
    3. If knowing God through Christ has increased your understanding of the link between godliness and love, the first person who should benefit because of your understanding of the importance of showing love because you are a godly person should be your spouse, and the second people should be your children.
    4. Think with me for just a moment.
      1. Is being respectful, being kind, being loving a part of godliness?
      2. Should a Christian be respectful, kind, and loving to all people–even strangers–because the Christian understands people are made in God’s image?
      3. Then why should you treat strangers whom you do not know in ways you won’t treat your family?
      4. Why should a stranger respect your beliefs if your beliefs do not bless your family?
  5. Is it easy to be respectful, kind, and loving?
    1. No! Being a godly person is not easy!
    2. Will being a godly person require that I make sacrifices? Yes!
    3. Will being a godly person in my family require sacrifices? Yes!
    4. Then why will I make such sacrifices?
      1. I do it for God in appreciation of what He has done and continues to do for me!
      2. I do it because it is an important part of who I am as a person who belongs to God.

If you do not know how to be respectful, kind, and loving to your family, allow someone who knows how to teach you (not judge and condemn you) how to show and express positive qualities in your family relationships.

Learn how to be a respectful, kind, and loving person so your behavior encourages others to show you kindness, respect, and love. Learn how to talk and share. Let people learn from you that they matter.

Please, remember that sacrifice and love are inseparably linked as we devote ourselves to godly living. Please, understand that respect, kindness, and love are a part of being godly. Please, learn that showing these things to your family is truly an important part of being godly. Sacrifice for these things because these things are a part of God’s ways. Never forget that God made great sacrifices to extend you His respect, kindness, and love!

David Chadwell

Author: Greg

Welcome to Gods Message on the web. My name is Greg and I want to welcome you. I started doing these Podcasts, MP3, and Audio Books back in 2007. Stay awhile and make yourself at home. The Christian Podcasts here are free and for everyone to enjoy. I’m doing a complete series on David Chadwell who is a retired minister from Fort Smith, Arkansas. I’ve also done an Audio Book for Wayne Jacobsen’s the Naked Church. Plus a series of MP3s for Pastor Billy Crone and his The Final Countdown series.

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