Hebrews 9

Are you offering Him your best in all that you are doing?

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Hebrews 9

Today we will delve into what could be considered a really gross topic, so if you have a weak stomach, hold onto it.  Why was it necessary for there to be blood shed in order for us to be saved?

In order to understand this, we have to go back to the first case of murder in Biblical times, the story of Cain and Abel.

Genesis 4:3-12

And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LordAbel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”  Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.  Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”  He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”
So first, let’s focus on the offering brought by Abel to God.  A sheep was a precious animal in Biblical times.  It could yield it’s wool for warm clothing, it’s fat could be made into candles and it’s meat could feed a family.  Fruits could only be used for a limited amount of time since once they were consumed, they were then gone.  So looking at Abel’s offering of the firstborn sheep, this would mean Abel brought his very best  offering to God.  Now think of yourself, do you bring your very best to Him?  Brothers and sisters, God offered His very best to us, His Son.  He essentially made an offering of Himself to Himself so that our sins could be forgiven once and for all.
Next, let’s look at the results, shed blood.  Cain became jealous and let sin enter into his heart.  He looked at his brother and what his brother did instead of examining and looking at his own heart.  How often do we do that?  Look at others, what they do, what they say, how they act, how they dress and become jealous or angry with them.  Oh wait, according to Christ, that’s murder in your heart.  You’ve just sinned.  You’ve just spread your brother/sister in Christ’s blood on the ground.  Guess where you’re going?  Well if you have accepted Christ, luckily, you are going to heaven.  If you haven’t, well…
See the shedding of blood became important because our blood is our life.  We lose too much of it, we die.  In Biblical times, there were no plasma transfusions or ways to keep blood in the body.  So when you lost your blood then, it was a good bet you lost your life.  And both spiritual and physical life is precious.  The problem is that no matter how good we are physically, spiritually without Christ’s blood, we would not have been good enough spiritually.  Christ was the ultimate and superior offering and sacrifice for our sins.  As I have discussed previously, no more sacrificial system, which necessitated daily and yearly sacrifices for the sins of the people, because as I stated earlier, without blood, we cannot live.  And in this case, we can live physically, but without His sacrifice, we cannot live spiritually.
So now the question for the believer is this…how does this apply to my life?  First, look at what you offer God.  Doesn’t matter what it is, are you offering Him your best in all that you are doing?  Secondly and more importantly, is He offered His only begotten Son for you and me.  He allowed His Son’s blood to be shed knowing some might believe in Him and knowing the reaction the people of the time.  Looking at it from that perspective, is God asking you to offer something up to Him, to sacrifice something for Him.  If the answer is yes, knowing what He gave up for you, shouldn’t you be willing to do the same with some earthly possession, that when all is said and done, really means nothing eternally?

Are You Willing to Sacrifice?

Sacrifice is tough, but Jesus didn’t say it would be easy.  He also doesn’t leave it to ordinary folks.

“We are the bride of Christ.”  Ever hear that phrase?  It is saying we, Christians, are Christ’s bride that He is going to present to His Father in heaven.  Now I personally don’t look good in a dress, especially a white one.  However, I digress, Christ sacrificed Himself for us and in relationships, that is what we are often called to do, sacrifice what we want for the ones we love.

John 10:11-16

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and, leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Sacrifice isn’t easy.  Giving up the things you want because you love someone else means an act of unselfishness, which we as humans are not prone to.  But here is the deal, what did Jesus sacrifice?  Well, for those who don’t know, He sacrificed His life for us.  He lived and died for us.  And that is what relationships are all about, living and dying for another person.

In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  I personally have a lot of acquaintances, but not a lot of friends.  But the friends that I do have, I consider them ride or die.  I’d give up my life for them.  And for the one who has that single special place in my heart, she knows who she is, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her.  So I make conscious choices to do or not do certain things.

Sacrifice is tough, but Jesus didn’t say it would be easy.  He also doesn’t leave it to ordinary folks.  He left the ability to those truly empowered by His Holy Spirit to do it.  And the sacrifice cannot be made grudgingly, or in a way that breaks your heart, it should be made with joy.  You are following His example.  After all, He lost community with His people by saying He was the Christ, His family thought He was nuts for saying that as well, so He lost them, and He lost His life.  Think about all that the next time you become bitter about a sacrifice you make and realize, your sacrifice isn’t really that big compared to what He sacrificed for you.