THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS
What we need in the church today is:
More tithers and fewer drivers.
More action and less faction.
More workers and fewer shirkers.
More backers and fewer slackers.
More praying and less straying.
More burden-bearers and fewer talebearers.
More of God's plansóless of man's.
1 John 3:16
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Have you ever thought about the ALTAR in the church?
It is always placed in the most prominent position, front and center of the church sanctuary.
It is there as a REMINDER.
The altar reminds us that Jesus "laid down His life for us."
That sacrifice is the focal point of Christianity.
The first sin demanded a sacrifice, and God provided one as a substitution for the lives of Adam and Eve.
Their sin actually demanded their death.
But God allowed a substitute to be taken in their place.
When God brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage, the sacrificial system became the focal point of worship.
Jesus' death on the cross culminated all the expiatory, vicarious, and substitutionary sacrifices.
First, the altar reminds us that the sacrifice of Jesus, incarnate God, is THE ONLY offering of forgiveness for our sins.
His sacrifice was to expiate, or put away the guilt of, all our sins.
His sacrifice was vicarious in that He died for our sakes.
His sacrifice was substitutionary in that He died in our place.
Without that sacrifice, there could be no offer of God's forgiveness.
I deserved that death, but HE received it.
Second, the altar reminds us that there can be no salvation without personal surrender.
True contrition for the awfulness of sin leads to full commitment for service.
Front and center in the church is the reminder that I must yield to HIM all that I am, and become all that He wants.
Without personal surrender there is no salvation. (Matt. 12:30, Mark 8:34-38, Luke 9:23)
Third, the altar reminds us that we are individually to sacrifice ourselves "for the brethren."
We are to literally yield to each other the love due to God.
The true practice of this sacrifice yields a cooperative spirit that is empowered by God's Holy Spirit.
Through this sacrifice we are given His power to evangelize the lost, educate the saved, and minister to the saints and others.
Without this sacrifice we have a social club and not a church.
With His surrender for us, we have forgiveness offered.
With our surrender to Him, we have salvation received.
With our surrender to each other, we have His uniting Spirit in a corporate body.
Remember the ALTAR!