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Communion Meditations (2019)

 

Offering

Originally scheduled for July 28

The preacher began his sermon that morning not expecting anything unusual to happen. He was surprised by the audience reaction about a third of the way through. He made the remark in passing, saying “of course, sex outside of marriage is wrong.” There was an audible gasp from the congregation — they could not imagine that the man could be so old-fashioned.

It might be suggested that the Lord God Almighty has a different standard than the congregation had. As an example, we might examine this from the Old Testament Levitical law:

"You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God for any votive offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.

(Deuteronomy 23:18 NASB)

 

The language is a little bit old and perhaps deserve some clarification in these days. The phrase, “hire of a harlot” refers to the wages of a prostitute (equals “harlot”.) The word specifically refers to a female prostitute, or as they are known today “sex worker.” The phrase, “wages of a dog” is even more controversial today. In the original, it means the wages of a male prostitute performing homosexual services — some of the older translations use the word “sodomite” (which references Sodom and Gomorrah.) As many of the translators of the most popular new translations are homosexuals, a variety of phrases now appear in this verse to blur the original meaning.

God standard for sacrificial offering seems to be quite strict; he insists that it be, in that old phrase, “without blemish.” The phrase is mentioned eleven places in the Old Testament in reference to sacrifices.

The atonement by Christ which purchased our salvation is the prime example of this. It is the sacrifice which takes away the sins of the world (Hebrews 9:26); it is the only such sacrifice, and therefore you can see that it must be completely in accordance with God’s rules. So we find the Christ is an acceptable sacrifice because he is sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Likewise, the sacrifice is one made in a physical body — not a ghostly illusion (Hebrews 10:5). God would not be satisfied with a charade. In response to this, he asks us to give him the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).

As we celebrate communion this morning, we celebrate the sacrifice which makes it possible — the atonement of Christ. The bread and the cup represent the physical body and blood of Jesus, the Christ. He became flesh so that he might be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. So in taking communion we acknowledge the atonement, and we acknowledge the physical nature of the sacrifice. Also, we acknowledge the perfect, sinless nature of Christ as the only fitting sacrifice for our atonement. We are therefore counseled to examine ourselves carefully before taking; this is extremely serious.

But when you leave, carry with you the thought that you make a sacrifice in return — the sacrifice of praise. Do not take communion on Sunday morning and fail to even mention Christ Monday through Saturday. Rather, make your life one which is a life of praise to the Savior who loves you so much.

 

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