Offering in Righteousness.

C h c r u : R e f n r c : GRACE MALACHI 3:1-4 D a e t : 05/29/11

Offering in Righteousness.docx 3. What offerings are you to bring? They are spiritual, (1 Pet 2:5).  NT writers list them for us  3.1. You are to offer your body a living sacrifice
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Offering in Righteousness
Purpose: To show the immense privilege true believers have as priests to God to make offerings to Him in righteousness.

1. Introduction Began a series last year on the privileges of our priesthood:  a) We have access to God ‐ our consciences have been cleansed  We can draw near at any time ‐ better access than Aaron!  b) We have a right to eat of the altar ‐ feed spiritually on Christ.   Atoning sacrifices in the OT could not be eaten by the priests!  c) This time, we will look at bringing offerings in righteousness  Read Malachi 3:1‐4.  We will see:   You are to bring offerings to God as His priest  What offerings you are to bring  How you are to bring them 2. You are to bring offerings to God as His priests Mal 3:3 ‐ Jesus will purify Levi's sons so they may bring offerings  The "sons of Levi" were the priests of the OT  So who are spiritual descendants of Levi in NT?  You, believers!  It says Jesus purified you so that you may bring an offering  This is confirmed in many places ‐ like our meditation, and: 
1 Peter 2:4–5 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

This offering is absolute and total.  Not offering an arm, or a leg  The whole body a living sacrifice to the Lord for spiritual service  It is like a foreign language to 21st century believers  Becoming a Christian today makes very few demands on us.    We have toned down the expectations.  Surely God doesn't expect us to be completely at His disposal?  Isn't it the other way around?  Isn't He at our beck and call?  "You are not your own; you were bought at a price."  "Therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Cor 6:19‐20)  How are you doing with this offering this morning?  Have you offered God your whole body in sacrifice today, ever?  3.2. You are to offer praise and prayer First, your praise. Again, look at our meditation:
1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

You are a priest so that you may declare His excellencies  This is the very reason you are God's!  
Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

So as a priest to God, you are to bring offerings ‐ it's expected  Not the pastor, elders, men in funny costumes & hats  You, believer, are a priest to God Most High!  You, believer, were purified so you may make offerings!  You would be a weird priest if you never offered anything!  Not priesthood of all believers (abstract) ‐ your priesthood!  A high calling and privilege indeed, but not without responsibility 

Your praise is a sacrifice ‐ the fruit of lips that confess His name.    If you are His, you will produce this fruit of praise to Him.    It will be continual  How are you doing with your sacrifice of praise to God?  Is it continual or erratic, rich & heartfelt, or meagre, superficial?  He made you a priest to offer Him praise!  You are to proclaim His excellencies!  Do you? 

Offering in Righteousness.docx Second, your prayers 
Psalm 141:1–2 O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to You! 2 May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. Revelation 8:3–4 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.

Offering in Righteousness.docx Are they abundant, cheerfully done and directed to God in love?  When you do something for a brother or sister,   Are you conscious it is an offering to God?  3.4. You are to offer your Gospel testimony Here is something remarkable. 
2 Corinthians 2:14–15 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

Do you ever think of your prayers as a sacrifice ‐ an offering?  We began this year with a study on prayer.    Suggested prayer partners.  Had a day of prayer and fasting  We recently completed a study of 52 reasons to pray.    How are you doing in your sacrifice of prayer?   Is your prayer life rich & costly, something special to offer Him?  Here is reason #53! Your prayers rise as incense before God!  3.3. You are to offer your good works & sharing Now we are getting to things not often considered as sacrifices 
Hebrews 13:16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

The primary image here is of a triumphal procession  Incense was used in Roman victory parades   Yet word used for "fragrance" is in the LXX used for sacrifices  Preachers of the Gospel (like Christ) are a sweet smelling savor  Acceptable and pleasing to God as they declare the Good News  And you are this fragrance, this sacrifice, as you offer the Gospel  How are you doing with this offering to God?  Are you a Gospel preacher? The aroma of Christ to God?  3.5. You are to offer souls saved as you labor Something else remarkable! 
Romans 15:15–16 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

All your good works as a believer  All your sharing with your brothers and sisters  All these, done rightly, are sacrifices and offerings to God. Why?  Because in offering service to one another, we offer it to Him: 
Matthew 25:37–40 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

This is how Paul regarded the gifts shared with him from Philippi: 
Philippians 4:18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, wellpleasing to God.

How are your sacrifices of good works and sharing this morning?  

How is this an offering? 2 possible meanings ("my" is supplied)  1st When someone is saved, offer themselves as a living sacrifice  So they are offered up to God then, acceptable through Christ  But 2nd they also offer their own acceptable sacrifices to Him  Do you share this ministry of Paul?    You are not Apostles, but are ministers of Gospel, soul‐winners  So, where is your offering?    Wouldn't you like to have more to offer your king?  Trophies of His grace, won for Him as you declare His Gospel? 

Offering in Righteousness.docx 4. How are you to bring these offerings? So in summary, you are to offer everything to the Lord:    Your bodies,    Your praise and prayers,    Your good works and sharing   Your Gospel witness and souls saved through your labors  But how are you to bring these offerings to the Lord?  Let's return to Malachi and see what it says 
Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.

Offering in Righteousness.docx They demonstrate the esteem in which the recipient is held 
2 Samuel 24:24 However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

Remember when Israel was offering blemished animals to God? 
Malachi 1:8–9 “But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts. 9 “But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.

The OT priests brought sacrifices to obtain an outward cleansing  They made offerings FOR an outward righteousness   But their consciences were never cleansed and could not be  Then Jesus came and through one sacrifice, purified His people   You have been made inwardly clean, righteous  In that cleanness, you present your offerings to God!  You do not make offerings FOR righteousness ‐ works!  You bring your sacrifices IN the righteousness of Christ!  In the complete cleansing that the OT sacrifices pointed to  You wear His robes as you minister!  Such sacrifices are well pleasing to God (Mal 3:4)  Something that Aaron and the OT priests could never do!  You bring better sacrifices than they did!  Just as everything else about your priesthood is better!  5. Conclusions You are to bring offerings to God as His priests  Your bodies, prayers, praises, your good works & sharing  Your Gospel testimony and the souls saved through it  (Note again the correspondence with evangelism, holy living,  worship and defence of the truth from the Strategic Plan)  But one closing challenge:  It is in the nature of offerings and sacrifices that they are costly  They cost the one making the sacrifice 

So what is true of your sacrifices?  In a day when most who call themselves Christians   Spend their time playing down the cost of discipleship  Are you giving the best you can to the Lord in all these areas?  Is it costing you a lot, and do you gladly bear that cost?  Do you wish it could be more, or do you feel you do enough?  Spurgeon's constitution    You have better access to God than Aaron himself  You eat better portions from a better altar  You have been purified, offer better sacrifices in righteousness  Glorious privileges!  All yours in Christ  Make the most of them!    But what of you who are not the Lord's?  You have no righteousness; You have no offering  You are without God and without hope in the world  And this is your choice!  Does it make any sense?  Is there any way your decision can be considered reasonable?  Come to Christ now!  It is the only rational thing to do  He will purify you and make you a son of Levi  And you will then have an offering to bring Him  Clothed in the righteousness He has given you! 

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