Archive for the ‘Sacrifice’ Category

December 17th, 2015

Do Not Be Conformed, but Transformed

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a transforming message, meaning that the truth contained therein is meant to be more than informative. This truth is meant to strike at the core of who we are and radically alter both the way we view the world and act in it. This type of reaction is very different from simple conformity. Conformity simply observes the rituals and practices of society generally and engages in them in order to be accepted. As you and I both know, however, this behavioral attestation can be very dangerous, as culture so often because of depravity leads one away from intimacy with the Lord rather than to it.

Paul’s challenge to us is clear. As followers of Christ, no longer must we look to our culture and the norms of the day as our standard of acceptance; rather, we must continually sacrifice our need for human acceptance for a greater acceptance in the Lord. In order to do this, then, we must radically offer our very lives to Christ, shaping and molding them in light of the truth of the gospel, making decisions and thinking thoughts that demonstrate the Holy Spirit’s power within us.

Today, commit to live a transformed life, looking only to the message of Christ as an example of salvific behavior. Do not become distracted by the interests of this world, once again conforming to its values and idols, but rather reject those for the supreme knowledge of Christ incarnate, crucified, and resurrected.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 17th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Romans, Sacrifice, Transformation.
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November 28th, 2015

Would You Send Your Best?

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:2-3 (ESV)

The church at Antioch was blessed, wouldn’t you say? They had some incredible leaders, serving as prophets and teachers, not the least of which were Barnabas and Saul, also called “Paul.” The church was growing and preaching the gospel to the Gentiles; they were actively building the Kingdom of God! In the midst of their growth, though, an interesting declaration comes from the Lord, in which He tells Antioch to set apart Barnabas and Saul for a new work, one that will take them away from their church.

For many of us today, this kind of calling would have induced panic. “Why would the Lord take our best men?” “We need Paul/Saul and Barnabas to continue to grow; we can’t do it without them.” But the church in Antioch made no such declarations. Instead, they fasted and prayed over these men, laid hands on them, and sent them out.

Why was the church in Antioch so willing to do this? They sent out their best leaders because they had a larger view of the Kingdom of God. They knew that their growth wasn’t dependent on any one man but rather on the favor and power of the Spirit at work within them. Further, if the Lord explicitly called these men out and they didn’t send them, surely the favor of God would leave them in their disobedience.

May we be like the church in Antioch! May we recognize that our devotion is not to a man but rather to the Lord, and may we be willing to commission our best men to be sent out for the good of the gospel, if the Lord so commands. We must be willing to sacrifice our best and trust in the Lord’s greater provision, as that is truly the heart of the message of Jesus displayed beautifully by the church at Antioch.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, November 28th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, Sacrifice, Send.
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September 18th, 2015

Lamb Without Blemish

“You shall provide a lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering to the Lord daily; morning by morning you shall provide it. And you shall provide a grain offering with it morning by morning, one sixth of an ephah, and one third of a hin of oil to moisten the flour, as a grain offering to the Lord. This is a perpetual statute. Thus the lamb and the meal offering and the oil shall be provided, morning by morning, for a regular burnt offering.” Ezekiel 46:13-15 (ESV)

Ezekiel is pointing to the sacrificial system during the millennial temple worship that will serve as a memorial to the once-for-all sacrifice Christ made. Blood sacrifices will not be necessary since Christ has already provided the complete atoning work on the cross. His substitutionary atonement satisfied the justice of God and provided for the removal of our sins.

  • “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:11-12 (ESV)

Jesus shed His blood so that we could come into a right relationship with God. In Christ, we are reconciled to God and the penalty of our sin has been paid in full. The blood of the sinless sacrificial Son of God has purchased your salvation. Jesus paid the debt you could not pay. Jesus took your place so that you could benefit personally from the redemptive activity produced by His obedience to death on a cross.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Ezekiel, Sacrifice.
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September 10th, 2015

Does God Truly Have Your Everything?

“The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.’ So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.” Ezekiel 24:15-18 (ESV)

This was not like Abraham’s call. The Lord had asked for great sacrifices of godly men before, but in Abraham’s case He supplied an alternative.  Would this call on Ezekiel’s life be like Abraham’s or like Job’s? If like Job’s, would he have his fortune restored to him, or would it matter? How could losing a wife be restored? Yet, the Lord had asked; no, He declared! He would take the life of Ezekiel’s wife as a foretaste of what was to come for the people of God.

On the face of it, this calling simply sounds cruel and unjust. Ezekiel comes across as completely powerless, not even begging for his beloved’s life! What right does the Lord have to demand such sacrifice?

Even as I read the words contained in the last question, my mind stops and I am reminded of the story of Jesus. God has never asked us to sacrifice more than He has sacrificed. He gave His only begotten Son so that you and I could be saved! He sacrificed His beloved for those who hated Him, thereby showing the greatest kind of love ever exhibited. God has sacrificed, so shouldn’t we have to as well? A change happens for the mature believer, in which everything that we have or love becomes an object for the Lord to use to teach His grace. My sin, my redemption, my possessions, my family are all His to do as He pleases in order to display the glorious truth of the gospel.

Is this too radical? Are we being too cavalier with life? Certainly, we should not be reckless with life, as God gave us reason for a reason, but let us never forget that the call to follow Christ is one of sacrifice (sometimes incredible sacrifice). And as you remember that truth, also remember that God has sacrificed more than we could ever give so that we who were far off could now be called children of God!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezekiel, Sacrifice, Trust.
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February 21st, 2015

Sin and Sacrifice

“‘If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and they realize their guilt, when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting.’” Leviticus 4:13-14 (ESV)

As you read the first four chapters of Leviticus, you detect the theme of sin and sacrifice. God is holy, righteous, and pure. God does not tolerate sin. In His grace, God established the sacrificial system to be implemented by Moses and the priesthood. The system featured specific laws pertaining to specific measures to be taken for specific sins. As you can see, God takes sin seriously.

In order for the people of Israel to enjoy the benefits of their covenant relationship with God, they had to obey the laws established within the sacrificial system. Sin separated them from God. Sin inhibited their fellowship with God and misrepresented His nature and His character. God provided atonement for both sins of omission and sins of commission.

When a person failed to do what God commanded or when a person did something God commanded them not to do, that person sinned. When that sin became known to the person, he would then be required to bring a burnt offering for sins of commission (Lev. 1:3-4) or a sin offering for sins of omission to the entrance of the tent of meeting. The priest would then carry out the process for atonement.

Take a moment to consider your life before our holy God. Ask the Lord to search your heart and to reveal unconfessed sin in your life.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Leviticus, Sacrifice, Sin.
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December 22nd, 2014

The Greatest Sacrifice

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

What comes to mind when you think of the concept of sacrifice? I immediately think of the soldier fighting on foreign soil to preserve our freedom. I think of the single mom delaying personal gratification in order to purchase school supplies for her children. The middle-aged married couple serving as the primary caregiver to a parent is another portrait of sacrifice. Another example that comes to mind is that of an elderly person living on meager means in order to support the ministry of the local church. I think of the newly weds embracing a frugal lifestyle in order to focus on completing the requirements for advance degrees.

The greatest sacrifice is God providing for our redemption through sacrificing His Son on the cross. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to earth to provide for the removal of our sins and to purchase our salvation. His sacrifice changed our forever. God gave us His best so that we could have an abiding relationship with Jesus that is personal and eternal.

  • “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8 (ESV)
  • “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil. 2:8 (ESV)

Are you a recipient of God’s sacrificial love? Because of the greatest sacrifice, you can know true meaning and purpose, fulfillment and life-giving relationships. Because of the greatest sacrifice, you can have immediate peace and eternal security. God gave His Son so that you could know Him personally and invest the rest of your life making Him known.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Character, John 3:16, Sacrifice.
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August 17th, 2014

Living Sacrifices

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 (ESV)

How do we respond to God’s mercy? The fact that God pursued us with His redeeming love and did not give us what we deserved engenders a response. Think of where we would be had God’s mercy not been applied to our hopeless estate. We were separated from God as a result of our sin. We deserved punishment, alienation, and eternal damnation. In His mercy, God provided the atonement for our sin through the sinless sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross.

In response to His mercy, God is not asking us to die for Him. God wants us to respond to His mercy by living for Him. Instead of being a dead sacrifice, God wants us to be a living sacrifice. Our spiritual act of worship that moves the heart of God is that of being holy and pleasing to Him. To be holy is to work out in practical daily living the holiness of Christ imparted to us at the moment of our salvation. We received the imputed righteousness of Christ which instantly gave us a right standing before our holy God. That event is to be followed by the process of living a holy life that is pleasing to God.

Offer your body as a living sacrifice by loving what God loves and hating what God hates. Live in perpetual dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit to stay clean while living in this dirty world. Practice His presence throughout the day and be sensitive to His prompting. Confess sin immediately. Choose to stay close and clean.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 17th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Mercy, Sacrifice, Worship.
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December 31st, 2013

Moving God’s Heart

“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17 (NIV)

On the final day of the year, let’s explore what moves the heart of God. You have had 365 days to allow God to use you for His glory. You have experienced the ups and downs of living in a fallen world. Each day was filled with challenges and opportunities. Each day presented you with decisions to make and answers to seek. The year may have tested your faith and strengthened your resolve. What did you learn about moving the heart of God?

In the 51st Psalm, David clarifies how God desires for His children to respond to Him. Sacrifice and burnt offerings are insufficient. External religion will not move the heart of God. God delights in His children exhibiting genuine brokenness. When we come before God broken over our sin and desperate for His approval, we move His heart. God desires that we seek Him in humility and brokenness. We do not impress God with our external righteousness and religion. God examines the heart to test our motives. God is moved when we acknowledge our dependency upon Him.

Have you been broken before the Lord lately? Have you had a contrite heart? David poured out his soul in anguish before God over the sin in his own life. Personal responsibility for our personal sin will be evidenced by our personal brokenness before the Lord. God’s compassion will be unleashed as you pour out your soul before Him in prayer. Pray that God will keep you broken before Him as you live in this fallen world. We need Him every minute of every hour of every day. Confess all known sin and allow God to prepare you for this New Year. Release the past and embrace the future God has for you!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Brokenness, God's Heart, Sacrifice.
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July 7th, 2013

Greatest Sacrifice

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

What comes to mind when you think of the concept of sacrifice? I immediately think of the soldier fighting on foreign soil to preserve our freedom. I think of the single mom delaying personal gratification in order to purchase school supplies for her children. The middle-aged married couple serving as the primary caregiver to a parent is another portrait of sacrifice. Another example that comes to mind is that of an elderly person living on meager means in order to support the ministry of the local church. I think of the newly weds embracing a frugal lifestyle in order to focus on completing the requirements for advance degrees.

The greatest sacrifice is God providing for our redemption through sacrificing His Son on the cross. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to earth to provide for the removal of our sins and to purchase our salvation. His sacrifice changed our forever. God gave us His best so that we could have an abiding relationship with Jesus that is personal and eternal.

Are you a recipient of God’s sacrificial love? Because of the greatest sacrifice, you can know true meaning and purpose, fulfillment and life-giving relationships. Because of the greatest sacrifice, you can have immediate peace and eternal security. God gave His Son so that you could know Him personally and invest the rest of your life making Him known.

Are you willing to sacrifice to help others come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you willing to place the needs of others before your own? God wants to use you to point others to Christ. Will you practice instant obedience even if it means sacrifice?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 7th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Obedience, Sacrifice.
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March 25th, 2013

Ultimate Sacrifice

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV)

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the high priest would enter the holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of his family and for all the people. One goat would be chosen to be sacrificed for the Lord and one goat would become the scapegoat (Lev. 16:10). The blood from the goat sacrificed as a sin offering would be sprinkled throughout the altar, sanctuary, and tent of meeting to remove defilements of the past year. The high priest would then place his hands on the head of the scapegoat and symbolically transfer the sins of the people to it. The scapegoat, also known as the goat of removal, would be led away from the people into the desert to picture the removal of sins.

Jesus bore our sins on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus took our punishment for sin to satisfy God’s justice. In His mercy, Christ was sacrificed to remove our sins. Our sin debt has been paid in full and our salvation purchased through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus became our scapegoat to take away our sins.

Have you confessed your sins? Have your received God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins? Spend some time thanking Jesus for the removal of your sins.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Forgiveness, Sacrifice.
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