Sermon:  Principles of Worship (part 1) - Sacrifices/Offerings in Genesis

1.  Will be looking at principles concerning worship in Old Testament
2.  Genesis a very significant book
	a.  As title suggests, it is a book about beginnings
	b.  In order to understand where we are going, important to know where 
	     we came from
	c.  Genesis shows where we came from, why we exist, sin, death, 
	     promise, etc.
	d.  Will focus on worship
3.  Some have suggested that worship in Genesis is paradigm for worship in rest 
      of Old Testament 
	a.  Just as Paul points to Abraham as a paradigm for justification by faith
	b.  Perhaps there is some significant, timeless principles of worship from 

I.  The Various Accounts of Worship in Genesis
	A.  (Gen 4:1-5) - Cain and Abel
		1.  Appropriate response to prosperity of their occupation
		2.  They bring an "offering" to God
			a.  Not called a "sacrifice"
			b.  It is a gift
		3.  Literally says God "gazed" at Abel's offering, but not Cain's
			a.  Kind of like going to art gallery, gaze at one you like
			b.  Not specifically say that God "rejected" Cain's offering
			c.  But God was especially pleased with Abel's
		4.  Text does not explain it, but there is a hint
			a.  God had given no command concerning sacrifice
				- It would be incorrect to say one was better because 
				   it was a blood sacrifice
				-  This was a freewill offering
			b.  Probably had to do with the quality of the sacrifice
				- Abel brought the "firstlings"
				- Abel offered up the fat portions (the tastiest, aroma)
	B.  (Gen 8:20-21) - Noah after the flood
		1.  After the flood, Noah offers up "burnt offerings"
			a.  Word used is hl*u) (ola4h - Whole burnt offering - entirely 
			      consumed on the altar and goes up to God
			b. This is the root of the Jewish word, holocaust
		2.  Noah's offering was a "pleasing aroma"
			a.  This is a Levitical term used consistently for sacrifices
			b.  Examples:
				- Consecration of the Priests -  Ex 29:18-19
				- Daily Sacrifices - Ex 29:41-42 
			c. Repeatedly, priests were to offer sacrifices as a "soothing 
			    aroma" to God
		3.  God smells the aroma, and THEN he makes a covenant
			a.  God is responding to Noah's sacrifice
			b.  Perhaps Noah is not just offering a gift, but an atoning 
			     sacrifice for all mankind, for the earth?
	C.  (Gen 22) - Longest account of a sacrifice in Genesis
		1.  Abraham goes to place appointed by God to offer Isaac as a 
		     burnt offering
		2.  God stops Abraham at the last moment, and provides a ram in 
		      its place
		3.  (Gen 22:18) - God reinforces the promise of blessing, posterity, 
		     and blessing to the nations with an "oath" because Abraham 
		     "obeyed" his voice
	D.  Other accounts
		1.  (Gen 12:1-7) - Abraham built an altar after God appeared to him
		2.  (Gen 26:23-25) - Isaac built an altar
		3.  (Gen 35:5-7) - Jacob built at altar
		4.  People typically built altars as a response to God's appearance

II.  Some principles from Genesis concerning sacrifice
	A.  Offerings should be valuable or without blemish
		1.  Abel's sacrifices came from the firstlings of his flock
		2.  Noah sacrificed the clean, not the unclean animals
		3.  Abraham was going to offer up his only beloved son
	B.  An offering by a righteous person can alter God's attitude (even toward 
	      the unrighteous)
		1.  Noah sacrificed burnt offerings, God made a covenant which 
		     included the whole earth
		2.  At Abraham's sacrifice, God reinforces his covenant with an 
		     oath, and his covenant included the whole world

III.  These principles evident in the rest of the Old Testament 
	A.  Offerings should be valuable or without blemish
		1.  Lev 1:1-2 - Sacrifice to be from the herd or the flock
			- Were not to sacrifice what died, or find lying around
			- Not sacrifice wild animals to avoid sacrificing from the herd
		2.  Lev 22:18-24 - Is to have no defect
		3.  Ex 12:5 - Passover lamb was to be unblemished
	B.  An offering by a righteous person can alter God's attitude (even toward 
	      the unrighteous)
		1.  2 Sam 24:25 - David offered up offerings, Lord held back plague
		2.  Also an offering of prayer
			a.  Moses
			b.  Amos
		3.  Prayer of a "righteous man" can accomplish much

IV.  These principles in the New Testament
	A.  Jesus offered what was valuable & altered God's attitude
		1.  (Eph 5:2) - Christ gave SELF in love as offering, fragrant aroma
		2.  (1 Pet 1:18-19) - Redeemed us with what as most valuable AND 
		     most pure, the blood of Christ
	B.  Jesus' self sacrifice is not just an offering for us, but also a model
		1.  (Phil 2:17) - Paul being poured out as a drink offering.  Why?…
		2.  Phil 2:7 - Jesus poured himself out as an offering - he is model
		3.  (Col 3:3) We have died and have been risen with Christ
			a.  Our lives are offered up to Christ
			b.  Our lives become worship to God
	C.  We are to offer up appropriate offerings to God
		1.  (Heb 13:15) - Sacrifice of praise
		2.  (Heb 13:16) - Do good and sharing are also "sacrifices"
		3.  (Rom 12:1) - Offer selves as living sacrifices
			a.  Is a sense we are still worshipping when we leave
			b.  We purify and cleansed of defilement
			c.  We offer best we can give…ourselves

1.  God offered the very best for us
2.  In our worship, we respond by offering the very best to God