What does the Altar represent in our lives today?
An altar is a sacred place where sacrifices are made unto a supreme being in order to appease or entreat Him either to seek for His kindness, favor or to stay His hand from evil wrath. An altar is bedrock for sacrifices; without an altar sacrifices itself cannot be made. It takes an altar to make a sacrifice. An altar is a place of offerings unto the Lord. A constant or perpetual place appointed for sacrifices to be made. A new sacrifice requires a new altar because an altar is to be burnt out. But as long as sacrifices are always demanded the altar must be kept burning. The commandment that God gave to the Israelites of old is still very much valid today. The fire on the altar must go out (Lev. 6:13, 1Sam. 3:2-3).
Today moreover, rather than keeping a perishable sacrifice, a living sacrifice is requested from you and me, which also mean we have duties to ensure that our altar is kept perpetually burning if we must be able to make ourselves living sacrifices – Rom. 12:1. The altar of the Lord Jesus Christ today is our place of fellowship with Him, our place of worship and our place prayers to Him. Jesus Christ established this in Matt. 5:23 – 24, 6:14 – 15, when He talked about some of the things that can undermine the efficacy of our altar. So this morning, we are looking at the symbolic representative of the altar and how to keep it burning.
The components of an altar
As already established, altar to the New Testament and Holy Spirit controlled church, is a symbolic sacred place where our lives is offered perpetually as a living sacrifice unto God on daily basis. We are being process with fire as refiner refines his gold for the best output – Mal. 3:2-3. The following therefore are the necessary components for an acceptable altar:
Ø An appointed place for sacrifice (the right place to meet with God). There is always an appointed place and time to meet with the Lord – Gen. 22:1-2. Where exactly are you right now? Are you where He expects you to be spiritually?
Ø Wood for the sacrifice which is the fueling force for the fire. This is a true representative of our prayer lives. Prayer is an essential part of our Christina race. Jesus, our perfect example demonstrated this when He taught His disciples that men ought always to pray and not faint – Luke. 18:1, 11:1-4. Jesus Himself could not do anything in His earthly ministry without prayers (Matt. 14:23, Mark 1:35).
Ø Fire to kindle the altar. The fire can be likening to the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need the Holy Spirit if our altar must keep burning. The Holy Spirit helps our infirmity and quicken us to pray (Rom. 8:26, John 6:63)
Ø Water is also an element for sacrifice making. It takes a Spirit filled like Elijah to proof the foolishness of the prophets of bar in 1kings 18:33-35. Water stands for the word of God. For an acceptable offering, the word of God has a prominent role to play. Even though, what Prophet Elijah did seem odd to common believe that water is the fire extinguisher, it proved that whenever the word of God watered the ground, there will be a perfect altar and consequently an acceptable sacrifice.
Ø Finally, the lamb or animal for the sacrifice. The bible, through the inspiration of Holy Spirit by the mouth of Paul says that, we should present our body as a living sacrifice. This means for our altar to keep burning, our heart must be wholly yielded unto God. God does not require any longer for animal sacrifice but that our entire being, live or dead be totally committed unto Him
Remember the anchor text above request us that fire must always be burnt on the altar, but let me also say by means of conclusion that take care that you are not kindling a wrong fire on the altar of the Lord. It is very dangerous to do so. God killed two sons of Aaron for this reason (Lev. 10:1-2). The earnest warning of the Lord to this New Testament church is that we should not quench the Spirit of the Lord (1Thess. 5:19), and that we should no grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 4:30), as this is like putting up strange fire on the altar of the Lord.
PST. FEMI ATODE
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