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The Sacrifice of the Only Son

Genesis 22:6-14

Pastor Dale Critchley

Lent 1
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Delaware, IA

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Mar 5, 2006
First Sunday in Lent

Standard LW 3-year Readings:
First: Gen. 22:1-18
Epistle: Rom 8:31-29
Gospel: Mark 1:12-15
Psalm: Psalm 6


The text below is correctly formatted in the DOC file (see above left). The DOC file is easier to read, but the text is included below to allow for searching.

Children’s Sermon

Catechetical point: Right now, we’re in the season of Lent. Some people like to give up something that they like, like Chocolate or hamburgers. They do it to remember what God gave up for them.

Message: God gave up something He loved much more than chocolate. Any idea what? †

The Sacrifice of the Only Son

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Text: (Genesis 22:6-14) Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

This is the Word of our Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

I. Introduction

A. A number of years ago, I was visiting a family on an evangelism call

B. The husband was fairly familiar with Christian doctrine and understood that his sins were paid for by Christ

C. But the wife wasn’t so clear

1. She had been a member of a Christian church as a child

2. And she knew her Bible stories

3. But she didn’t understand the point of them

D. I was talking to her husband about eternal life

1. She said, “I’m not an optimist.”

2. So I told her about Jesus earning salvation for us on the cross

3. And she looked at me and said, “No, you have to earn it.”

4. “No,” I said, “You don’t.”

5. “Yes, you do.”

6. “The Bible says you don’t.”

7. “Yes, you do.”

E. She then started recalling the Bible stories from her Sunday School days, telling me about how those people earned their salvation

1. “Look at Abraham and Isaac. Abraham had to earn his salvation by offering his son for sacrifice.”

2. And so we sat down at the dinner table and took a walk through this text

II. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and put it on Isaac, his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife, and the two of them walked together.

A. Jesus said that all Scriptures speak of Him

1. And this text is a perfect example

2. Because this text speaks of Jesus in two different ways

B. Isaac was the promised son of Abraham

1. Abraham had waited many years for the coming of his only son

2. And now, he had to sacrifice him

3. His son even had to carry the wood he himself would be sacrificed on

C. And as we look at this young man, we can see another only Son

1. Because the world waited for the coming of the Only Son of God

2. And God also sacrificed His Son

3. And that Son was also forced to carry the wood He’d be sacrificed on

a) But Jesus wasn’t sacrificed as a burnt offering on a stone altar

b) He was nailed to a wooden cross

III. And Isaac spoke to Abraham, his Father, saying, "My father." And he said, "Behold, me, my son." And he said, "Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

A. This was an absolutely agonizing question

B. But it didn’t have to be—Abraham just didn’t know how to answer

1. Abraham knew that God had promised that, through Isaac, his offspring would be like the sand of the seashore

2. And all generations would be blessed through him

3. How would that be possible if he sacrificed Isaac on an altar?

a) Abraham didn’t know the answer

b) But He trusted God to provide the answer

c) He even told his servants who stayed with the animals that they would both return from the mountain

4. Abraham had faith that God had a solution

C. Neither Isaac nor Abraham knew, though, that the lamb for the offering would be one of Isaac’s descendents: Jesus of Nazareth

IV. And Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." And the two of them walked on together.

A. Here’s what makes Christianity unique among the world’s attempts at understanding God through false religions

1. God provided the animals for the sacrifices

2. The sacrifices weren’t made to provide somehow for God

3. It was to be understood that God provided the animals for the sacrifices

4. We can’t earn anything from God by our own works

5. God provides everything for us

a) Not only the things that we can see, hear, and touch,

b) But love, forgiveness, and eternal life

6. And so Abraham trusted God to provide the sacrifice, even if it was his own son

B. And God did provide the Lamb

1. His name is Jesus

2. He was the sacrifice that God made on our behalf

C. So since God provided the Lamb for Himself, you can be assured that He has forgiven all your sins

V. And they came to the place which God had told him, and Abraham built an altar there, and put the wood in order and bound his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on the wood.

A. Isaac was about 37 years old to Abraham’s 100, so he could’ve easily escaped,

B. But he went willingly to his sacrifice

C. In the same way, Jesus went willingly to His sacrifice as well

1. That’s why Jesus came

2. To be the perfect sacrifice

3. Because any sacrifice we could offer could never be perfect

4. And our lives are certainly not sacrifices worthy of our righteous God

a) We are blemished with sin

b) Trying to offer God our lives and works as a sacrifice would be like finding an anniversary gift for your spouse at the dump

VI. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the messenger [/angel] of Yahweh called to him from the heavens and he said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Behold, me."

A. Isaac was a sinner just like you and me

B. So he couldn’t be a sacrifice to save even himself, much less anyone else

C. But God saved Isaac

1. Isaac was saved through faith—Abraham’s faith

2. And we are saved through Abraham’s faith as well

a) Not that you can believe for someone else,

b) But rather, you’ve received the same faith that saved Abraham

c) And the same faith that saved Isaac

VII. And he said, "Do not put out your hand on the boy, and do nothing to him, because now I know that you fear God, and you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and hey, behind, a ram caught by his horns in a thicket. Abraham took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

A. Do you see Jesus here?

B. This is the part that showed that wife how God works

1. Because the ram was offered up in Isaac’s stead

2. Just as Jesus was offered up in our place

C. So often, we have not feared God

1. We fear attacks on our reputation

2. We fear upsetting people

3. And we choose to keep our mouths shut or go along with the crowd instead of standing for the truth

D. So often, we have withheld things much less important than our children from God

1. It may be our money or time

2. It may be the Gospel as we withhold it from others

E. But no matter how unfaithful you have been , God is faithful to you

1. When you were lost in sin, hopeless,

2. God provided the Lamb for you

3. And by the shedding of the blood of Christ on the cross, your sins are forgiven completely and your salvation assured

4. When God looks at you, all He sees is the perfect righteousness of Christ

VIII. And Abraham called that place "Yahweh considers," as it is said to this day, "In the mountain of Yahweh, it will be considered."

A. And after she and I looked at how God considers man through Christ we looked at another mountain

B. We looked at Mt. Calvary

1. And there, you’ll find the Lamb of God.

2. And that Lamb, Jesus Christ, was sacrificed in your place

3. He has fulfilled the Law, leaving nothing remaining for you to earn—He earned life and gave it to you

C. Before I left that night, I asked, “So just to make sure we’re on the same page now, how do you get to heaven?”

1. She said, “You die.”

2. “Well, yeah, but do you have to earn your way in?”

3. And in a rather annoyed voice, she said, “No! Jesus already earned it for us! That’s what we’ve been talking about this whole time!”

4. A few months later, they came to church, and their 3 daughters were baptized on Easter morning and enrolled in our Sunday School

D. God provided the Lamb for that family and gave them eternal life, just as He did for you and me in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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