Introduction: “Sacrifice” is not a popular concept. Who wants to
sacrifice something? It means giving something up, right? We all
look forward to getting stuff, not giving stuff away! Or, do we?
Have you ever felt the joy of helping? The joy of giving something to
someone who needs it more than you do? What does God require of us
when it comes to sacrifice? Is sacrifice a way to get stuff? Our
study of the Bible this week is about sacrifices, let’s dive in and
see what we can learn!

  1. Sin Enters

    1. Read Genesis 3:1-5. What sacrifice issue do you see in
      this fact setting? (Humans sacrifice one tree and get to
      enjoy the rest.)

      1. What is the serpent offering to Eve? (To be like

      2. Is that an appeal to self-sacrifice? (Just the
        opposite, it is an appeal to self-aggrandizement.)

    2. Read Genesis 3:6-7. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Did they
      gain or sacrifice something? (They lost a great deal,
      including their covering.)

      1. Notice the connection. By seeking to gain, they both

    3. Read Genesis 3:11-12. Does Adam sound sorry for his sin?

      1. Is Adam willing to sacrifice? (He is now willing to
        sacrifice his wife!)

    4. Read Genesis 3:13. Does Eve sound sorry for her sin?

      1. Which of the two, Adam or Eve, seems the most

    5. Read Genesis 3:14-15. The last part of these two verses
      contains a promise that the head of the serpent will be
      crushed in the context of creating pain and discomfort for
      humans. What kind of promise is this? (This promise is
      about sin, and it is a promise that humans will ultimately
      triumph over the sin problem.)

      1. Look at this from God’s perspective. Are humans an
        attractive package right now? Would they arouse your
        sympathy as having made a mistake, but are properly
        repentant? Are humans willing to sacrifice for the
        greater good? (No. Adam is the worst. He essentially
        blames God and is willing to throw his wife under the
        bus! At least Eve had the good sense not to blame

  2. Sin Response

    1. Read Genesis 4:1-3. What is Cain doing when he brings an
      offering to God? (This is self-sacrifice.)

    2. Read Genesis 4:4-6. Both sons bring an offering which
      reflects the nature of their work. Why does God respond
      favorably to Abel, but not to Cain’s sacrifice? (The text
      does not say. But, for some reason, Abel’s offering is

    3. Read Genesis 4:6-7. What does this reveal about Cain’s
      offering? (It was not right. It failed to meet some
      unstated standard.)

    4. Read Exodus 12:21-23. What does the blood of the animal do
      for the family? (It prevents the “destroyer” from harming
      the family.)

    5. Read Leviticus 4:27-29. Finally, we begin to see a picture
      of what is going on. What is the reason for killing the
      goat? (It is a sin offering.)

      1. Let’s read into this the Cain story and the Passover
        story. Why is Cain’s offering not sufficient? Why is
        the blood of the Passover lamb important?(An animal
        dies for the sins of the person. The animal’s blood
        somehow protects the sinner. We see from the earliest
        recorded history in the Bible this idea of God’s
        program to defeat sin has to do with animal sacrifice
        and the fact that the blood protects humans.)

        1. Is this self-sacrifice? (If you owned the
          animal it would be a sacrifice, but if the
          animal died in your place, it would avoid the
          far greater sacrifice.)

        2. Is every sacrifice good? (No! Cain was
          sacrificing, but he was not sacrificing in
          accord with God’s will.)

    6. Read Leviticus 4:1-3 and Leviticus 6:1-3. Leviticus 4 is
      typical of many references to sinning unintentionally and
      the sacrifice required for that. What kind of sins are we
      reading about in Leviticus 6? (These are intentional sins.
      Indeed, these are sins that involve not just intent, but a
      scheme of some sort.)

      1. Read Leviticus 6:4-6. Can intentional sin be
        forgiven? (Yes. Thankfully. Note that when you scheme
        to take something from someone, God requires that you
        give it back and add a 20% penalty.)

    7. Read Leviticus 17:10-12. Consider this text to be
      something like a rule in math or a theorem in geometry.
      What is the theory underlying the rule? (Blood is life and
      it atones for sin so you do not die. Blood is the
      sacrifice for sin. Therefore, you cannot use blood for
      anything else.)

    8. What kind of picture are we getting about the forgiveness
      of sin under the sacrificial system? (The sacrifice of the
      life blood of an animal saves you from death.)

  3. Offerings in General

    1. Read Leviticus 2:1-3 and Leviticus 2:14. Recall that Cain
      brought fruit as an offering. Here, grain is an offering.
      Why is this offering recommended and Cain’s was not?
      (Different offerings have a different purpose. This grain
      offering seems to reflect gratitude for God’s blessings in
      the harvest. You sacrifice some because of the greater
      blessing of the harvest. Cain’s offering was deficient
      because it was for the forgiveness of sin.)

    2. Read Leviticus 7:7-9. What secondary purpose does the
      offering serve? (It supports the priesthood. It supports
      the system of atonement for sin.)

    3. Read Leviticus 7:11-13. What is the idea behind these
      offerings? (We return to God part of His greater blessing.
      This is the general idea running through the topic of
      sacrifice. We sacrifice an animal, but get to keep our
      life. We sacrifice the first fruits of the harvest, but
      get to keep the harvest.)

  4. Unimaginable Offering

    1. Read Genesis 22:1-2. Think about both the instruction and
      the way the instruction is worded. Is this consistent with
      a loving God? (Hardly. Not only is God telling Abraham to
      kill the son of the promise, but God makes it more painful
      by saying that this is his “only” son “whom you love.”)

      1. What does the instruction that Isaac should be a
        “burnt” offering add to Abraham’s misery?

    2. Read Genesis 22:3. Why do you think Abraham left so early?
      (My guess is that he did not want to discuss this with his
      wife, Sarah.)

    3. Read Genesis 22:6-8. What do you think – is Abraham
      deceiving his son, or does Abraham think God has an
      alternative plan?

    4. Read Hebrews 11:17-19. What does this suggest Abraham was
      thinking about as an alternative plan?

    5. Read Genesis 22:9-12. What does this tell us this
      outrageous story is about? (Testing Abraham. Genesis 22:1
      says the same thing.)

      1. Let’s be absolutely honest here. Would it still have
        been a real test if God had not added that this was
        Abraham’s “only” and “loved” son? Would it have been
        a real test without the son having to be burned up?

      1. If you say, “yes,” to the above, how do you explain
        this story? The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us
        this story, why would it contain these details? (I am
        convinced that the whole point is to be outrageous,
        to offend our sense of justice and fairness. Why?
        Because it is outrageous that the Son of God died
        horribly for our sins. Abraham’s story is a pale
        description of God’s story. Jesus’ sacrifice on our
        behalf is simply outrageous. His love for people who
        refuse to take the blame for their own sins is

    1. Friend, can you see the thread running through God’s call
      for us to sacrifice? It is no sacrifice at all. We give
      God a small part and He gives us the rest. Only if we try
      to take it all (like Eve) do we lose it all. Will you
      decide today to sign on to God’s call for sacrifice?

  1. Next week: Lessons From the Sanctuary.