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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: Sacrifices *
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!
- Sin Enters
- 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.)
- What is the serpent offering to Eve? (To be like
- Is that an appeal to self-sacrifice? (Just the
opposite, it is an appeal to self-aggrandizement.)
- Read Genesis 3:6-7. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Did they
gain or sacrifice something? (They lost a great deal,
including their covering.)
- Notice the connection. By seeking to gain, they both
- Read Genesis 3:11-12. Does Adam sound sorry for his sin?
- Is Adam willing to sacrifice? (He is now willing to
sacrifice his wife!)
- Read Genesis 3:13. Does Eve sound sorry for her sin?
- Which of the two, Adam or Eve, seems the most
- 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.)
- 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
- Sin Response
- Read Genesis 4:1-3. What is Cain doing when he brings an
offering to God? (This is self-sacrifice.)
- 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
- Read Genesis 4:6-7. What does this reveal about Cain's
offering? (It was not right. It failed to meet some
- Read Exodus 12:21-23. What does the blood of the animal do
for the family? (It prevents the "destroyer" from harming
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Is every sacrifice good? (No! Cain was
sacrificing, but he was not sacrificing in
accord with God's will.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- Offerings in General
- 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.)
- Read Leviticus 7:7-9. What secondary purpose does the
offering serve? (It supports the priesthood. It supports
the system of atonement for sin.)
- 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.)
- Unimaginable Offering
- 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.")
- What does the instruction that Isaac should be a
"burnt" offering add to Abraham's misery?
- 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
- Read Genesis 22:6-8. What do you think - is Abraham
deceiving his son, or does Abraham think God has an
- Read Hebrews 11:17-19. What does this suggest Abraham was
thinking about as an alternative plan?
- Read Genesis 22:9-12. What does this tell us this
outrageous story is about? (Testing Abraham. Genesis 22:1
says the same thing.)
- 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?
- 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
- 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?
- Next week: Lessons From the Sanctuary.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.