Adult Sabbath School Lesson Study Outlines

Skip Navigation
Get these Sabbath School lessons by e-mail! Subscribe to the Bible Study of the Week mailing list:

 Subscribe in a reader

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!

  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 God.)

      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 lost.

    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 repentant?

    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 God.)

  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 right.)

    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 outrageous!

    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.
* 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
Back to Top | Home