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1 Kings 8:54-61
Tonight I want to preach about a simple but important subject. MAKING USE OF THE ALTAR.
In this m, “I beseech ye therefore brethren by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies unto God as a living sacrifice” will look at several Scriptures and then seek to make important application for us.

I. What is an altar

A. Altars Defined

There are three definitions we will give for an altar.
1. A table or elevated place for sacrifices
A mount; a table or elevated place, on which sacrifices where anciently offered to some deity. Altars were originally made of turf, afterwards of stone, wood or horn; some were round, others square, others triangular. They differed also in height, but all faced the east. The principal altars of the Jews were, the altar of incense, of burnt-offerings, and of shewbread; all of shittim wood, and covered with gold or brass.
2. In churches it is a table or an area for prayer or worship
In churches today it is a table or a In modern churches, the communion table; and, figuratively, a church; a place of worship.
3. It is a place for atonement of sin
In scripture, we realize that Christ is the atoning sacrifice for sin. He is the place where our sin is atoned for. So figuratively that makes that altar available anywhere.

B. Various altars in the Bible

1. Crudely constructed altars
Abraham built at least five of these.
Jacob built at least two, Moses built one.
The first altar mentioned in the Bible was such an one, Noah built it.
Genesis 8:20 KJV
And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
2. Some were to false gods
There were altar sin the Greek pantheon
Acts 17:23 KJV
For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
3. The altars in the Temple & Tabernacle
a. Altar of incense
b. Altar of sacrifice
c. Table of shewbread
d. The altar before God in heaven
Revelation 9:13 KJV
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

C. Altars were a holy place and to be treated reverently

Exodus 20:25–26 KJV
And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.
Hebrews 7:13 AV
For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
Revelation 14:18 AV
And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
The Altar was a place where things were sacrificed to God
The Altar was a place where things were dedicated to God
The Altar was a place where great things happened for God
The Altar was a place where God molded hearts and changed lives


A scriptural altar is not necessarily a place of planks and boards at the front of a church. But:

A. A place of full surrender

Gen. 22:3 “Abraham went unto a place.” The place he went to was where he was commanded of the Lord to sacrifice his own son.
He went in full surrender to God.
In the New Testament we have
Romans 12:1 KJV
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Again, that is full surrender. Our lives are to be a sacrifice on the altar of God in heaven - the reasonable service and that brings us to the altar is:

B. A place of sacrifice

Genesis 4 “Abel came to such a place.” In the New Testament, Paul said, “We are crucified with Christ.”
Revelation 6:9 KJV
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

C. A place of death

In Lev. 16 “And the Lamb had to die.” In the New Testament, Jesus said,
John 12:24 KJV
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.


There is an important truth we need realize, and that is we must continually making sacrifices to our God. For our lives are full of things that pull us away from the God and away from giving Him ourselves and our sacrifices.
All along the Christian course, there must be set up altars to God on which you sacrifice yourself, or you will never advance a step.
Alexander Maclaren
What are those areas that we need to continually make sacrifices to continue to grow?


We’ve already read Rom. 12:1, “I beseech ye therefore brethren by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies unto God as a living sacrifice”
Romans 6:13 (KJV)
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
We need to present our body, soul and mind unto the Lord.

B. Our homes

Joshua cried, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” A Christian home honors Christ, the Bible, and the church.
Parents make the choices to either honor their God through humbling themselves and their families or doing that for the world.
I’ll tell you this parents - you will offer your family on God’s altar or the altar of the world.

C. Our finances

David cried, in Psa 116:12 “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?” Will a man rob God?
Neither yield ye your members
Isaiah 56:7 KJV
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.


There are several things that can be happening in this instance.

A. The fire of the Lord comes down

“Then the fire of the Lord fell.”
1 Kings 18:38 KJV
Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
We all ought to have fire from God burning. When you are young and you give your all on the altar and it may be flashy and a big flame, when you are old it may just be simmering and deep. But either way we need a fire. We build a fire often out at the cabin - and my son’s in law, they like to use lighter fluid to start a fire. And so it does. I like to use some paper, twigs, sticks and get it started right. Sometimes the flashy fires don’t last. Sometimes mine does’t either.
But the best fires start from the coals from night before and you just add some wood to fuel it, blow into it and it fires from those old hot coals that are buried deep and do not go away. Those are the best fires. Fires that remain heating us up from past study, experiences, challenges, and victories.

B. The song of the Lord begins

“And when the burnt offering began the song of the Lord began.” (II Chron. 29:27) For 16 years there was no song in the house of the Lord but after 16 days of house cleaning (one day for each year of silence) their song was regained.

C. The power of God is bestowed

After Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night, he received power with God and with men. (Gen 32:28)
Acts 4:31 KJV
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

D. Boldness is restored

Acts 4:31 “…and they spake the word of God with boldness.”


If you compare to the two altars in tabernacle and temple, there actually was one in the outer court, and the other was in the holy place; one was without, and the other was within.

A. The outer altar

The altar in the outer court was the place for the offerings, which dealt with all negative things, which cleansed, redeemed, and delivered from all problems. This was a brass altar of sacrifice.

B. The inner altar

The altar in the holy place was the altar of incense, which signifies the resurrected Christ as our acceptance to God. Hence, these two altars signify the crucifixion of Christ and Christ in resurrection. Together, they embody in type all that Christ is with all that He has accomplished and attained. It is here that we find our home; it is here that we find our rest in the house of God. All the little ones in the local churches must realize and apprehend the significance of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, with all that He has accomplished and attained for us. I say again, the Psalms are poetry, and we must understand them in a poetic way.
This was a gold altar of intercession. His intercession for us and what He can do through us - cannot be done apart from him.
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