The slide for this week’s communion talk was:
Matt 12:7; Hosea 6:6
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
How can these verses relate to communion?
Our prompt usually reflects the day’s sermon in some way, and this one was no different, as the sermon topic was “Transformational Worship”. Also, as the Lord usually throws all things at me from all directions (and also possibly because our ministers are on the same page), we have been in Leviticus in our Sunday morning class talking about…you guessed it…sacrifices.
Hosea 6:6 says, “I want you to show love/mercy, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”
In flipping to this passage, my eyes landed on Hosea 4:6, which says, “My people are being destroyed because they don’t know Me.”
Do we really know who God is?
We just finished a sermon series called “Do You Know My Jesus?” Do we know Jesus? Do we know God? Do we really know what they want from us?
Further up in Hosea 4:1, he says, “Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel! The Lord has brought charges against you, saying: There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land.”
What was God’s problem with the people?
They weren’t showing love and mercy.
They didn’t know who God was and what he desired.
He wanted them to know Him and have a relationship with Him – one that would flow out of them into their relationships with others as they showed faithfulness, kindness, love, and mercy.
Micah brought the people the same message in Micah 6:6-8.
“What can we bring to the Lord? Should we bring Him burnt offerings? Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer Him thousands of rams and then thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you; to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
He said God doesn’t care how many or what kind of sacrifices we offer. He wants our heart, mind, and attitude to be in the right place.
When the Pharisees tried to call Him out for eating with sinners in Matthew 9:10-13, His answer was straight from Hosea and Micah – “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
It was a heart issue.
The ones who thought they were doing right by making sacrifices were the ones Jesus wasn’t pleased with. They were checking every box on their checklist, but their hearts weren’t right. Meanwhile, the sinners that Jesus was eating with were aware of their wrongdoing and wanted to do better and be better.
Then in Matthew 12:1-13, Jesus was showing them again that marking off their checklist wasn’t enough. They had to do good. The laws they were following had been given for a reason, but the Pharisees had missed the point. The law was given to lead them to God and a relationship with Him and each other. They had twisted it into something God had never intended and ended up straying farther from Him in their hearts.
Tying it back to communion, look at the passage from Matthew 9. Jesus said He came for the sick and the sinners. He showed us His mercy in redeeming us through His sacrifice. He and the Father still desire a relationship with us. They desire that we know them, and that we want to be in a close relationship with them and other believers as well. In communion, we remember both the sacrifice He made and the mercy we were shown by Him. We celebrate His victory over death so that we might have life. We are drawn together as one body in Him, and show love and mercy to one another. We show love and mercy to the world around us, to draw others into a relationship with Him, too. We draw closer to Him and come to know Him better.
Click the links here or in the post above to listen to Gary’s sermon on Transformational Worship, find the videos or transcripts for Daniel’s series on “Do You Know My Jesus”, and check out the handouts on Leviticus.