Word of the Month

Sacrifices of Joy

September 2001

We want to join in the song of the Psalmist: "...Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord" (cf. Psalm 27:6, NKJV). We have been able to preserve our faith through all circumstances and wait upon the day that will stand out among all other days in the history of mankind, the day when the Lord will come to complete his work and take his own home into eternal glory. That is the goal of our hope, our prayers and our faith!

We want to bring our sacrifices with joy. This is possible only through love for God and his work; without this love we are unable to make sacrifices with joy. "The love of God", the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, "has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (cf. Romans 5:5, NKJV). Let us give room to the Holy Spirit so that it can unfold, then we will gladly and joyfully make sacrifices.

We want to make time for the divine services, to assist in the work of God. That produces blessing. We also want to sacrifice our will; which does not mean that we would then be weak-willed people. We know exactly what we want here on Earth!

That is why God's will is the basis for our conduct, our decisions and our goal. Because we bring sacrifices of joy, we also sing praises to the Lord. The prophet Isaiah listed the names of the Lord, when he pointed to the arrival of the Messiah, the birth of the Son of God: "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (cf. Isaiah 9:6, NKJV). The natural and spiritual creation is full of wonder and the counsel that the Lord imparts again and again at his altar is wonderful. When Jesus Christ brought his sacrifice, was victorious over hell, death and the grave, and resurrected in glory, he demonstrated the might of God. On the day of his Ascension when he returned to his Father, the name "Everlasting Father" was revealed. And when he comes again to take his own unto himself and to finally establish his Kingdom, the he will show himself to be a true "Prince of Peace".

Why do we hear so little about the return of Christ among Christianity? This day will stand out as the greatest event of all time, the marriage of the lamb, the transformation of the expectant congregation.

These are the decisive, fundamental values of the gospel. Let us be thankful that the Holy Spirit repeatedly and intensively makes reference to this event and pushes these magnificent events of the future into the focal point. Let us offer sacrifices of joy and glorify and praise the grace of God, that we have been born, that we are reborn, and that we have been able to follow in faith until today. And for the future we pray: "Let us not fall out of thy grace", so that we can say as Apostle Paul could say: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain." (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:10, NKJV).

(Excerpt from a divine service of the Chief Apostle)