The believers in the Old Testament showed their worship to God by offering sacrifices, but what kinds of acts do the believers in the New Testament do to show their love, worship, and devotion to God? The apostle Paul identifies three spiritual sacrifices that bless us and the people around us: (1) the sacrifices or offerings1 of praise, (2) doing good, and (3) sharing with others. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise— the fruit of lips that openly profess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:15-16).2 When we do these things, not only is God pleased, but people are blessed.
Paul is describing to us what the Lord requires from us.
The rest of this article will expand on the three sacrifices that
God requires of us as part of our worship.
WE ARE TO OFFER THE LORD OUR PRAISES
First, the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us to “. . .
let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is,
the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15).
This does not mean that the mere singing of songs or the recitation
of prayers with our lips in our worship constitutes acceptable
sacrifice. The “fruit of the lips” must be the response
of the heart to the incomprehensible grace of God in Jesus
Christ. As we sing and praise God, let us remember that our
songs are to be sung to the Lord, to His glory and honor, even
though they also serve to edify and admonish other believers
as well as ourselves. “Let the message of Christ dwell among
you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all
wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit,
singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Col. 3:16).
Margaret Phippen writes about her father, a British minister,
who was suffering from muscular atrophy. When his voice
gave out, he took to writing. As he continued to deteriorate,
his passion did not. Through his articles, books, and groups,
he worshipped. On Easter morning, a few weeks before he
died, he wrote a letter to his daughter, saying, “It is terrible to
wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, ‘He
is risen!’ But it would be still more terrible to have a voice and
not want to shout.”3
WE ARE TO OFFER THE LORD OUR GOOD WORK
A second spiritual sacrifice the Christian is urged to offer
is the doing of good works. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased”
(Heb. 13:16). Not all the good deeds of men are acceptable
to God. The man who presumes to offer to God his own good
works to earn his own salvation instead of placing his full trust
and confidence in the sacrifice of Christ is offering contempt
to God. The apostle Paul spoke of the sad condition of the
Jews, saying that because “they did not know the righteousness
of God and sought to establish their own, they did not
submit to God’s righteousness” (Rom. 10:3). He warned such
men that “the wrath of God has come upon them at last” (1
However, true believers were reminded by the same apostle
that they were to “be careful to devote themselves to doing
what is good” (Titus 3:8). These are the works that are a
spiritual sacrifice. What is included? Any deed which is done
because of the love of God and the desire to honor Him is a
spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God.
The first priority of God’s people is to worship Him, build
His kingdom, serve Him, pursue His purpose, glorify His
name, and honor Him in everything they do. They do these
things by offering Him their good work. The faithful Christian
focuses on the Master. The goal of the faithful Christian is to
bring glory to the Master. This is done by acts of mercy, love
without boundaries, and giving without limits.
Often I hear people say, “But I do not have talent to serve
the Lord. I can’t sing. I can’t preach or witness. I don’t have
money to give.” It’s not the gifts we have but how we allow
God to use them for His glory.
One of Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” items is a plain bar of
iron worth $5. If made into horseshoes, the bar of iron would
be worth $50. If made into needles, it would be worth $5,000.
If made into balance springs for fine Swiss watches, it would
be worth $500,000. The raw material is not as important as
how it is developed. God says that we have spiritual gifts,
but their worth to Him will be dependent on how we develop
As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to offer ourselves,
in our entirety, to Him.
WE ARE TO OFFER THE LORD OUR POSSESSIONS
The third spiritual sacrifice mentioned in Hebrews is sharing.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others,
for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16). Whenever
the believer, in thanksgiving to God, shares his material
substance with those in need or those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word, or when he cheerfully places a generous
check in the offering plate to support the work of God and His
church, he is making an acceptable offering to the Lord.
Sharing is an act of worship. The genuine sharing of our
possessions and money with God is our worship to Him. The
presentation of our sharing should be a sincere act of worship.
It should be clearly evident that this is a response of the entire
heart to the goodness of God.
An excellent model of true giving that involves the offering
of our praise, good work, possessions, and lives is demonstrated
in the experience of the Magi. Giving is something
these men came a long way to do, and it was a demonstration
of their worship. Offering is always an indication of our true
In Matthew 2:16, we learn that Jesus may have been two
years old by the time the Wise Men showed up. They must
have considered the worship of Jesus a high priority to spend
two years of their lives, time, and possessions to find the newborn
King and worship Him.
Their worship was accompanied by gift-giving. It is worth
noting that these gifts were substantial. The Wise Men didn’t
run out to Wal-Mart and get a blanket or something on sale.
They gave expensive presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In addition to the honor and value of these gifts, they
were chosen for their special symbolism of Jesus Himself.
The gold represented Jesus’ kingship, frankincense was a
symbol of His priestly role, and myrrh prefigured Jesus’ death
For the Wise Men, Jesus was King, Priest,
and Savior. In our offerings to Jesus, we also acknowledge
Him as our King, Priest, and Savior.
We give of our praise, good works, and possessions as
stewards to support others and the church, but there is a much
higher reason for giving. We give to acknowledge Jesus as our
Lord and Savior and our special connection with Him.
1 http://biblehub.com/greek/2378.htm, accessed March 23, 2018.
2 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the NIV.
3 S. Joseph Kidder, Majesty: Experiencing Authentic Worship (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2009), 37-38.
4 James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1988), 232.
Biblical Archaeology, Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and
accessed December 3, 2017.
S. Joseph Kidder is a professor of Christian ministry and biblical
spirituality at the Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological
Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA.