When we first think of sacrifice, I would dare say we think back to the Old Testament and ancient times and the sacrificial system.
This sacrificial system was typified by the five types of offerings
Burnt offering: We are to become living sacrifices thus showing our love towards Him
Grain offering: We must show love to our neighbor by not committing transgressions towards him.
Peace offering: This shows the peaceful relationship and fellowship that we are to have with both God and man.
Sin offering: This symbolized the forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Trespass offering: This symbolized the forgiveness of our sins and trespasses against our neighbor.
There was a lot of sacrificing going on! These sacrifices served as a reminder of their sins so that unconverted people can begin to appreciate the awesome purpose and meaning of Christ’s Sacrifice as well as how God looks at sin.
Typically sacrifices were made in Old Testament times by unconverted people, for the most part, because they had done something wrong.
This not what God wants today!
What God Does Not Want
He does not want us to slaughter an animal, give-up or lose a possession as an offering to Him because we have done something wrong. God never wanted this type of sacrifice.
We are not called to make animal sacrifices or anything along that line.
God does not want Penance
We do not have to go pay a price for our sins — penance. There is nothing that we really can do to pay for our sins.
God is not asking us to sacrifice our livestock, or pay for what we have done wrong
Different Definition of Sacrifice
Here is another definition of Sacrifice (the one that is most pertinent today): the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
Today we are still called upon to make sacrifices for a different reason. I want to challenge you to look at sacrifice in a different way. Not the sacrifices that we have to make because we did something wrong, but sacrificing to do something right.
So there are some things that WE will have to give up…
But remember it is the giving up of something that is truly valuable for a higher or more pressing claim
Is it Really a Sacrifice to Come Out of the World?
To walk this walk that we have been called to – was it a sacrifice to come into this way of life.
Young Rich Man
Luke 18:18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 18:19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
Luke 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,’ ‘DO NOT MURDER,’ ‘DO NOT STEAL,’ ‘DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS,’ ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER.’ ”
Luke 18:21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
Luke 18:22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have [give up your riches; money and wealth] and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Luke 18:23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
Luke 18:24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful [when He saw that he acted that way], He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! [ physical richness to enter into spiritual riches] Luke 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
The young rich man made a poor choice. What did he have on this earth [that would pass away] that could compare to what awaits us?
Was this really a sacrifice? Like the young rich man we have been asked to come out of the world and leave our ties to it behind.
The things of the world, the things that the world values but God does not.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
This is what we are asked to give-up or to sacrifice — the things of “the world.” We do this in exchange for living an unimaginable glorious life with God.
So we “sacrifice” the temporary ways that lead to death for the way of God that leads to eternal life — the temporary and eventual death for eternal and life abundant. Life or death, we get to choose
When it comes to the ways of the world…do we really “give up” anything in this respect. Is coming out of the world and giving up what it has to offer really a sacrifice?
It is kind of like giving up smoking – is that really a sacrifice? It may seem like it at the time, but in the long run you are much better off without it.
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me [in this life; Paul gave up a lot: power, prestige, probably wealth], these I have counted loss for Christ.
Philippians 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Is it really giving up if we shouldn’t have it in the first place?
The ways of the world and sin rob us of true happiness and is like a cancer that eats away at our Christianity as it enslaves us. Is this something that we should consider as a sacrifice – when we have to give up lawlessness, the unlawful, the wrong for what is holy, just and good and lawful?
The first thought that I think that comes to the mind for the average person when they hear sacrifice is that something is taken away of value… while we may think it is of value…is it really?
Recall the definition of sacrifice: the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
It may be difficult, but what the world has to offer is not to be prized or desirable, so it should be considered a sacrifice in that sense.
So What Did We “Give Up”
When we came into the church what did we have to “give up”? Was it really a sacrifice to leave the world and the things in the world for what God had to offer? I would say emphatically NO!
It is not really a sacrifice to come out of the world into what God has to offer?
Is Doing What God Says a Sacrifice?
Sometimes when we look at what God asks us to do, we see it as a burden, something that takes extra effort – something that we would rather not do – Is that a sacrifice?
Example of Tithing: Didn’t do this at one time, but then found out that we had to. We then wondered how we were going to do it and survive. It seemed unbearable and a burden. Soon we realize why we are supposed to do it: it’s Gods; not ours; we are to give back; fund the work.
We find out that we can make it while giving God 10%. Not only can we live, but we can even abound with blessings. It becomes part of what we are supposed to do; it’s ordinary and a fact of life; we want to do it; we want to see the work flourish. Perhaps it goes another step further and we want to do even more and even feel bad that we cant do more than what we do.
Notice how we are to view what God asks of us:
Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
Psalms 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
Psalms 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Psalms 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Psalms 19:11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.
There are some things that we will have to remove from our life that carnally speaking we would rather not but we need to view this differently.
What we are trying to get at here is the beginning of a paradigm shift…where we change our way of thinking. Specifically in terms of the things that we need to remove from our life that can’t be there if we are to be Christians and we don’t need to look at those harmful or wrong things or wrong ways as though we’re sacrificing.
Now let’s take this concept that we are working on today, this idea of sacrifice and take it a step further and look at the some other sacrifices God really wants of us
1 Peter 2:4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Spiritual sacrifices are when Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit, and when we follow His lead. We know the things that we are supposed to be doing.
Psalm 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
Psalm 51:16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. [what we were [carnal] vs what God would have us be [Him in us; His heart]]
Psalm 51:19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
Did God ever want sacrifices of animals in this way? NO. He desired obedience to Him and acknowledgment of righteousness
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We buried the old man and are to be keeping him down. We replace it with the new man. This means that we must give ourselves completely and without reservation to God. We are raised in newness of life from our burial and we live a life of giving.
We are to present our bodies for this service!
2 Corinthians 4:6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2 Corinthians 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
2 Corinthians 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
Colossians 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
The Example of Christ
Of course Christ exemplified this by living by every Word of God and completely doing His Will as well as physically and spiritually laying down His life for us.
What did Jesus Christ give up or sacrifice?
- His Godhood and Glory that He had for eternity
- A relationship with God the Father (Matthew 27:45–46)
- Power beyond comprehension. (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; Ephesians 3:9)
Philippians 2:5–7 reads: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of GOD, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, TAKING THE FORM OF A BONDSERVANT, and coming IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN.”
NOW this is a SACRIFICE! (the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable)
When we consider what the Son gave up and surrendered – we begin to understand the true meaning of sacrifice. It did not stop there:
- He became a human being flesh and blood
- He went on to endure more than any other man
- And then to actually physically die as a literal sacrifice
He knew all of this was coming [knew exactly what he was in for] and He did it any way!
Now the important question for today…WHY did He sacrifice so much? Why did He give up everything He did?
….for the sake of a higher or more pressing claim!
Through His Sacrifice:
- We can have God’s forgiveness for our sins
- We are set free from the penalty of sin
- We are justified
- We can be reconciled to God the Father
- Through His death we can have life
He came to SAVE us so that we could ultimately become completely and eternally reconciled, justified and free with God the Father as spiritual sons and daughters
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Did Christ focus on what he was giving up by making the sacrifice he did? Or did He have another goal to focus with greater potential?
Christ actually gained by giving up. Can we fathom this? What he sacrificed He did willingly for a greater return?
We are to Follow Christ in this Way
He is asking us to follow this example
1 Peter 2:19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
1 Peter 2:22 “WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH”;
1 Peter 2:23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
1 Peter 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
1 Peter 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Let’s look at a scripture in this regard
Matthew 19:27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”
Matthew 19:28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
Christ is saying that what we “sacrifice” in the way of houses, family or property will pale in comparison to what we receive for being in the church.
But in our walk we need to look at the glass as half full. Our focus needs to be looking forward to the promises that await us NOT looking backwards to what we left behind.
Sometimes we have to give up what we want now for what we want most. The principle is analogous to putting money into an investment instead of spending it on lattes, fast food, and entertainment.
Matthew 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,
Matthew 13:46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
He was willing to give up everything for the Kingdom of God.
Are we really giving up if we are gaining more? We should not see it that way.
That is the point being made in the parable. Isn’t the Kingdom of God worth way more than all we have. Isn’t it a worthwhile venture and worth everything that we do to go after it? This is what we are really trying to get across today. Should we be looking at it like we are losing out on something of value, whatever it is, when we have the Kingdom of God to look forward to?
…”EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
We need to remember to keep perspective
When sacrifices are done in this way is it really a sacrifice? Is what we give up really anything that we should hold on to?
Sacrificing, does not diminish us and who we are trying to become. In fact just the opposite. We grow because of it. Also, a much greater good will come out of it.
If this is the case, then should we be viewing the sacrifices we are asked to make in a negative light?
God doesn’t want us to give up something for no reason, but just the opposite – get rid of the things that we are not supposed to have or do not really need AND replace them with things that are better for us.
We always need to evaluate and reevaluate how we look at what we are supposed to sacrifice. God isn’t going to ask us to give up something that is detrimental to us in the long run…and much of what He asks us to give up – we shouldn’t have any way. If we have this approach to sacrifice I believe it will make it easier to do what God asks us to do
It is not like were giving up something but that we’re gaining something far better.
When we willingly live a life of sacrifice we are living the life of Christ in us. We are acting as Christians should act for the betterment of humanity…not only so that we can be a part of the Family of God, but in order for others to have that opportunity as well. So in a small way we are following the example that Christ left us when He gave His life as a Sacrifice for us … willingly.