Illustration results for sacrificial death
Bryan Chapell tells this story that happened in his hometown: Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One ran after another up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly.
When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, "Where is your brother?"
The child replied, "I’m standing on his shoulders"
With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother lifted the younger to safety. The tangible and sacrificial love of the older brother literally served as a foundation for the younger brother’s life.
Hebrews 2:10-12 and 14-16 describes Jesus Christ’s willingness to be like the older brother to us: "In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy [Jesus] and those who are made holy [Christians] are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers....
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he (Jesus) might destroy him (Satan) who holds the power of death and [that Jesus might] free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.... For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people."
For thousands of years the Israelites had been looking for the coming of the Messiah. There in Bethlehem by the miraculous power of God, Mary, a young virgin, gave birth to the Savior of the world. Most people missed that glorious event, but a few did not.
Who are the Biblical examples for us to follow in showing adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ?
1.) Mary... having a heart that is completely surrendered to the will of God. Mary, the chosen mother-to-be of Jesus, responded to the angel Gabriel's startling announcement with, "I am the Lord's servant... may it be to me as you have said."
We do not know all Mary went through after she conceived the Christ Child by the Holy Spirit. We do know that Joseph, not understanding at first how his beloved Mary had become pregnant, had it in his mind to quietly divorce her. But God intervened for His faithful servant, Mary. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, and told him not to be afraid to take Mary home to be his wife, that the Child in her was of the Holy Spirit. Joseph and Mary obeyed God even at personal expense (Matt. 1: 18 - 24).
2.) The shepherds... believing, responding and witnessing. Believing the announcement of the angel of the Lord, the shepherds hurried to find the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. Then they spread the word concerning what had happened and what was told them about the Child (Luke 2: 16, 17).
3.) Simeon... living a Holy Spirit-led life full of praise to God. The Holy Spirit had led Simeon, a righteous and devout man, to go into the temple courts just as Joseph and Mary came to consecrate Jesus to God when He was eight days old. Recognizing that Salvation had surely come to both the Jews and the Gentiles, Simeon took Jesus into his arms and praised God (Luke 2: 21 - 28).
4.) Anna... being thankful and always about the Lord's work. The elderly prophetess, Anna, never stopped worshiping the Lord in the temple. She often fasted and prayed. When she saw the Baby Jesus she gave thanks to God (Luke 2: 37, 38).
5.) The Magi... physically giving of themselves, their hearts, and their gifts to the Lord. The Magi from the East had come on a long and dangerous journey with one purpose in mind, to worship a newly-born King. Having thus presented themselves in worship, they then gave their gifts: gold, a tribute worthy of a King; frankincense, a fragrance often used to honor God with the smoke of incense; and myrrh, a spice used to embalm the dead, foretelling Jesus' sacrificial death to come (Matt. 2: 11).
Like these before us, if we are sincere in the surrender of ourselves to Him, we, too, should not be unwilling to part with all that is dear to us for His glory and worship--our reputations, our finances, our time, our plans.
How will you show your adoration of the Lord Jesus Christ this Christmas season? Start with inviting Christ into your heart to be both Savior and Lord!
Oh come, let us adore Him... Christ, the Lord!
Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her destination, and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow. But they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of her mother love. Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became prime minister of Great Britain, and, without doubt, one of England’s greatest statesman.
(Source: James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, Tyndale, 1972, p. 375.)
OUR COMFORT, OUR HOPE-- COMMUNION MEDITATION
Recently I came across a true story that happened during the Holocaust of the Second World War.
Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and their 2 sons were arrested, together with Rosenburg's mother and father for the crime of being Jews. They were placed in a Nazi concentration camp.
It was a labour camp, and the rules were simple.
"As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to do your work, then you will be exterminated."
Rosenberg watched as his mother and father were marched off to their deaths. He knew that the next would be his youngest son, David - because David had always been a frail child.
Every evening, Rosenberg came back into the barracks after each day of hard labour and searched for the faces of his family. When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another and thank God for another day of life.
One day Rosenberg came back and didn’t see those familiar faces.
He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping and praying. He said, "Josh, tell me it’s not true."
Joshua turned and said, "It is true, Dad. Today David was not strong enough to do his work. So they came for him."
"But where is your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg.
"Oh Dad," he said, "When they came for David, he was afraid and he cried. So Mum said, 'There is nothing to be afraid of, David,' and she took his hand and went with him."
That illustrates a mother’s love-- a love so strong that it chooses to give up life so her child can be comforted.
This is also a picture of the sacrificial love Jes...
THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF SACRIFICIAL LOVE
In "The Christian Leader," Don Ratzlaff retells a story Vernon Grounds came across in Ernest Gordon’s Miracle on the River Kwai. The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor on a jungle railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened. A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot . . . It was obvious the officer meant what he had said.
Then, finally, one man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check point.
The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others! . . . The incident had a profound effect. . . The men began to treat each other like brothers. When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors, human skeletons, lined up in front of their captors (and instead of attacking their captors) insisted: "No more hatred. No more killing. Now what we need is forgiveness." Sacrificial love has transforming power.
Many clearly Biblical, crucial beliefs are under assault these days. One of those beliefs is our conviction that Christ died as our substitute, that he took our sins upon himself when he died on the cross, and that he paid the penalty for our sins and offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father, and the Father found this sacrifice pleasing and atoning.
This is evidenced by the ancient beliefs of the Jews, for their Bible is our Old Testament. Jews long believed that the righteous suffered to atone for the sins of the people.
Orthodox Jewish historian and Rabbi Berel Wein writes,
"…It was an old Jewish tradition dating back to Biblical times that the death of the righteous and innocent served as an expiation for the sins of the nation or the world…the death of the righteous as an atonement for the sins of other men."
Wein then quotes a 17th century Jewish work titled Yeven Metzulah, "…For since the day the Holy Temple was destroyed, the righteous are seized by death for the iniquities of the generation…" (quoted from Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, p. 155).
Yet this misses the point of Psalm 49:7-8, "No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him— the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough."
This is why God the Son had to become man to be the sacrificial lamb. Only God in the flesh could pay the sin debt.
Sermon Central Staff
LEADERS AT THE POLES
In his book, Leading at the Edge, Dennis Perkins contrasts the leadership values of two different explorers: Earnest Shackleton and Vilhjalmur Stefansson. In 1914, Shackleton led a daring expedition to reach Antarctica in the South. A year earlier, Stefansson led an expedition headed in the other direction to explore the North Pole. Both ships, the Karluk in the north and the Endurance in the south, found themselves trapped by solid ice packs. Each crew was faced with a fight for survival. But the outcomes of the two expeditions couldn't have been more different.
In the north, the crew members from the Karluk, led by Stefansson, degenerated into a band of selfish, mean-spirited, cut-throat individualists, ending in the death of all 11 crew members. In the south, Shackleton's crew faced the same problems--cold, food shortages, stress, and anxiety--but his crew responded with teamwork, self-sacrifice, and astonishing good cheer.
In the end, each leader stayed true to his core leadership values. Stefansson valued success above caring for people. He consistently communicated his ultimate objective: getting to the North Pole. In Stefansson's words this meant "that even the lives of the [crew] are secondary to the accomplishment of the work!" To the very end, Stefansson denied that his drive for success led to a tragedy--for himself and his crew.
In sharp contrast, Shackleton's leadership focused on the value and dignity of his teammates. At one of the lowest points of his trip, Shackleton wrote, "The task was now to secure the safety of the party." The well-being of his team drove him to put others first. Shackleton even gave away his mittens and boots and volunteered for the longest night watches. By valuing each person, Shackleton forged a team that was willing to share their rations with each other, even on the brink of starvation. Through his example of sacrificial leadership, Shackleton was able to accomplish his ultimate objective: saving the lives of his crew members.
(Dennis N. T. Perkins, Leading at the Edge, AMACOM, 2000, pp. xiii-xiv. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Leading Under Fire, 8/5/2011)
THAT ANOTHER MIGHT LIVE- COMMUNION MEDITATION
About 6:00 A.M. on a Wednesday morning James Lawson of Running Springs, California (in the San Bernardino mountains) left home to apply for a job. About an hour later his thirty-six-year-old wife, Patsy left for her fifth grade teaching job down the mountain in Riverside, accompanied by her two children, five-year-old Susan and two-year-old Gerald, to be dropped off at the babysitter’s.
Unfortunately, they never got that far. Eight and a half hours later the man found his wife and daughter dead in their wrecked car, upside down in a cold mountain stream. His two-year-old son was just barely alive in the forty-eight degree water.
But in that death the character of a mother was revealed in a most dramatic and heart-rending way. For when the father scrambled down the cliff to what he was sure were the cries of his dying wife, he found her locked in death, holding her little boy’s head just above water in the submerged car. For eight and a half hours Patsy Lawson had held her beloved toddler afloat and had finally died, her body almost frozen in death in that position of self-giving love, holding her baby up to breathe. She died that another might live. That’s the essence of a mother’s love.
And that is the essence of Jesus'love for us. He died so that we might live. "Fo...
“If you haven’t looked at Christ on the cross, you’ll have to look at Him on the throne – with great trembling. The sacrificial death of Christ will be brought before the eyes of all who refuse to accept His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
In Bethlehem He came in mercy to forgive sin. In the future He will come on the clouds in glory to establish justice. What will we do without a Savior? On the day of judgment there is nothing we can do if we have not trusted Christ.” Charles Spurgeon
Easter: Freed By Grace
A life connected to the "Ever-Flowing Life of Easter" is a meaningful life and it is a life "Freed by Grace." Romans 11:6 says, "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." Ephesians 2:8-10 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." F.F. Bruce points out, "These passages are the watchword for the reformation theology: 'By grace alone, through faith alone, to God alone be the glory.'" When we really meditate upon it, God has "Amazing Grace."
"Grace" (charis) means that we are justified freely by God's own hand, nothing done by us. The application is we have free forgiveness through Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross and thus we have reconciliation to a holy God.
It is impossible to achieve victory over sin merely by striving to do things. All salvation is by God's grace. It is unmerited divine help that even causes even a sinner to have a desire to want to seek the Lord, to enquire about the Christ and then have the ability to live a life pleasing to Him. If you know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord or if you have been given the opportunity to consider what you will do with Christ, then it is by God's grace alone. Without Him there would be no drawing to Christ or ability to respond to the gospel and live it out. (John 16:5-15)
God is willing and wanting to give us all grace. The Holy Spirit moved the apostle Paul to write about this powerful truth, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
On the Cross of Calvary Jesus Christ paid the only payment that could purchase your freedom from the bondage of sin. Robert Lowry wrote, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
Let the Holy Spirit of Christ keep you from the cancers of "Traditionalism," "Denominationalism." "Legalism," and "Fad-ism," trust only in God's grace in Christ.
Does Your Life Reflect the Grace of God?