Summary: the cost, quality and willlingness of our sacrifices makes them fitting or unacceptable
“A Fitting Sacrifice”
David P. Nolte
We all make sacrifices in many areas of life.
Parents sacrifice for their children, and children for their parents.
Spouse sacrifices for spouse.
We make sacrifices for our friends.
We make sacrifices for our church.
We sometimes make sacrifices for those we don’t know personally when we help out, or donate to, the soup kitchen or Helping Hands Ministries, or FISH, or Adult and Teen Challenge.
We are all called on to sacrifice for Jesus, too. Not to earn or pay for salvation, but to thank and serve Him. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Mark 8:34 (NASB). The song asked the question, “How could I make a lesser sacrifice when Jesus gave His all?”
Nothing we can offer as a sacrifice could suffice for salvation and pales into nothing compared to what Jesus gave up.
One of the most touching narratives of genuine sacrifice is found in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, so consider this text: “Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NASB).
There are three factors in that text that make our giving and doing a fitting sacrifice.
I. A FITTING SACRIFICE MUST COST SOMETHING:
A. Note the Macedonians’ condition: They were in a great ordeal of affliction and deep poverty.
1. They couldn’t really afford any gift!
2. Anything they gave would be something they would have to do without.
3. Anything they gave would be missed.
4. Anything they gave would represent a genuine cost.
5. Anything they gave would be a true sacrifice.
B. Sacrifice must cost us. We see that in 2 Samuel where we read about a great pestilence among God’s people. David was told by Nathan the prophet to make an offering to abate the plague. He went to a man named Araunah to get the wood ad oxen for the sacrifice. Hear the scripture from that point, “Then Araunah said, ‘Why has my lord the king come to his servant?’ And David said, ‘To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be held back from the people.’ Araunah said to David, ‘Let my lord the king take and offer up what is good in his sight. Look, the oxen for the burnt offering, the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king.’ And Araunah said to the king, ‘May the LORD your God accept you.’ However, the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.” 2 Samuel 24:21-25 (NASB).
1. Had Araunah's noble offer been accepted, it would have been Araunah's sacrifice, not David's.
2. It would be like a teenage boy saying, “Say, Dad. Can I have $100.00?” “Why do you want $100.00?” “Well, Dad, it’s your birthday and I want to get you a present.” “For $100.00? Why so much?” “Well, Dad – I don’t want to look like a piker !”
C. If you stop to think about it, whatever you sacrifice has been first given you by the Lord.
1. Some may protest: “But I worked hard for that money – it didn’t just drop from heaven!”
2. Well, who gave you the skill to work? Who gave you the ability to get and keep your job? Oh, you went to school for that – so who gave you the intelligence?
D. There is a direct correlation between what cost our sacrifice represents and the blessing it returns to us: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 (NASB).
E. Sacrifice mut represent a cost. A young man met with his pastor and requested, “Pastor, my business is going well, and I want to make a commitment to tithe my profits. Will you say a prayer for my business to continue to prosper?” The pastor prayed, the business prospered – so well that a couple of years later the young man came back to his pastor and said, “Pastor I have tithed my profit regularly. But now I am making so much that the tithe is huge. Is there a way to terminate my commitment?”