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Summary: This message continues the exploration of the discipline of sacrifice by making some practical suggestions.

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Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“Sacrifice” Practical Application

Review

One who regularly engages in the spiritual exercises or habits prescribed in scripture will enjoy greater spiritual vitality and broader eternal impact. So far we have identified seven.

Solitude and silence

Submission

Confession

Interaction with Scripture

Faith

Thanksgiving and celebration

Prayer (Meaningful conversation with God)

Last week we introduced the next exercise – Personal Sacrifice

These activities exercise the soul for increased capacity to live on the eternal level of life.

Without them, we cannot grow. Without them we will never experience the full joy of Christ’s life lived through us. Every Christian serious about a deeper walk with God and greater impact in our world must perceive, pursue and practice personal sacrifice as a way of life. Sacrifice is probably better illustrated than defined. It is the foundation of Biblical history. It is the foundation of the history of the church.

I. What is sacrifice?

Sacrifice has to do with giving up something valued highly for the sake of someone valued

Sacrifice is a willingness to give up something valued highly for something or someone valued more highly.

We offered numerous examples of such sacrifice last week. Moses passed up the vast treasures of Egypt considering Christ a greater treasure. Abraham offered up his treasured son Isaac at the request of God whom He treasured more highly. Paul expressed his extreme delight in the opportunity to suffer for Christ’s sake on numerous occasions.

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. Philippians 2:17

Of course God so treasured us he gave His only Son to be sacrificed for us. Jesus offered up Himself as a substitute for our death sentence. The principle of giving in order to receive and dying in order to truly life runs all through the Scriptures. The Christian life unfolds as a series of death to life experiences. The key to surrendering to such a life has to do with our value system. Understanding the true value of things makes life choices much easier; at least clearer.

• Eat a Twinkie now or a great meal later?

• Spend every spare dollar as I get on dollar trinkets or put it away and enjoy the amazing benefits of multiplication later?

• Store up treasures on earth for a short time or invest them for eternity?

• Refuse entanglement in the world today and reap the rewards of faithfulness for eternity.

David considered God’s words more desirable than wealth or food.

They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Psalms 19:10

Sacrifice is a willingness to give up something valued highly for something or someone valued more highly.

II. Why is such a sacrificial lifestyle necessary?

A. Sacrifice validates the true reality of our commitment

Only when we are confronted with relinquishing ownership or control of something we deem valuable for the sake of the kingdom can we honestly discern the level of our commitment. After Paul expressed his ultimate sacrifice he mentions one at least who didn’t. 2 Timothy 4:6-10

Demas traded eternal ministry for temporary pleasure.

"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Isaiah 55:2

Jesus called his followers to consider the exclusive nature of discipleship. Luke 14:15-35

B. Sacrifice demonstrates the true reality of our faith.

Abraham demonstrated the fact that he really believed God’s promise to the point of killing his own son. Do we really believe that God will take care of our needs or is our well being dependent on our own ingenuity and resourcefulness? Life presents many opportunities to test our true belief. Willingness to sacrifice apparent certainty for simple trust validates the true nature of our trust in God.

C. Sacrifice demonstrates the depth of our love and gratitude.

Romans 12:1-2

Consciously offering our bodies and therefore our lives to God in gratitude and recognition of His amazing mercy and love is not so much a remarkable response as a reasonable or logical one. One thing about a sacrifice is that it was always offered in its entirety. Some of us want to give God some but not all. Consider the story of the pig and the chicken on their way to a ham and egg benefit breakfast. The chicken proudly boasted of the satisfaction he felt for his contribution to the cause to which the pig replied… “That is great for you. For you it is merely a contribution, for me it is total sacrifice.” For many Christians, the dedication to God is merely a contribution to the cause rather than a total sacrifice to Jesus.

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