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Summary: This one is about what it takes to get people to live sacrificially.

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Dakota Community Church

April 15, 2006

Living Sacrifices

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

The idea of personal sacrifice is almost foreign to us in this generation because we are so focused on looking out for number one.

Think about these important aspects of life:

Health, Education, Freedom, Marriage, Family, Career, Friendships, Prosperity, Ministry, Personal Growth

It is not possible to succeed in any of these major areas without sacrificially giving of self.

Definition:

Sacrifice is - The surrender of something greatly prized for the sake of something higher.

Anything in life that is worth having requires sacrifice!

During World War II, a young paratrooper, David Webster of E Company, 101st Airborne wrote his mother, “Stop worrying about me. I joined the parachutists to fight. I intend to fight. If necessary, I shall die fighting, but don’t worry about this because no war can be won without young men dying. Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice.”

I know that a good number of you are staunch pacifists and I do not want to offend you or to glorify war, I am simply using the example of someone giving sacrificially of self for others gain.

When you read the accounts of people in history who gave of themselves completely, who made sacrifices that seem almost beyond reasonable the question that comes to mind is – why?

If we are being asked as believers by our God and Father to live our lives sacrificially, to give our bodies as living sacrifices, why would we do that?

What needs to be in place in order for people to willing sacrifice themselves?

1. A worthy cause.

People are only willing to sacrifice, to surrender something greatly prized for the sake of something higher, if they strongly believe that the something higher is worthy.

The opposite side of that coin is also true, people who will not sacrifice – do not believe the cause is worthy.

Do you believe Christianity is a worthy cause? What sacrifices have you made or are you making?

Hebrews 11:32-39

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

2. Inspirational leadership.

Luke 22:31-33

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."

Great leadership inspires us to buy in, to sacrifice.

According to author John Eldredge all men need to experience six stages of life on the masculine journey and many of us are messed up because we have nobody to lead and guide us through these stages.

Boyhood (beloved son)

Cowboy (lessons of the great outdoors)

Warrior - lover, king, and finally sage

The late teens and early twenties are supposed to be the warrior stage, and they are marked by two main influences: a cause, and a king.

The warrior in every one of us longs for a king worthy of our sacrifice.

The King or mentor or leader guides the young man to the ultimate discovery: that he has what it takes to be a man.

Can you name your cause and your king?

For me during those young warrior days my cause became Christianity and my king was a youth Pastor named Bruce Belair.

He taught me spiritual disciplines, honor, integrity, passion and purpose. My life was transformed by the few short years we spent together.

A great leader knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way.

3. Deep love connections.

1 Samuel 18:1-4

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

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