Summary: What is sacrifice all about? Are many of us willing to sacrifice something to God and does He really require it. This sermon deals with those questions.

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1

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.

The World Series will be getting underway soon.

The champion of Major League Baseball will be determined.

All of the possible 7 games

will be on television, radio and the internet.

During those games, there is a certain play that might come up.

It’s called a “sacrifice”.

Here’s how it might happen.

One team has a runner on third base.

The team that is batting wants that runner to score.

So the man and the plate hits a long fly ball to the outfield.

The ball is caught by one of the other team’s outfielders.

After the ball is caught,

the runner at third touches the third base bag

and runs to home plate scoring a run.

Ordinarily, if a batter hits a ball and it’s caught for an out,

the hitter’s batting average would be reduced.

In the situation I just described, his batting average does not suffer.

The reason it doesn’t is because what he did

is called a “sacrifice fly”.

The out that the batter made allowed a man to score.

He helped the whole team.

That sacrifice fly is not counted as a time at bat

so his batting average is unaffected.

There is also a sacrifice bunt.

One batter bunts the ball and is thrown out at first base,

but in doing that he made it possible for a runner on base

to move to the next base.

One person gives up something for the good of the whole entire team.

Now, the word sacrifice is defined in Webster’s dictionary as, “To suffer loss of, give up, renounce, injure or destroy for an ideal, belief, or end.”

So to sacrifice is to give up something for a specific purpose.

Paul wrote about sacrificing in Romans 12:1.

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.

The word sacrifice is used 218 times in the Bible .

As Christians, our bodies are the temple of the holy spirit.

The Bible plainly tells us this in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

We are to give our bodies as a sacrifice to God.

What is so valuable to us that we cannot give it up

to bring a lost soul to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

What is so valuable to us that we cannot give it up

to keep a soul from going to hell?

Now, I know many of us would say, “I am doing things for God.”

I have sacrificed my time to help somebody.

I have sacrificed my money to help the church.

However, we misunderstand what sacrificing to God is all about.

Isaiah 1:11

"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?"

Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams

And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls,

Or of lambs or goats.

How about Hosea 6:6

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,

And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

1 Samuel 15:22

So Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of

rams.

King David wrote in Psalm 51:16

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;

You do not delight in burnt offering.

Some people would say, “ Well, the Bible is contradicting itself again. In some places it says to sacrifice and in other places it says that God does not want our sacrifices.”

Well folks, there are no contradictions in the Bible.

We just misunderstand at times.

I am going to read Psalm 51:16 again

and continue on reading the very next verse.

Psalm 51:16-17

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;

You do not delight in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and a contrite heart--

These, O God, You will not despise.

Did God need the animal sacrifices

the Israelites were commanded to present in the Old Testament?

Did God want the fat of the beasts and the blood of the lambs?

Did God want the grain offerings so he would not go hungry?

NO!!

God wanted obedience,

but a falling away from the faith had come to the Israelites.

The Israelite nation came to where they no longer sacrificed

because of their faith in God.

They no longer sacrificed to please God.

They sacrificed out of tradition.

It is what they had always done.

It was what their forefathers had always done.

God is saying here in these passages of scripture,

“ I am not interested in your lambs,

I am not interested in your sheep,

I am not interested in your blood sacrifices

as much as I am interested in your obedience.

I am interested in your complete and total surrender to me.”

Let us as Christians not be like the Israelite nation.

God wants our obedience above our sacrifices.

As a body of believers we need to understand and realize

what we as a church are all about.

Yes, we need to come together for worship and prayer,

We need to come together to support and uplift one another,

We should be helping those in need.

We should come together to fellowship with on another.

But let us not forget “The Great Commission”

Matthew 28:19

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

If we never lead anyone to Jesus Christ,

If we spend all our time to do all these good things

but we don’t witness to the lost,

If we never see a soul saved,

Then have we not failed?

I have something I would like to read to you…..

Read Illustration,

In 1860 Edward Spencer was a ministerial student in Chicago. He was also an excellent swimmer who joined the Evanston, Illinois life-saving squad. Spencer's skills were called upon when a ship was wrecked in a Lake Michigan storm. When dawn came, many people from the boat could be seen from the shore in the icy waters. Numbed by the cold, they clutched to anything that would stop them from going under.

Spencer swam out and brought one person to safety. Then he went out again, and again, and again. He lost count of the number of times he ventured into the icy water. Each trip was grueling, exhausting. Still, his exhaustion was set aside when he spotted a woman holding onto a piece of board and calling for help.

Spencer's friends told him that he shouldn't go out again. Nobody would think the worse of him for staying safely on shore, but he swam out and brought the woman back. His mission completed, Spencer was taken to the hospital where he drifted in and out of consciousness. Each time he came to, he asked, "How many did I save?" He was told, "Seventeen." Then Spencer asked one more question: "Did I do my best?"

Did Edward Spencer his best?

You would say, "Absolutely, Ed did well."

In Matthew 26:39 Jesus Christ said,

"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

We can learn from our savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice,

not just by his physical pain and anguish,

not just by his death,

but also by taking the sins of the world,

My sins, and your sins, upon his own shoulders.

That is the sacrifice, that God wanted Jesus to make.

Maybe you realize that you have been willing to sacrifice,

but only if it suited you.

Obedience is the key!

Are you willing to place yourself upon the alter

as a living sacrifice to God?

Are you willing to do what God has in store for you today??

Can you truly say with all of your heart

“oh father…. Not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

CLOSING:

A little while ago I read to you the story of Edward Spencer.

There’s more to that story.

Ed Spencer recovered, but only partially. Edward Spencer’s health was permanently affected by what he had done. When he died, some years later, it was noted at the funeral service that not one single person Spencer had saved ever thanked him. Not one. No one stopped by to see him or sent him a letter saying, "You have done this well."

Many of us cannot remember a time

when we didn't know Jesus as our Savior.

Because of that, it is quite easy to take Jesus for granted

and act as if the sacrifice He made with His life, suffering, death

was something we deserved.

Actually, we deserve nothing but eternal punishment for our sins.

In spite of what we deserve,

the Lord Jesus entered this world to seek and save the lost.

Although nobody thanked Edward Spencer for His sacrifice,

let us give thanks to the Savior for the sacrifice

He gave so freely to save us.