Summary: Fortune cookies, horseshoes, 4 leaf clovers, rabbit's foot . . . Luck. Athletes would often rather be lucky than good.However, living a blessed life is even better than trying to live lucky.
The Blessed Life
Part 3 – The Sacrificed Life
I have seen some things happen that could only be attributed to luck. Things like a hole in one, a half court shot at the buzzer, Julie getting me as a husband. Just joking that wasn’t luck that was divine providence! LOL. Any way what we know is that luck is fleeting. It comes and goes. It can’t be counted on for consistency. So, I have been trying to convince you and position you to live a better way . . . blessed!
So, we began this series by stating that there are 4 ways we must live in order to step into a blessed life. The first is to live a generous life. Generosity goes against our nature, but as followers of Christ we should be the most generous folks on the planet. Then last week I said that you must not only live generous, but to be blessed you must also live a shared life. We must move past the surface, shallow relationships that most believers settle for and move into relationships that can handle exposing common pain, struggles, tears and also rejoicing with one another’s victories and triumphs. Who are you together with? Did anyone pass the test of togetherness this week? Remember what the test was? Fellowship together, eat together, pray together, worship together, and get into one another’s homes! Hanging out in His house isn’t enough – open your house to one another. Did you get together this week or did you just hang out in your safe little cocoon?
I want you to be blessed so you must live a generous life, you must live a shared life and then today I challenge you to go one step further and live a sacrificed life!
Just a quick refresher that reveals God’s desires to bless us! In Genesis 5:1-2 that I read to you last week we discovered that from day one of man’s life on the planet God reveals that He desires to bless us.
6You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
So as we done each week, I want you to say this with me so that I know we are in agreement . . . “The Generous Life is a Blessed Life. The Shared Life is a Blessed Life. The Sacrificed Life is a Blessed Life!”
So what is a sacrificed life and how does that lead to blessing?
You will remember last week I read to you Acts 2:38-47 and in that passage we get a glimpse of the Sacrificed life! 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
This new church was simply acting out what Jesus had taught! Imagine that! That might be a lost concept. In an encounter with a rich young man, Jesus shows us the scope of sacrifice that is expected from those who want to live a blessed life. Jesus says to His disciples after talking to the young man who was unwilling to sacrifice . . .
Matthew 19:29 - “but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.”
It is as if sacrifice is a foregone conclusion. If Jesus felt the need to make this statement He must have come to the conclusion that our lives would be sacrificed lives.
Let me take you back to an account in the Old Testament that shows us an actual sacrifice, but also teaches us some things about living a sacrificed life.
And then this happened: Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead, confronted Ahab: "As surely as GOD lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand in obedient service, the next years are going to see a total drought—not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise."
I Kings 18:19-20, 25-39, 45-46
19 Here's what I want you to do: Assemble everyone in Israel at Mount Carmel. And make sure that the special pets of Jezebel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of the local gods, the Baals, and the four hundred prophets of the whore goddess Asherah, are there." 20 So Ahab summoned everyone in Israel, particularly the prophets, to Mount Carmel.
25 Elijah told the Baal prophets, "Choose your ox and prepare it. You go first, you're the majority. Then pray to your god, but don't light the fire." 26 So they took the ox he had given them, prepared it for the altar, then prayed to Baal. They prayed all morning long, "O Baal, answer us!" But nothing happened—not so much as a whisper of breeze. Desperate, they jumped and stomped on the altar they had made. 27-28 By noon, Elijah had started making fun of them, taunting, "Call a little louder—he is a god, after all. Maybe he's off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he's gotten involved in a project, or maybe he's on vacation. You don't suppose he's overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?" They prayed louder and louder, cutting themselves with swords and knives—a ritual common to them—until they were covered with blood. 29 This went on until well past noon. They used every religious trick and strategy they knew to make something happen on the altar, but nothing happened—not so much as a whisper, not a flicker of response. 30-35 Then Elijah told the people, "Enough of that—it's my turn. Gather around." And they gathered. He then put the altar back together for by now it was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Jacob. He built the stones into the altar in honor of God. Then Elijah dug a fairly wide trench around the altar. He laid firewood on the altar, cut up the ox, put it on the wood, and said, "Fill four buckets with water and drench both the ox and the firewood." Then he said, "Do it again," and they did it. Then he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. The altar was drenched and the trench was filled with water.