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Summary: We are at war against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. To win a war it is necessary for all to sacrifice and focus effort and resources on winning the war.

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Text 2 Corinthians 8: 1-5

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their

extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not

do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

Since I first starting attending Mt. Olive Church, I have struggled with the concept of Sacrificial Giving. Sure I can define it -- we deny ourselves something and give the monetary cost of what we denied ourselves to the work of the Lord. My struggle is more

in the area of, if there is extreme poverty in parts of the world, how can we say that we are sacrificing anything? Yes I can drive a Ford instead of a Lincoln and give the difference in price to the work of the Lord. But driving a Ford is hardly a sacrifice when

compared to a person that not only doesn’t have a Ford but has no shoes.

Reading St. Paul’s words in Ephesians 6: about fighting the forces of evil in the heavenly

realms, I am reminded of listening to stories of my parents and grandparents and others about life during World War II.

After Pearl Harbor, it was very clear that Americans had very specific things to do. Men and Women volunteered in large numbers for the military. Men who were not eligible for the military and many women took jobs in war industries, People submitted to the

rationing, of many commodities such as gasoline, foods, tires and other items needed in the war effort. People bought war bonds to finance the struggle. Children even brought in their rubber dolls and toys. Citizens worked overtime at their jobs and volunteered in many ways in the spirit of team work and sacrifice to do their part in winning the struggle against the forces intent on destroying our nation. The mission was clear, individuals sacrificed so the nation could survive. The mission was clear, the choices were clear.

Paul says that we are at war. This war, like WW II has had its deciding battle. We can look back at history and say the war in the Pacific was won at the battle of Midway. There was plenty of fighting and casualties after this, but Midway was the turning point,

the deciding battle that made victory inevitable. For the Russians the decisive battle was, in the opinion of many, Stalingrad. There was much suffering and death after Stalingrad but the ultimate victory was determined.

The final victory over Satan and death was at Calvary. Jesus on the cross defeated the forces of evil in His decisive battle freeing those who trust in Him as Savior from the power of the world ,the devil and the flesh. All was completed when he offered for all time one sacrifice for sins. There will still be casualties -- Satan will fight hard, but his

defeat is already accomplished.

Citizens were called upon to sacrifice in World War II. We are called by God to sacrifice also. We are fighting the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. The choices are clear. We can use the resources God allows us to manage to selfishly indulge our every desire or we can deny ourselves luxuries and lavish life styles in order to enhance the kingdom of God. Those before us fought the forces of evil so that their

children could live. Aren’t we called to do the same for our children.? Daily our culture bombards us with lies from Satan. Live the good life, you deserve it. What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. Go ahead have that affair -- it might be your last chance.

If it feels good, do it. Jesus was a good man but then so was Buddha and Others. There are many paths to God -- Jesus doesn’t matter. These and many more are all lies by Satan designed to turn us from Jesus and effect our damnation and the damnation of our

children.

The Macedonians in our text gave themselves first to the Lord They were not wealthy yet their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. They pleaded for the

privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. They gave sacrificially. They managed their lives so that they were able to enhance the kingdom of God.

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