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Summary: Across the world, many Christians sacrifice, money, stature, safety, and even their lives for the call of Christ.Here in America, we are unlikely to experience the type and scope of persecution our friends endure. We will not be called upon to give such a

What Will You Sacrifice for the Cause?

Michael Wiley

November 9, 2008

Matthew 16:24-25

Romans 12:1

Introduction:

Begin with the video clip from Ajai Lall – approx 5.5 minutes

We were blessed last week by a message from Ajai Lall, Lead Evangelist of Central India Mission.

His message and the video we just watched inform us of the real persecution and daily threat that many of our brothers and sisters across the world are under daily – just for being a Christian.

Many Christians sacrifice, money, stature, safety, and even their lives for the call of Christ.

Transition:

We are unlikely to experience the type and scope of persecution our friends endure. We will not be called upon to give such a great sacrifice, but I want to ask you today:

What will you sacrifice for the cause?

Sacrifice in Dictionary has many varying definitions. The key element is to give up something. In our context, Christ asks us to sacrifice for something greater.

Jesus said, Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)

24 …“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

John MacArthur writes:

This passage…strikes a death blow to the self-centered false gospels that are so popular in contemporary Christianity. It leaves no room for the gospel of getting, in which God is considered a type of utilitarian genie who jumps to provide a believer’s every whim. It closes the door to the gospel of health and wealth, which asserts if a believer is not healthy and prosperous he has simply not exercised his divine rights or else does not have enough faith to claim his blessings. It undermines the gospel of self-esteem, self-love and high self-image, which appeals to man’s natural narcissism and prostitutes the spirit of humble brokenness and repentance that marks the gospel of the cross.

To come to Jesus Christ is to receive and to keep receiving forever. But Jesus…repeatedly makes clear that there must be a cross before the crown, suffering before glory [and] sacrifice before reward.[end quote]

Sacrifice isn’t a friendly word in our culture today. Who wants to sacrifice anything - time, money, possessions? No, it’s all mine, so why should I give it up.

But God has called the Christian to something so much more. Maybe it will be giving up our time for another, giving up our money for another, giving up our possessions for another, giving up our comforts for another. What about giving up ourselves, our lives, for Christ? What about Christians becoming living sacrifices for God?

In Romans 11 Paul is explaining the mercy of God to the Gentile Christians. He is explaining God’s love for Israel and for them too, then in chapter 12 He says,

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 spirituala act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Paul urges us to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices to God and he calls this our spiritual act of worship. Imagining worship as a lifestyle, worship through sacrifice, is quite different than what most Christians define worship to be.

We come together on Sunday mornings to worship God. We worship through song, word, prayers, and The Lord’s Supper.

But that should not be the sum total of the Christians worship! Our lives should be lived in sacrificial worship to God on a daily bases.

In order to live in daily worship/in sacrifice we first must turn from the ideas of this world, Paul says.

This world is selfish, me, me, me…

The world’s selfishness leads to idolatry… That is, the world replaces the one true God with the worship of self and the knowledge of God with man’s ideas.

I was reading in proverbs this week and came across the pithy truth of our world—a clear description of where we are today in America.

Proverbs 1:29-33 (NIV)

29 Since they hated knowledge

and did not choose to fear the LORD,

30 since they would not accept my advice

and spurned my rebuke,

31 they will eat the fruit of their ways

and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,

and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety

and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)

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