Monday, 21 February 2011

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

God values sacrifice, He appreciates it when we are making sacrifices for Him and not doing stuff for Him only out of convenience. When we make saceifices to God, they comes to him as a sweet smelling savour. God enjoys it when we can go out of our way, out of our comfort zone to do something for Him. Sacrifice is precious to God; when David discovered that he said he would never give to God that which will cost him nothing. There are givings and then there is a sacrificial giving. A lot of people like to do things when it suits them, they only do things that make them happy at a time that they want to do it but Bible says “Greater love has no man than this that he lays down his life for a friend”. The laying down of life is the sort of worship that moves God most. The night Solomon overtook God’s measurements of the temple with his sacrificial giving, God appeared to him and said, “Tell me what I can do for you”. The night Abraham went out of his way and laid down Isaac his only son, his only heir, his all for God, God swore that he would multiply Abraham and bless him abundantly.

God enjoys sacrifice. Every believer needs to learn to make sacrifice. You cannot expect God to show up all the time and meet your need and increase you when you are not sacrificing anything. It took God sacrifice to make you who you are today, it took God sacrifice to make you born again, and it took God sacrifice to bring you into relationship with Him. It will take you making sacrifices for you to get to where God is seeking to take you to. In our passage above, we read about Paul pleading with the brethren and saying, “I beseech you to make your bodies into a living sacrifice”; the most reasonable sacrifice one can make is the sacrifice of self. If God can have you as a sacrifice then he can do anything with you and he can do anything with what he brings into your life. If God can have you as a sacrifice he can trust you with everything he brings into your life; every blessing, every increase, every promotion, everything. Paul says the sacrifice of yourself is your most reasonable service to God. It is the highest form of worship. It is the highest form of devotion. This is the deeper level of relationship that one can have with God. The believer must be totally sold out to God, totally abandoned to God; totally available to God.

My challenge to you is not the question of whether you are born again or not, its not about your frequency or activity in church but your level of sacrifice of yourself. You must look into the level which you have sacrificed yourself to God. God is calling on you to put yourself on the altar, all sold out to God? He is calling you to completely hand over all that you are to God. To what extend can God stretch you? It’s easy for people to get born again these days; we just lead them in a simple prayer, “Dear Jesus I believe you are Lord, I believe Jesus died and rose from the dead, forgive me my sins and come into my life. Write my name in the book of life, Amen”, and then we say that they are born again. However, a believer in Christ must go a step further. A believer must come to that place of complete abandonment to Christ, a place where he is totally, completely, all sold out for God. When you have given your all to God, it affects your commitment to God, you become so attached that you can go all the way for Him. You become so committed to God that you can lay down anything for Him. You become So committed to God that you are willing to suffer for him. You pass that place where you are dealing with God simply because of what you expect him to do for you. You come to that place of deep commitment, such that you love him more than your life, you love him more than your family, you love him more than your career, you love him more than your possessions, more than your relationships, and you love him more than anything this world can offer you. You become available and willing to go all the way with Him even if it will result in rejection, even if it will result in persecution or result in losses. There is this level of sacrifice that if you can come to, God enjoys relationship with you and He unfolds to you the deep mystries of the Kingdom; the believer must move to that height. Matthew 10:37 Says “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me"
Jesus says he that loveth father or mother more than him is not worthy of him. Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than him is not worthy of Him. And he that takes not his cross to follow after Jesus is not worthy of Him. He that losses his life for Christ’s sake will find it. When you have given yourself as a sacrifice to God in a way that is acceptable to Him it shows in your commitment and willingness to lay down anything. And suffer anything for him. When you are deeply committed you can go all the way for him even if you will suffer persecution and you come to that level where Christianity is no longer a “bless me - bless me quick relationship”. I believe in prosperity, healing and success but I don’t believe that it’s the first priority of our relationship with God. A believer should be willing ant time to lose hi job, his relationship, his investment, and all assets all for the sake of Christ. To him God comes first and not what this world can offer him. If God would just reveal to you that you would not prosper financially would you still love him? If God shows you that you are going remain single for the rest of your life and never get married, would you still dance and celebrate like you do? Would you come to church' would still give the tithes, the offerings and the seed of faith? Some people have tied their relstionship to what God can do for them and they leave church every time they think God is not doing for them the things they desire. They get angry with God, they keep changing church every month or every season if they are believing God for something and the pastor is not delivering it. It more easy these days to attract people to Christian conferences when the teachings are going to be about prosperity, deliverance from enemies, 7 steps to supernatural breakthrough and how to attract favour than when the teaching is about Holy living, sacrifice, missions and evangelism. The church has changed. Are we trully followers of Jesus? For he says if you will come after me and have dealings with me, you must be willing to take up your cross and follow me. In following Jesus you may sometimes be required to suffer pain, persecution, to suffer shame, to suffer loses. It is not always "Rosy Rosy" as it’s been taught. Sometimes in following Jesus, it can be rough and tough.

1 Peter 4:12. Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

A lot of us want to be part of the churches blessing , Christ’s healing, Christ’s breakthrough, Christ’s supernatural health, but we don’t want to be part of Christ’s sufferings. When people suffer some people conclude that they must have sinned, but you should think it not strange when you pass through the fiery trials. When his glory shall be revealed you shall be glad with exceeding joy. Your relationship with God must be more than what He can do for you.

Matthew 16:24, 25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Christianity is also about self denial, committing to God and following the way to Christ even at the expense of your comfort, at the expense of your career or expense of everything of this life. You have to be sold out as a living sacrifice, You have to be able to say “I am all yours God,” and that no matter your condition or circumstance. Whether God heals you or not you must declare "I am committed Lord". Whether God increases your finances or not you must declare “I am committed Lord”. No matter what happens to your relationship you must still be able to say “I am committed Lord”. Christianity is about loving God that deep, you must never forget that in your followship with Him. Jesus says “If any man comes after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me for whosoever shall save his life shall lose it and whoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it”. A lot of us only want to follow God and prosper in this life; we do what we do so we can have bigger houses, expensive cars, and expensive holidays. However, a lot of us who have loads of money in this life may go to Heaven only to discover it is all vanity upon vanity. Prosperity, increase, greatness, the place of influence all make more meaning when the person is a living sacrifice, a vessel on the altar that God can do anything that he desires with the person. Someone once said this and it blessed me, “Wealth in this life is of no value if it will not affect your Heaven”.

God is looking for a living sacrifice, somebody who is sold out for God, so committed that he can do anything for God, go all the way for God, subject himself to any situation just for God, someone who is not just about what he can get. “Heal me, block that person, and twist that person’s neck, kill my enemy… “. You need to be willing to let God take you out of your comfort zone, interrupt your plan, change ypur path, touch your investment. God will love to make you wealthy, yes even a multi millionaire but Christianity is not all about being a multi millionaire. God is calling the believer to come to that place of sacrifice. Some of us are not in that place of sacrifice yet, until we get there, there are some things God can not show us as we are not completely sold out. If God just comes to you and says you are going to be a missionary in Iran and you will serve there for 10 years and in the 10th year they will behead you, can you take it or will you be praying, “no God, I will live long and not die, and you will bless me, promote me and kill my enemies”. But God is calling for us to come to that place of a living sacrifice where we are so committed to God that we can do anything for Him and we can go the way of persecution all for him. When our heart feels like that for God then our faith starts to make meaning and God can then trust us with anything. The church today has stopped teaching self denial and has replaced it with teaching self comfort and personal breakthrough. Are we truly followers of Jesus?