Friday, January 4, 2013

Give Away Everything

I'm thankful to the Lord for the great response to the sermon last Sunday. I think the message was so affective because I was preaching to me more than anyone else. If you missed it, here is Oceanside's Church On Demand podcast.

I've had several people come up to me and say, "In America we're just not able to sacrifice." I guess the assumption is that we have it too good. We have too much. We're too rich to actually sacrifice.

If you missed the sermon and refuse to listen to the podcast the basic premise is this:
  • We think of sacrifice as something that is difficult, annoying, or won't advance us directly.
  • But Sacrifice in the Bible meant blood, death, fire, and an altar. It was worship.
  • David said, "No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing." 1 Chronicles 21:24
  • If sacrifice is our worship how can we come to God with an offering that cost us nothing? That isn't sacrifice. That is some sort of pseudo sacrifice.
  • Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
  • God asks us to be living sacrifices because we wouldn't be much Earthly good if we were dead.
  • Jesus gave everything for us. Shouldn't we do the same for him?
  • Sacrifice isn't when we option for pain. Sacrifice is when we give everything.
So, how can we sacrifice in America? Christians aren't forced to starve because we can't find a job. We aren't sent to prison for standing up for Christ. Even the poor of us are rich compared to most people in the world. Can we really sacrifice like Christ did?


Firstly, we could dare to bring our American selves to places in the world where we could be killed because of our beliefs. But we wouldn't do something like that JUST so our lives would be in danger. That doesn't make sense. We would do it to reach people who are far from God. There are secret missionaries all over the world who are doing this right now. They are on the spiritual front lines. They willing to risk their lives for Christ.

Secondly, you could give everything away to the ministry of the Church. Sure it would put you in a bad place. You wouldn't have a house. You really wouldn't have anything but the clothes on your back. Jesus' death on the cross wasn't His only sacrifice. The Bible tells us Jesus gave everything while he was on mission. When explaining what being a disciple is like Jesus said,

"Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Luke 9:58

A.K.A. if you want to follow me understand I don't have a place to call home, why should you? Wow, these aren't words I like to hear.

If we could compare ourselves to anyone in the Bible maybe we could compare ourselves to the rich young ruler. This is the exchange that happened when the Rich Young Ruler asked how to inherit eternal life,

Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” But he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. Mark 10:21-22

I think that's where a lot of us are today. We're reading (or writing) this on our computers, tapping our chins with our index finger in our air conditioned houses, and sipping sweet tea. We have too much to give up. We don't know any other way of life but the one we're living now. What would it mean for us if we actually gave up everything?

And I think this is where we can find some practical help for us 9 to 5ers. We are LIVING sacrifices. Christ doesn't call all of us to be vagrant nomads who live on the streets. There are people right now where you are who need to know Christ. God wants you to live for Him where you are.

We don't sacrifice just because it makes us look holier. We sacrifice because their are people in need of a savior. That message takes sacrifice. For some that means you need to give up everything and move to Turkey. For others it means you need to be open about what God has done in your life at work.

I'm not giving anyone an out. I think the spirit of Jesus' message is that we have to be willing to give it all away. If tomorrow God asked you to give everything you had and do ___________ would you be able to? Where is your heart? Have you come to a place where you've recognized God owns it all? If He wants use me to get rid of it, so be it.

I don't think I'm there yet... One day I hope to be where Job was when he fell to the ground and worshiped God after losing everything but his life,

"Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.Job 1:21