Key Verse

Isaiah 60:1- Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you-rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of hte Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! (Amplified Version)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bible Study: Like Christ Series Week Six- Self-Sacrifice

Week Six: Self-Sacrifice

I took a survey with a few people on a couple of questions. I asked them:

1) When you hear the word “sacrifice” what do you think of?

Answers: Sacrificing animals, God sacrificing His Son, Jesus, and parents sacrificing things for their children. Occults sacrificing to their leader. Abraham sacrificing his son, Isaac

2) What in your own personal opinion does it mean to sacrifice?

Giving up something for someone else out of love and kindness. To give up something for something else.
Sacrifice (from The surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something conceived as having a higher or more pressing claim. To surrender or give up something.

When I started reading this definition of sacrifice, I started crying, and I will get to why in a minute.

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The most noble sacrifice is self-sacrifice: to dedicate one’s body, mind, and spirit in the service of God and humanity. In time of persecution and oppression, self-sacrifice may mean to willingly give up one’s life for Christ.

Self-sacrifice means to be a Living Sacrifice--dedicating your life to the divine purpose---which Christ made Himself a Living Sacrifice for our sins and He died on the cross for us…I used to look at the cross as a symbol of hope, but in reality the cross meant death. A lot of times we keep focused on the cross, when we should focus on Christ being alive. We should remember how he died, but not let the cross itself become an idol because the cross means death-not life. Christ’s resurrection means life. He’s alive and because He’s alive, we are alive today! We are to sacrifice-give up everything to Him.
Self-sacrifice is also the Supreme expression of love for others-known as Sacrificial Love.

Matthew 16:24- Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciples, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. (Amp)

Romans 12:1- I Appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. (Amp)

God desires us to surrender every part of our lives to Him.

It is only when we sacrifice ourselves to God that there will be the power for an entire self-sacrifice to others. The Holy Spirit reveals to the Believer the right of God’s claim on us, how we are not our own, but His. It brings us to the realization of how absolutely we are God’s property bought and paid for with Christ’s blood that He shed for us. We are loved with such an amazing, wonderful love. And when we surrender--fully surrender our lives to Him by giving Him 100% of ourselves and sacrificing our wants and desires for His, that leads the Believer to yield himself/herself a whole burnt-offering---meaning 100% on fire for God and willing to do His work and not our own. The Believer lays himself/herself upon the altar and finds it is their highest joy to be devoted to God. And it becomes their first and most earnest desire to know how God would have them show this entire sacrifice in their life and walk with God.

For every Christian who gives himself/herself entirely to His service, God uses them as an instrument of blessing to others. The self-sacrifice is when we have devoted ourselves to God’s service, and binds us also to serve our fellow man/woman.

It is this surrender to God tha gives us the power to sacrifice towards others--it even makes it a joy. When we give out of self-sacrifice by giving up something we desire ourselves, in the natural, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense to us to sacrifice what we want, for someone else. But in reality, God’s reality, it brings joy.

Be honest, as I bring you this scenario: You receive or obtain and extra $1000 and all your bills are paid and so on. You really desire a new vehicle and that $1000 could be a down payment…or you desire a new entertainment system, you know TV, surround sound, gaming system…everything. But God speaks to you and tells you, “_______, I want you to give this money to _________ because they need it, they’re struggling.” Or God says, “_________, I want you to give this to _________, because they really could use a nice vacation.”

To me, before I started doing this study, this was very hard to do. But I’ve learned to sacrifice things for others.

What are we to Sacrifice?

1) Money-Give to the poor as Christ did. Also instead of just giving 10%, give more. The 10% takes faith, but more than 10% takes sacrifice.

2) Time-Give your time to listen to someone who is hurting. Give time to help someone do something that they need done. Give time and take time to minister to someone (nursing home, jail ministries, hospitals, etc)

3)Talent- Use the talent God gave you to help someone, or lift someone up who is down. For instance, if you can paint, paint a picture for someone. If you can write poems, stories, books, write. If you can build, build something, or help someone around the house that can’t get around by organizing stuff, if that’s your talent. Every one has a talent. Sing at nursing homes if you can sing. Preach, teach, do dramas, etc. God’s given you some kind of talent for you to use for His glory!

4) Work-At work, as you work, watch for opportunities to share Christ with someone. Pray for them, be there for them. Don’t just focus on work. God’s placed you in your position for a reason. Now I’m not saying NOT to work, I’m saying in your spare time, lunch break, whatever share yourself. Go out of your way to make your co-workers or boss’s day a little better, even if you don’t like them. That’s sacrifice!

The disciples did this when they became disciples of Christ. They gave up money, families, jobs, their time, talents, etc. and followed Christ.
The highest glory of God’s love was manifested in the self-sacrifice of Christ. It is the highest glory of the Christian to give ourselves to God.
Self-sacrifice is of the very essence of true love. The very nature and blessedness of love consists in forgetting about yourself and seeking the happiness and meeting the needs of others. Where there is a want or need, love, by it’s very nature offers up one’s own happiness for another.
In order sacrifice yourself or something you must have love in your heart. Without love we can’t sacrifice to someone who has hurt us deeply. We must first forgive them and love them. Without entire self-sacrifice, the command of can’t be fulfilled. Without entire self-sacrifice, we can’t love as Jesus loved (s).

1 John 3:16-By this we come to know (progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand) the [essential] love: that He laid down His [own] life for us; and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [in Him]. (Amp)

Ephesians 5:2- And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance. (Amp)

To love someone, sometimes takes sacrifice as well. Especially when that person has hurt us in the past or sometimes ignores our very existence. But once we learn to love that person, as Christ has called us to do, regardless of what that person has done or said, we find joy and peace.
God has done the same for us. Regardless of our past, regardless of what we’ve done or said, God still loves us. With an Agape Love. That means He loves us unconditionally. He will never stop loving us. This kind of love is real, tender, forever, total, complete, absolute, and unchanging! No one can love like God can, but we can try! He calls us to love like Him, in His Word. And sometimes love takes sacrifice. Despite what we do to God, He still loves us. He forgives us and loves us. When someone hurts us really bad, it’s hard for us, as humans, in the flesh, to love them back. God understands this, but He still calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who use us. God will help us learn to love those who hurt us. But first, we have to give ourselves to God completely. Then and only then, do we really understand what love is.

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