Perhaps one of the modern traits that separate the 21st Century church from the early church is the proliferation of what we know as a “minimized sacrifice”. The early believers understood blood sacrifice, but made the transition to personal sacrifice. Paul taught them to offer themselves as “a living sacrifice.” Many of them witnessed Jesus Christ as He hung on the Cross. These first believers lived a life congruent with that image. Theirs was not a momentary event.
When I speak of sacrifice, some think of worship on Sundays. A few equate it with returning their tithes and offerings. I’ve even heard people define their sacrifice as their apparel. None of these are sacrifice. These are requirements. When essentials are conflated with sacrifice, the latter is left undone, i.e., there is nothing given or offered. Jesus gave what He was not required to give. He did not have to die for our sins, but He willingly drank the cup of gall.
The key word in the Bible is hidden to the eye, but revealed in understanding: Nevertheless. If we break it up in three words, we can take our first step toward sacrifice. Never The Less. Always more. Always something that makes a demand on our lives.
The result of sacrifice is a myriad of things. While I cannot detail them all, it is apparent through the scripture that personal sacrifice is our connection to the Lord. David offered a sacrifice that cost him something – 2 Samuel 24:24 I will not “…offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.
Sacrifice is bringing our best to God. It is giving what cannot be replaced or something that we cannot put in our budget; such as, time, energy, money, materials, talents, or things we cherish. Abraham brought his dream, Isaac, and laid him on the altar. Mount Moriah was witness to the measure of Abraham’s resolve to value God more than his son!
I am compelled to lead you into this realm, though I know it is an affront to our natural minds. The Holy Spirit is calling for a people who are willing to live a life of daily sacrifice. It is our connection with those who first began.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole