“Sacrifice” – Philippians 2:1-11

May 25th, 2014

Philippians 2:1-11

“Sacrifice”

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Bible Memory Verse for the Week: (2 Sam 24:24b) . . . I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.

 

The questions to be answered are . . . Why in the world would Pastor Keith be bringing up the word “sacrifice” here in the 21st century?  Doesn’t he know any better than to offend his modern day audience with such barbaric terminology?

 

Answer:  Long-term happiness comes when everything is right in the world.  Not everything will be right in the world unless and until we are righteous(for that is what “righteousness” means = dealing rightly with others).  Sacrifices are necessary in order for us to deal righteously with others.  Therefore, we will never be happy until we are willing to offer sacrifices that allow us to be righteous in our relationships.

 

Sacrifice is not a sacrifice if it doesn’t cost you something (2 Samuel 24:18-25).

 

Definition Webester’s: 1)- An act of offering to a deity something precious.   3)-  The giving up of something for the sake of something else.

 

Porter Definition for today:  The giving up of personal advantage for the sake of the Beloved.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . sacrifice

 

A sacrifice is significant in proportion to the benefit of the recipient and the cost of the one making the sacrifice.  —Pastor Keith

 

Sacrifice:  In its essence, it is the exuberant passionate love-gift of the best I have to the one I love best.  —Oswald Chambers

 

Sacrifice is important, but even in the OT God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important (see 1 Sm 15:22; Ps 40:6; Amos 5:21-24).  God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices–daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal, and trusting him to guide us (see Heb 13:15-16; 1 Pt 2:5).  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Romans, 230)

 

I.  Long term happiness comes when everything is right in the world. (Phil 2:1-2; Ps 1; 89:15; 92:12; 119:1; 128:1; Prv 20:7; Mt 5:3-11; Lk 11:28; Col 3:12-17)

 

God loves you far too much to allow you to stay the way you are.  —Steve Brown

 

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  —Margaret Mead

 

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.  —Eric Hoffer

 

Nothing costs as much as caring . . . except not caring.  (Our Daily Bread 11-20-13)

 

The inference is that when we do not present our bodies to God we are less than true men.  We do not know what complete humanity is when we degrade the body to something that is animal-like.  When we live in a clean fashion, speaking clean words from the abundance of a clean heart, looking clean looks from eyes that that are the windows of a cleansed soul, doing honest actions from a mind and heart made clean by the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, manifesting His love through our every gesture, then we can know that we are what He wants us to be –complete, mature, whole–holy.  (Donald Grey Barnhouse, God’s Discipline, 19)

 

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.  —Augustine

 

The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast.  We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy.  It is not hard to see why.   The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God:  a few moments of happy love, and landscape, a symphony, have no such tendency.   Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. (C. S. Lewis; The Problem of Pain, ch. 7)

 

Then we need to redefine for ourselves and our culture what happiness really is.  It is not hedonism or self-gratification.  The pursuit of happiness, our Founders said in the Declaration of Independence, is a God-given right.  But the word happiness as the Founders used it has been drained of its meaning in our commercialized culture.  What the Founders had in mind was the classical meaning–what the Greeks called eudaimonia, the virtuous life.  This could be achieved only by righteous living, decency, honor, doing good.  This is the definition and understanding of happiness that needs to be restored in American life.  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 55)

 

Love shouldn’t be this hard; it should come naturally. . . . Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become “whole” and happy.  The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person.  This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage.  It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.

We never know whom we marry; we just think we do.  Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change.  For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it.  The primary problem is…learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.  (Stanley Hauerwas, “Sex and Politics: Bertrand Russell and ‘Human Sexuality,’” Christian Century, April 9, 1978, 417-22; as quoted by Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 32)

John Chrysostom (4th century Christian orator/preacher), “How can the body become a living sacrifice?

*    Let the eye look on no evil, and it is a sacrifice.

*    Let the tongue utter nothing base, and it is an offering.

*    Let the hand work no sin, and it is a holocaust.

*    But, more:  this suffices not, but besides, we must actively exert ourselves for good, the hand giving alms, the mouth blessing them that curse us, the ears at leisure for listening to God.”

 

Sacrificial love has transforming power. Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional. The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to be loving whether or not the loving feeling is present. It if is, so much the better; but if it isn’t, the commitment to love, the will to love, still stands and is still exercised. Conversely, it is not only possible but necessary for a loving person to avoid acting on feelings of love. I may meet a woman who strongly attracts me, whom I feel like loving, but because it would be destructive to my marriage to have an affair, I will say vocally or in the silence of my heart, “I feel like loving you, but I am not going to.” My feelings of love may be unbounded, but my capacity to be loving is limited.  I therefore must choose the person on whom to focus my capacity to love, toward whom to direct my will to love.  True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed.  It is a committed, thoughtful decision.  —Dr. M. Scott Peck.

 

II.  Not everything will be right in the world unless and/or until we are righteous . . . regardless of our sacrifices.  (Prv 10:6, 11, 20-32; 11:5-11, 18-21; 12:21, 28; 13:9; 14:11; Mt 6:33; Rom 3:10-26; 5:1; 14:17; Phil 4:10-13; 2 Pt 3:13; 1 Jn 3:7)

 

Gr dikaios = NIV Righteousness:  “One who fulfills obligations towards men”, “A man is righteous ‘who observes legal norms’”, “to give each one ‘what is fitting’”, “‘right and proper’”, “‘according to law’”, “‘right or meritorious’”.  (Gerhard Kittel; TDNT: Vol II, 182-85)

 

This is the gist of Paul’s advice to the Corinthians, cited above, concerning the attitude a Christian should take toward his “weaker brother.”  It is a rule that cannot be applied too vigorously in marriage, for ironically it is often the case that each partner assumes the other to be the “weaker brother”!  But if the other really is weaker, argues Paul, then that is all the more reason not to maintain our own rightness, stubbornly and overbearingly, but rather to surrender for the sake of love.  Rightness, whenever it seeks to dominate, becomes wrongness, no matter how right it may be.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 183)

 

Why did God create us and later redeem us at great cost even though he doesn’t need us?  He did it because he loves us.  His love is perfect love, radically vulnerable love.  And when you begin to get it, when you begin to experience it, the fakery and manipulativeness of your own love starts to wash away, and you’ve got the patience and security to reach out and start giving a truer love to other people.  (Timothy Keller, King’s Cross, 99-100)

 

The popularity of sacrifice in ancient religion, however, could lead to abuses.  People could think that all they had to do to please their god was to offer the sacrifice, without regard to their own attitude or sincerity in doing so.  The OT prophets, of course, railed at the people of Israel for just this offense, insisting that God would only honor sacrifices that came from a pure heart (e.g., Hos 6:6; Mic 1:6-14).  Both Jewish and pagan authors in Paul’s day also warned about the same kind of attitude.  (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: Romans, 396)

 

Righteousness is using all of our God-given gifts to their full God-given potential.  (Mark Batterson, Primal, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, 143)

 

“Who is not happy at not being a king except a deposed king.  All of these miseries of man prove man’s greatness.  They are miseries of a deposed King.  —Blaise Pascal.

 

He is a miserable man who knows all things, and does not know God; and he is happy who knows God, even though he knows nothing else.  —St. Augustine

 

Contentment:  Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness.

 

Most of us do not WANT to believe in Christ.  We do not want to give up allegiance to ourselves.”  (Sally Monroe at Bible study 3-29-06)

 

Yet when psychologists Cliff Notarius of Catholic University and Howard Markman of the University of Denver studied newlyweds over the first decade of marriage, they found a very subtle but telling difference at the beginning of the relationships. Among couples who would ultimately stay together, 5 out of every 100 comments made about each other were putdowns. Among couples who would later split, 10 of every 100 comments were insults. That gap magnified over the following decade, until couples heading downhill were flinging five times as many cruel and invalidating comments at each other as happy couples. “Hostile putdowns act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode the relationship over time,” says Notarius, who with Markman co-authored the new book We Can Work It Out.  “In the end, relentless unremitting negativity takes control and the couple can’t get through a week without major blowups.”  (U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 1994, 67)

 

There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.  —Freya Madeline Stark

 

As an old Puritan quaintly defined it, “The righteousness of God is that righteousness which God’s righteousness requires him to require”; that is, an infinitely holy God can require of man nothing less than perfect righteousness, but as man cannot attain this by himself, God provides it for him through faith in Christ.  Or, as another has expressed it, “The righteousness of God is the sum total of all that God commands, demands, approves, and himself provides through Jesus Christ.”  (Charles R. Erdman, The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, 32)

 

Biblically, the stronger person always initiates the peace.  (Gary Smalley with John Trent, Love is a Decision, 90)

 

Prv 14:29 says, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick tempered exalts folly.”  One of the keys to any healthy relationship is a willingness to say, “I’m more interested in understanding what you’re saying to me than in thinking of what I’m going to say once you’re done talking.”  Quick listening is one of the best ways I know to help others discover what you’re thinking–and what they’re thinking as well.  (Gary Smalley with John Trent, Love is a Decision, 129)

 

A husband must learn to tolerate his wife’s infirmities, because in doing so he either cures her, or makes himself better.  —Jeremy Taylor

 

Paul means by righteousness that condition of soul which God requires.  Men must finally appear before God, and he will judge them according as He finds them in the right condition or the wrong.  It is worth observing that “righteous,” to begin with, was only a careless way of saying “rightwise;” that is the spelling found in all English books up to the sixteenth century.  When a man is just what he ought to be he is in a state of “rightwiseness,” and it is in this sense that Paul employs the word, in its Greek equivalent.  Men have become perverted and diseased, and have sought in vain to recover their health of being.  God is willing to do it for them.  He has offered them by way of gift that “rightwiseness” which they once possessed and which they have lost through sin.  (E. F. Scott, D.D., Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 31)

 

We live in a throwaway society.  We throw away bottles and cans, children, careers and marriages. Joanne and I work at mending things.  We fix the toaster when it breaks, and likewise we fix our marriage when it is strained.  —Paul Newman  (Stuart Briscoe, Choices for a Lifetime, 73)

 

If a man cannot lovingly serve his own wife, after all, or a woman her own husband, whom then can they serve?  If they cannot bring happiness to one another, how then can they bring happiness to anyone else?  Poor Christian marriages, marriages in which willfulness rules in place of sacrifice, make a laughingstock of the whole church.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 184)

 

To offer the Lord our bodies might mean doing physical work in his service.  When I was first writing this book, I enjoyed immensely the opportunity to participate in a ten-mile CROP walk to raise money for the hungry, to put my feet into a concern that is often on my mind and in my mouth.  Offering our bodies might mean mowing the lawn for our parents, going to the hospital to visit someone who is ill, or mopping the floor for someone disabled.  (Marva J. Dawn, Truly the Community:  Romans 12, 12)

 

Conforming to the world’s pattern will involve the following ways of thinking:

–    We have a right to have all our desires fulfilled (see Rom 8:5; 1 Pt 4:3-4).

–    We have a right to pursue and use power (see Mk 10:42-45).

–    We have a right to abuse people (see Lk 11;43, 46-52).

–    We have a right to accumulate wealth for purely selfish reasons (see Mt 16:26).

–    We have a right to use personal abilities and wisdom for self-advancement rather than for serving others (1 Cor 3:19).

–    We have a right to ignore or even hate God (see Jas 4:4).  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Romans, 232)

 

The main problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar.

 

III.  Sacrifices are necessary in order for us to deal righteously with others.  (Phil 2:3-8; Ps 51:16-17; Prv 15:8; 21:3, 27; Eccl 5:1; Hosea 6:6; Mal 1:8-14; Mt 9:13; 12:7; Mk 12:33; Jn 3:16; 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 3:23-26; 12:1; Eph 2:16; 5:1-2; Phil 3:8-9; Col 1:19-20; 2:13-14)

 

Porter Definition for today:  The giving up of some personal advantage for the sake of the Beloved.

 

A love that will not bear all, care for all, share all, is not love at all.(Croft M. Pentz; Zingers, 185)

 

The measure of our love is the measure of our sacrifice  (Croft M. Pentz; Zingers, 183)

 

A good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 133)

 

When you make the choice to care, the price you pay is pain.  —Steve Brown

 

If you love, you will suffer, and if you do not love, you do not know the meaning of a Christian life.  —Agatha Christie

 

Who “wins” this battle of wills and whims is not the point; the point is that each tries to surrender as much as possible for the sake of the other so that the love between them may be honored and built up in every way.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 182)

 

I was once told by an attorney that he could not accept the Christian faith because he didn’t believe in the idea of the innocent suffering for the guilty.  I responded by deliberately expressing sorrow that he would never have any close friends or a happy marriage.  He reacted that he wasn’t talking about marriage or friendships!  But I pointed out that since he was not perfect, he would make mistakes, and only if his spouse or his friends would suffer for his mistakes and continue to love and accept him would he be able to enjoy meaningful relationships.  For the first time he saw that the principle of the innocent suffering for the guilty is central to human relationships as well as to our relationship with God. (Myron S. Augsburger; The Christ-Shaped Conscience, 31)

 

To love at all is to be venerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin or your selfishness.  But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable…The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers…of love is Hell. (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 169)

 

Broken marriages begin to mend and communication is reestablished when one of the partners is willing to make a breakthrough and say, “Lord, begin with me.  I am the one who needs to change, to love more deeply and more wisely.”  Even if you think your spouse is 100% wrong, when you stand in the presence of Christ you will begin to see that you, too, have shortcomings.  You will discern where you have failed to accept responsibility for the marital relationship, and you will be able to say, “God, change me.”  The Christian is committed to follow Christ who went all the way in love, all the time.  So, for a start, stop demanding that your partner change his ways.  Let God start changing you.  (Lionel Whitston, Homemade, April, 1990.)

 

We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor.  If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.  (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 122)

 

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.  —Amy Carmichael

 

Perhaps we can see that Christian submission finds its truest expression not in taking orders or obeying rules or going along with others’ whims, nor even in bearing patiently others’ weaknesses.  Those are all concepts with which the whole world is familiar.  To the Christian, however, submission means much more: it means a willing involvement in another’s sin.  It does not mean complicity with sin, but it does imply a sharing of its cost, its wages.  A Christian finds the strength to forgive another person, first of all in the face of his own forgiveness, but secondly in the knowledge that he himself is being crushed by the other’s sin.  He must forgive, in short, or be destroyed himself.  True submission is humility acquired on behalf of another.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 197)

 

When sacrificing an animal according to God’s law, a priest would kill the animal, cut it in pieces, and place it on the altar.  Sacrifice was important, but even in the OT God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important (see 1 Sm 15:22; Ps 40:6; Amos 5:21-24).  God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals, as living sacrifices–daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal and trusting him to guide us.  We do this out of gratitude that our sins have been forgiven.  (Tyndale House Publishers, Life Application Study Bible, 2050)

 

The Christian life is a broad road of happiness, joy, peace, blessing, success, significance, and contentment, which is ironically gained by choosing the narrow road of surrender, obedience, self-denial, self-sacrifice, truth, worship and service.  (Patrick Morely; Ten Secrets for the Man in the Mirror, 185)

 

The great thing about the model of Christian marriage we are presenting here is that when you envision the “someone better,” you can think of the future version of the person to whom you are already married.  The someone better is the spouse you already have.  God has indeed given us a desire for the perfect spouse, but you should seek it in the one to whom you’re married.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 159)

 

Jesus promised us that everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt (see Mk 9:49, NKJV).  The desire for ease, comfort, and stress-free living is an indirect desire to remain an “unseasoned,” immature Christian.  Struggle makes us stronger; it builds us up and deepens our faith.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 129)

 

Love always pays a price.  Love always costs something.  Love is expensive.  When you love, benefits accrue to another’s account.  Love is for you, not for me.  Love gives; it doesn’t grab. . . . . Love is sacrificial action.  (Dave Simmons; Dad: The Family Coach, 123-24)

 

If you do not believe in a God of wrath, but only in a god of love; then what did it cost for your god of love to really love you?   When you understand the wrath of God, you better understand the love of God because you understand what God was willing to do for you because of your sin.  —Tim Keller

 

The wedding is merely the beginning of a lifelong process of handing over absolutely everything, and not simply everything that one owns but everything that one is.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 21)

 

If someone tells you you can have the sacred without the sacrifice, they are lying to you.” (Steve Brown, Be Careful about the Baby)

 

Perfect love is a kind of self-abandonment and self-sacrifice.  Love requires us to die to ourselves and our own interests for the sake of the one we love.  To love a person we must sacrifice ourselves to please him.  Because of this high price love demands we become quite upset if love is not returned or the person we love does not pay us any attention.  (Henry Scougal and Robert Leighton; God’s Abundant Life, 42)

 

The reason physical sacrifice often results in spiritual renewal goes back to a principle Jesus taught in the gospel of Matthew.  As your treasure goes, so goes your heart. Jesus said it this way: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21).

 

Your heart and your treasure are linked.  If you want to know what you are really committed to, look at your checkbook and credit card statements.  There is your heart, plain and simple.  There is no clearer reflection of your priorities and values.  The way you handle your money is an indicator of where your heart is.  (Andy Stanley; Visioneering, 138)

Love is handing your heart to someone and taking the risk that they will hand it back because they don’t want it.  That’s why it’s such a crushing ache on the inside.  We gave away a part of ourselves and it wasn’t wanted.

Love is a giving away of power.  When we love, we give the other person the power in the relationship.  They can do what they choose.  They can do what they like with our love.  They can reject it, they can accept it, they can step toward us in gratitude and appreciation.

Love is a giving away.  When we love, we put ourselves out there, we expose ourselves, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

Love is giving up control.  It’s surrendering the desire to control the other person. The two–love and controlling power over the other person–are mutually exclusive.  If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all of the desires within us to manipulate the relationship.  (Rob Bell; Sex God, 98)

 

Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect.  It means you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections.

 

To keep your marriage brimming withe love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up.                         —Ogden Nash

 

IV.  Jesus demonstrated to us his willingness to sacrifice for His and our future joy and happiness.  We should be willing to do the same.  (Phil 2:5-11; Mt 10:38; 16:24; Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23; 14:27; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 5:1-29; 12:1-2; Gal 2:21; Eph 5:1-2; Phil 2:17; Heb ch 7-10; 7:27; 9:26-28; 10:10-14; 12:2-14; 13:15-16; 1 Pt 2:5; 1 Jn 2:2)

 

 

When God calls a man, he bids him come and die.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer; The Cost of Discipleship)

 

The ultimate answers to life don’t cost money.  They cost your life.  (D. James Kennedy, What Is God Like?, 19)

 

Love will find a way.  Indifference will find an excuse. 

 

Marriage at its best is a sort of contest in what might be called “one-downmanship,” a backwards tug of war between two wills each equally determined not to win.  That is really the only attitude which works in marriage because that is the way the Lord designed it.  He planned it especially as a way for men and women to enter wholeheartedly, with full consent and consequent peace and joy, into the inevitable process of their own diminishment, which is His worship and glorification.  For “He must increase, but I must decrease,” declared John the Baptist of Jesus (Jn 3:30), and that is the fate of all of us: we must all diminish for the glory of God.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 167-68)

 

Marriage is a way not to evade suffering, but to suffer purposefully.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 171)

 

George Bernard Shaw wrote, “This is the true joy of life:  the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”  (Rick Warren; The Purpose Driven Life, 33)

 

One of the most impressive qualities of a Christian visionary is his or her total abandonment of self in favor of complete subjugation to the purposes of God.  This goes far beyond the commitment to Christ for salvation and reflects the absolute surrender to the will of God.  Only then is the person truly usable by Him.  (George Barna; Turning Vision, 36)

 

The secret of a happy Christian life is to realize that it is all of grace and rejoice in that fact. ‘So likewise ye,’ says our Lord in another place, ‘when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you say, ‘We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do”.’ That is His view, that is His teaching and is the secret of it all. Was not that His own way?  It was, according to St. Paul, who says: ‘ Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.’  You see what that means.  He did not look at Himself, he did not consider Himself and His own interests only; He made Himself of no reputation, He laid aside the insignia of His eternal Glory.  He did not regard His quality with God as something to hold on to and say: ‘Come what may I will not let it go.’  Not at all, He laid aside, He humbled Himself, He forgot Himself, and He went through and endured and did all He did, looking only to the glory of God.  Nothing else mattered to him but that the Father should be glorified and that men and women should come to the Father. That is the secret, not watching the clock, not assessing the amount of work, not keeping a record book, but forgetting everything except the glory of God, the privilege of being called to work for Him at all, the privilege of being a Christian, remembering only the grace that has ever looked upon us and removed us from darkness to light. (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 132)

 

To be sure, we Christian Hedonists endeavor to pursue our interest and our happiness with all our might.  We endorse the resolution of the young Jonathan Edwards—”Resolved: To endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.” (John Piper; Desiring God, 137)

 

The only really happy people are those who have learned how to serve.  (Albert Schweitzer as quoted by Rick Warren; The Purpose Driven Life, 270)

 

People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply acknowledging a great debt we owe to our God, which we can never repay?  Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny?  It is emphatically no sacrifice.  Rather it is a privilege.  Anxiety, sickness, suffering, danger, foregoing the common conveniences of this life—these may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment.  All these are nothing compared with the glory which shall later be revealed in and through us.  I never made a sacrifice.  Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us.  —David Livingstone

 

We find our happiness by helping others find theirs.  (Patrick Morely; Ten Secrets for the Man in the Mirror, 117)

 

Sam Shoemaker said it well: “To be a Christian means to give as much of myself as I can to as much of Jesus Christ as I know.”  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Romans, 214)

 

I would not consider any spirituality worthwhile that wants to walk in sweetness and ease and run from the imitation of Christ.  —John Climacus  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 129)

 

The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church.  He is to love her as Christ loved the Church–read on–and give his life for her (Eph 5:25).  This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is–in her own mere nature–least lovable.  For the Church has no beauty but what the Bride-groom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely.  The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness:  forgiveness, not acquiescence.  As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labors to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs.  (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 105-06)

 

Love is a costly thing.  God in His love for us (and for a lost world) “spared not His own Son” to tell the world of His love.  Love is costly, but we must tell the world at any cost. Such love is costly.  It costs parents and sons and daughters.  It costs the missionary life itself.  In his love for Christ the missionary often must give up all to make the Savior known.  If you will let your love for Christ cost you something, the great advance will be made together.  Remember, love is a costly thing.  Do you love enough?  (Dick Hills; Love is a Costly Thing)

 

The sacrifice of obedience is evoked not by Paul’s authority but by God’s mercy.  All ethical systems make some appeal to moral law and rules.  For example, Kant’s Categorical Imperative (“Act only on that maxim whereby you at the same time would wish that it should become a universal law”) appeals to an “oughtness” of moral behavior.  Paul, however, makes no appeal to moral principles.  He appeals solely to God’s mercy.  If Christian morality were simply a deterrence of divine wrath, then it would not be morality at all, for it would not be free.  It would simply be some sort of moral ransom rooted in fear.  If it were done in hopes of receiving something from God, then it would be manipulative and egocentric.  True Christian ethics, on the other hand, are ethics of gratitude.  The obedience pleasing to God is characterized by free and willing submission because of God’s prior sacrifice of his Son on our behalf (8:32; 9:16).  (James R. Edwards, New International Biblical Commentary: Romans, 282)

 

Jesus Christ came not to be served but to die, to give his life.  That sets him apart from the founder of every other major religion.  Their purpose was to live and be an example; Jesus’ purpose was to die and be a sacrifice.  (Timothy Keller, King’s Cross, 140)

 

The heathen bring a sacrifice to his god, the Christian accepts the sacrifice FROM his God.  (H. C. Mears, What the Bible Is All About, 46)

 

Worship point:  We will truly worship when we look to Jesus to see what real sacrifice, for the sake of others and true love, is all about.

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Look to Jesus to begin to recognize what real, agape love sacrifice is.  Trust in the Lord when you are faced with an opportunity to sacrifice for the sake of love.  Challenge yourself to comprehend that real love is most clearly manifest in the context of great sacrifice.  And that we can only begin to experience the sort of happiness, contentment and joy we seek out of life when we truly love.

 

In his audiotape series According to Plan, C.J. Mahaney pleads with men to recover this sense of sacrifice.  He points out that sacrifice isn’t sacrifice unless it costs us something, and then he leaves a challenging question hanging in the in the air: “Gentlemen, what are we doing each day for our wives that involves sacrifice?  What are you doing each day for your wife that is costing you something?”  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 185)

 

A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.  —Martin Luther.

 

Never give up giving up.

 

 

Sacrifice is a joy for that in which we truly believe.  (Pearl of Great Price, Treasure in a field – Mt 13:44-46)

 

Christ:

Sacrifice

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