Monday, April 15, 2013
Whenever you see something appear so excellent, outstanding or thriving so much, just understand that sacrifices have been made to see that happen; someone has deprived himself of something – time, comfort, resources etc to see that happen. It’s always that way! Things don’t just happen by themselves. Sacrifice is the act of consciously depriving ones’ self of a given interest, pleasure or substance with the goal of benefiting someone, a people or a cause. If it is actually an act of sacrifice, then it must cost you something. We see the Lord Jesus Christ as the perfect example of this. His sacrifice is the perfect definition of the word ‘sacrifice’ by all standards. Jesus declares in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.” Also in Matthew 20:28 He said “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (NKJ). What a declaration! Sacrifice always precedes extraordinary progress. Sacrifice brings us to the place where we not only do something because of but in spite of the conditions. God so loved the world and made the greatest sacrifice ever to restore man to His perfect state of being and even much more. He ‘gave up’ His Only begotten Son [Jesus Christ] to see this happen. Today we’re all eternally changed because of that great sacrifice! Sacrifice doesn’t just happen, there’s always a motivation behind it – good or bad, tangible or intangible. So, what was the motive or motivation behind Jesus’ acceptance to come into the earth in human form in order to pay that awesome price for our redemption? We see that in Hebrews 12:3 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NKJ). So what was the joy set before Jesus? It was the joy of the New Creation. It was the joy of seeing humanity restored to the Father and the Divine plan set in motion again. It was the joy of seeing many sons brought into glory. Praise God! Sacrifice could be both good or bad, depending on the subject in question. On the negative note, someone might want to gain the whole world at the detriment of his own soul. And the Lord Jesus says that there is no profit in that. He says “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The law of sacrifice is just like the law of gravity. It’s a universal law – it works for both the saved and the unsaved alike. And unfortunately, it appears as though the world takes advantage of this principle more than the saints. The principle has always been thus: The more the martyrs the more the harvest. This is the same for every religion or cause human beings stand for. When someone dies for a cause, it breeds a harvest of unusual passion for that cause and that cause thrives. When people see that you can go any length for a particular cause, even to the point of dying for it, they pay attention to that. Sacrifices get people’s attention quickly! In the Scripture, we have the story of how when the Israelites went out for battle and the opposing nation’s (Moab) king, seeing that they were greatly overwhelmed by the Israelites because the battle was fierce against them, sacrificed his son (who was to succeed him as king) and the Bible clearly stated “and there was a great indignation” (2King 3:27). Today, Christians shy away from making even little sacrifices for the cause of Christ. We don’t want persecutions to touch us at all. We even pray against them and if they eventually happen we begin to question God’s goodness. This has to stop! In the early Church it was so different. They expected persecutions because they knew that if this Gospel must be preached then sacrifices must be made and these sacrifices are born out of love and not out of compulsion. If we are going to win a lost world back to God then we must make sacrifices. We must deprive ourselves of something. Salvation is not just free, It is free at the expense of Someone (Jesus Christ) Who paid for it with His own precious Blood. The Gospel is absolutely free, but sacrifices have to be made to take it to the unreached places of the earth. Today there are so many unreached mission fields in remote areas – villages, slums, rural areas etc. but we would rather crowd ourselves in the cities because of comfort, no-one wants to make sacrifices. We make excuses like: no hotels there, no good roads, no airports, no security etc. How long are we going to continue like this? If the Master must see the travail of His soul and be satisfied, then somebody must make some sacrifices! And many a times the Lord is not demanding much from us – just little adjustments here and there in our flamboyant lifestyle. When the Apostles where persecuted (harassed and flogged) for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they went away rejoicing that they’ve been counted worthy to suffer shame for the Name of Jesus (Acts 5:41). What manner of men were these? Paul and Barnabas were described as “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:25,26). Today, a lot of believers give excuses about restricted areas while we are doing nothing about the open areas. May God help us! Let me close with this: Martin Luther King Jr., in his last speech he delivered the night before his assassination, he said “I don’t know what would happen to me now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead, but it doesn’t matter to me now because I’ve been to the mountain top, I won’t mind. Like anybody else, I would like to live a long life, longevity has its place, but I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go to the mountain, and I’ve looked over and have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” Paul, the Apostle, said “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24, NKJ). So what are you going to do with this? Do you see the need? Act now. Grace!