By Dennis C. Abernathy
“Sacrifice” is defined: “To forgo something valued or deemed desirable for the sake of something (or someone) having a more pressing claim.”
The Christian’s life is to be one of sacrifice. The Christian should be willing to give up or forego everything for the Lord who died for him.
“What! Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price. There-fore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Christians are said to be “priests of God” (or a holy priest-hood) to offer up spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5).
Jesus our Lord died for us on a Roman cross at Golgotha’s hill. He gave his life that we may live. Thus, I must be willing to give my all for him. I must be willing to give myself to him (2 Cor. 8:5).
It is difficult for us to fully comprehend the magnitude of the Lord’s sacrifice and the great blessing it holds forth to those who will appropriate it. “. . . that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
Many Christians Have the Wrong
Idea About Sacrifice
Many Christians exhibit sacrifice in reverse order. They consider valuable and more desirable, things which in reality are less valuable. Hence they sacrifice the greater andmore valuable for the lesser and least valuable! Notice some examples:
1. Many sacrifice the church assemblies for hunting, fishing, golfing, school events, ball games, social activities, company, job, etc. (see Heb.10:21f). Brethren, if you are sacrificing your soul and the souls of your children for any of these things (and others like them), you had better re-evaluate your priorities!
I especially plead with Christian parents. You must see the importance of setting the proper example before your children. The wise man in Proverbs said, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes keep to my ways” (Prov. 23:26). It is sad, but true that too many children’s eyes are keeping to their parents’ ways and they are ways that lead away from the Lord into the paths of indifference and neglect!
What has a more pressing claim on you than serving God? Name one thing. I’m afraid that these things we have already mentioned are more desirable and of more value to many Christians than is their standing with God!
2. Many sacrifice Bible study for TV, radio, secular reading, and countless other hobbies and activities. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved.” 1 Timothy 4:13 says “give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” Acts 17:11 says, “. . . they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day.”
Are these other things of more value to you and do you desire them more than the Word of God?
“Direct me in the paths of your commands, for there I find delight” (Psa. 119:35).
“I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands” (Psa. 119:131).
“I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly” (Psa.119:167).
For one to neglect studying the Bible for these other trivial things is to choose the lesser over the greater. Once a young man gave his sweetheart a beautiful and precious ring with a valuable stone. The ring was wrapped in a pretty box. The girl opened the box, threw away the ring, and kept the box. Many do this with the precious and valuable Word of God.
3. Many sacrifice teaching others, visiting the sick, and hospitality for cars, boats, houses, and making money. What good will cars, boats, houses, and money be if you lose your soul? “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26) The Christian has duties to attend to. He must teach the word of God to others (Matt. 28:19; 2 Tim. 2:2). The sick and needy are to be cared for (Matt. 25:34-46; Jas. 1:27; Gal. 6:10). We are to be a hospitable people (Heb. 13:2).
If one’s heart is in the right place he will attend to these various duties toward his fellow man. He will be willing to sacrifice “treasures on this earth,” which are transient any-way, for the treasures which endure forever (Matt. 6:19-21).
I think many Christians believe that these works under discussion are for preachers, deacons, and elders, and they are not obligated in the least. Wrong! These things involve the practice of Christianity. They are the avenues through which one’s faith is exhibited (see Jas. 2:14-18).
4. Many sacrifice the truth for friendship, family, fellowship, the opinions, regulations, and commandments of men. The truth is such a priceless commodity that it should be bought and never sold (Prov. 23:23). One cannot be savedwithout obedience to the truth (1 Pet. 1:22). We must “walk in truth” (2 Jn. 3,4; 3 Jn. 4). God’s indignation and wrath awaits those who do not “obey the truth” (Rom. 2:8).
It is sad that some will allow friends and family to hinder them in obeying the truth. Many will cling to the “doctrines and commandments of men” and give up the truth in order to court the fellowship and praise of men (John 12:42-43; Matt. 15:8-9).
5. Many sacrifice purity and holiness in life for a moment of passion, for a week-end of drinking with friends, or for some enslaving habit. Christians are to live holy and pure lives, saying “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (Tit. 2:11-12). We must realize that these are “passing” pleasures. They do not last long, and when they end, the consequences come crashing in.
Today the church is plagued with impurity. Christians are enslaved with the same worldly habits as the world. Sexual immorality is prevalent even among Christians. Drinking is getting worse and the church is not immune to such ungodliness. Immorality abounds among preachers and elders. Thankfully, some repent, but some just “get caught,” usually all continue to preach and serve in local churches, and our Lord must shake his head in disgust.
Brethren, don’t sacrifice the best for the less. Don’t seek the second above the first. The Lord is good and his will is good for us. Look to Jesus and learn what true sacrifice really is (Phil. 2:5-8). Whatever you may sacrifice for the Lord and his cause in this life, it will be well rewarded (Mark 10:28-30).
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 21, p.4-5
November 2, 1995