07/24/16 Spiritual ACT of Worship!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, July 25, 2016 Under: Sermon
Great Christians Series - 1 John 3:15-17

Intro: In a few weeks we will be in the middle of one of the greatest summer events that only come around every four years and no I am not talking about the November elections. I am talking about the Olympics. These athletics have been training for years, some of them since they were old enough to walk. They are training for the possibility of representing team USA and bringing home a Gold Medal. This year’ time trials for the women’s 1500 track event were personal for my family. My sister’s daughter Amanda my nice won her first heat came in second in the semi-finals and in the qualifying heat for the women’s 1500 for Rio she missed third placed by 3 hundreds of a second, literally by a nose. At the finish line both girls who were fighting for third place fell crossing the finish line. They both sacrificed their body for the possibility of being on this year’s Olympic team.

Great Christians train all their life willing to sacrifice everything, knowing this is their spiritual act of worship. In the previous weeks we have learned great Christians pray great prayers, think great thoughts, read great books, pursue great people and dream great dreams, and take great risk. This week we find that Great Christians make great sacrifices! One might say; Sacrifice is love with clothes on. Are you dressed Christian? Sacrifice flows from our view of God. Our willingness to sacrifice starts with the belief that God is good and He loves us.

Text: 1 John 3:15-17 (NIV)

“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?’

1. Sacrificial Love: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 (NIV)

Sacrifice is that defining moment when the God of the universe asks you to love Him more than the world.

Sacrifice flows from our surrender; our willingness to sacrifice is also connected to our being surrendered to God.

Jesus gave us the privilege to suffer for His sake. Sacrifice is the clearest and greatest evidence of the extent of one’s love and devotion toward a person, a cause, or a thing. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.” John 15:10-13 (NKJV)

When we’re truly devoted to someone or something, we’re willing to make sacrifices. If you want to know what you really love, all you have to do is notice where you’re giving your time, your energy, your money, and your dreams. For most people, that would involve some combination of spouse, children, job, and hobbies. We gladly spend ourselves on what we love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.”

When you think about the relationship Jesus has with His father He sacrificed His life to demonstrate His love. What should we be willing to do with our relationship with Christ?

Love and worship are intertwined in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, and if we don’t grasp the nature of the relationship between them, we miss both the significance of Jesus’s sacrifice for us and the appropriate depth of our discipleship.

In the first 10 chapters of Leviticus 5 offerings are recommended. Two of these offerings were required, the sin and guilt offering. These were required at certain times, and everyone was expected to do them. But the three voluntary offerings were expression of faithfulness. The first was the burnt offering to express the depth of your devotion. The second was a grain offering given in gratitude for God’s provision. The third was a peace offering, given simply to acknowledge how good God had been. The Old Testament made it clear, access to God demands sacrifice.

Think of the sacrifice Abraham was willing to make, his own son in obedience for God’s righteousness. What Abraham found out because of his faith in his Lord was: “The Lord will provide.” God periodically test every one of us for the uniqueness of our devotion through sacrifice. Most people wouldn’t consider a command to sacrifice their precious child-or precious anything else, for that matter.

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-27 (NKJV)

Christ is first, and if you want to be His disciple there is no other order! Jesus made it clear that following him, even when that contradicts everything else that’s important to us, is the top priority. That is your spiritual act of worship. In other words, to love and worship Jesus is to put him above every relationship and issue in our life. It requires absolute sacrifice. “In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33 (HCSB)

There is a high cost to being that disciple. Paul made it clear: “I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” This is your spiritual act, present your body. God wants us to offer ourselves. He doesn’t just want our job, our money, or our stuff. He wants all of us-lock, stock, and barrel. The picture is of those voluntary offerings of devotion described in Leviticus, only in this case the offering is not a dead animal but a grateful servant who continues to live as God’s own possession. It can’t be given just on Sunday mornings…

It is like seeing your life as a blank check and in view of your love for God and your confidence in His goodness you sign the bottom of the check and you allow Him to do whatever He wants with you! That is a spiritual act of worship. God just wants us to be willing to do whatever He says, even when it costs us a lot.

What motivates great Christians? Jesus said that the greatest love is to lay down one’s life for another. That’s what He did for us, and He calls us to do the same for Him. We are to take up our cross daily and follow Him. That’s the living sacrifice. All Christians need to realize that we’re living in a little slice of eternity called “time.” In the last six weeks my focus has been on the good Christian who can have the opportunity to be great in God’s eyes. You can live an average life-or you can choose to leave an eternal legacy.

2. Unconditional Love: “Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Luke 7:44-48 (NKJV)

Great Christians are motivated by God and their willingness to be a living sacrifice when they understand His unconditional love. Their sacrifice is a response to that Love. This woman appreciated God’s Grace, she recognized her sin and God’s unconditional love that forgave her. She shows a deep devotion and truly an act of spiritual worship.

Not only do great Christians grasp God’s unconditional love, but the second truth that underlines the motivation of great Christians to offer themselves as living sacrifices is that they also embrace His relational economy. The classic example of this in scripture is the story of the widow who put two small coins into the temple treasury: ‘And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had." Luke 21:1-4 (NKJV)

The third truth that motivates great Christians to make great sacrifices is that they are convinced of God’s eternal goodness. We look for the minimum requirements of sacrifice simply because we want to be right with God. But God isn’t looking for minimum Christians. Great Christians understand that the goal is to die with a zero balance. The fourth conviction of those who make great sacrifices is that they recognize God’s sovereign ownership. They don’t consider sacrifice praiseworthy, as though the offering is a noble act. They consider it a privilege because it all belongs to God anyway. Great Christians understand God’s unconditional Love their spiritual act of worship is the icing on the cake.

Take the temperature of your heart right now. Are you growing in your love for Jesus? Do you understand how unconditionally He loves you? Do you operate in His relational economy? If you signed the bottom of a blank check to Him, could you trust Him to be relentlessly good to you in return? Have you considered that everything in your life comes from Him anyway? God’s kingdom is about extravagant love. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us by sending Jesus to die an excruciating death on a cross as payment for our sins. He looks for those who will love Him extravagantly in return. A sacrifice is merely love with clothes on!

Conclusion: Sacrifice

Back in the days of the Great Depression a Missouri man named John Griffith was the controller of a great railroad drawbridge across the Mississippi River. One day in the summer of 1937 he decided to take his eight-year-old son, Greg, with him to work. At noon, John Griffith put the bridge up to allow ships to pass and sat on the observation deck with his son to eat lunch. Time passed quickly. Suddenly he was startled by the shrieking of a train whistle in the distance. He quickly looked at his watch and noticed it was 1:07—the Memphis Express, with four hundred passengers on board, was roaring toward the raised bridge! He leaped from the observation deck and ran back to the control tower. Just before throwing the master lever he glanced down for any ships below. There a sight caught his eye that caused his heart to leap poundingly into his throat. Greg had slipped from the observation deck and had fallen into the massive gears that operate the bridge. His left leg was caught in the cogs of the two main gears! Desperately John’s mind whirled to devise a rescue plan. But as soon as he thought of a possibility he knew there was no way it could be done.

Again, with alarming closeness, the train whistle shrieked in the air. He could hear the clicking of the locomotive wheels over the tracks. That was his son down there—yet there were four hundred passengers on the train. John knew what he had to do, so he buried his head in his left arm and pushed the master switch forward. That great massive bridge lowered into place just as the Memphis Express began to roar across the river. When John Griffith lifted his head with his face smeared with tears, he looked into the passing windows of the train. There were businessmen casually reading their afternoon papers, finely dressed ladies in the dining car sipping coffee, and children pushing long spoons into their dishes of ice cream. No one looked at the control house, and no one looked at the great gear box. With wrenching agony, John Griffith cried out at the steel train: “I sacrificed my son for you people! Don’t you care?” The train rushed by, but nobody heard the father’s words, which recalled Lamentations 1:12: “Is it nothing to you, all who pass by?”

Great Christians want to show God their spiritual act of worship because they do care. Do you?

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