Message Recap - 5/7/10 - Revolutionaries: Part 3

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We are now at the third and final installment of the Revolutionaries series! You may be wondering why there was no recap last week. Well, that's because last week was our annual church clean up/bonfire night!

Since it's been awhile, you may want to brush up on the previous two parts by reading the recaps:

Part 1

Part 2

Tonight we are delving into: The Other Side of Sacrifice

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Messages about sacrifice are not the most exciting or the most fun. You probably recognize that sinking feeling that comes when you hear a sermon about sacrifice – the sudden guilt about spending four hours playing video games instead of spending time with God. Well, this week we're gonna explore a different perspective on sacrifice.

We'll get started in Matthew 16:24-26:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

We've all heard the old “take up your cross” message. It makes us uncomfortable. It means giving up something that you want. It's not a sacrifice to give up something your don't want or that's meaningless to you. But nobody likes to give up what we want; it's uncomfortable.

Check out Luke 14:25-33.

In it, Jesus is talking about counting the cost. Too often Christians are leaving unfinished foundations in our lives. We come home from a conference all fired up, that we are going to build our “tower” – in other words, do something big for Christ. We dig the foundation, but soon life intervenes. We forget about the plans that we had.

When you are going to run a marathon, you don't start out by sprinting. You'll get about 1 mile out of the 26 at that pace. You have to start at a slower pace so that you will have the energy to finish the whole race. The same concept applies spiritually.

In everything you do, sacrifice is the other choice. It is seen as the negative alternative. But the truth is that sacrifice is an intrinsic part of life. You are always choosing what to sacrifice. For instance, money or free time? Food that tastes good, or food that's healthy? Instant gratification or discipline?There's always a give and take in life.

The question tonight is not, “Are you sacrificing for God?” You already know about that. The question is, “What are you giving up to indulge yourself?” When you have that extra Twinkie (so to speak) what are you sacrificing? You can't do everything. Every choice you make eliminates another choice. What are you giving up just to feel good? Every time you choose to eat that carton of ice cream you sacrifice a bit of your health. Every time you choose to watch TV you choose to not spend your time doing something else more beneficial. And every time you choose something other than God, you sacrifice.

Napoleon Hill said, “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.” Anyone who has made a difference in the world has had to sacrifice something to get there. To live significantly you have to sacrifice insignificant things.

We all want a significant life. But in order to have that we have to sacrifice something.

There is a saying, “The greatest enemy of the great is the good.” It could be phrased this way: The greatest enemy of truly accomplishing something with your life is the things that are close – the things that feel good, look good, sound good and seem like good ideas. There are lots of things that are close. The greatest enemy of you changing the world is not bad stuff (though that is an enemy). It's the good-enough stuff.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice the good to obtain the great. You can't have everything; you have to make a choice. This is what Jesus was saying – you have to give up your whole life in order to take up Christ's whole life.

What is your choice? Will you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ?

Maybe you've been building the wrong kind of tower. It's not too late for you to start over and build the right kind. Maybe your tower project is stalled, stagnant. You can restart that project, it's not too late.

No one does anything significant without sacrifice. What will you spend your life on? What ever you choose, it will involve sacrifice. Have you been trying to get as much of the world as we can, at the expense of your own soul?

When you sacrifice for Christ, there is a gain at the end of all that sacrifice, When you sacrifice for the world, you are sacrificing your very soul. What will you choose?

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