Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Sacrifice is when you let go of something that is important to you to gain something greater.
God asks us to give things up that means a lot to us like our past, our friends, our control on our life, our dreams, and our time.
It is never easy. It will always cost you something. But I’ve read that ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing. Investing in the Kingdom requires your all. That is what is biblically expected. It is not always easy and not always fun but it is always good.
When you look back on Bible times, there were different types of sacrifices. There were voluntarily sacrifices and mandatory sacrifices. Voluntary sacrifices expressed thankfulness and worship. There was the burnt offering, which was an act of worship. There was the grain offering which was a voluntary offering to express thanksgiving. There’s the peace offering, also voluntary, that was shared in fellowship and was a way to express thanksgiving as a group. Then there are the two mandatory sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. The sin offering was for the forgiveness of sins that was purposefully committed and the trespass offering was for the forgiveness of accidental sins. I say all that to say there were different types of sacrifices back then and we no longer have to bring physical animals into the church and kill them on the altar but we are still required to bring sacrifices to the altar.
I believe that everything in the Old Testament can be studied and used now living in the New Testament. Just like back then we have to bring mandatory sacrifices and voluntarily sacrifices. A mandatory sacrifice now would be the fact that Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice and died on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins. Just like it was mandatory for God’s people to bring sacrifices for their sins, we have to bring the sacrifice of repentance for the forgiveness of our sins. But God’s people also had to bring voluntary sacrifices to express their thankfulness and to worship.
So we have all come to that time in life where we had made that mandatory sacrifice, we have repented of our sins and now we are on fire for God but what happens if you do not kindle that fire? Your fire will eventually go out unless you continuously bring sacrifices. Sacrifice should be a way of living, to die out to the flesh daily.
Here’s why you should die out to the flesh. God’s spirit is water to our souls. It’s satisfying. God always says throughout the bible that He wants to give water to our souls so that we will never thirst. He wants our souls to be nourished and grow strong. He never encourages us to strengthen our flesh, except for taking care of ourselves. But He never talks about allowing our flesh to live forever. He always focuses on the spirit. He never tells us to follow the flesh because where God wants to take us, flesh cannot come. Our self has to get out of the way. How does self get out of the way? Sacrifice. Voluntary sacrifices.
I truly believe that God has amazing blessings that He wants to pour out on this church and on some of us as individuals but we are hindering ourselves through self will.
God loves Sacrifice. You see in the bible, when an offering went up, it was considered to be a sweet savour to the Lord. He loved it. If God loves it, I want to do it.
We’ve all done the mandatory sacrifice of repentance and once you do that, it’s time to bring voluntary sacrifices.
There is the sacrifice of worship when you are just not feeling the Lord and you don’t feel like praying or praising but you lift your hands and magnify Him anyways.
God loves that, it’s a sweet savour to Him and He honors it.
I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to church and didn’t feel like worshiping but I would raised my hands and give Him glory anyways and in the midst of my worship, He would answer a prayer or give me peace about a situation.
God loves the sacrifice of worship. It should be our heartbeat. I want worship to be happening in my life all day long. That requires sacrifice, sacrifice of time because my flesh is not going to want to sing and praise all day. There are ways you can implement extra worship into your day. I start off with every morning with my alarm. Worship music plays to wake me up. *examples on the mic*. But I do that so when I wake up because when the music goes off, it puts worship in the atmosphere. They cause me to put my mind on God when I first wake up. So no matter what the day may hold, worship starts my day. You don’t even have to do that, you could just wake up and say hallelujah, then boom, worship is made to start off your day.
This is one of my favorite testimonies God has given to me about worship. A couple months ago I was listening to the song break through and praying for my brother, he’s not in church and back slidden. We all know the song says break through in my worship, break through in my praise, break through when I lift and glorify your name. Then it goes back and loops and says break through in my heart, break through in my mind, break through in my spirit, break through in my soul. God spoke to me through those lyrics. The music was playing but God changed the lyrics a little. The lyrics sang break through in my worship, breakthrough in my praise and then God said when you lift and glorify my name, I will cause a break through in his heart, a break through in his mind, a break through in his spirit and in his soul. He was telling me when you sacrifice and praise me, and you glorify your name, I will cause break throughs in your prayers. So naturally, I started balling and I went crazy in my worship. We need to bring the sacrifice of worship. Take time and stop focusing on the problem and worship the problem solver. That is how we break through is when we worship. There’s power in our worship especially when its sacrificial and when you don’t feel like it.
There is the sacrifice of prayer, to pray sacrificially, to pray when you don’t want to pray. It is great to have a prayer life. It is great to have a scheduled time every day to pray but what about praying specifically? Sacrificial prayer is when you set aside a time that is inconvient for you to pray, or praying when you don’t feel like it. For example, waking up at 4 am to pray. Or staying awake a little longer before bed to dig into some holy ghost praying. It’s easy to pray at noon when you’re wide awake and off for lunch and have no distractions but what about the early morning when the sun isn’t up yet and your bed is warm and comfy. It’s harder to pray then but it’s a sweet savour to the Lord. You can also pray sacrificially when you are praying and it feels like your prayers are just hitting a wall and bouncing back. When you feel that and you don’t feel the presence of God, keep praying. If you start praying and you don’t feel like praying for more than two minutes, sacrifice a little and challenge yourself to pray a little longer. Pray until you receive something. Prayer is powerful and the devil knows that. He doesn’t want you to pray. When you don’t feel like praying, I challenge you to challenge yourself.
About a month ago, I felt the urge to do a fast. I started out good but gave up during the 6th hour. That night I decided I need to sacrifice In some way because sacrifice was really heavy on my heart so I decided to wake up early the next morning to pray sacrificially and when I woke up the next morning, as I began to pray, I felt the strongest burden I have ever felt to try and do a fast again. So I started to pray a little harder and I’ll be honest, I cried and I told God I didn’t want to but I would try but I was gonna need His help. So I started fasting and that night was a Wednesday night, our last revolution. I was praying after the message in the service and I felt a burden to pray longer even though the service had ended so as I walked out the door, the spirit of God hit me immediately and I started to speak in tongues and I had no control. On the way home, while I was praying, a huge sorrow would come over me and I would cry so hard and I would pray harder, then the sorrow would be lifted and joy would come down and the whole time I’m speaking in tongues. Then the joy would leave and the sorrow would come again. It was just one right after the other. At one point the sorrow became too much for me that I had to pull over and just cried and prayed and prayed until the sorrow left, joy came down and then I stopped speaking in tongues and I had control again. That was the first time I prayed intercessory prayer and the only way it happened was through sacrifice. I don’t know who or what I was praying for but I know that through my sacrifice, somebody else was being blessed and was having their prayers answered.
There’s the sacrifice of your flesh. We need to die daily. Every day we should be dying out to the flesh and walking in the spirit.
Psalms 118:27 God is the Lord , which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
The brazen altar had 4 horns on it, on each corner.The bible says that when you brought a sacrifice to the altar, you had to tie it up and tie it to the altar. Take your worship and tie it up and tie it to the altar. Take your flesh and tie it to the altar. Take your prayer life and tie it to the altar.
God knew we would be relating these verses to our lives. Just like Romans 12:1 says to present your bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord. Since our sacrifices are living, they can crawl off the altar if we aren’t careful. God knew that our flesh would wrestle against His will. God knew the devil would attack. God knew your flesh would try to lead you to the wrong things. God knew that distractions would rise up in your life. That’s why He said tie it to the altar.
When it’s tied to the altar, it can’t go far. When you get strict with your flesh, it can’t take control the way it wants to.
God lit a fire on the brazen altar and man was not allowed to let it go out. It had to stay lit because everyday sacrifices were continuously being brought. I read somewhere that sacrifices were being brought every minute. If we want the fire to stay lit, we must continuously sacrifice. Sacrifice needs to be our lifestyle. Bring sacrifice of praise, sacrifice of time and read the bible, sacrifice of self and fast, sacrifice of self desires and pray. Some say well Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice so we don’t need to anymore. Well yes He was the ultamite sacrifice but Paul says I die daily. Because your will gets in God’s way. He has a ministry for you, He has a blessing for you but He is not raising up your flesh, He is raising up your spirit and His kingdom. Your flesh cannot go where God wants to take you.
Your flesh will always try to make you comfortable. Have you ever noticed how you will be praying for something so you’ll sacrifice. You’ll wake up earlier to pray or you’ll go on a fast and then God answers your prayer. He gives you a blessing. You can feel that you grew in the Lord and elevated in the spirit but then you get comfortable. You get satisfied with where God has brought you. So you stop waking up early to pray, you say shorter prayers. You get in a spiritual rut and it feels like you’re not going anywhere. That’s because you went into auto pilot and let your flesh take over without realizing it.
God does not desire that we grow in Him to a certain point and then stop but the devil likes to make us think that God desires that. You’ll sacrifice and get your blessing and then the devil will start to tell you why should you keep sacrificing? God just gave you your blessing. You no longer need to sacrifice. I just tell the devil that I want my fire to stay lit. I want to bring something to God that is a sweet savour to Him. God said that you are either hot or you are cold. There is no in between. I must die daily. I must continuously present my body a living sacrifice.
That’s why sacrifices are important. It’s the key to growing in the Lord. Every child of God will face a time where God requires you to cut out your flesh. It’s the key to opening spiritual doors.
Then there’s the sacrifice of letting go. A lot of us hold on to things that get in the way of what God wants to do and has for us. There’s many people of God who have great callings on their lives and great ministries that God wants to give to them but they are holding on to things that they don’t want to let go of like their past or their dreams. Like for me I was 16 when God laid it on my heart that I was going to be a missionary. He revealed to me that I was going to be traveling all the time and that I was going to be speaking whenever I traveled. When God did that for me I was I was like yes yes let’s do it let’s go I’ll do whatever you want me to do God. But at that time I had a dream to be a part of a professional Orchestra. I was going to conduct an orchestra and know every instrument that you could possibly play. That was my dream. And a few months after God revealed to me about my future he told me that my career was not going to be in music. That was hard. And I did not let go of those dreams at first. I was thinking I could still be a musician and be a part of Performing Arts and still do what God wanted me to do. But one night I was on my way home from band practice and I passed the church and God just really laid it on my heart that I needed to let go of that dream. I didn’t want to, I cried, but I did. And when I let go and I put that dream in God’s hands, God’s presence came down, the spirit of Freedom overwhelmed me. And now I couldn’t even imagine being a professional musician the way that I dreamed I wanted to be. Yes music is still my passion, I love instruments, I love to play but I don’t dream to pursue that anymore because God has given me something greater.
Now for others it could be different, for some people it could be letting go of their past, letting go of something that somebody has done to them that has hurt them. You know people go through traumatizing times in their lives and it affects them and it makes it hard to move on and to think that there could be something greater in their lives. There could be friends that you’re holding on to that you do not need to be holding onto. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know why God has laid this on my heart. But I believe that there are things that God wants to do but there are things that we are holding on to that is hindering us from going to the next level. Like I said God does not desire that we grow in him to just a certain point and stop but he wants us to continuously grow in him and to move on and on and on.
God loves you no matter what. You are precious in His sight. He has not brought you this far to leave you. He doesn’t ask us to sacrifice to punish us or to bully us. He’s a gentleman and He knows that your self will gets in the way of so many things He wants to do in your life.
You want to see some doors open? Do some fasting, let go of some things. You want to see prayers answered? Sacrifice your sleep and wake up early and pray in the holy ghost. Commit to sacrificial prayer. Worship when you don’t feel like worshiping. Read the bible when you don’t feel like reading. Typically when you don’t want to is when you get your greatest blessings.
There are four voices that speak to us all day long. Three out of those four voices are going to tell you not to sacrifice. There is the devil, your flesh, the world, and the holy ghost. So yes it is hard sometimes to sacrifice when all those voices are telling you not to. In those moments when you don’t want to, when your flesh doesn’t want to, the holy ghost says sacrifice. When you don’t feel like praying, listen to the small still voice, sacrifice. When you don’t feel like worshipping, the holy ghost is crying out, sacrifice. When you don’t feel like reading your bible, your holy ghost will say sacrifice. When you don’t feel like getting out of your pew and coming to the altar to pray and have a breakthrough, the holy ghost will tell you, sacrifice. What voice are you going to listen to? The devil, your flesh, and the world are just going to lead you down a road of destruction but the holy ghost is going to lead you down a path of righteousness and holiness and life and blessings.