Posts Tagged ‘Sacrifice


Love Is Action

One of the themes of Scripture is love in action. Perhaps the most famous Bible verse, John 3:16, tells us that God put love into action. He GAVE His one and only Son. The Apostle John also writes about love in action in 1 John 3:16:

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 and sisters. – 1 John 3:16 (NIV)

Jesus laid down His life to show us what love is and what love does. True love is sacrifice. If we want to demonstrate our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to lay down our lives for them. On a practical level, this means looking out for and meeting the needs of others. Whether they are emotional, spiritual or physical needs. We are to sacrifice our own desires and preferences to do what is best for someone else. That is love in action because love IS action.

Jesus Died For Everyone

Not only is Jesus our advocate before our Heavenly Father, but He is also the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus did not die for just a few select people, though. Jesus died for everyone. This is what John said:

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. – 1 John 2:2 (NIV)

This is so important to realize as followers of Jesus. It means that EVERYONE has access to God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Anyone and everyone in the whole world can find salvation and forgiveness through our friend, Jesus. He sacrificed Himself on the cross for the sins of the whole world. So what does that mean for us in the church? We’ve got to tell the whole world about our Savior, Jesus. Everyone needs to hear about Him and His love and have the opportunity to respond to His offer of salvation by grace through faith. Who is the one person you can talk to today about your friend, Jesus? Go and tell them because everyday brings us one step closer to His return.

Husbands And Wives

The Bible calls for a special relationship between husbands and wives that sometimes creates controversy and hurt feelings. Paul says:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. – Colossians 3:18 (NIV)

A wife is to respect her husband because she loves and submits to God first. This is God’s expectation of a wife in her relationship to her husband. Was Paul a male chauvinist pig? Not at all! In the next verse he says:

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  – Colossians 3:19 (NIV)

A husband who loves his wife sacrificially and unconditionally and is patient with her will find that he has a wife who respects him. The husband’s job is not to make his wife submit. The husband’s job is to love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). How did Jesus love the church? He died for the church. Husbands, if you are not willing to die to yourself daily for your wife, you are not loving her the way God intends for you to do.

Jesus’ Time

John 7:1-9 (NIV)

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

I find it very interesting that even Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him. There has been much speculation about Jesus’ childhood. What kind of a child was He? Did He do miracles? Perhaps Jesus was a normal kid. This is pure speculation on my part, but if Jesus was adamant about His time not yet coming during His ministry, then surely He would not reveal Himself during His childhood. Could you imagine what would have happened had there been a miracle working teenager? The time was just not right for Jesus to do what His Father had called Him to do. Instead, Jesus waited for the perfect time to reveal the Father’s plan for Him. The Father’s plan was for Him to die for the sins of the world.
That’s why Jesus came. He came to die for your sins and my sins and the sins of the whole world. Our greatest problem is not one that can be solved by the teachings of a religious guru. Our greatest problem is not one that can be solved by following the example of a great man or woman. Our greatest problem cannot be solved by the words of a mere prophet. Our greatest problem is sin and that can only be solved by the shedding of the innocent blood of the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God. Put your trust in Him for salvation and forgiveness. When His time came, Jesus did what the Father sent Him to do. He makes forgiveness more than possible. He makes it a reality by His death and resurrection.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus to die for my sins. I praise and thank You for the free gift of Your grace. Thank You for continuing to forgive me, even when I don’t deserve it. In Jesus’ saving name, amen.

Fully Human. Fully Divine.

John 4:1-6 (NIV)

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

Jesus, on His way back home from Jerusalem, was getting tired. As He passed through Samaria, He sat down by Jacob’s well in a town called Sychar. I think that sometimes think of Jesus as this super-human superhero. We find it hard to believe or imagine that He ever got tired. But He did get tired. He grew weary. He was hungry and thirsty. He felt emotional and physical pain. Jesus was fully human. He needed to take a load off and rest.
Jesus was also fully God, as He demonstrates in the encounter with the woman at the well in verses 7-26. Jesus knew the hearts of people. Jesus performed miracles of healing and raising the dead. Jesus forgave sins. He was both fully human and fully God.
This is so important to try and wrap our feeble minds around. Jesus, being fully human, felt pain and when He went to the cross, He truly suffered and He really died. Being fully God, Jesus was sinless and unblemished. His sacrifice for our sins was pure and holy. No animal could effectively take away the sins of humanity. No other human being could ever fully atone for our sins, either. It is only through Jesus Christ that our sins could be forgiven.
PRAYER: Thank You for sending Your Son, O Father. Thank You for Jesus and His love. Thank You for His sacrifice. Thank You for forgiving me by it. I don’t want to take Your grace for granted. Amen.

Proving He Exists

1 John 4:7-12 (NIV)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
God loved us first.  Humanity didn’t truly understand love until God reached out to love us by sending Jesus to pay the price and take the punishment for our sins.  God, the One we have sinned against time and time again, reached out to the offenders (us) in order to reconcile us to Himself.  We are the offenders.  God is the offended One.  Normally, the one who is offended waits for the offender to come and apologize and ask for forgiveness.  Not so with God!  He reached out to us in order to fix the broken relationship.  Why?  Because He loves us!
Since God has loved us in this way, we must also learn to love others in this way.  If we do not love others, the love of God is not in us.  If we do not forgive others, have we truly understood the depth of God’s forgiveness of us?  If we harbor bitterness and resentment in our hearts, have we grasped the lengths God went to in order to forgive our sins?  God is merciful so we should be merciful, too.  God is forgiving and we should forgive others.  God is love and therefore we must live lives of love.
No one has seen God, John says in verse 12.  But we prove that He is real and His love is real when we love each other.  Love is not our default mode.  But God changes us and transforms us by the power of His love.  Now we can truly love others as God has loved us.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for loving me first.  Help me to reach out to those in my life with love today.  Help me to forgive those who have wronged me.  Thank You for forgiving me.  Help me to show the world Your love in all that I say and do.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Crashing Cymbals and Clanging Gongs

1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
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 and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
We’re quite familiar with John 3:16.  But what about 1 John 3:16?  It is a verse that is just as powerful!  Both verses teach us that God is a God of love in action.  Since God is a God of love in action, so should we, His children, put love into action.  Jesus put love into action by laying down His life for us.  The Greek word can mean to lay a foundation as well as to lay down one’s life as a sacrifice.  Jesus not only laid down His life, but He laid a foundation of faith and love in action upon which we can build our lives.
John makes it very practical for Christians.  If you have been blessed with an abundance of material possessions and you have a brother or sister in need, do something about it!  God’s love in action must lead us to put love into action as well.  You can’t trim your cable plan down a little bit to save a few bucks to sponsor a needy child?  You can’t cut $100.00 a year out of your clothes budget to send to a missionary?  You can’t give up one or two lattes a week to help a struggling family in your church?  You can’t or you won’t?  It’s not a reflection on God’s blessings in your life.  It is a reflection of God’s love in your life.  
Do you realize how much God loves you?  Is His love in you at all?  We can talk a good game about loving God and loving people, but if we won’t put our faith in action, we’re just a crashing cymbal or clanging gong.  We can say that we love God, but if we don’t show it, we’re just crashing away.  We can say that we love people, but if we don’t show it, we’re just clanging away on our gongs.  Put down your cymbals and gongs and instead, pick a brother or sister up and love them with actions and not just words.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I need Your love in my life to spill over into the lives of others.  Help me to see the needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Help me to have the courage and boldness in love to do something about them.  Help me to live a life of sacrificial love like Jesus.  Amen.

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