The Sacrifices That Lead to Praise
Through [Jesus] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:15-16, ESV). Last week I was one of three church members who was serving God as children’s camp counselors. I saw many good things take place – strong Christ-centered preaching, music that exalted Christ, children surrendering to Jesus, college students who lovingly sacrificed time and income to serve as camp leaders, friendships were formed and lives were changed. While all of us will likely rejoice at hearing about these glorious events, how many of us are willing to present ourselves daily as living sacrifices to see God move in our homes, our church, our community, and our world? Many of us have made such sacrifices in the past, but the problem with a living sacrifice is that since it is alive the sacrifice can crawl off the altar and pursue his or her own selfish desires. (Romans 12:1-3)
A few weeks ago I was listening to the late Rev. Rolfe Barnard preach a sermon called A Sweetheart Love for Jesus. In that sermon he mentioned that we can have an enormous amount of truth (and truth is most extremely important, but if the truth is not bathed in love and sacrificial serving it will simply be cold, dead doctrinal truth.) Bro. Barnard referenced the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon. He agreed that Spurgeon was certainly a great preacher, but Barnard also pointed out that there is not much difference in men. What made the difference for Spurgeon? Barnard said that Spurgeon, the great Prince of Preachers, was such a weak preacher that he needed 300 men to congregate in the basement of the church and pray while Spurgeon was preaching. These men never had the privilege of hearing Spurgeon preach during the morning worship service. Like these men, we must be willing to sacrifice if we are going to be the church that God intends for KSBC to be. Such sacrificially living cannot be done in the flesh. It can only be accomplished by means of the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Many of us do sacrificially serve during each worship service and ministry event. The ministries of nursery, Sunday School, TeamKid, Bible Buddies, Wednesday night youth Bible study, greeter, AWANA, and parking lot team are just a few examples of ministries where church members miss hearing preaching and teaching so that our members can be safe, children can be cared for so parents can hear the gospel, and children can receive Biblical instruction. This week at camp I was greatly encouraged by the example of a senior adult couple, Jack and Ann, who brought a large group of children to preteen camp. The husband was on oxygen, but he would not allow his health issue to hinder his service to the Lord. He told me that it was not a sacrifice to the serve the Lord. It was a privilege. He and his wife are ministering to many broken people in their community. They are sacrificially giving of their time and resources to make a difference in the lives of children.
What about you? Do you use your age as an excuse to not serve the Lord? You are still alive. What are you doing to proclaim and to display by your daily life the excellent gloriousness of our Lord Jesus Christ? You might say that you are young and not yet ready, but God used young David to slay Goliath. Has God given you a home with space to entertain? If so, are you willing to use it for the work of the kingdom to host additional bible studies and fellowship groups? Sometimes we will have to serve when we are tired, in pain, or even depressed. God’s power is most evident when it is flowing through broken vessels that are surrendered to Him. I challenge all of you to examine yourself and ask the Lord to reveal to you the true state of your heart. God is at work in our world. Will you join Him in seeing lives transformed and the Kingdom of God advanced in our community and our church? I’m on board. What about you?