‘If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious…’
Have you Friend? Have you tasted a little of His love to you?
Have you come to Jesus in all your weakness and need and found in Him a Saviour?
‘To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious…’
If so then…
‘Ye also, as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’
The old system of sacrificing animals was finished when Jesus died on the cross becoming to one perfect sacrifice for sin and yet here we see that there are these spiritual sacrifices to be offered but what are they?
‘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.’
First of all, if we’ve been born again we’ve been bought with a price and we no longer belong to ourselves…
‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’
So we see that our lives are no longer ours for us to live to please ourselves but to glorify God and that will mean sacrifice, it may mean giving up things that we love if God shows us do not please Him.
It may not be something wrong in itself and may be very different for one person than another depending on what it is in our lives that pulls us away from God and distracts us from living our lives for Him and for His glory.
Maybe social media is a distraction to you or a love of shopping, maybe you have an unhealthy relationship with food, looking to that for comfort rather than turning to God?
Maybe you don’t think there is anything that pulls you away from God in your life, if so I’d just encourage you to ask God to open your eyes in case there is and you’re missing it.
Maybe this all sounds very depressing, why should we want to follow a God who makes us give up things we enjoy?
Because Friends when we sacrifice those distraction for Jesus sake we gain the joy of a closer walk with God which far exceeds any earthly pleasure!!
So what other sacrifices do we see mentioned?
‘Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.’
Initially praise and thanksgiving don’t sound like sacrifices but what if God asks you to praise Him in those hard times, to praise Him as you watch someone you love fade away, to thank Him as you sit by the bed of someone you love that is dying?
It’s a sacrifice then Friends but it’s a sacrifice that as God helps you to offer it, will bring that peace that passes all understanding. I’ve been there and I’ve proved the peace and joy it brings.
Friend, is there something in your life you need to be pausing and thanking God for?
Paul in his letter to the Hebrews also tells us to…
‘offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name…’
But he adds this…
‘But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.’
Here we see doing good and communicating or sharing what we have is added to praise and thanksgiving.
Friends, everything we have is not truly ours, it’s all been given to us by God and we have so much compared to so many, are we willing to sacrifice and share with open hands and hearts?
Then there’s this…
‘And to love him [God] with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’
Is love a sacrifice? Well firstly this Greek word ‘agapao’ translated here as love is a verb, this love isn’t a feeling it’s a doing!
Do all our actions show a whole hearted love, yes first to God but secondly to those around us, to everyone around us! To those that are unkind or who we would naturally avoid?
Are we willing to make this sacrifice of wholehearted love for everyone for the sake of Jesus who gave up everything for us?
Again friends, it’s the path of peace! Is there some way we can show a little of the love of Christ in us today to those around us that we wouldn’t naturally love?
Friends, do we love the One who sacrificed His life for us, enough to make sacrifices for Him?
1 Peter 2:3-5, Rom 12:1, 1 Cor 6:19-20, Ps 107:21-22, Heb 13:15-16, Mark 12:33,