Great Sacrifice

Great Sacrifice

By: Bill Crowder

Hebrews 10:5-18

The Lord Jesus Christ . . . gave himself for our sins to rescue us. Galatians 1:3-4

W. T. Stead, an innovative English journalist at the turn of the 20th century, was known for writing about controversial social issues. Two of the articles he published addressed the danger of ships operating with an insufficient ratio of lifeboats to passengers. Ironically, Stead was aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. According to one report, after helping women and children into lifeboats, Stead sacrificed his own life by giving up his life vest and a place in the lifeboats so others could be rescued.

There is something very stirring about self-sacrifice. No greater example of that can be found than in Christ Himself. The writer of Hebrews says, “This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God . . . . For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:12,14 nkjv). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul opened with words describing this great sacrifice: “The Lord Jesus Christ . . . gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age” (Gal. 1:3-4).

Jesus’ offering of Himself on our behalf is the measure of His love for us. That willing sacrifice continues to rescue men and women and offer assurance of eternity with Him.

God of love and grace, words can never capture the wonder of the sacrifice that Christ offered on our behalf. May our love respond to You with faith and worship—for Your Son who was slain is worthy of our praise.

Jesus laid down His life to show His love for us.

Spiritual Mercenary

swat-gun-weaponAccording to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a mercenary is a soldier who is paid by a foreign country to fight in its army: a soldier who will fight for any group or country that hires him.

When I think about a mercenary, my mind is geared towards an individual that is driven by money. That money is usually fuel for a cause in the individual who is being hired.

Mercenaries are considered to be people that have strayed away from an oath they believe to be true at one time, but because of some level of offense or disappointment, they have gone rogue in the process. Because they still believe in the oath they have taken to be good, the injustice that has occurred has tainted their beliefs to cause them to fight against the very thing in which they once stood to upheld.

In the 26th chapter of Matthew Jesus and his disciples were at Simon the leper’s house. While they were there a woman had broken an alabaster5abalabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on Jesus’ head while they sat at meat. The scriptures go on to say that while his disciples saw it, they wondered why she would waist such precious ointment, and then made the statement, “The ointment may have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Some believe it was Judas Iscariot which made the statement because he was the one in charge of the money. Please view (http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-26-9.html).

Right after this statement Jesus rebuked them concerning the woman, and now one particular disciple is offended, Judas. The scripture says in verse 14-15 “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.” Judas is like many of us today, we are offended easily and look for ways to betray others.

tumblr_inline_n4awv89VUn1r1azqcSome of us may take on a form of betrayal in a way of starting a church Christ hasn’t appointed you to start just yet. Though this may be something down the road, the season is not yet near. So, what you do is leave the ministry the Lord has planted you in because you feel as though your pastor is holding you back, and he/she is constantly correcting you. You allow the voice of division to separate you by setting you up in a church they will pay for, and promise you fortune and fame to further your cause. You betray your leader for dirty spiritual money in order to further a cause you believe you must fight for.

The very love of money has always been the root to the evil done in this world. Money in and of itself is not evil, but the way mankind use money to bribe others to do their bidding is. When a leader is willing to take a pay check, and not deal with sin for fear their money will stop, he/she has become a spiritual mercenary. I say this because Jeremiah 23 talks about how the leaders are becoming fat, and are not feeding God’s sheep, and by doing so, they are falling by the wayside. John 10 also talks about how the hireling cares nothing for the sheep. The hireling will allow the sheep to be destroyed because they only care about money.

Mercenaries believe their cause is just and pure, but it isn’t. Many mercenaries know what they are doing is wrong, but like Judas, they have stormbeen offended in some kind of way, and that offense is driving them down a path of spiritual and physical destruction. Luke 17:1 says, “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” Offenses will come your way, but do not allow the offense to damage you to a point where you began to damage others for some form of monetary gain. Everything is not always in dollar bills, but what price have you received to get back at someone who has wrong you?

In order to avoid offense, and allow ourselves to be purchased at Satan’s expense, we have to keep our heart pure before the Lord, and stay open and honest with those who hold us accountable. Release them from that debt you believe they owe you, and ask Jesus to help you forgive in a way you would want to be forgiven.

Please pray this prayer:

~TAKE NO OFFENSES~

“Father, in the name of Jesus,
I have seen in Your Word,
that I have to let offenses go.
Your Word says that I must forgive
those who have hurt me
because You forgave me.
I repent of this
& I ask for Your forgiveness.
I cannot forgive them in my own strength.
I have to have You!
Therefore, as an act of my will,
I choose to forgive.
As the Heavenly Father has freely
forgiven me of my sins,
I freely forgive ____________
for the injustice I feel they have done unto me.
I forgive them.
I release them.
I let it go.
The debt has been paid in Jesus’ Name!
According to Your Word,
I believe that the original,
unpayable debt against me has been paid.
I am free! I am free!
I declare that I am free in Jesus’ Name!
Hallelujah!
Amen.”

prayer taken from Angelfire.com

 

Gossip

The word gossip according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others:

I have learned over the course of time that the revealing of personal information about an individual is more devastating than a lie that is told on a person. The Bible says in Proverbs 11:13, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”

Any time a person reveals your most intimate information he/she is not a faithful friend because a friend is supposed to stick closer to you than a brother. I know that my brother would go to bat for me, and would not allow anyone to degrade me before him, and vice versa.

Now I am not saying that if someone has committed a crime, or if the individual is operating in a matter that will affect the flock, or a group setting that it should be held, because the Lord does not want us to be ignorant of Satan’s devices, neither does he want us to conceal sin. What I am saying is when a person begins to confess their faults before the Lord (and the Lord has allowed us to hear this confession) we should extend a heart of mercy, and forgiveness.

An example is the woman that was caught in the very act of adultery John 8:1-11. The men brought her to Jesus just so they could have a reason to accuse Him, but our Lord is wise. Just like these men that had information on this woman, we as a people do likewise.

Once we have heard, or have seen something about someone, we are always running to the preacher, or someone with an itching ear to tell it. Now what got my attention about this is that if the woman was caught in the very act, then where did these other men come from? Were they already there, or did they start a rumor chain which caused these men to gather together and expose this deed?

Now when Jesus began to write on the ground the scripture says that he did this as if he didn’t hear them. I have heard many things about what Jesus wrote, but my mind goes to the ground being the heart, and the word being written in our heart, so that we won’t sin against Him. Now I believe that if we take the time to allow the word to be written upon our heart every time something negative is presented to us, we won’t have time to listen to mess on other people. Romans 2:1 says, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

We have to begin to confront those talebearers when they come to us with intimate details of someone’s past, or current mistake. We must also realize that every time we open our mouth to expose someone we have released a stone in their direction to kill them. The way that we are killing people is by releasing stones of discouragement, lack of trust, betrayal, resentment, un-forgiveness, anger, offense, and possibly the individual never being able to come into the fullness of Christ.

Once we stop the cycle of stone throwing (just like Jesus did with these men), then others will get convicted of their wrong deeds, drop their stone, and walk away from your presence. So let’s stop this vicious cycle of biting and devouring one another, and let’s learn how to love each other the way that Christ intended for us to love.

The first part of Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing……”

1 Peter 4:8 says, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

Humility, Obedience, and Loyalty

The story of the prodigal son makes mention of a young man wasting his substance. Substance is the essential nature of a Christian. As an  individual our substance should be so real that our ultimate nature should mirror our LORD and saviour. 

The prodigal son wasted his substance because he failed to keep three essential components of his existence: Humility, Obedience, and Loyalty. Proverbs 29:23 says that a man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. When we fail to walk in humility we are allowing pride to take rule in our heart.

Pride will cause us to challenge authority, think of ourselves more highly than we ought to, and refuse instruction. Once we gain what belong to us without humility, we will have the mind frame of a portion of Revelation 3:17. Our pride will tell us because I am rich, and increased with goods, that I do not have need of nothing. Our lack of humility blinds us from the reality that we are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

The wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked part begins to manifest because we have become a man or woman that has looked in the mirror of truth, and when we decided to go our own way, we forgot what manner of person we were. Humility will cause us to accept the flaws that we see, but pride will always make us forget what state we are really in.

Once we have destroyed humility by allowing pride in, we will destroy ourselves more by our lack of obedience. Obedience is a governor for us like a governor to a car. The speedometer may show 140 mph, but the governor may only allow you to do 100 mph because anything pass that can be instant death.

Deuteronomy 17:12 says, “The man that will do presumptuously (overstepping due bounds) and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.” The father allowed his son to be put away from him because the son overstepped his bounds by not hearkening to the priest of the home.

Hearkening goes hand in hand with obedience because if we cannot give respectful attention to authority, then we will not follow the commands or guidance of authority. The bible tells us in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 that we will receive blessings in our body, our store house, our cattle, and many other areas concerning us. Blessings will always fall on those that give respectful attention to the commandments of the Lord, and His servants that He has placed over our lives to instruct us in the ways of righteousness.

This also bring to mind the third point, Loyalty. Loyalty is faithfulness in our devotion to one’s lawful sovereign or government. When we allow humility to slide from under us, we will begin to lose our desire to walk in obedience. Once we have allowed obedience to slide as well, we will lose our level of loyalty. People that are not loyal, are traitors. Traitors are people that make every attempt to overthrow leadership, and is false in their obligation or duties. 

1 Peter 2:13 instructs us to submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: this is our civil duty, but it is important that we pay allegiance to the rules that govern us. When we are disloyal, we will begin to attach ourselves with citizens that mean us no good. I can remember in a movie where a soldier left his army because the enemy’s army seemed to be of greater stature. When this soldier left his army and crossed over, the general of the enemy’s army called him a traitor because he began to tell all of their secrets. 

To make a long story short, the general gave this traitor a lecture about the world being full of traitors, and that it didn’t need anymore. After his lecture, the general called for one of his soldier’s to tie the man to the floor with his legs open, and the soldier struck the traitor in his private area with a mallet. The purpose of the general doing this was he felt the world did not need to be populated anymore with traitors. When we are traitors to the gospel we cannot reproduce seeds of righteousness. We can only reproduce what we are, traitors. Romans 5:19 says, “For as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” 
 
God is calling for His sons and daughters to walk in great humility. The way that we allow humility to enter into our lives is through fasting (Psalm 35:13), through trials and tribulations (Deuteronomy 8:3), and not making a reputation for ourselves (Philippians 2:7-8). Those trials will also cause obedience to come into our lives. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Christ learned obedience by the things that he suffered.”

The suffering that we shall experience is: keeping our body under subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27), and suffering for the sake of the gospel (2 Timothy 2:12, 1 Peter 3:14-17). We should love to obey the Lord because in our willingness to obey, he said that we would eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19), and our days will be lengthened (1 Kings 3:14). 
 
Loyalty causes us to be faithful. We can never rule over anything until we learn how to be faithful. Loyalty causes us to get up and seek the Lord early, it causes us to hearken to His voice, it causes us to stay within our boundaries of righteousness, and it causes us to always bless the name of the Lord no matter what the situation. Though we may mess up, we have an advocate that goes before the Father on our behalf because we have humbled ourselves before the mighty hand of God, and have made an allegiance to follow His commandments.

We must submit ourselves to the Lord and resist the devil. We do this by destroying pride with humility, destroying disobedience with obedience, and destroying the spirit of a traitor with loyalty. Then and only then, will we possess the power of Christ to overthrow the workings of the enemy in our lives (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).