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Love and Sacrifice

There are two things that I would like to talk about today; love and sacrifice. These two words are deep in their significance and meaning, they are a totality of scripture in a wonderful summary. They are so simple, yet so extremely difficult. These two words are both defined by the world and by the Bible, with the definitions in contrast. If you were to take all of scripture as incredibly vast as it is, it can be summarized in love and sacrifice.

The first message is this. God loves you, so love God and other people. How is God’s love demonstrated to us? On the cross, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God does not love you because you are lovable, God does not love you because you are good, God does not love you because you are someone great, God does not love you because of your beauty, God does not love you because you are desirable. God loves you because He is love, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Isn’t that wonderful? No matter what you have thought, no matter what you have said, and no matter what you have done, God loves you. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

So let us define love from the Word of God. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Jesus is the expression of God in a man. Jesus before going to the cross gave a command to His disciples, and that command is love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). Not only does He tell us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ but he also tells us to even love the unlovable, to love our enemies. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). People will often love someone because being around that person gives them good feelings. When is love true love? Love is true love when it benefits you nothing. Jesus loved the world, and the world spit in His face. Jesus loved the world, and the world beat Him. Jesus loved the world, and the world hung Him on a cross until He suffered and died. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). So if God loves you like that, don’t you think you should love like God, in loving other people?

The second message is this. God sacrificed everything to save you, so sacrifice everything. God sacrificed everything, Himself, so that you might live. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God the Father gave His only begotten Son. Begotten is the best translation and it literally means came out of. Jesus literally came out of God, He is God. So when the Bible says He gave His only begotten Son it is saying He gave Himself. And what He gave was everything. Think about this for a minute, go outside on a clear night and look at the sky and the vastness of the universe and all it contains. Climb a mountain and gaze at the wonder of the earth. Watch the birds fly, fish swim, a horse run, and a child play; all of which magnify the glory of God. Then think about this; Jesus was with God before time began, before creation. God had Him lower Himself to take on the form of lowly man to redeem man from this fallen world. Think about how difficult that most have been, and to do that knowing that the very people He was saving would curse Him, spit on Him, beat Him, hate Him, and murder Him. Amazing!!! Jesus while being fully God was also fully man. The fact that he subjected Himself to this fleshy state is a sacrifice beyond imagination. Jesus felt pain, hunger, thirst, sadness, disappointment, and He also faced temptation.

Let us just for a moment look at one of these, temptations. What an incredible thing it is that God would subject Himself to this. We as fleshy human beings have real physical needs and it is our desire to have those needs met. Sin occurs when a real physical need meets desire, which desire gives way to temptation, and temptation to sin. Jesus while He was fully God He was fully man, and being fully man He was subject to everything we as men are subject to. I will use to describe this, a sin that easily besets a man. God created in man a real physical need to procreate, to have sex and multiply, and what God has created is good. God said: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). God set this to be done within a marriage between one man and one woman. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5 & Genesis 2:24). The two become one flesh. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). So God created in man the real physical need to multiply. That real physical need that is good, gives way to desire, a desire to have sex, which is good. Once a man has that desire then he can become subject to temptation. Not all but many women in our society flaunt themselves; they expose themselves in many different ways. So you have a man with a physical need to procreate which gives him the desire to have sex, then a woman with a low cut dress comes into his eye site exposing here breast (her cleavage); so then you have instantaneously within this man a temptation to lust. He has a real physical need to procreate, which causes sexual desire, which is good, and then he is exposed to this woman’s cleavage which gives him the temptation to lust. Lust is an intense, strong, passionate, craving, appetite for, to delight in, or to wish for. So in this case this man who has a real physical need, which causes desire, is tempted to lust. Lust in this case would be that he desires to have sex with this woman that has come into his view, that no longer does he just have an innate sexual desire, which is good, but he desires to have sex with her, the woman he just saw, he takes delight in her, and has an appetite for, which is sin. Lust is sin, Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28). There are three things this man cannot avoid: His physical need, his innate sexual desire, and temptation. Once faced with temptation he has a choice; to turn away and put it out of his mind, or to allow his innate sexual desire to turn into a directed desire for the woman that has entered into his vision.

This is but one temptation that men face every day. This is but one type of temptation amongst many. It is so incredibly difficult to wether all of the temptations that you face in just a single day, sometimes in a single hour much less a lifetime. Thank God that Jesus did it for us. God really did sacrifice everything. Can you imagine having the same body we have, and being faced with the same temptations we are faced with everyday and never once giving in to temptation and sinning, the incredible sacrifice that it took. Then the cross; He was cursed by sinful men, spit on, mocked, beaten, carried His own instrument of death, hung on a cross to suffer and die. And He felt everything; the physical pain as well as the emotional pain. Then God the father turns His back on Him and He dies a sinner’s death going to Hell so you wouldn’t have to. Jesus went to hell, He died a sinner’s death, He died and went to hell. But because He is God when He was ready He defeated death and hell and rose from the grave. The sacrifice is so incredible we will never in this life understand it in partiality much less fully. So if He sacrificed everything to save you, shouldn’t you sacrifice everything?

God loves you, so love God and other People. God sacrificed everything for you, so sacrifice everything.

Mike Peek

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