Passion for Sacrifice

The Gospel is marked by sacrifice. “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Sacrifice means, to give up something you love for something you love more. But for us, the measure of God’s love is shown by two things: 1. His willingness to die for our sins 2. How much we needed Him to die for our sins. We are far worse than we think we are and He is far more gracious than we can imagine. 

In God’s case, he gave up something he loved most that we who were not worthy could have eternal life. The person God sent toIMG_3586 save us was his own divine Son, His only Son and the king of the world (Isaiah 9:6-7). When we consider the horrifying death by crucifixion that Christ endured it becomes clear that the sacrifice the Father and the Son made was extremely great especially when you consider that Jesus did not need to suffer and that God did not need to make this sacrifice.

After witnessing the death and resurrection of Christ you can understand why Peter and John defied their rulers and elders when warned not to speak to anyone about Jesus. Instead they replied “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the Judges! As for us we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” Nothing was going to stop them from declaring that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4:17-20; 4:12).  Peter and John understood what Jesus did for them and were therefore willing to sacrifice their lives for Christ and his cause.

Most of you here will be doing ministry and will be living in resourced urban centres.  You are going to live among people who have spent their lives in the pursuit of comfort, convenience and consumption instead of conscious sacrifice. And sadly, even among the pastors you encounter you may struggle to find ones who support the lifestyle of Peter, John or Paul. What you will find instead are lots of prophets, bishops, “Dr’s” or Rev. whose lives are marked by unrestrained consumption and who preach that wealth is always a sign of God’s blessing and that poverty, illness or early death is always a sign of a curse. They say you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, and that is true, but you also can’t believe everything you hear from the pulpit or from a “man of God”. You must be wise to how the world works. Just as there are riches acquired by oppression, deceit, or corruption, often time’s poverty and even death are a result of injustice, corruption and exploitation. For example, we have thousands of children who are not in school today because of systematic injustice. We have thousands of people who fall sick every day because they have no access to clean water.

As students of the Bible we know that Jesus suffered and died to show the depth of God’s love and grace to you and me, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). Peter Paul and John understood the same. More importantly, they understood the purpose of their lives to be more like a hose pipe than a holding tank. The riches of grace they had received were not supposed to be stored up as status symbols but poured out and shared with others.

Friends, let me now remind you of the gospel that Paul preached “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1Cor15:-4). I charge you to proclaim this gospel. The bible tells us that Christ suffered and died as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Christ is not calling us to die for the sins of others but he is calling to us to lay down our lives of unconscious materialism and take up our calling to bring God’s hope and healing to a broken world. John 3:16 is a wakeup call for every church leader and follower of Christ longing for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven. I urge you to pray, too fast and to go. Together we can see a movement of sacrifice service that lets all of Zambia hear the message that Jesus Christ is Lord of every aspect of our lives.

Lawrence Temfwe (message to Bible College students)