Week 13: Be A Living Sacrifice
When we were children, we were
self-centered. We demanded things from our parents. “I want you to carry me!”
“Give me that toy now!” If we didn’t get what we wished, we cried and we
kicked. But as we grew older, we learned to give instead of ask all the time.
We learned to please our parents and repay their love for us
The same goes with our spiritual
growth. When we first came to the Lord, we had many requests. We asked for
healing; we asked for peace; we asked for quick answers to our problems. But as
we get to know our Lord and appreciate his love more and more,we want to give him something in return.
How can we repay Christ’s love for
us? Will God be pleased with our wealth and possessions? Paul urges us, “I
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable
service” (Rom 12:1). What God wants from you is not what you have, but YOU—with
all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all
your strength. This is what it means to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice,
and this is the offering that pleases our Lord.
The way to repay Christ is to live
for him. In fact, this is only our duty. Christ has purchased us with his
blood. We are not our own (1Co 6:19). We now belong to him. Since Christ laid
down his life for us, we should no longer live for ourselves but for him who
died for us and was raised again (2Cor 5:15).
Living for Christ begins with
learning to give. This as well as the following lessons will focus on the theme
of offering and dedication. When we give ourselves fully to the Lord, he will
use us to accomplish his great purpose.We will become
instruments through which Christ brings his love to the world. Our lives will
also have purpose and meaning.
Some Basic Principles
Sacrifice Out of Love.
We need a lot of love to
sacrifice for God, his kingdom, and his people (2 Cor
8:8; ). But we may
wonder how we should go about sacrificing ourselves for God. We sacrifice
ourselves by giving up what we have. And we must understand that sacrifices
require a lot of love on our part. Zacchaeus, a chief
tax collector, willingly gave up half his possessions to the poor and
reimbursed victims of his ill-gotten gain because he experienced a great love
from Jesus. The Bible says we love God because God first loved us (1 Jn ).
Those who have never felt or experienced selfless love will find it very hard
to selflessly love others. So the first step in learning how to give and offer
ourselves to the Lord is learning to love God and man (Deut 6:5; Mt ).
Transform Our Mind.
To be a living sacrifice for
Christ, we can’t only offer up our body; we need to offer up our mind as well.
The Bible says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2). If we are to devote ourselves to God, we
need to transform our mind. As disciples, we can no longer think like people in
this world think; we can no longer do what everyone else does. To be selfish
and self-seeking is all too common, but only if we have Christ’s mind can we
willingly serve and love others selflessly (1 Cor ; Phil 2:5-45).
Give our Heart to Jesus.
Before we can give our worldly
treasures to God, we must first give Jesus our heart. Jesus said, “Where your
treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt ). That’s why Jesus praised a poor widow once upon
seeing her put two small pennies into the temple treasury. After Jesus saw what
this poor widow did, he called his disciples to him and told them it wasn’t the
amount that impressed him, but the fact that the poor widow gave her whole
livelihood (Mk -45).
Now if we think about it, this widow didn’t have much to give to anyone, let
alone the temple treasury; yet, she willingly gave her whole heart to God.
Use Your Spiritual Gifts.
If you want to become a living
sacrifice for Christ, you need to use the spiritual gifts God has given you to
serve other brothers and sisters in Christ (Rom 12:5-45; Eph 4:11f; 1 Pet
4:10f). It is your service and love for others that make you a living sacrifice
in God’s holy temple (the church). In the New Testament, there’s no longer a Temple with appointed
priests or daily animal sacrifices; rather, we’re all priests of God’s church
(1 Pet 2:9). Since we are given the status as God’s priests and can offer up
ourselves as living sacrifices, we must learn how to use the gifts and talents
God gives us to help build up his church and proclaim his glory (Mt 25:14-45; Lk 19:11-45; Eph 4:12; 1 Pet 2:9). If you are good at
encouraging others, you should encourage others. If you are good at
evangelizing to others, you should evangelize. Whatever your gift is, use it
for God’s glory and his kingdom to the best of your ability. In this way, God
will add more and more to your sacrifices, and you’ll never feel you’ve lost
Offer Up Your Wealth.
Many people today are disgusted
when organized religion asks for donations and contributions, especially when
they think a corrupt motive is involved. The fact is, a lot of misappropriation of funds among organized religious leaders have
taken place. Nevertheless, the spirit of giving in the True Jesus Church should
be for you, a willing and joyful sacrifice. We should realize the church is not
a geographical place, building, or human organization. God’s church consists of
God’s people—divinely called and gathered out of the world as God’s holy and
special people. So while the money a church receives may be used to purchase or
improve church buildings, the money must ultimately be spent for the good of
the entire congregation – as is true when the electricity, gas, and water bills
are paid on time at your local church.
Give Willingly and Joyfully.
Offering to God shouldn’t be a
struggle, for in the end, what we receive from God and his church is worth much
more than we could ever pay for in terms of cash (Mal 3:10-12) . The Bible
encourages us to offer up our wealth and resources willingly and joyfully (2 Cor 8:3, 12; 9:5, 7). It is not the amount you offer to
church that’s important, but it’s your willingness to give that really counts.
If you give willingly to the church, your gift is accepted according to as much
as you have, not according to what you don’t (2 Cor ). So you should give as much as
you can, according to your ability and your heart. In terms of money, you may
be asking, “How much is enough?” Many churches today feel a tithe, or 10%, is
required giving, since Jacob (Israel)
vowed to give God 10% of all God gave him (Gen 28:22). These churches say
tithes are required to support church ministers, just like tithes were used to
support the priests and Levites who works for the tabernacle ministry (Num
18:21-45; cf. 1 Cor 9:7-45). However, today we don’t
generally set an amount you must give under compulsion, because giving should
be done according to your heart and not according to your guilt. Paul says, “He
who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will
also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart…” (2 Cor 9:6f). If you are willing to give 10%, 20%, 30% or
more, who is to say no. This is a private matter
between you and the Lord.
Give Your Time and Energy.
Your physical life is finite—a
fixed period of time and energy—so you should number your days and spend your
time wisely (Ps 39:4; 90:12; Eccl 8:5f). We often hear encouragement from
pastors and elders in the church to avoid wasting time on worldly pursuits and
enjoyment; yet, realizing you need to stop wasting time on the things of this
world means nothing if you don’t know what you’re going to do with the time
you’re not wasting. So it’s important to discover what God’s will for you in
your life is. What do you think God wants you to do with your time and energy?
You can only productively focus your time and energy in something valuable if
you know what that something valuable is. It’s hard to get somewhere if you
don’t know where you’re going or why you’re heading there.
What Does God Want Us to Do?
No sacrifice pleases God more
than obedience and submission (1Sam ).
When Jesus came to the world, he offered the best sacrifice by dedicating
himself to carrying out God’s will (Heb 10:5-7). While we diligently serve God
and give him our time or energy for God, we have to think about what God wants
us to do. We need to learn to respect God’s will in every choice that we make.
Being a living sacrifice ultimately boils down to being what the Lord want you
to be, saying what that Lord want you to say, and doing what the Lord want you
to do. A life that is centered on God’s will is a
fragrant offering that pleases the Lord.
Write down other guidelines that
have worked for you.
Write down new ideas that could
work for you.
The greatest offering ever made in the history
of mankind was ______________.
Why must we offer ourselves as a “living
What can you do to offer yourself as a “living
sacrifice?” Can you do this at home, at work, and at school? Or does it only
count if you become an ordained minister?
Memorize Mt 6:21 and write it down.
What does it mean for you to offer up your mind?
(Rom 12:2)If you’re concerned that offering tithes will create a hardship for
you and your family, what’s the scripture that shall give you faith?
You offer because you want to, not because you
have to. T/F
Read 2 Cor . What does this verse teach you
What did Paul say was the reason God gave us
different gifts? (Eph 4:11-16)
Read Rom 12:3-8. What are the gifts God has
given you with which you may now offer generously and cheerfully?
recently converted to Christianity. Before he experienced God’s love, Moses was
an atheist, who felt God didn’t exist. As an atheist, Moses thought the best
thing in life was to be happy and find pleasure in all his pursuits. Moses was
also born into a very poor family, yet he studied hard and put forth his best
effort to get a high-paying job. After Moses was baptized, a church brother
came up to him and told him that he should donate 10% of all his income to the
church. The church brother said it was his moral obligation to do so. Suddenly,
Moses felt an extreme struggle and conflict within his heart. Eventually, Moses
willingly gave in to what his conscience was telling him to do. Moses gave the
church 10% of his next paycheck, but Moses kept feeling like giving away this
money was such a great loss. As a result of his feelings, Moses decided to put
in a double effort to make more money. He exhausted himself with overtime work,
so he could increase his income. Eventually, Moses became so spent from his
long work hours, he would often fall asleep during
Do you see a problem with Moses’ spirit of giving?
If you were Moses’ church friend, how would you counsel Moses?
What do you think God would want Moses to give to him?
Orpah, a church
sister, is currently in college. She spends most of her time at school.
Unfortunately, there are no other brothers and sisters at Orpah’s
school, and most of Orpah’s
friends are unbelievers. As a result of spending a lot of time with them, she
often doesn’t have much time to read the Bible or commune with God in prayer. Orpah’s night life usually consists of going out to dinner
with her friends, catching the latest movie, and then coming back to watch the
one-hour TV dramas she’s recorded with her roommates. During the day, Orpah generally busies herself with extracurricular
activities, school work, and part-time job. After several months, Orpah begins to think about using more of her time for God.
But she doesn’t know where to begin. She often asks herself, “Does God want me
to just cut myself off from my friends? I mean how can I keep my friends if I
don’t spend time with them?” Orpah really feels like
she isn’t doing much for God except faithfully attend Sabbath services. And
even when Orpah goes to church, she feels like she
doesn’t get much out of it.
Do you think there are problems with Orpah’s attitude
at church or the way she spends her time and money?
Is there anything about Orpah’s confusion in her
spiritual life that you can relate to? Discuss your answers with others.
How do you think Orpah can live a more meaningful
life as a Christian disciple?
learned how you should use your spiritual gifts for Christ in this lesson
(e.g., if you have the gift of evangelizing, you should evangelize). There’s no
secret formula for discovering your spiritual gifts; instead, you need to try
your hand at doing something (like evangelizing) before you can discover if God
works with you (like evangelizing). Spiritual gifts don’t always show
themselves right away, so you should try your best at doing a variety of things
for God. For your activity, make a list of spiritual gifts you feel you could
use to glorify God and help others in church. Over the next month, try to use
the gifts you listed to glorify God and edify the church. Evaluate your
progress at the end of the month. Did you feel like you tried to accomplish
something? If you didn’t try, try to do better. If you tried, yet feel you
accomplished nothing, don’t be discouraged. The sacrifices you offer will often
seem ineffective until God work is manifested; yet, you must steadfastly use
your spiritual gifts, fervently pray for God’s abidance, and patiently wait for
God’s work (1 Kgs 18:32-45; 1 Cor
3:6; Gal 6:9f; 2Thess 3:10).