Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons






The Pulling Force of Sacrifice


“Sacrifices move people.  They melt people.  They stop people in their tracts and make them ask, ‘Why?  Why would you go out of your way for me?  What would motivate you to put my interests before your own?’”   Sacrifices impact people for a lifetime. And in a day when narcissistically ‘looking out for number one’ has been elevated to an art form, almost any kind of sacrifice will cause a stir’” (Becoming a Contagious Christian, pp. 81,82).  Just think how many of us have been impacted by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”.  Galatians 2:20"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me”.  2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf”.


The Sacrifice of Time


“Time, as they say, is money, and it’s becoming about as rare of a commodity.  Work weeks are longer, leisure breaks are shorter, and the pace of life is faster.  USA Today recently poked fun at the madness of most of our schedules, calculating that if we did all we’re supposed to do to live what the experts say is a balanced, well-rounded life, it would require forty-two hours a day to get it all done!” (p. 84).  “Most of us grossly underestimate the effect we could have on people’s eternities if we would take the time to schedule a breakfast or lunch with lost people in our sphere of influence.  If we’d just make an appointment, and then take a risk in the conversation by clearly expressing the essence of what it means to know Christ personally, heaven only knows what might happen” (p. 85).  We need to be impressed how “time” played such an important role in New Testament conversions.  Before Zacchaeus could hear the truth, Jesus had to take the time to go to his house and turn the conversation to spiritual matters (Luke 19:5-10).   “Almost all of us rub shoulders every day with people who are seeking.  They’re looking for someone who will take the time and effort required to help them come to some solid conclusions about spiritual truth” (pp. 84-85).  (Acts 8:29-35; Acts 10:33).  Time is so elusive and can be wasted so easily (Ephesians 5:16 “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil”).  “Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days” (Phi).   Time can easily be wasted and diverted during “evil” days.  For the devil can convince us that there will always be another opportunity, or, “it isn’t the right time”, or, “you have something you have to do first”.


Real Sacrifice Over The Long Haul


The sacrifice that is meaningful is long-term and consistent, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).  “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31).  “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).  This means that we must keep on living the Christian life which is backed up by words and deeds.  In addition, we must be prepared for people to be cynical or suspicious about our conversion.  The world is filled with zealous believers who are only zealous for a season and then they are on to something else(Matthew 13:20-21).  “The hard-core types inwardly smirk and say:  ‘This too shall pass.  A year from now you’ll be into astrology or crystals.’  Don’t be surprised if this is the attitude of some of the people closest to you, including family members.  They’re the ones who have seen you go through all kinds of phases before:  earths shoes, eccentric diets, tae kwon do classes, pyramid marketing schemes, subliminal tapes you played under your pillow each night to improve your attitude, and the like.  Now you’re coming along and saying, ‘I’ve found what’s been missing in my life all of these years,  It’s Jesus Christ!’  And they’re thinking, ‘Yeah, isn’t that what you were saying about those herbal food supplements a couple of years ago?’  Do you see the problem? Maybe you haven’t dabbled in all these fads, but if you’re like most people, you’ve probably been through enough excursions in full view of these people to make them a bit calloused to the latest claims” (pp. 89-90).


In addition, most people in our country probably do go through some type of “religious fad” or cycle in their life where they are really religious.  The world is filled with ex-Mormons, ex-Witnesses, ex-fundamentalists, and even ex-members of the Church. Each one of these people probably has convinced at least 10 other people that being really serious about God is “just a stage”. “The history books are full of stories of believers who burst out of the starting blocks with incredible energy and enthusiasm but who wound up being sidelined only a lap or two into the race.  And this causes doubters to disbelieve all the more.  Untold damage has been done to the cause of Christ because some people gear up for a sprint when they need to train for the marathon” (p. 90).


Romans 12:1-2 “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Hebrews 12:1-6 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 4You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

6For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives”.  Luke 14:25-35 “Now great multitudes were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? 29"Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30saying,' This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31"Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32"Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace. 33"So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. 34"Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35"It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."


Part of sitting down and counting the cost, involves counting the cost of maintaining high-integrity, high-sacrifice, high-compassion, and a godly life day after day.  You will have to live it not just at services, but at home, at work or school, in the neighborhood, and in all other situations.  And running the race means running it for years, maybe half a century or more, running it when we are poor or rich, young and old, when life is good and when life is hard. 




Being a Christian involves putting our money where our mouth is.  1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth”; James 2:14-17

14What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself”. 


Matthew’s Example


Luke 5:29-32 “And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax-gatherers and other people who were reclining at the table with them. 30And the Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax-gatherers and sinners?" 31And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32"I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."


1.     Sacrifice means mingling with sinners, New Testament Christianity is person-to-person, friend-to-friend, and neighbor-to-neighbor. 


2.     There’s a common misconception that evangelism solely involves making contact with people we don’t know.  Sadly, we often overlook sharing the gospel with people we have known for along time.  Matthew invited all his old associates to meet Jesus.


3.     There are so many opportunities that we have to do what Matthew did, that is, invite sinners to mingle with Christians. 


4.     Matthew also invited people that he used to know.  “Few people make an effort to stay in contact with their acquaintances once they leave school, a job, or a neighborhood.  Even friendships that were relatively close tend to dissolve within a year or two after one of the parties moves away” (p. 113).  Evangelism involves reestablishing old friendships, looking up people with whom you have lost touch.


5.     Focus on people, not programs.  So many religious groups get focused on one program after another.  Note that Matthew made the personal effort and sacrifice.  Too often people wait for the congregation to do something, without realizing that they can move and act at any time.  The only thing holding you back from reaching people is your own time and effort.


Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/503-644-9017