New Hope Notes

Loving God Through Our Sacrifice
Loving God

Pastor Elwin Ahu
May 29, 2011 - W1122

Living for a cause greater than your self is difficult but self preservation is instinctive. The danger is when self preservation transforms into self gratification. It is like when exercise becomes an obsession rather than simply a way to be healthy. You fool yourself into the fantasy of never growing old or simply have an unhealthy fear of growing old. You have to realize that everybody grows old.  Gravity will simply pull everything on your body down.

King Solomon married 700 wives and had 300 concubines. His sin was his obsession with self gratification. He made himself the center of his world rather than God. Though King Solomon was married so many times, he probably did not know what real love was. So what is real love? The Bible answers, "We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters ... Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." (1 John 3:16, 18 CEV) In other word, love is best expressed when we sacrifice for others. God wants you to know that …

  1. You were created to live a life BEYOND YOURSELF.

When you feel sad and discouraged, read these verses; "My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." (Ps. 139:15-16) You are not a mistake. God Himself shaped you.

Also remember, "For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Eph. 2:10) You are an incredible work of God. You have a purpose beyond yourself. So beware of the hidden dangers. We all know that kitchen knives are dangerous. Even beds and stairs can be dangerous if you fall. But did you know that even Easy Chairs can be dangerous as well? You can be simply sitting, eating, relaxing and enjoying yourself and not realize the danger that is happening to you. Actually the danger is the things that are NOT going on while you are sitting there! While you are sitting there, you are not doing things that are helping others!

Often, if you go to a cemetery you will see headstones that have the date of birth and the date of death inscribed on them but in between those two dates will be a dash. That dash symbolizes your life. So remember …

  1. Your life will be defined by what's on your DASH.

We have to realize that all of us have only one dash. We can dye our hair all we want but we will still only have one short dash.

There are important times in our lives as the Bible says, "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things." (1 Cor. 13:11) This whole Bible chapter is about love so at first I thought that this passage was out of place. But then again, at what point in time do we grow up to become men and women? The answer is when we love others more than ourselves.

The Bible further says, "...whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant... For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:43-45) Serving others is what Jesus wanted for all of us. One great example of this is a woman named Sophia who worked her way out of the ghetto but later returned as a successful adult to start a program to care for underprivileged children in the ghetto. Another example is Father Greg Boyle who risked his life to begin Homeboy Industries in gang territory. Today Homeboy Industries trains former gang members and criminals to become productive citizens in society. So ask yourself this …

  1. What sacrifice are you willing to make for a cause GREATER than yourself?

Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37) Pat Tillman was a professional football player in the NFL and making millions of dollars. But when the 911 terrorist attack occurred, he decided that he needed to serve his country instead. He turned down millions of dollars and his glamorous professional football career and joined the military to fight the terrorists. A few years later he was killed in action.  He is a hero. Pat Tillman chose a calling over a career. This is not specifically a recruitment for the military. But I want you to take this as a recruitment for God’s army!

Discussion Suggestions

  1. What were we created for?
  2. Who shaped us?
  3. What is the most dangerous thing in your house? Why?
  4. What is on your dash?
  5. What sacrifices are you willing to make for a cause greater than yourself?