We want to complete this and other projects
Our objective is to see the completion and dedication of this temple. Interestingly, today has coincided with the thanksgiving service for the man who designed it. So, we come before the Lord with an offering to give him. We are preparing to move into the main auditorium and to complete and dedicate this temple. We believe that in the year 2020, we should be able to complete and dedicate this temple. Beyond this temple, there are other infrastructural needs for this church. We should acquire our own mission house and buy a bigger bus to the glory of God. We should also get a new car for the pastor. I believe that we are more than able to do this to the glory of God. The theme for the week, which I will speak on, is, “Sacrifice that costs.”
David sinned against God and had to sacrifice to forestall the punishment
Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.” Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.” But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21.21-24 NIV)
I believe we know the background to this story. David sinned against the Lord and this provoked the anger of the Lord against him. But God gave him three options to chose from: three years of famine, three months of being chased by his enemies, or three days of plague that would wipe out part of the population.
David must have weighed the pros and cons of all the options. He decided that, since the Lord is merciful and gracious, it would be better to fall into his hands that in the hands of his enemies. So the Lord sent a plague on Israel and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. In the process, the Lord relented. He was ready to forgive so David was instructed to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. It was then that Araunah offered him the land and oxen for the sacrifice for free but David refused to give a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. When he went ahead and paid for the land and oxen and sacrificed, the Lord withdrew his hand and the land had peace.
God is seeking a sacrifice that costs from PIWC, Atomic
God wants PIWC, Atomic to come before him with an offering and sacrifice. The one God is seeking is not one that will not cost us anything. He is not looking for an ordinary sacrifice. He is looking for a sacrifice that will cost us.
The whole Christian life is a life of sacrifice. If we want to be effective Christians, we must be men and women of sacrifice. We cannot become the kind of Christians God wants us to be without sacrifice. There is always a cost to sacrifice—to give away a comfort that is your right.
Two examples of sacrifice and what it cost
When God decided to sacrifice Jesus, it cost him is son. Secondly, when Jesus decided to be the sacrificial lamb, it cost him his life. The Bible says he came down to this world and decided that his life should be used as a sacrifice. That decision cost him his life.
God is calling us to give an offering but, in particular, what he is calling upon us to bring is a sacrifice that costs. You cannot give a sacrifice without cost for it cost God himself to give a sacrifice.
A woman known as Mother Teresa said, “A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves.” Today, and in this week, we are talking about a sacrifice that costs and makes you wonder, after you have done it, “What have I done?”
What do I mean by a sacrifice that costs?
1. It is that kind of sacrifice that when you give, you feel that virtue has come out of you. After you give it, you know that something has gone out of you. I am reminded of that widow who gave a sacrifice unto the Lord and put in two copper coins. After she did this, Jesus called his disciples and said the poor widow had given more than all the rest because the rest had given out of their abundance but she out of her poverty.
2. It is a kind of sacrifice that when you give, you look at yourself and appear to be unreasonable. “How on earth can I give an offering like this?” you may wonder. The people who look at you cannot understand you and cannot imagine what you are doing but the truth is that you are making a sacrifice that costs you. You go down in pain but come up in victory. Others may look at you and consider you unreasonable but you know the commitment you have to the Lord. God is inviting us to make a sacrifice that would cost us.
3. It is a sacrifice for which you don’t seek the opinion of others for when you do so, you will be discouraged. They will give you twenty-two reasons why you cannot give it. Paul said when he received his call from the Lord, he did not confer with flesh and blood. (Galatians 1.16) When a sacrifice costs, you don’t consult flesh and blood. God is calling you this week to make a sacrifice to the Lord that will cost you such that after you have made it, you know that virtue has gone out of you. It is a sacrifice out of the love we have for the Lord.
The devil knows the blessings in sacrifice and will try to dissuade you
The devil knows the blessings in sacrifice so he will always suggest to you why you shouldn’t make it. When I read about the people of Israel and their call out of Egypt, I can understand that the devil puts limitations on the sacrifices of people. Moses told Pharaoh that they wanted to leave to sacrifice to the Lord and his immediate reaction was, “You cannot go.” Later, he agreed to let them go but on certain conditions:
1. You can go and make your sacrifice but you cannot go far. This was because he understood the power of sacrifice. Moses told Pharaoh, they were not going to sacrifice on his land but, rather, where God had asked them to go. The point is that because the devil knows the power of sacrifices, he will always make an attempt to put a limitation on your sacrifice. He will bring up all kinds of things to prevent you from making that sacrifice but let us arise like Moses and determine that nothing will prevent us from making the sacrifice.
2. He said they and their children could go but their flocks and herds couldn’t. If they were going to make a sacrifice with their animals, how were they going to make it without their animals? Moses looked at him and told him that he must allow them to go and make their sacrifices and burnt offerings with their animals and that not a hoof should be left behind.
Moses must have said, “We shall not be moved by what you say. We are resolute in our decision and, come what may, we will not leave our livestock or anything behind. Our wives, children and possessions shall all go with us to make a sacrifice to the Lord.” May we rise up and stand up to the devil that no matter the excuses he brings up, we are going to make a sacrifice that is not ordinary—one that will cost us—and we are not ready to leave even a hoof behind.
In the times of old, the objects of sacrifice were goats, sheep, and other animals. But in our days, there are various objects including:
If you want to make a sacrifice to the Lord, you can give your time because it is priceless. It is one of the most treasured possessions in life. It is said that time is money. One of the things we can place on the altar as a sacrifice to the Lord is our time.
Making time and creating time for God’s work is essential. Time is limited. It is not there forever. Our elder, Kofi Amposah, has had a period of time to serve. A time will come when we won’t have the luxury of time. If there is a sacrifice we want to make, the time is now. I wonder how some Christians can say they don’t have time for the Lord—no time for devotion or prayer. All that has filled our minds is our jobs, businesses, and engagements. God expects you to make a sacrifice of time for him. Some even claim not to have time to go to church. When you call for a midweek service, they don’t have time. One day the creator of the air that you breath will take it away, then you will have time. Time is not just there; you must create it for the Lord and his work. He is calling on you to make time for him. He is happy when you make time for him. Not that you don’t have anything to do but you consider your meeting with him so important that you make time for it. When it becomes difficult to find time to pray, note that there is danger and that things are not going the way they should.
2. Skills and services
The abilities you have painfully acquired and diligently cultivated over time are valuable to the Lord. The strength that you have has been given to you to make available to his service. God made you a lawyer for his kingdom to use your skills for building his kingdom. God made you an architect—and I would like to pay tribute to Elder Kofi Amposah who designed this building and the Pentecost Convention Center and said, “Take my skills and abilities and use them for your glory”—to build his kingdom. Whatever ability God has given you is not for you and your family alone but for you to make available to him. The beautiful voice God has given you is not for commercial purposes only but for you to use to build his kingdom. I call upon you to sacrifice your abilities to the glory of God.
Commitment is about placing limits on your freedom and sacrificing for the kingdom—for the Lord and for the good of others. You have food you can eat but for the sake of the kingdom, you decide to fast. You open the fridge and see all sorts of things but decide to shut it to fast for the kingdom. The commitment of Christians has gone down for reasons I don’t know. In those days we were crazy for Jesus and just joined in any activity concerning Christ but today we have to make countless announcements to get people. I call you to come back to your first love.
It is your own earning but you bring it before the Lord and say, “It is mine but I bring it to you.” The truth of the matter is that it is not yours. You are just a steward.
5. Your body and your life
I believe that the most important object of sacrifice is your body and your life, where you present your body to him and give your life totally to him. This is when your life is about Christ and nothing else. Your body and your life belong to no other person but to him alone. And this is one of the most important sacrifices we can make to the Lord. Paul appeals to us to present our bodies as living sacrifices unto the Lord, which are holy and acceptable to God, and our spiritual acts of worship (Romans 12.1) It is the highest sacrifice we can ever make. We tell him that our bodies belong to him; we lay our lives on the altar and the fire of the Holy Ghost consumes it.
Until you come a point where you have sacrificed your life, there is nothing else you can give to him. But when you have given your life to him, there is nothing else you can withhold from him. The reason some of us cannot give sacrifices to God is that we have not given ourselves to him. If you have given yourself to him, what can you withhold from him? When you have given your body and life to him, giving other things is not difficult. The reason we have to talk so much is that we haven’t fully given ourselves to him.
I call upon you to give your body to him as a living sacrifice. When you do, there is nothing else you cannot give to him. This is what happened in the Macedonian church. The Bible says they gave and gave and gave. I was wondering why they did that. The Bible said they didn’t give out of their abundance but out of their poverty. In 2 Corinthians 8.5, it says they gave themselves first to the Lord and then, by the will of God, to the apostles. The reason they were able to give themselves to Paul and co was that they had already done the needful by giving themselves to God so they could give their little to God.
I want to encourage you to give your life and your all to God.
Somebody who gave a sacrifice that cost him and the result that ensued
In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham. The first test was a test of faith; God wanted his son, Isaac—the one he loved. It was supposed to be a burnt offering so Isaac was going to die. God must have wondered, “Can Abraham believe in me and trust me that I can raise his son back to life.” A sacrifice that costs is a test of faith. God wants to see whether we can believe in him and stand in him. It was also a test of obedience. Thirdly, it was a test of love. God said he should sacrifice the son he loved. God may have wondered, “Will Abraham sacrifice his son? Does he love his son more than me?” God is testing someone’s faith this week whether you can trust him and bring him a sacrifice that will cost. He is also testing your obedience and your love.
Loving the Lord is not mere talk but in action. He said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” I am happy to announce that Abraham passed these tests with distinction. He trusted in the one who had spoken. Abraham reckoned that God could give him another son or raise his son back to life and that, even if he didn’t do any of these things, he is still God.
After Abraham passed these tests, God spoke into his life. May God speak into your life after you have given a sacrifice that costs. Sometimes you don’t need to hear the voice of man but the voice of God. As we come with a sacrifice of praise that costs, may God speak into our lives. God spoke into the life of Abraham a second time. In this era you need to hear the voice of God again. He that spoke in the days of Abraham is still speaking in our time. May God speak in a way that you have never heard before. Maybe there is a meeting somewhere where you are not present but may he speak on your behalf.
Let me end with this. Not only did God speak into his life but gave him generational blessings. He swore by himself to bless him and multiply his offspring as the stars of heaven and the sand of the seashore; he also said his offspring will possess the gates of their enemies and that in his offspring will all the nations of the earth be blessed.
People talk of generational curses but I come with generational blessings. May God bless you and bless the generations after you. May your descendants be called blessed because of the sacrifice. I am not talking about theory. I know people who have given their gold at a time when there was no money. They gave it to Pastor McKeown. A woman carried her gold and gave it to Pastor McKeown. Check her descendants. God said, “Out of you, the generations of the earth will be blessed.” There is a generational blessing for someone today. As you give a sacrifice that costs, may the heavens be opened and may you experience the blessings of God.
This is the word of God to you: “Come to me with a sacrifice that costs and I will give you a kind of blessing that will remain in your home forever.”
1 Chronicles 21.21-24