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Yah'shua (Jesus)




    Demonstrate Sacrificial Living

    Sermon Delivered in Oxford, England

    This sermon was delivered in Oxford, England, to the local Saints' Church sometime around 1985 or 1986, a couple years before the work of NCCG/MLT began, and is one of the earlier public sermons preached by the founder of this ministry. It has been slightly updated with some corrections, Messianic terminology and new footnotes, and now appears as it was re-preached locally in Sweden on 28 November 2009.

    PART 1

      "Come to Messiah, to that living stone, rejected by men but in Elohim's sight chosen and precious: and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer sacrifices acceptable to Elohim through Yah'shua the messiah" (1 Pet.2:4-5, RSV).

    When I first approached today's sermon topic [1] I was confronted by two questions: (1) How does one talk about sacrificial living in 30-40 minutes when such a concept in fact embraces the entire Gospel for man, and (2) should one in fact seek to consciously 'demonstrate' it?

    The idea of 'demonstrating' something carries with it the suggestion that a person has to 'prove' something, which in turn suggests to me, at any rate, that in so doing man is making himself the object of attention. And that I do not like. I was reminded of the hypcrites in Yah'shua's day who loved to pray aloud in public in order to catch the attention and garner the praises of men; or perhaps even more pointedly, the gauntlet laid down by satan when he challenged Yah'shua to prove His Messiahship by turning stones into bread or by jumping off the Temple mount. Or the challenge by the Jewish authorities to Yah'shua that he come down from Calvary's cross by the power they did not really believe He possessed. So I was not happy with the idea of either demonstrating my own sacrificial living or challenging others to demonstrate theirs.

    At least, I believe the world would see the word 'demonstrate' in this fashion. The world loves to demonstrate - to make itself the centre of human attention. But the person who is living the sacrificial life is so centred in the Messiah, and so makes Yah'shua the centre of everything he does or thinks, that his left hand doesn't know what his right hand is doing, and self is lost in the cause of service to others. The demonstration of Christian virtue, therefore, is not something entered into, neither is it something that is conscious: rather, it is the natural outpouring of the life centred in the One from whom all life comes and from whom the true meaning of sacrifice is made manifest. To 'demonstrate' in any other way is to demote Yahweh to a secondary status and to place man on the centre stage of his own vain and futile self-worship. And so it is plain that the Way of sacrificial living is the Way of Messiah and it is this Way that I hope to explore with you this morning.

    As you look around the world today you will find many secular organisations that perform charitable works. Recently a whole bunch of pop stars performed a sacrificial act in donating the takings of a charity concert to help the famine victims of Africa. But was what they did in any way to be considered a response to 'sacrificial living'? Was their act of charity a manifestation of day-to-day sacrificial living? I don't think any of us here today believe that it was. The stars in question have not made any real sacrifices in terms of their way of living. They still earn their millions, still live in palatial homes, still drive expensive cars, and still live lifestyles that are utterly non-Christian in almost every way imaginable. And yet these people raised millions for starving people.

    Rather, I think, we should see the act of these pop stars as fulfilling a belated act of responsibility. There was no sacrifice involved on their part save for a little time. And even then they were advertising themselves, promomoting their products. Perhaps only a small handfull of the organisers of that charity concert called Live Aid made anything approximating a 'sacrifice' though I am pretty sure that few if any of them have changed their living styles as the result of the activity.

    There is, I regret to say, a tendency to praise the rich man who put in a large sum of gold into the Temple Treasury rather than the woman who put in her last mite. The Live Aid organisers are heroes in the eyes of the world, and in particular in Africa where its leader is being hailed as a saviour. But are they Yahweh's heroes? Are they not, in fact, bad stewards of the world putting in their their itithe of gold into the Relief Agencies' treasury? I think they are. And there is no doubt that were they to live sacrificial lives rooted in Christian stewardship they would dig far deeper into their pockets until they began to feel the pinch. I guarantee there are no pop stars whincing as a result of what they have done, good though it is. Their act was good, but in Yahweh's eyes it was not good enough.

    Can you think of any other 'sacrificial' acts that have recently caught the headlines? H.R.H. Prince Andrew has recently published a book of photographs which has sold very well. Some of the pictures have received professional acclaim. But better than that, Prince Andrew has set up a charity which will be funded from the prifuts made from the sale of his book. A good work indeed. But is it an example of sacrificial living? Has he felt any pinch? I dare say life goes on as usual for the Royals. The Princess of Wales heads many charities and we often see her visiting hospitals for the disabled, orphanages, and the like. Good and valuable work. But is she demonstrating sacrificial living? Does a young woman who spends hundreds of thousands of tax-payer's Pounds each year on Vanity's Wardrobe measure up to Christian stewardship? I think not.

    We acclaim the generous acts of the well.to-do as we would have acclaimed the genetrous tithe paid into the Temple Treasury bby the rich and well-to-do Jews of yah'shua's day. The world acclaims them but Yahweh does not. Rather, yahweh holds up the Lazaruses and poor widows as exemplars of sacrificial living. In more ways than one these benefactors of the poor in Babylon are not unlike the Annaniases and Saphiras of the apostolic era (ac.5:1-11); they know they can, and ought, to do mroe to alieviate the suffering for which they are partially responsible themselves because of their selfish and wonton living. They rob the poor and return it in a grotesquely perverse manner as 'hand-outs' in order to gain the praise of the world whose favours and attention they court. So when you watch TV, or read in your newspapers, of acts of benevolence towards the suffering of the world by the rich, consider in your minds and hearts whether their benevolence really constitutes an act of sacrificial living. Would you wish to imitate them? Or do you believe you know a better way?

    Of all the examples of benevolence I have given I do not believe that in one we have seen the act of true sacrifice. We have dealt chiefly with money. Now I would like to to widen my approach to include the whole of human life.

    One of the most powerful movies to emerge from the world of Cinema was, in my opinion, a film called A Tale of Two Cities. The story is set in revolutionary France. Aristiocrats were being rounded up by the revolutionaries, tried, and executed at the guillotine under the eager eyes of the infamous trichoteurs [2]. One young man, recently married and deeply in love, is arrested and incarcerated in the Bastille where he awaits the day of his death. Another young man, unmarried, takes the opportunity to demonstrate what Yah'shua in the Scriptures calls "greater love". For he gains entry into the Bastille and by subterfuge substitutes himself for the prisoner whom he loves as his brother, to go the way of the gallows. Considering his life to be of no estimation, and regardeing the rpemature death of a young man with a whole life of happiness ahead of him to be unjust and monstrous, he chooses to sacrifice his own life for something as precious as, if not greater than, life itself: love.

    In the final scene of this tragic story we observe the young man in a horse-drawn cart with a dozen or so other prisoners, whose time has come, wandering down the narrow Parisian streets, hailed by abuse on every side by a wold and blood-thirsty mob of ignorance and violence. He is as calm as a summer's breeze, without fear, radiating contentment and peace, though comncealing a twinge of apprehension as he faces the unknown. That he has in some beautiful way been sanctified by his love of this friend is only too plain to see. His heart even has enough room to comfort a frightened young girl whose only crime was being born to an aristocrat, and too tender in years to comprehend the hatred and blood-letting that was staining the soil of France. He comforts her like a father...like a Heavenly Father, giving her courage to face a horrible death.

    Every time I see that film my heart bursts within my burning bosom. And every time I watch that scene of the lonely cart of condemned humanity slowly making its way to a violent death with one lone man shining as an example of the nobility of the divine image which is the spirit of the true man,the words of Yah'shua rinf through my ears and into the core of my soul: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn.15:13, KJV). And then my whole soul exclaims, in the words of the Song of Moses:

      "Great and marvelous are Your works, Yahweh-Elohim Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the set-apart ones!" (Rev 15:3, NKJV).

    For now we see the heart of all true sacrifice. Sacrifice is the act of giving that esteems itself to be greater than the life of the giver. By very definition sacrifice is the giving up of valued things for the sake of another that is more worthy or more improtant or more urgent, than the thing given up, or the loss entailed.

    The world does not think much of our concept of sacrifice. If the truth be known, it does not have the stomach for it. The Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah is not for the faint-hearted, as true Christians have learned, to their cost and blessing, throughout all generations.

    So, we have seen a single act of heroic sacrifice in the life of one man who laid down his life to allow his brother to live. We marvel at his bravery and adulate his high principles which, lofty and noble though they were, still fell short of those demonstrated and expected by Yah'shua. That young man walked a better way - a hundred thousand times better way than our contemporary pop stars yet it was still not thw whole Way of the Cross.

    The heart of my talk today is the Way of the Cross and it is about this that I now want to speak, for it is the very heart and substance of sacrificial living.

    PART 2

    The Gospel of Matthew records:

      "From that time forth began Yah'shua to shew unto his disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day" (Matt.16:21, KJV).

      "Then said Yah'shua unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt.16:24, KJV).

      "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works" (Matt.16:27, KJV).

    In these poignant verses, Yah'shua gives His disciples three things:

      1. A striking Revelation;
      2. A challenging Invitation; and
      3. An impelling Motive.

    The striking revelation in v.21 concerned Yah'shua's immediate future. Instead of establishing the Kingdom at that time as His disciples had expected Him to, He was facing Calvary. Rather than going to Jerusalem to reign as King, He was destined there to suffer and die at the hands of His rejecters. For the first time He speaks clearly about the Way of the Cross:

      "From that time forth began Yah'shua to shew unto his disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things...and be killed..." (Matt.16:21, KJV).

    The challenging invitation in v.24 concerned the disciples' immediate future. Having outlined the Path of the Cross for Himself, the Master now invites each of His disciples to take up his own cross and follow Him:

      "Then said Yah'shua unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt.16:24, KJV).

    The impelling motivation in v.27 concerned the more distant future for both the Saviour and His disciples. Fully aware of the discouraging effect of His revelation and invitation might have on His followers, Yah'shua goes on to give them encouragement for faithful service:

      "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works" (Matt.16:27, KJV).

    I'd like to pause and have us consider the meaning of Yah'shua's invitation for us to take up our crosses. To get the full force of His words, we must keep in mind that Yah'shua had just told His followers the sad news of His impending rejection and death. It is as though He said: 'Now that I have told you the truth about My suffering, do you still want to be My disciples? I am not goinf to set up the Kingdom at this time as you had expected. For now, at least, if you continue to folow Me, you won't be travelling the King's Highway; it will be the way of the cross. I have been honest with you., and have told you exactly what is coming. I have sought to correct your wrong impressions concerning My immediate mission, and now that I have alerted you to the difficult and tortuous events just ahead, I want to know: are you still willing to follow after Me? Are you ready to pay the price? Are you desirous of submitting yourselves to the same suffering as that of your Master? If you are, then this is My invitation to you:

      "...If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt.16:24, KJV).

    It is one thing to be a follower of that one who is a popular leader, and quite another to pledge allegiance to that One who is despised and rejected. From the human standpoint it makes sense to allign oneself with the 'going' concern, with the 'popular personality', with the organisation that has a 'future'. We share in the glory. It is quite another thing to give our undying loyalty to a cause that seems doomed, to a philosophy which is disdained by the masses, to follow the path of suffering and rejection. We share in the suffering. This is the message with which Yah'shua seems to face His disciples at this point. Although the day would come when all that had been rpedicted about His Kingdom reign would be literally fulfilled, down to the very last detail, the next event on the agenda might well involve suffering and death for the servants as well as for their Master.

    The Messiah's invitation to His disciples to "take up their crosses", given almost two millennia ago, comes ringing across the centuries as a challenge to us today. Yah'shua wants those who have come to Him for salvation to follow after Him in service. Coming to the Messiah costs us absolutely nothing. Following after Him does cost a tremendous price. In short, the price is sacrificial living. Denial. The Way of the Cross involved infinite suffering for the Saviour in providing for our salvation.

    The pathway of service is also lined with crosses. Consider the price the apostle Paul paid. Look at Peter. Review the history of the martyrs from righteous Stephen to the thousands who have made the supreme sacrifice for their faithful testimony over the centuries.

    In the light of this, would you also be a disciple? Are you willing to pay the price, accept the same, and endure the suffering? This is not to say in the next few days, weeks, months or years you will be called to lay down your life for the Master. That may not be your calling. But unless you live as though it was your calling (and it may well be one day) then you are not a true disciple of Yah'shua. A fullness of the spirit of sacrifice that leadas to eternal life and eternal living in the present is only possible when we are able to confront ourselves honestly and be rpepared to put our lives on the line for Yah'shua. And here is the irony of it all, for Yah'shua expressed a profound truth when He said:

      "He that loveth His life shall lose it and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal" (Jn.12:25, KJV).

    The challenge was not to give a little of our life - some here and some there - but all of it. If we try to hold back some of our life for ourselves, as Annanias and Saphira tried to hold back some of their money from the apostles, we shall lose everything! It's rather like going to a shop to buy some food and then not being willing to part with the cash in our hand If we aren't prepared to hand over our mortal lives to Messiah - lock, stock and barrel - we can't have eternal life. You can no more possess mortality and immortality together than you can clap with one hand.

    There is no such thing as a nominal Christian. The language of Yah'shua is such that we are left in no doubt that complete surrender and sacrifice is required of us. Paul writes:

      "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice...which is your reasonable service" (Rom.12:1, KJV).

    You can't partially sacrifice an animal on an altar. It's either dead or alive, there are no intermediary states of existence. So it is with us. We are either alive in Messiah or dead outside of Him.

    Notice, though, that Paul, in calling the believers to be a "living sacrifice" did not use the language of compulsion. He "beseeched", called them "brethren", and daid that all that was required was "reasonable" service. Paul does not say: 'I command you, slaves, by the law of Elohim, and by the threatenings of Yahweh...' Instead we read:

      "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice...which is your reasonable service" (Rom.12:1, KJV).

    It was Bunyan who related the fact that a mother hen has four different calls for her brood. One when twilight begins to darken the night, another when she has come across some food, another of danger when the hawk is hovering in the air, and yet another of yearning desire. Thus it is that Yah'shua calls us, not with a command, not with force, but with a message of Divine Love. He calls with yearning desire, "I beseech you therefore, brethren..." or "I appeal to you" (RSV) or "I urge you..." (NASB).

    And again Yah'shua says:

      "If any man will come after Me..." (Matt.16:24, KJV).

    It is a service of love that the Saviour is seeking, not one that is intimidated by threats of divine retribution. Paul wrote:

      "For the love of Messiah constraineth us..." (2 Cor.5:14, KJV).

    Yah'shua is looking for those who out of gratitude and appreciation for the love of Elohim as revealed in Messiah Yah'shua will respond by saying: 'Because of all that You have done for me; mindful of your marvelous grace; regardless of the price, in spite of the cost (it is nothing at all anyway compared with what You have done for me)', I am accepting the call of my Saviour:

      "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up His cross, and follow Me" (Matt.16:24, KJV).

    Notice thos elast words, "follow Me". Our guide and example is none other than the Master Yah'shua the Messiah. He says: "Follow Me". The servant, the disciple, is asked to do nothing which his Master has not already been through, and to an even greater degree. Is the Way of the Cross frightening to you? Does the pathway of service - of sacrificial living - seem difficult? Are you afraid of the humiliation? Then listen to what the Saviour has already done for us:

      "Have this in mind among yourselves which is yours in Messiah Yah'shua who, though He was in the form of Elohim, did not count equality with Elohim a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, ntaking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (Phil.2:5-8, RSV).

      "...let us lay aside...every sin which clings so closely...looking to Yah'shua the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of Elohim" (Heb.12:2, RSV).

      "Therefore be imitators of Elohim, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Messiah loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to Elohim" (Eph.5:1-2, RSV).

    We heard earlier Yah'shua's injunction to the disciple to deny himself. Indeed, the Master asks us to do the one of the most difficult things imaginable. It involves far more and goes far deeper than simply abstaining from some shady practices or giving up questionable habits, or resolving not to frequent certain places. Saying 'No' to self takes care of these things automatically. Neither is Yah'shua siggesting anything that even comes close to asceticism - that is, doing or not doing certain things with the idea that some special merit is gained from Yahweh, either for self or for others. What is Yah'shua talking about then? One of the best definitions I have ever heard goes as follows: "Self-denial may be said to be renouncing and forsaking whatever comes into competition with our love and service for Yah'shua. It will also mean the turning from things lawful when they become the occasion of spiritual injury to others."

    Yahweh doesn't frown upon our enjoyment of some of the better things of life. He does not expect us to refrain from deliberately from every pleasurable thing. He does not take satisfaction in seeing His children unhappy and going around with long faces. He wants us to enjoy the blessings which He has so freely betowed upon us. The line is drawn, however, when these things become uppermost in our minds, when they become our idols, when they come into conflict with the revealed will of Yahweh, when they begin to compete with our love and service for Him, and become a stumbling block or an offence to others.

    If I can serve the Master better by eating a good meal, He doesn't want me to starve myself. If I can serve the master better by getting a good night's rest on a comfortable bed, He doesn't want me to sleep on a wooden slab. If i can serve the Master better by meeting and mingling with others, He doesn't want me to lock myself up in a secluded monastery. Paul touches on this in 1 Timothy 4 with these words:

      "But the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) tells us clearly that in the last times some in the messianic community (church) will turn from Messiah and become eager follwoers of teachers with devil-inspired ideas. These teachers will tell lies with straight faces and do it so often that their consciences won't even bother them. They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat meat, even though Yahweh gave these things to well-taught Christians to enjoy and be thankful for. For everything Yahweh made is good, and we may eat it gladly if we are thankful for it (and it is kosher), and if we ask Yahweh to bless it, for it is made good by the Word of Elohim and prayer" (1 Tim.4:1-5, LB).

    There is a beautiful parable told by a Persian poet that relates the story of a lover who knocked at his beloved's door. At his knock a voice from within asked: 'Why s there?' He answered: 'It is I'. The voice replied: 'This house will not hold me and you.' The door was not opened. Then the lover went into the desert and fasted in prayer and solitude. After a year he returned, and the voice again asked: 'Who is there?' He replied: 'It is yourself', and the door was opened to him. That is exactly what Yah'shua wants of those who would come after Him. he said:

      "...If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself..." (Mat.16:14, KJV).

    Subduing ourselves to the will of Yahweh, we can say with Paul:

      "I have been crucified with Messiah: and I myself no longer live, but Messiah lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal.2:20, LB).

    The matter of self-denial involves not only a complete submission to the will of Yahweh, but also a tender sensitivity to the feelings of others. It will subordinate our own personal convictions to the tender conscience of an ever weaker brother or sister in Messiah.

    I can imagine someone reacting to this and saying: 'Why should my actions and my life be governmed by the narrow-minded views of someone else? It's my own business what I do. I'm not accountable to what others might think, nor to their old-fashioned opinions.'

    Paul answers these questions in 1 Corinthians, chapter 8, by his own example. The discussion in this particular passage is the eating of meat that had been offered to idols. as far as Paulw as concerned, he could eat it without any pangs of conscience whatsoever, simply because he recognised that an idol is nothing at all, that there is only one Elohim. It would not bother him in the least to partake of such meat. He goes on to say, however, that there were some who could not do so with a clear conscience because, as he expressed it:

      "...all their lives that have been used to thinking of idols as alive, and have believed that food offered to the idols is really being offered to actual gods. So when they eat such food it bothers them and hurts their tender conscience" (1 Cor.8:7, LB)

    It was for such that Paulw as willing to forego his own personal liberty, lest he should be a stumbling block. Listen to the conclusion of the matter in verse 13. He says:

      "So if eating meat offered to idols is going to make my brother sin, I'll not eat any of it as long as I live, because I don't want to do this to him" (1 Cor.8:13, LB).

    His reasoning is spelled out in the previous two verses:

      "So because you 'know it is alright to do it', you will be responsible for causing great spiritual damage to a brother with a tender conscience for whom Messiah died. And it is a sin against Messiah to sin against your brother by encouraging him to do something he thinks is wrong" (1 Cor.8:11-12, LB).

    I am sure you can think of many modern examples where Paul's advice would apply. One of my favourite stories comes from the Old Testament and concerns the Rechabites. This was a clan who had covenanted amongst themselves never to drink the fruit of the vine (alcohol) even upon pain of death. The prophet at the time, Jermiah, wished these people to drink wine in the Temple, but they refused. Probably taken aback somewhat, Yahweh's prophet sought revelation as to what to do, and was told:

      "Thus says Yahweh of Hosts, the Elohim of Israel: becausr you (the Rechabites) have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, and kept al his precepts, and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says Yahweh of Hosts, the Elohim of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before him" (Jer.35:18-19, RSV).

    So you see, not only did Jeremiah respect the Rechabites' "tender consciences" over the question of strong drink, but it turned out the Rechabites were right after all and the prophet was wrong! But had the prophet not acted as Paul was later to suggest, he would never have received further light. So not only should we respect the tender consciences of others but we should also be sifficiently open to the Ruach of Yahweh in case they have more light and truth to give to us than we currently enjoy. (Read the whole of Jeremiah 35 in this connection).

    PART 3

    Remember the words of Yah'shua:

      "...If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself..." (Matt.16:14, KJV).

    Notice that he didn't say, 'let a man deny himself and take up My cross.' Rather, 'let a man take up his cross'. Each one has his or her own! He does request, however, that we take up our own crosses, those which represent the price involved in faithful and willing service.

    I don't know what your crosses may be today. Perhaps you are bearing one of persecution, castigation by loved ones, the loss of a job because of your testimony or because you won't work on the Sabbath, riddicule by the world, tribulation because of illness, a marriage break-up, or a life of loneliness and separation. Whatever your cross may be, it should be born cheerfully. Peter says:

      "Be happy if you are cursed and insulted for being a Christian, for when that happens the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) will come upon you with great glory" (1 Pet.3:14, LB).

    And again:

      "Praise Yahweh if you are punished for doing right! Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong; but if you do right and suffer it, and are patient beneath the blows, Elohim is well pleased" (1 Pet.2:19-20, LB).

      "...If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt.16:24, KJV)

    Follow Me!

    When Yah'shua spoke these words, His disciples could literally follow Him. Today, we can no longer behold Him physically as in the days of His sojourn upon the earth. To follow Him today, therefore, is simply to obey His Word (Scriptures) and the still small voice within; it is acting in conformity to His will. If we are truly following Him:

      1. We will do what He wants us to do;go where He wants us to go; and
      3. We will say what He wants us to say.

    I wonder, are we faithfully following our Saviour, the Master Yah'shua the Messiah? Have we been willing to deny ourselves? Have we cheerfully taken up our crosses? Are we following Him closely every step of the Way? Or, could it be that some of us, like Peter, are following afar off?

    May Yahweh grant us that we, as believers, may willingly accept the challenging invitation to be '21st century disciples', and follow on the Way of the Cross, regardless of the cost. if so, then we will be able to say with the Apostle Paul when we come to the end of the Way:

      "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laud up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Master, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not only me, but all them that love His appearing" (2 Tim.4:7-8, KJV)

    If we are then to 'demonstrate sacrificial living' both to each other and to the world we must inevitably become more valiant servants. To be living sacrificially means that we must confront evil head-on wherever we are; we are not called to co-exist with it. It means that we must sacrifice our self-dignity before a sceptical and scornful world and teach the Gospel as it has been given to us by Yah'shua the Messiah and by the first apostles. We have a formidable armory at our disposal and an irresistable cause. Let us proclaim it as widely and as far as our burning hearts will allow. Amen.


    [1] In the denomination I was then I member of (the Saints Church, now known as the Community of Christ), sermon titles were assigned to preachers so that the same theme would be preached in all that denomination's congregations throughout the world. This tended to mitigate against allowing the Ruach to choose what should be preached and so ministers like myself had to occasionally find ways of 'getting around' this artificial constraint so that we could share what was being revealed to us without compromising the sermon title and so not quench the Ruach.

    [2] Women who used to knit while watching and enjoying the bloody executions.

    This page was created on 22 November 2009
    Last updated on 23 November 2009

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