Sunday, February 11, 2024

Don't Sacrifice in Vain


Don't Sacrifice in Vain

Well, praise Jesus today brothers and sisters. I want to talk about this message of not sacrificing in vain. All of us want to know at the end of our life that what we did in our life benefited society, benefited people, but more than that, that we are approved by God and that whatever we sacrificed was not in vain. Because what does it matter if we give ourselves to the fire to be burned, or if we offer our life as an offering for God to reject us at the final hour? It would all be meaningless. And we know throughout generations that different civilizations have made huge sacrifices to their gods, such as the Incas, the Mayas, the Aztecs. There's all these sorts of tribal people that even did human sacrifices. They sacrificed their firstborn babies. And they made these huge sacrifices 100% in vain. Some of them thought it would help the sun go around. They thought it would help their corn grow. They thought it would give them fertility. And they believed that if they sacrificed children in their family, that then they would be blessed by God. But God is not satisfied with this sort of human sacrifice. He is also not satisfied with many of the sacrifices that Christians offer these days. If you haven't checked out yet the testimony of Howard Pittman, I would encourage you to check out his testimony. One of his testimonies is called Placebo. But the interesting thing about this brother in the Lord that passed away a year ago or so was that he was a minister of God's Word. He spoke the gospel. He was a good person. He wasn't a person that was just someone out there sinning. He was also a politician. He was trying to do good for his community. If anyone believed they were on their way to heaven, it would have been Howard Pittman. And others would have truly believed if he died the day that he did, that he had that near-death experience. At his funeral, everyone would have said that he was in glory with God. Yet watch Howard Pittman's testimony, because even though Howard Pittman was not sinning, even though he was sacrificing, he was giving to God, he was giving to his church, he was giving to his community, when he stood before God, God rejected him. And you can hear exactly what God says to Howard Pittman with Howard Pittman's direct quote from God. But long story short with it, God rejects Howard Pittman. And what Howard Pittman realizes is, even though he was making all these sacrifices and doing all these good things, at the end of the day, he was serving the God of S-E-L-F. Satan is very tricky to get us to believe that we are sacrificing for God, when actually we are serving the God of self. Howard Pittman was serving God his way, not Jesus' way. And most Christians are also serving God and sacrificing for God their way, they're not sacrificing for God Jesus' way.

At one point before a member of my family passed away, I talked to this member of my family greatly about Jesus and the evil that was in church. I told them about how there was a two-faced congregation, how people would be up at the pulpit and talking about righteousness, but behind closed doors they were doing really evil things, even things that were obvious, like smoking pot, having sex outside of marriage, they were getting drunk, they were going to raves. But in church on Sunday, they were joyfully playing the drums as under the Lord. You know, they were behind the piano and behind the pulpit. And after I was done giving my testimony to this member of my family, this person said, “Well, Andy, my church doesn't do that. We are all really dedicated Christians and we're not living a double life. None of us are out smoking pot or getting drunk. We're not having sex outside of marriage and I believe that we're keeping the principles of the Bible, of God's Word”. And what I realized was, this person was correct. They were not committing any of the outward sins that the world sees as a big sin. In the eyes of the world, this person and their church was pure. They were not sinning in the traditional sense. They were not supporting blood or gangs or violence or hatred of the innocent. But also, they were not serving God in the way that God commands us to serve Him. This person and this group of people in my family were fully serving God in their own way. They were serving the God of S-E-L-F, exactly how Howard Pittman was. Howard Pittman was a man who was a pastor. He was a minister of God's Word. Yet he was rejected by God, even though he was not sinning and he was a good person. And so what everyone would ask here is, why is that? And that is because we're not just sent to hell because we're doing evil and we're sinning. But we're also sent to hell for serving God our own way and not really serving God His way and having a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

That is why this message is so important for Christians. It's so important to figure out if we are sacrificing in a way that is truly for Jesus or if our sacrifice is false. What a shame and what a pity it will be for us if we were sacrificing in this life blood, sweat, and tears, if we were giving up our children, if we were giving ourselves over to be burned, like how the Apostle Paul says. And for us to suffer all these things yet still go to hell because basically we get the worst life, we're tormented in this life, and then in the next life we're still rejected by God and still going to hell. It would be better that you served Satan in this life and that you got money, pleasure, fame, all the women that you wanted and then were sent to hell, than for you to think that you were serving God in this life and sacrificing and living next to death on this earth. For then God to reject your sacrifice and to go to hell. Don't you think it would be better for you to have a little bit of fun on this earth before you went to hell than to be living a life of hell on this earth and then for God also to reject you? After all that's what all the movie actors think, that's what all the politicians think, that's what all the kings of this world think.

 What a sad state of affairs it is for a Christian to be sacrificing falsely. How are Christians sacrificing falsely? Christians will sacrifice for their church service. They will be giving a lot of money, a lot of time. They will be giving to above and beyond their 10% to a church. They'll be giving their dedication much more than just once a week. I want to give an example of false sacrifice that happened in my family. There are many examples, but this is one small example that I knew growing up because my mom told it to me. See my grandfather was a missionary to Africa, to Nigeria. My grandfather's children, one of which was my mother, grew up in Africa and they had to sacrifice many things. They had to sacrifice their education as far as their upbringing in America. They had to sacrifice normal things like just having toys, eating things that we would eat. They had to sacrifice friendships with people that they would have had with people next door. They had to sacrifice all those normal things that we as American citizens have. But because my grandfather wanted to bring the truth of Jesus to people in Africa, he brought his family there knowing that it would be a sacrifice that was worth it if it really was for God. But my grandfather got into these missions and within the missions they said, “You cannot bring your children along”. By my mom's being able to go along with my grandpa, my grandfather, my mom out of this sacrifice was sacrificed to boarding school. She was separated from her parents and not just for a few days but for months. During this time, the children in my family were separated from their parents and raised by people that were not their parents, people that they did not know. And this was all in the name of missionary work. My mom does not speak about it fondly because she didn't get to see her mom or her dad for months on end. When my family, being my mom and her siblings, finally came back to America, they didn't see these sacrifices as a good thing. They saw it as separation from their earthly father, separation from the riches that America has to offer. And the family, most of them, did not take on true faith in Jesus. They decided to go the way of the world.

This is one small sacrifice that I have seen go wrong time and time again. As a pastor, pastors will sacrifice their family to go on a mission trip. They will sacrifice time with their family to do church-related events. They will sacrifice and go above and beyond spending money for their church, which should be spent on their family because they believe it's for God. It's like how Jesus says that the Pharisees give all their money to their organization. And any extra money that they get that should be going to help out their parents, they say,” we can't give this money to our parents or to support our family because it's money that's Corbin or it's money that should be going to God”. And Jesus calls them hypocrites because they think in their mind that they're making this wonderful sacrifice to God. But what they're sacrificing are things that in the end are going to be unbeneficial to the kingdom of heaven. They're sacrificing things on this this earth that pull them away from the things God has naturally given them. And then in the afterlife, it will reap no reward.

There are many religions of this world that are also sacrificing. Muslims are sacrificing. They become radical terrorists, and they kill people in the name of Allah. They believe it is a holy war. They will even turn on their families and kill their families, kill their mother, they will kill their father, they will kill their children if they are against Allah. They are willing to sacrifice the ultimate sacrifice of their own blood. Even their own lives. They are not scared to blow themselves up. They don't fear death. These sorts of Muslims are even, they're even much more aggressive about their faith than any Christian you've ever seen. They will sacrifice more than any dedicated Christian you've ever seen. But I'm here today to tell you that these sacrifices are in vain and they will lead these Muslim brothers to hell.

Many Christian brothers that should be worshipping Jesus are going to hell the same way Muslims are, the same way Buddhists are that give themselves to the fire. Their sacrifices are in vain because they are not pleasing to God.

I warn you that if you are sacrificing in vain, you will have the worst life on this earth and then the worst life in the life to come. You will be part of the living dead. You will not be annihilated. You will have your memory in hell of the people that you have wronged. You will remember your children that you rejected. You will remember the people that you didn't truly love. you will be held accountable to these things in hell cognitively and knowingly the rest of your life with no escape from your tormentors who you're given over to in hell.

So what sort of sacrifice does Merit in the end, something that God approves of? We know what Jesus said, but in case you forgot, I want to read to you the words of Jesus found in Matthew. We know what Jesus said to the rich young ruler, how the rich young ruler was so sad because he had many possessions. 20The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” 21Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. 24And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”

 It is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. It's not just difficult, guys.

25When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” 28So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Jesus' Kingdom is the Kingdom that you need to seek after. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Now there are people who think that just giving up worldly possessions will get them into heaven. The Indian religion believes that. They believe that if they just never physically look at a woman, if they don't own any gold or any things that are precious of this world, that they will be able to achieve everlasting life. But Jesus was not saying that the way into everlasting life is just giving up our gold and our riches. After all, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made it into God's Kingdom and they had great riches. It talks about how Abraham and Jacob had many camels, many donkeys. One camel is similar to a car and these guys had maybe fifty of them, maybe a hundred, a hundred and fifty. They were very wealthy, but they were not relying on their wealth. They were not serving money, power and fame and going after the lusts of the flesh.

So what does Jesus mean? How do we sacrifice in a way that pleases God? I see people occasionally on YouTube that have, you know, left their wife, they've left their family, they've sold their house and they've become homeless. And they think that if they become homeless and just walk the streets of New York, then God will accept them into heaven because they rejected worldly riches. This is ultimately not what God is looking for. When Jesus called me to follow him, he didn't ask me to give my money to the poor. After all, I was in debt, about $150,000 in debt. What Jesus asked me to do to follow him was to sell what I had and to take the money that I got from selling the things that I had and to pay off my debt so that then I could preach the gospel free of charge.

See, what Jesus ultimately wants is our heart dedication. He doesn't just want your money. Jesus doesn't care that you have, you know, a million dollars in the bank and that you sell that money to, you know, build some church. But he wants your heart dedication. He wants you to have a real relationship with him. Jesus isn't about just religion or looking good. See, that is what is wrong with all these religions of the world. They don't have a connection with Jesus. They don't believe in Jesus. But they do think that they're going to get to heaven by all their works, all their sacrifice. And sadly, even though the Christian church says that they are saved by grace, not by works, they are trying to work their way into heaven by their sacrifices. They say, “it's not by works, brother, but you do have to pay tithe. It's not by works, brother, but you do have to keep your church attendance. It's not by works, brother, but you do have to go on the mission trip. It's not by works, brother, but you do have to listen to my pastor's sermons.” So what they're preaching is absolute hypocrisy. And the Christians that attend these services that are making this false sacrifice, are making Christians feel very guilty for not having their self-righteous works. They make you feel guilty if you get a little extra money to use it on your family, because you should be using it to give to the church.

Jesus talks exactly about that, guys. In Matthew chapter 23, he talks about how parents or children will reject their parents by saying, well, anything extra we get has to be Corbin, has to be given to the temple. And then you reject helping out your parents. Jesus wants a personal relationship with each of us. Christians will deny that. They think it's all about a relationship with their Bible, a relationship with church. They will say, “oh, you think it's just about you and Jesus and no one else. They will make fun of you if you stand up for your relationship with Jesus”.

 But the sacrifice we need to make is the sacrifice to put Jesus as King and Lord of our life. It's as simple as that. And if you make Jesus King and Lord of your life, then you will have everything in order. And the sacrifices that Jesus has you to make will be true sacrifices that will be worth it in the end. Jesus does talk about how his disciples might sacrifice family, but that will happen as Jesus requires it. It's not going to be someone else saying, “oh, brother, I think you need to marry this woman. Or, oh, I think you need to get divorced”. You know, there were people in my church that when I first got married, were thinking that it would be the right sacrifice for me to make if I were to annul my marriage and divorce my wife. They thought that it would be the best thing for me to do to start divorce recovery. They wanted to divide the marriage with my new wife that God had put me into, because they wanted me to make a sacrifice for church and for religion. Jesus does not want us to sacrifice our children and offer them up to Baal. He doesn't want us to sacrifice our wife and to be divorced. He doesn't want us to be separate from our children going on what we call mission trips.

The first priority is to be sacrificing truly for Jesus to make him King and Lord of our life. And if we make Jesus the King and Lord of our life, if he is on the throne, then he will lead us and guide us in what to do. There are people that he will cut off from us. He will say, “if you're going to follow me, you need to cut this relationship out of your life because they're leading you to hell”. And don't go to hell for someone else's sin. You will start to realize that there are certain people in your social circle that you don't need in your circle. They're only in your circle because the devil has put them there and they are a distraction to you and they're taking you to hell. There are also parasites in your life. Parasites are things that are causing you to be spiritually weakened. They're things that you do not need in your life. Places you go that cause you to stumble, to fall into the lust of the flesh. They're things that cause you to fall to pornography and lusting after your neighbor's wife and other things that your neighbor has. These social things you need to sacrifice for Jesus in order to have Jesus as the King of your own heart.

And if you don't sacrifice those things and cut those things out of your life and choose to touch nothing that is unclean, then you will not be worthy to walk with Jesus and to have him Lord of your life. You will be cut off from God. We know that Jesus says that a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. And that every tree that is producing, the Father prunes. So these things that are connected to you that you don't need, the branches that are connected to you that are dying, you need to allow Jesus to cut those out of your life. And that will be a sacrifice for Jesus, a true sacrifice. But you don't need those things in your life. And likely, if you are actually trusting Jesus, you will know in the bottom of your heart that you need to get those things out of your life. And as soon as you do, even though it is hard, you will be full of peace and joy because you will know that is what it takes to keep Jesus on the throne of your life.

So this is the message that I had to give today guys. False vs. True Sacrifice. Are we really sacrificing for Jesus? Are we dedicating our life to Jesus to have him on the throne? Or is our sacrifice false? If you listen to people, if you listen to the pastor, if you listen to people on the internet, you will start to get the idea that you have to sacrifice all of these things in order to be right with God. You will start to be convinced that you have to dress a certain way. You will be bound to legalism. And a lot of Christians are really depressed because they are getting bound to legalism. They get really confused because they hear what all these other Christians are saying. They don't know what they should give up. They wonder, should I sell my house? Should I live homeless? They don't know what Jesus requires.

What Jesus requires is your heart. So before you move, before you give something up, just go before the Lord Jesus in prayer and say, “Lord, let me be a living sacrifice for you. Let me be holy and pure unto my King. Whatever I do, whatever I offer, Lord, may it not be in vain. May it not be a worthless sacrifice. I don't want to sacrifice in vain. I don't want to lose my family or anything like that in vain. I want to do what well pleases you, Lord. Show me how to be a living sacrifice for you. That I can please you with all of my life.”

 So I want to pray for those of you that want to really be a sacrifice for Jesus, that want to lay down your life for Him, but also who want to take back the things that Satan has stolen, calling it a sacrifice for God. Maybe you have started to be divided from your wife over a sacrifice that wasn't really of God. Satan said you need to sacrifice this, and it caused a division in your marriage. Maybe the devil said “you need to sacrifice this”, and it caused a division between you and your children. We need to figure out what is the false sacrifices, the things that Satan has stolen from us, and take those things back. And then we need to figure out how to truly be a sacrifice for the Lord.

“So Lord Jesus, I pray for my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, that do want to lay down their lives for you, that want to be a living sacrifice to you, Lord. We know, Lord Jesus, that you paid the ultimate price on the cross, that you were the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We thank you for dying on the cross and resurrecting, that we could live in the newness of life. It's one thing, Lord, to say that we will die for you, but it's another thing completely to say that we will live for you and be a living sacrifice every day of our life. So we pray that we can choose to live for you every day, that we would die to our old life, die to sins, that we would lay down our old life to live in the regeneration, that we may live in the newness of life, that we would take up our cross daily and follow you. We pray to be part of the New Testament, the new covenant. We pray that your blood cleanses over our sins, purifies us and makes us holy and clean. And we pray to walk with you in complete purity and righteousness to the very end of our life. So I pray for my brothers and sisters who have been robbed of their joy. They have listened to the devil, they've listened to the serpent and they've been deceived into false sacrifices. I pray that they could take back what is rightfully yours, that they'd take back the blessings from God that you have given them. But I also pray that they would reject… that they would sacrifice their old life of sin completely so that they could truly have you as King and Lord of their life. I pray that you would lead your church, that you would lead us and guide us into everlasting life and that we would listen only to you, Lord, that our sacrifice would be well-pleasing to God and come up to you as a holy and pleasing aroma. In your name I pray, Lord Jesus. Amen.”

 Well, I hope this encourages someone in the Lord to get their lives right. If you get mixed up with false Christians and false church, you're bound to be mixed up with this false sacrifice. You'll start thinking that you're not really pleasing God unless you're going to church. You'll think you're not pleasing to God unless you're donating to an organization of men. But don't believe the lying pastors. Don't believe the Christians who try to manipulate and try to control people to feel guilty to give false sacrifices. Make Jesus the King and Lord of your life, and he will show you where to sacrifice, and he will show you what to do in order to be pleasing to him.