Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.

We have to be willing to sacrifice ourselves with joy so we can lay down our lives for the brethren.

I John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

With the love of God we’re willing to sacrifice our will and way to serve God with joy. If we do things grudgingly, it doesn’t show love. Love doesn’t grumble, complain, or shrink from service. Jesus prayed for us to be sanctified (John 17). Sanctify means make holy, to free from inherited sin, and to be consecrated. Jesus spoke to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus as and asked why Saul was persecuting him. Saul immediately knelt down and said who are you? When he heard it was Jesus, he said “What wilt thou have me to do?” Jesus said to wait at Damascus. He was blind, fasting and praying for three days. God told Ananias to go to Saul but he heard how much trouble Saul caused the Christians. God said Saul was a chosen vessel for him. Ananias called him Brother Saul when he went to pray for him to receive his sight and Holy Spirit. Saul was saved and God forgave him of all his sins. He was ready for the Holy Spirit to come in. He was sanctified when he submitted completely to God’s will. Do we love God more than ourselves, equal to ourselves, or less than ourselves when we’re sanctified? Everything about ourselves and our will has to be put on the altar to be sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias…entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way…sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

The rich young ruler ran to Jesus and asked “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” He was religious, kept the commandments, and did what he thought he was supposed to. He knew there was still something missing in his heart though. He wasn’t willing to sell all and take up his cross (his death) to follow Jesus to have eternal life. It’s the same with us today. Jesus asks us to willingly sell everything we think is precious and count dear. We have to willingly choose to give up possessions or whatever is more important than God. We must put that on the altar so we can to take up the cross (our death) and follow him. Jesus loved the man, wanted him to do what was right, and had compassion. The man made a choice and was grieved but wasn’t willing to give up his possessions. True love chooses to sacrifice with joy and do the right thing for others’ benefit. It doesn’t profit if we don’t do things with the joy of salvation or do things grudgingly.

Mark 10:17-22…there came one running, and kneeled…asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered…Master, these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said…One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor…shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad…went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

God wants a cheerful giver. He wants our sacrifice on the altar to be something we want to do with joy, and that glorifies God. If we do the right thing with a bad attitude and grudging or motivated by fear, we’re not expressing joy.

II Corinthians 9:7-8 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart…give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound…that ye, always having all sufficiency…abound to every good work:

There’s a story of the pig and the chicken. They were walking down the street on a sunny morning and saw a sign. It said “Ham and eggs for breakfast. All proceeds go to charity.” The chicken stopped and said, I think we ought to help out in this cause. The pig said, That’s easy for you to say. All you would do is donate. I would have to sacrifice. The chicken would donate the egg and the pig would have to die for his ham. God wants us to willingly and cheerfully sacrifice, not just donate.

Jesus willingly sacrificed because of the joy set before him. Joy helped him endure what he had to. We need to consider that Jesus endured opposition with joy set before him, lest we get weary and faint in our minds. We must keep our eyes on the joy God gives of knowing we’re right with him and have eternal life. Paul said things didn’t move him and he didn’t count his life dear, so he could finish his course with joy (Acts 20:24). God wants us to finish our course with joy.

Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

The man found treasure in a field and had joy that he found it. We find treasure when we ask God to forgive us of our sins and get saved. As we dig in that field, we realize we need to sell all so we can buy the whole field. Salvation isn’t complete until we get sanctified. We need to buy the whole field with joy. A true story from the early 1900s said that a church in a small farming community outgrew their building. They wanted a building for Sunday school classes. The pastor asked for donations to help build it. A poor family didn’t have any money so they asked God what to do. They had a cow for milk and for plowing. They decided they sell the cow and give the money. They were all very happy they could give to the building fund. A few weeks later the pastor and an evangelist stopped by the farm. The man was pulling the plow and his son guided the plow. The evangelist asked why they didn’t have an animal to plow. The pastor told how they sold the cow so they could give to the building fund. The evangelist said that must be real hard on them. The pastor said they didn’t think that because it was a joy to give so it wasn’t a sacrifice. They wanted to do it with all their heart, didn’t have any regrets, and felt it was God’s will. We need to be that way so what we give to God is a joy – not sacrifice, hard, or drudgery.

Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Sanctification is willingly presenting our bodies as a holy sacrifice. Holy means free from sin. First we repent of sin, ask God to forgive us, and cleanse us from all sin and unrighteousness so we can present our body holy. Sanctify is to make holy, set apart for sacred use, to free from the inbred sin, to cleanse from the moral corruption, to purify the carnal nature.

Romans 12:1 I beseech…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…your reasonable service.

God was angry with David for numbering the people. He sent the prophet Gad to tell him what to do and gave three choices: seven years famine, three months of fighting with the enemy, or three days pestilence from the Lord. David said he’d rather fall on the mercy of God with pestilence. Araunah wanted to give everything to David.

II Samuel 24:18-22 And Gad…said…Go up, rear an altar…in the threshingfloor of Araunah…David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. And Araunah…bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground…said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed…Araunah said…Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good…here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.

David said he wouldn’t offer to the Lord anything that didn’t cost him. If someone gives us something and we decide to offer it to the Lord, it’s not a sacrifice. David knew a sacrifice had to cost something. We have to willingly put everything on the altar as a living sacrifice – regardless of the cost, our will, our desires, our hopes, and plans. All has to be on the altar.

II Samuel 24:24-25 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord…which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar…offered burnt offerings and peace offerings…Lord was intreated…the plague was stayed…

God shows we’re a sinner and need to repent when we’re accountable. The Bible doesn’t say at what age because everyone is different with different understanding. Romans 7:9 says “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” Children cheat, steal, act mean, do wrong, and tell lies but don’t know it’s a sin against God. God doesn’t hold them accountable until they understand. We’re born with Adamic sin inherited from Adam and Eve. They were in God’s image with no sin in their heart until they chose to sin. Now all are born in their likeness with a carnal nature.

Psalm 51:4-5 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

We all realize as we grow up that something in our heart is causing us to do wrong. God wants that eradicated. We ask God to forgive our committed sins when we get saved. God wants us to go on and be sanctified so our heart is purified and the inherited sin is burned up by the Holy Spirit. Then we have fellowship and concern to do whatever God wants. There’s a type of sanctification in the Old Testament. God asked the Israelites for a whole burnt offering. They couldn’t just offer part of the animal but it had to be complete with one offering in the morning and one in the evening.

Exodus 29:38-44…thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning…the other lamb thou shalt offer at even…an offering made by fire unto the Lord. This shall be a continual burnt offering…I will sanctify the tabernacle…and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister…

God sends the fire to be sanctified and the fire of the Holy Spirit burns up everything on the altar. The whole animal had to be burned up but they were responsible to keep the fire going. They offered sacrifice in the morning and evening so the fire didn’t go out. God is the one that sanctifies us and sends the Holy Spirit within. We’re responsible for keeping the fire burning. It’s so important to have our daily devotions in the morning and to make sure we’re completely on the altar to do what the Lord wants with the fire still burning in the evening.

Leviticus 9:23-24 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle…and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared…And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

Paul asked God to sanctify us wholly – completely, 100% not 99%, our whole spirit, soul, and body living for God. It is God’s plan to get rid of the carnal nature. There is never real satisfaction in serving God if we still have the carnal nature wanting its way. It’s so important to die out to our self, our will, our way, and to make sure we’re consumed on the altar of sacrifice so we can be what God wants us to. We can offer ourselves joyfully with a cheerful heart and not grudgingly.

I Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.