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Obedience or Sacrifice?

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Many times we try to negoiate with God and offer certain sacrifices that aren't as appealing to us. God however calls us to total obedience.

Obedience or Sacrifice?
The title of my message this morning is “Obedience or Sacrifice?”
Which one is more important in God’s eyes?
Because we talk a lot about both
“We need to obey God” and “Serving God takes sacrifices”
This morning we are going to see that God is actually pretty clear on this topic.
How many of you have found yourself negotiating with your kids? Or maybe when you were a kid you would negotiate with your parents?
I know I use to
I remember if I did something and got grounded for a weekend I would see what was going on that weekend.
If it was something I REALLY wanted to do I would negotiate being grounded for the next TWO weekends to make up for it.
Or you tell your child to mow the lawn and instead they would rather do the dishes for a week.
So doing the dishes for a week is more appealing to them than mowing the lawn.
The reason why I mention that is because that mindset has taken over a lot of people when it comes to God.
We want to negotiate
We want to make sacrifices to keep us from doing what we were told to do.
So we’re going to take a look at a story in the bible of someone who had this mindset.
1 Samuel 15:1-3 (NLT) “One day Samuel said to Saul, “It was the Lord who told me to anoint you as king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord! 2 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. 3 Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”
So the order is pretty obvious right?
Verse 7 -9 “Then Saul slaughtered the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, east of Egypt. 8 He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. 9 Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.”
So God told him to destroy EVERYTHING but he didn’t.
That sentence jumps off the page at me!
How many times has God asked us to do something but we couldn’t completely obey because there was something that was still appealing to us that we couldn’t let go of?
Maybe a relationship?
A particular sin
Maybe God has called you to start something or make a certain decision but something else sounds better to you.
So we try to negotiate with God.
Saul did the same thing and look what happened
1 Samuel 15:13-23 “When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!” 14 “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded. 15 “It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Listen to what the Lord told me last night!” “What did he tell you?” Saul asked. 17 And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ 19 Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?” 20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. 21 Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
Saul tried to explain that he was going to SACRIFICE these things to God.
And Samuel comes back with a powerful statement.
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
God is saying, “I don’t want your sacrifices that YOU decide is worth it. I just want you to obey”.
It’s the same thing with our kids
When you ask them to do something you just want them to do it. NOTHING ELSE.
So God makes it clear that He wants our OBEDIENCE more than our sacrifices.
So today I’m going to talk about three kinds of obedience.
Confused Obedience
You obey even when it doesn’t make sense
God may call you to do something that just doesn’t make sense to you.
I felt that way when God called me into ministry
Look at Peter
Luke 5:4-5 NLT “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
Now remember Peter is a professional fisherman
That’s why he throws in there that they’ve been fishing all night.
But look what happen
Luke 5:6 “And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!”
It’s verses like these that remind me that God will NEVER call you to do something that He won’t give you the ability to do!
We just have to obey!
Painful Obedience
You obey God even when it hurts
Who do you think in the bible showed the willingness to obey even if it hurt the most?
His obedience led him to be crucified.
1 Peter 2:21 “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”
The biggest issue I see people struggling with when it comes to this kind of obedience is with RELATIONSHIPS.
I have seen so many people struggle because they feel God telling them to break off a relationship and they just can’t do it.
I remember being at camp after a service and a young man was crying his eyes out because God was telling him to break up with his girlfriend. He couldn’t do it.
We have to understand that God doesn’t call us to do these things because He enjoys watching us suffer.
But He knows that those things are hindering you from fulfilling his plans for our life.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
God has something BETTER in store for you.
There is NOTHING on this earth that is better than following the path that GOD has for you.
You will look back and be SOOO thankful you obeyed.
You Obey Until Completion
How many times have we STARTED to do what God told us to but then we quit.
Look at Abraham
God told him to sacrifice his son (painful & confused obedience)
Early the next morning he left
It was a three day journey
But Abraham was ready. He put the knife up and was ready to come down on his son.
God stopped him and said “Now I know you fear me”.
Too many people think that if you obey God that life is going to be all butterflies and roses.
If you obey God you WILL face opposition.
James 1:12 NIV “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
I’ve talked to too many people who were excited to do something that God had called them to do and after a short time they thought they made a mistake because things weren’t going there way.
“I wanted to start this bible study at work but only one person shows up”.
My former Pastor used to say, “There’s no safer place than being out on a limb with Jesus.”
Bottom line is if you want God to know that you love Him, you won’t just say it but you will obey Him!
John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
There is NOTHING on this earth that is worth more than being in the will of God for your life.
Why would you want to settle for anything less than God’s best for your life?
That’s what we’re doing when we don’t obey.
God created you for a purpose and HE knows what the best path to take is.
I don’t care how old you are!
My challenge to you church is to go home and pray about what God may be asking you to do and then do it.
You won’t be disappointed!
Bow your heads and close your eyes.
The first act of obedience to God is surrendering your heart to Him.
Following His command to seek Him first
We want to give you an opportunity for that.
Salvation call
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