Here’s a great children’s sermon you can use for the New Year or as an 8 week series of messages on heroic faith.
Read Romans 12:1
Sacrifice: to give up, to forfeit, to let go to surrender
To be a living sacrifice is to forfeit or surrender our lives completely to God. We give our lives to Him at the altar and we don’t get back up off the altar when things become difficult or inconvenient or if what He desires for us is not what we desire for ourselves.
Hebrews chapter 11 is a those who have been living sacrifices to God in the past. They are the heroes of the faith. Hebrews 11 talks about Abel’s sacrifice and how Noah obeyed God by building an ark. It talks about Abraham and Issac and Jacob and Moses. It mentions Gideon, David and Samuel as well as many others. Each of these people who lived their lives for God – who became living sacrifices – did so because of their faith in God. They became heroes of the faith. But they are not the only ones with heroic faith. God calls each of us to take that same challenge.
Hebrews 12:1-3 1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
When we focus and Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith and considering the sacrifice that Christ made for us, we can have the heroic faith that each of these people who came before us.
Lets look at 8 characteristics of people with heroic faith.
1. Eternal perspective:
People with heroic faith see beyond this world to eternal realities.
They don’t live for the moment and for this world, they look to the next, knowing that life here is not all the is. Abraham had this kind of faith in Hebrews 11:10. “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city built by God.” In this world of microwave mentality, people are used to doing whatever benefits them at the moment. They don’t have the eternal perspective that gets them to sacrifice what they want today for a greater vision of tomorrow. This is not what Christ did. We are to look to His as an example. He endured the cross because He was looking forward to the reward. That reward was reconciling us to Him. God wants us to live an abundant rich and full life on Earth but He also wants us to remember that what we gain on Earth could never compare to what is waiting for us in Heaven. When we have an eternal perspective, we will be more concerned with what our Heavenly Father wants for us rather than what this world has to offer us.
Matthew 6:20-21 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
2. dependence on God:
Moses showed a dependence on God when he led the children of Israel into the desert. He depended on God show him which direction to go. He depended on God for enough food and water to feed the people. He depended on God to keep their clothes for wearing out for 40 years. And he depended on God to deliver them when the Red Sea was in front of them and the armies of Egypt were behind them. Not everyone who prays depends on God but everyone who depends on God prays and often. If a person is truly dependant on God that person will be in constant communion with God just as Moses was. They will not want to do anything without knowing what God wants them to do. God want us to depend upon Him for everything. If we depend upon God for every day things, for mundane things, for whatever comes our way, then we will depend upon Him when we are under pressure or we are in the dark about what God is doing in our lives. We will start to depend upon Him to part a Red Sea in our lives when we need it.
Proverbs 3:5-6 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall £direct your paths.
3. Love of God’s Word:
Those with heroic faith love God’s Word. They love to read it. They love to study it. They love to hear it. They memorize it. But even more, they live by it. We can’t live by faith unless we hunger for the Word of God. Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Without the Word of God, our faith in God will die.
True courage is not the absence of fear, but boldly doing what God wants even when we are afraid.
True courage comes from the Holy Spirit. It is what changed Peter from a coward who denied knowing Christ to the man who boldly preached the sermon to the crowds of people on the day of Pentecost after receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. True courage is the power that the Holy Spirit gives us to be His witnesses. Courageous Christians act in faith, knowing their calling. They depend on God and His love. They know that they can’t do what is required on their own but they also know that they can do all things when they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Christians with heroic faith don’t give up because things get rough. They persevere. They continue to do what God wants them to do. They never give up. They don’t believe that God changes His mind. They continue on and on until God fulfills the vision He gave them. Abraham persevered when it took so long for Issac to be born. Moses persevered through the desert. Joshua persevered when he and the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho seven times. And Daniel persevered when he continued to pray 21 days for an answered from God. Things would have been a lot different if these men would have decided to give up when things got too difficult but their faith in God to come through would not let them give up. I wonder how many times we have given up right before our breakthrough would have come.
Heroic Faith takes obedience to God seriously. It doesn’t make excuses or think that God understands my weakness in this area. Those with heroic faith are willing to be living sacrifices, to obey God no matter what the cost. That obedience was most evident in Abraham. He was willing to sacrifice Isaac, his son and the fulfillment of God’s promise, for no other reason than because God told him too. Sometimes it seems foolish to obey God. Sometimes what He wants us to do may seem too difficult or cost too much. That’s when we show heroic faith, knowing that God has everything under control and His way is not only the best way, but the only way.
7. Self Control:
Being a living sacrifice involves controlling our flesh. When we have self control, we will not always do what we want. We will not use our words to hurt others. We will not easily lose our tempers. We will decide to die daily to our flesh. The reason Paul told us to make it a daily thing is because our flesh doesn’t go away. It is a constant struggle to control it – to do what God wants and not what would make us feel good for the moment.
Many times people think of love as an emotion or feeling. Love that the Bible talks about is not an emotion but a choice. Sometimes we won’t feel like loving and forgiving someone that we believe hurt us. But God doesn’t say that we should love only when we feel like it. We show that we love God by choosing to love others. That means we have to trust God enough to love someone even though that person has hurt us. We need to trust God enough to consider others needs as more important than our own. Again if we look at Christ as our example, we can see that not only was He not selfish when it came to meeting His needs above others, He was willing to sacrifice everything for us. His love is so great that He was willing to humble himself enough to wash Judas’ feet even though he know Judas would betray Him. Remember Christ is God. His name is above every name. But He didn’t pull rank. He gave Himself. He put our needs above His own. He choose to love us when we were unlovable. How can we do any less?
1 John 4:11 – 1 John 4:12 (NKJV) 12No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.