Years ago I remember hearing one of the Serge leaders say:
“Come and die. Come join God’s mission and die to yourself and your small dreams and familiar places. Come and die with us on mission. Risk it all for Christ.”
That rang true to me when I heard it then—and it does now. The passion I heard still stirs in Serge’s mission statement: laying down our lives to proclaim the kingdom of Jesus Christ… This call to join others giving their lives for the love of King Jesus is an essential part of how we worship God and love our neighbors. There is no love or worship without our sacrifice—because we are worshiping one whom we also bow to.
The Reigning Lamb Who Was Slain
Paul calls us in Romans 12 to present ourselves as a living sacrifice. His words bring many connected sounds and images to my mind. Specifically, I think of the picture that John gives us in Revelation 4 and 5 when he sees Jesus as the True Living Sacrifice, appearing as the reigning lamb that was slain.
We are ones who have experienced the remarkable mercy of God in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and when we come to him, we have a new way of looking at life. We now have the new desire and call to worship God by imitating him and presenting ourselves as “a living sacrifice,” together as the church, for the kingdom in this world.
One Reconciling Sacrifice
Even though our sacrifice imitates the death and life of Jesus, our death to self and our growth in new life, doesn’t reconcile us to God. Jesus has already done that. Yet, our sacrifice joins his sacrifice powerfully.
In that sacrifice we put aside our smaller and self-centered orientation to take up new lives that look like Jesus, that unite us to push the gospel of the kingdom into the world. In dying to ourselves, as Jesus did, we gather the new people of God from the nations. We join Paul and all those who know God’s love and mercy in Christ and are propelled by his love to extend his kingdom of grace.
Now true worship is when we as believers become together a single offering for the good of the Christ’s body, the church, and the world. This is our best and most fitting response to God’s love.
A New Community of Love and Mission
We are the new community that loves each other and gives ourselves for the world. So the Spirit unites us, even in our struggles, by his fruits, especially by love. The Spirit lives in us to make this new sacrifice of community and mission as worship possible. And he gives us the unifying gifts we need to be that new community and to join God’s mission with power.
God’s call always stretches us past what we are able to do alone. Worship and mission always leaves us tattered and frayed by the struggle of faith. In fact, our struggle to be the new community of God exposes our hidden flaws and loose ends. It’s actually a bit scary and embarrassing. Don’t hang back, though. Jump in! And we will expect the power of the Living Sacrifice, Jesus, to meet us by His Spirit right where we most need him. That’s grace at the fray.
Big Enough to Capture Your Heart
So I join my friend Jack saying again, “Come and die! Come join the struggle and sacrifice God’s love and mission calls us into. It is so far beyond our abilities that I need the power and gifts of the gospel every day!”
As we become living sacrifices, our Lord will remake each of us. He’ll make us one. And he’ll send us together into his mission. It’s a calling big enough to capture your heart.