Chapter 23: Sacrifice

"Chapter 23: Sacrifice," Part Seven: Following Jesus Christ, ()


Giving up something to help someone else is part of our Father in Heaven’s plan to help us become like Him. Have you ever had the happy feeling that comes from giving up something to help someone else?

Jesus Sacrificed His Life for Us

To obey our Father in Heaven, we often must sacrifice. To sacrifice is to give up something to help someone else. Jesus made the greatest sacrifice. He suffered for our sins. Then He gave His life for us.

Because Jesus gave His life for us, everyone will live again after death. We will all have a perfect body that will never die again. This is called resurrection. Also, those who have faith in Jesus, repenting of all their sins, will be forgiven for their sins because of what Jesus did and will be able to return to our Father in Heaven.

From the time that Adam lived to the time that Jesus Christ lived, people sacrificed animals to our Father in Heaven. The people chose the best animals in their flock or herd to sacrifice. They were always the firstborn male. After choosing the proper animals, the people would kill them and burn parts of them as offerings to our Father in Heaven.

The people sacrificed these animals to obey our Father in Heaven’s law. In this way, they showed their willingness to obey our Father in Heaven even when that meant giving up something that was important to them. Our Father in Heaven commanded them to sacrifice animals to remind them that He would sacrifice His Son for them. Jesus, our Father in Heaven’s firstborn Son, would come into the world and be perfect in every way. He would allow Himself to be sacrificed for our sins.

After Jesus gave His life, He commanded the people not to sacrifice animals anymore. He gave us the sacrament to remind us of the great sacrifice He made for us. The bread and water of the sacrament represent Jesus’ flesh and blood, which He gave for us when He died.

Discussion

  • What did the sacrifice of animals in ancient times represent?

Sacrifice Is Part of Our Father in Heaven’s Plan for Us

Our Father in Heaven now requires us to sacrifice in a different way. He commands us to make the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That means giving up our sins and our pride. It means being willing to remember Jesus always and to keep His commandments, no matter what the cost. This means that:

  1. 1.

    We have faith in Jesus, we repent of our sins, we are baptized, and we keep Jesus’ commandments.

  2. 2.

    We tell other people about our belief in Jesus so they may become His followers and join His Church.

  3. 3.

    We are willing to do any work in Jesus’ Church that He wants us to do.

  4. 4.

    Men are willing to accept the priesthood and help their family and others to live in such a way that they will be prepared to return to our Father in Heaven in the next life.

To return to our Father in Heaven, we must be willing to give everything Jesus asks us to give. The Apostle Paul said we should use our time on this earth to do all we can to help in Jesus’ work.

Discussion

  • How can you show that you remember the sacrifice of Jesus today?

A rich man asked Jesus what he should do in order to live with our Father in Heaven forever. Jesus told him to obey all our Father in Heaven’s commandments. The rich man replied that he had obeyed the commandments from the time he was young. Jesus told him there was one more thing he must do. He must sell everything he had. He must then give the money to poor people and follow Jesus. When the rich man heard this, he was sad. He did not want to give away all the things he had and follow Jesus.

The rich man was a good man. He had earnestly tried to obey the commandments. But when Jesus asked him to give away everything he had and follow Him, he would not do it.

Two of Jesus’ Apostles, Peter and Andrew, were willing to give up everything they had in order to follow Jesus. When Jesus asked them to follow Him, they left their work and followed Him.

Abraham was also willing to give anything he had to our Father in Heaven. Abraham lived on the earth before Jesus was born. In that time, our Father in Heaven still required people to sacrifice animals. He commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, as a test to see if Abraham would obey. Abraham was willing to obey. He built an altar and put his son on it. Abraham was ready to kill his son, when an angel stopped him. The angel told Abraham he did not have to sacrifice his son. Our Father in Heaven knew Abraham was willing to give all our Father in Heaven commanded him to give, even his own son. Abraham loved our Father in Heaven so much that he was willing to do everything our Father in Heaven commanded. Our Father in Heaven blessed Abraham because Abraham was willing to sacrifice anything for Him.

Discussion

  • Who is an example of a person who was not willing to give everything Jesus commanded him to give?

  • Who is an example of a person who was willing to give everything our Father in Heaven commanded him to give?

  • What would you have done in these situations?

We May Have to Sacrifice Things for Jesus’ Work

Our families may reject us if we follow Jesus. Other people may laugh at us or try to hurt us when we obey His commandments. We may lose our jobs for joining the Church of Jesus Christ.

We may have to use our money and our time to go and teach others about Jesus. We may have to use our time to help the leaders of the Church do His work. We may have to use our time and money to help others in our family while they do Jesus’ work. Our Father in Heaven may want us to give our lives rather than deny our testimony of Jesus.

Discussion

  • How would you feel if you were asked to give up your favorite possession?

  • How much are you willing to sacrifice for Jesus’ work?

Sacrifice Brings Blessings That Can Come in No Other Way

Sacrifice helps us become unselfish. We learn to serve our Father in Heaven and help other people. We learn that doing things for others makes us happy. We learn that doing what Jesus commands us to do is more important than any material thing we can have on this earth. We learn that serving others is better than thinking only of ourselves. When we sacrifice willingly, we also find that our Father in Heaven gives us blessings that are far better than whatever we have given up.

Sacrificing for others helps us understand better what Jesus did for us. He loved us enough to give His life for us. As we sacrifice things for our Father in Heaven or for other people, we love them more. We begin to become loving and more like Jesus and our Father in Heaven.

Having many possessions is not bad. Our Father in Heaven sometimes gives us these things so that we can help others. But it is hard not to love our belongings and money. We work hard to get them. Some of these things are necessary in order for us to live. However, we must not care so much about these things that we will not give up whatever our Father in Heaven needs to help His other children.

All members of the Church of Jesus Christ should make serving our Father in Heaven and Jesus the most important thing in their lives. We show that we love our Father in Heaven and Jesus more than we love our possessions when we do what the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ ask us to do. We should sacrifice our time to help them teach and serve others. In order to become worthy to live with our Father in Heaven, we must be willing to give everything we have to help Jesus’ work if that is what He asks of us.

Jesus has promised great blessings to those who obey and serve Him. He has said we cannot imagine the wonderful things we will receive later if we will sacrifice for His work now.

References

Jesus Sacrificed His Life for Us

  • Luke 9:57–62 (To obey Jesus is more important than any other thing in our life.)

  • John 15:12–13 (Jesus showed His great love for us by giving His life for us.)

Sacrifice Is Part of Our Father in Heaven’s Plan for Us

  • Genesis 22:1–14 (Abraham is told to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.)

  • Matthew 4:18–20 (Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to be His disciples.)

  • Romans 12:1 (We should use our time to serve our Father in Heaven.)

We May Have to Sacrifice Things for Jesus’ Work

Sacrifice Brings Blessings That Can Come in No Other Way

  • Matthew 19:29 (Jesus promises great blessings to those who have sacrificed for the gospel’s sake.)

  • Luke 12:16–34 (We should seek first the kingdom of our Father in Heaven before the things of this world.)