Summary: The Gospel of John is one of the great theological books of the bible. For example, in John 3:16 that we hear one of the most frequently memorized and utilized verses of the bible, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is the essence of the Gospel – the gift of eternal salvation from God, to us, through Christ’s death. The theology of God and heaven is deeply profound. And, at the same time, it is very simple. In John 15:12-13 tells about his command to love. The height of love is sacrifice, the willingness to lay down our lives for a loved one. God loves us deeply and God sacrificed to show his love. God has called and is calling all of us into service. Many things can get in the way of answering God’s call. God is calling. What are we willing to lay down or sacrifice to answer the call?

We recently celebrated the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. God had a powerful and public call on Dr. King’s life. Dr. King made the ultimate sacrifice. He was prepared to give up his life to answer God’s call. Very few of us will be called to make that high sacrifice. But, the question remains: “what are you willing to lay down to answer God’s call?”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Read these final words of Dr. King in his final speech the night before his death.:

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

– Do we think Dr. King answered when God called?

– Who was Dr. King to you? What are some things God called him to do?

– What did Dr. King say about living a long life?

– What was more important to him than long life?

– When we consider Dr. King (and even moreso Christ), what are we willing to lay down to answer God’s call on our lives?

Dr. King was far from perfect. He was a fallible just like everyone else. However, he was willing to lay down his life to answer God’s call on his life. What are we willing to lay down?

John 15:12-13: Read John 15:12-13: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

– What does God say is the greatest expression of love for one another?

– Reflect over the course of your life. Who are some of the people that sacrificed for you?

– Who are some biblical examples of people that made sacrifices to answer the call of God?

Although it is not likely that many (or any) of us will be called to lay down or actually die to answer God’s calling, we are called to sacrifice. Sacrifice as service to God is explored below in a discussion in Romans 12:1-2.

Romans 12:1-2: Read the questions below and then read Romans 12;1-2. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

– Knowing what God has done for us, what does God say we should offer as a reasonable sacrifice to him? Our bodies/our lives/our talent/our time. We are to offer them to God as a living sacrifice.

– Do we think that God literally wants us to kill ourselves as a sacrifice to him? No, but he does want us to turn ourselves over fully to serve him and answer his call.

– What does it mean to be “conformed to this world” and how can that stop us from answering God’s call?

– What are some of the things that we allow to compete with God’s calling on our lives?

– What do the verses say we must do in order to live a life sacrificed to God’s call.

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