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Celebrate the Sacrifice of Jesus

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Celebrate the Sacrifice of Jesus”

Series: Celebrate the Joy of Jesus [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

December 22, 2019

Introductory Comments:

I’ll never forget the first time I watched Disney’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Mickey Mouse plays the character of Bob Cratchit and he has his little family gathered for a Christmas meal. Mickey gives up his chicken leg so that Tiny Tim can eat it and Tiny Tim offers it back to him. Mickey just eats a little green pea, which he cuts with a knife. It touched me as a child to see such sacrifice on display. 

Today, we’re going to talk about sacrifice. 

Before we do, let’s pray together.


Many times Christmas involves sacrifice. Parents and grandparents, and others, will often sacrifice to be generous towards their children, grandchildren, or others. 

Christmas involves a lot of sacrifice. 

In fact, Christmas was built on the idea of sacrifice: that God would send His Son to the world, to be a sacrifice for our sins. 

As we continue to celebrate the joy of Jesus this Christmas, today, we will celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus. 

As we do so, we will celebrate three particular outworking of the sacrifice of Jesus. 

First, . . .

I. Celebrate the obedience the sacrifice highlights. [on screen]

Those of us who have children or work with children, or employees, or whomever we lead, we know that it’s desirable that they be obedient. 

Yet, even though God created us in His image and loved us we did not obey Him or His ways. We were not obedient. 

But Jesus was perfectly obedient. He was even obedient to the point of sacrificing His life. 

Philippians 2:8 says, “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.” [on screen]

The humility of Jesus drove Him to think of obedient to the Father above and beyond His own desires; even above and beyond His own life. 

That obedience and that sacrifice made it possible for us to be redeemed. 

Sometimes we may even forget how difficult it was for Jesus to be obedient. It wasn’t easy for Him to lay down His life!

Before He laid down His life on the cross, Jesus even prayed that the Father might provide another way rather than the crucifixion. Listen to Luke 22:41-42: “41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” [on screen]

Jesus was more concerned with the will of the Father than He was with His own life. His sacrificial obedience was on full display as He prayed to the Father before His crucifixion. 

The obedience of Jesus was not just a display of good character. It was a factor that would change the history of the world. 

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:19, “For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” [on screen]

The disobedience of Adam brought sin and disobedience to all of us. All of us have gone our own way. All of us have disobeyed our Creator God.

But praise God that the obedience of Jesus could undo what the disobedience of Adam did. Through Jesus, any and all can be made righteous. He can switch our disobedience to obedience!

At Christmas, we can celebrate the joy of Jesus. We can celebrate His sacrifice. We can celebrate the obedience highlighted by His sacrifice. 

Also, we can . . . 

II. Celebrate the freedom the sacrifice provides. [on screen]

The obedient sacrifice of Christ brings freedom for you and me. 

Christmas brings freedom!

Romans 8:1-2 boldly reveals to us, “1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” [on screen]

The sacrifice of Jesus has set us free from sin and death! Praise God!

We are no longer condemned for our disobedience. We are no longer condemned for our sin! We are set free!

Jesus, Himself, said in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” [on screen]

There is no freedom like the freedom brought by the sacrifice of Jesus!

There is no freedom like the freedom brought by Christmas!

Let us rejoice in the freedom that we now have and celebrate that freedom. Let us not go back to the former ways, but rejoice in our freedom. 

The apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” [on screen]

Could you imagine a freed slave willingly going back to slavery? That’s crazy!

We can stand firm in the freedom we have. Christmas set us free from slavery. Stand boldly in the freedom of Jesus. Stand boldly in the blessings of Christmas. 

Celebrate the freedom brought by the sacrifice of Jesus.

Finally, we can . . .

III. Celebrate the newness the sacrifice perpetuates. [on screen]

To perpetuate something means to keep it going or make it last. 

The sacrifice of Jesus makes us new and continues to make us new. 

Illustration: Have you ever noticed that when you get a new gift at Christmas that it’s not new very long. I got an iPad for myself several years back. I was excited because I had my first iPad. That iPad has now changed hands several times and it is now the one used by my three-year-old in this soft indestructible case. It’s so old and inexpensive that I can let my three-year-old play with it. 

When it comes to earthly things, something is new only once and then it is no longer new.

However, with the sacrifice of Jesus, we are made new and continue to be made new. 

Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” [on screen]

If you’re in Christ, you are new! The old is gone! This Christmas, celebrate the newness!

Paul explained to the church in Ephesus how this took effect in their lives. He says in Ephesians 4:20-24: “20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.” [on screen]

The sacrifice of Jesus made it possible for us to take off the old self, like a dirty old shirt, and to put on the new self, like a new freshly ironed shirt. 

The sacrifice of Jesus makes it possible to put on the new self!

Paul says also to the Christians living in Rome in Romans 6:11, “So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” [on screen]

Did you know that Christmas brought the death of something? Just as Jesus died on the cross, so we also have died to sin. Just a Jesus was raised from the dead in the power of His resurrection, so also we have been raised to new life. 

Indeed, as Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” [on screen]

We have been made new and we are being made new by the power of the resurrection of Jesus. One day, when Jesus returns we will be completely made new forever!

Praise God that the sacrifice of Jesus perpetuates newness in our lives. 

Concluding Thoughts:

We’re celebrating the joy of Jesus this Christmas! We’ve celebrated the deity of Jesus, we’ve celebrated the coming of Jesus, now let us celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus! 

His sacrifice was a mark of His total obedience to the Father, which we could not accomplish on our own. However, by His sacrificial obedience, we can now live a life of obedience to God. 

Also, His sacrifice can set us free forever!

Finally, His sacrifice brings about newness in our lives, forever!

Celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus!

Here’s our bottom line today:

Bottom Line: The sacrifice of Jesus’ life brought you and me new life.  [on screen]


Everything changed because of Jesus’ sacrifice. He died so that you and I could live. He rose again so that we could rise again one day as well. 

Celebrate the greatest Christmas gift ever given, the sacrifice of Jesus for your sins. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Marvel at the sacrifice of Jesus.  [on screen]

As we focus on Jesus this week because of Christmas, as we naturally should do, let us marvel at His sacrifice. 

Be in awe and wonder that the Son of God would willingly and obediently lay down His life so that you might be free and that you might be new. 

Marvel at the sacrifice of Jesus. 

  1. Model the sacrifice of Jesus.  [on screen]

Did you know that we can be like Jesus in so many ways?

God’s Word oftentimes commands us to model the love, sacrifice, and obedience of Jesus. 

This week, model the sacrifice of Jesus. Do something that shows His generosity, or obedience, or love. 

Show a sacrificial act of generosity. Give up some of your time for someone else. Put others’ needs ahead of your own. 

Honor Jesus and love others by modeling the sacrifice of Jesus. 


If you’ve been changed by the sacrifice of Jesus then live as someone who’s been changed!

If you’ve not been changed by the sacrifice of Jesus, be changed today!

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)


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