Sermon Title:  The Price Tag of Salvation

Summary:  Even though salvation and forgiveness is a free gift and we do not
earn it, it still comes with a price tag.  The price is becoming poor yet persistent
while realizing that with the joy & peace of salvation also may come pain. 
However, the pain is temporary and redemption is eternal.

Know:  God will faithfully act on our behalf in his own time, so we need to be
ďsold outĒ for him consistently even in the face of difficulty and pain.

Feel:  Confidence in Godís promises enough to feel courageous and resolute

Do:  Identify what takes our focus off of Christ and what saps our persistence. 
Then formulate a simple plan to maintain persistent devotion to Christ.

Text:  Luke 2:21-40

Scripture Reading:  Heb 12:1-2

Intro:
1.  The price of salvation
2.  Is there a price for us?
	a..  Yes, but not to earn or merit salvation
	b.  Like giving a gift for our children - like a stereo, car
		-Want them to care for it
		-Often they donít so we make them earn for it
		-Greater appreciation and responsiblity
	c.  Is that problem with salvation, it is a gift?
		-Some view it haphazard way
		-Almost want to make it something you earn
3.  Need to see salvation not as an inanimate object (like a car) but relationship
	a.  Salvation in terms of a marriage
	b.  Not ďearnĒ spouses love, they give it to you
	c.  Have to maintain the relationship
4.  There is a price tag, not to earn, but to maintain relationship with Christ
	a.  3 Items on the price tag:
	b.  Text:  Lk 2:21-40

I.  Poverty of Spirit (v.21-24)
	A.  We see an example of this from the first day of Jesus life
		1.  Lev 12:6 - Purification rites after a child birth
			a.  Normally offering of a year old lamb and turtle dove
			b.  Lev 12:8 - If canít afford it, then two turtle doves will do
			c.  This was called the offering of the poor
		2.  This was his life
			a.  Lk 9:58 - Foxes holes, birds nest, Jesus had nowhere
			b.  Nowhere to lay head even in birth - but in a manger
			c.  Mt 17:24ff - Two Drachma tax from a fish
			d.  Only possessions when he died was his garments
		3.  Not to say he didnít work, he was a carpenter, but not get rich
		4.  2 Cor 8:7-9 - though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so 
		      that you through His poverty might become rich.
			- Paul preached the unfathamable riches of Christ Eph 3:8
	B.  How did he become poor, and how did that make us rich?
		1.  (Jas 1:9-11) - Rich to glory in humiliation
			a.  Rich to glory in humiliation, will pass away
			b.  Jas 5:2-3 - Riches rot, garments moth eaten, gold rusts
			c.  True riches are not about material wealth
		2.  Jas 2:5 - God chose poor on this world to be rich in faith
		3.  Some of the Poorest and richest in Luke?
			a.  Poorest - Rich Young Ruler Lk 18:23
				- If gave it all away, would be rich beyond imagination
				- Kept it all, and was in destitue poverty
			b.  Richest - Lazarus Lk 16:19
		4.  (1 Tim 6:17-18) - Love of money, not money is a root of evil
			a.  Donít fix hope on uncertaintly of riches
			b.  Be rich in good works - laying treasure in heaven
	C.  ILL: Arenius in the 4th century, in Egypt
		1.  Went to live an austere life in the desert
		2.  Periodically visited Alexandria in the bazaars
		3.  Why?  To rejoice at all he did not need
		4.  He did not love riches
	D.  Blessed are the poor in Spirit - have the kingdom
		1.  Poverty of Spirit is about having attitude of the poor
		2.  How to have that attitude?  Stay far sighted
			a.  Life is more than food, body more than clothing
			b.  To live is Christ, to die is gain
		3.  We are only passing through
			a.  Jesus was born in transition
			b.  We are in transition as well
			c.  Donít get comfortable - be far sighted

II.  Pain of Heart (v.25-35)
	A.  Indication that there would be opposition and pain
		1.  A sword will pierce your own soul.
		2.  How will this happen?
			a.  Lk 2:41ff - About my fatherís business - may have hurt
			b.  Lk 4:29 - Tried to kill Jesus in Nazareth
			c.  Lk 8:19-20 - My mother and brother are those who obey
			d.  Lk 14:26 - Must hate father, mother, etc. to be disciple
		3.  Crucifixion
			a.  Movie: Passion caught emotion of Mary
			b.  Flashback to child Jesus who stumble and fell
			c.  Mary ran to him, as she found herself doing now
	B.  Christian life is not a painless life
		1.  1 Pet 4:12 - Do not be surprised at the firey ordeal
			-  If Jesus suffered, we who follow him will as well
		2.  Peter speaking of suffering that is result of faith in Christ
		3.  The more dedication to Christ, the more suffering
			a.  Can be nominally dedicated, go with flow
			b.  But if totally dedicated, will bring difficulty
		4.  Calls it a firey ordeal
			a.  Firey ordeal is not an empty one
			b.  It is a temporary expectant one
	C.  (Mal 3:1-3) He sits as a refiner
		1.  ILL: Verse puzzled some women in a Bible study
			a.  Called a silver smith and watched
				- Held silver right in middle of flame where hottest
				- Had to burn away impurities
			b.  Asked if had to sit there the entire time?
				- Yes, not only sit, but keep eyes on it constantly
				- If burn too long will be destroyed
			c.  How do you know when it is done?  
				- When I can see my image in it
		2.  God will refine us, is watching carefully
			a.  Refiners fire will not last forever
			b.  He is making you better
		3.  1 Pet 4:1 - Thatís why it says to ďarm selfĒ with same purpose
			a.  Jesus suffered, and an eternity of good came from it
			b.  When God smelts you, he intends only good
	D.  After refined, get to cool down in water of life in heaven
		1.  For the unfaithful, comfort is temporary - eternal torment
		2.  For the faithful believer, pain is temporary - eternal comfort
		3.  So donít give up...

III.  Persistence of Will (v.36-40)
	A.  Two aged people - Simeon and Anna
		1.  Have been waiting a long time
		2.  No prophets for centuries.  Has God forgotten?
		3.  Anna is 84 year old widow, wait a long time
			a.  Fasting and prayers night and day
			b.  Never left the temple
		4.  Simeon and Anna both persistent in faith
	B.  We need to be persistent
		1.  Sometimes we wonder about Godís time table
			a.  But, Promise to Abraham, 2000 years waiting
			b.  Donít know how long before that promise made to Eve
			c.  (Isa 40:26-31) - God has not forgotten
			d.  Simeon and Anna renewing their strength
		2.  Now here it is 2000 years later
			a.  No prophecy, earth shattering miracles, etc.
				- had plenty of fakes
				- Has God forgotten again?
			b.  (1 Pet 3:8-9, 15) - God has his own time table
				- God is patient
				- Regard his patience as salvation
				- If Jesus came sooner, might not have been saved
	C.  ILL: The Christian life is not a sprint
		1.  I have heard that American Indians could outrun a horse
		2.  Not faster, horse can faster, but pucker out
		3.  Could run farther
		4.  Christian life is a marathon, need to keep at it for long haul
	D.  (Heb 12:1-3) - Run with endurance
		1.  Takes faith, as can be seen in chapter 11
		2.  Takes focus on Christ
		3.  Christ sat down at Godís right hand
		4.  We will go to be with God, so be persistent

Concl:
1.  Yes, free gift of God is eternal life
	a.  God has given us a tremendous gift
	b.  You havenít earned or merited it
	c.  Have you accepted it?  (Invitation)
2.  Even though free, doesnít mean there is not a price for us
3.  Not a car, or stereo, but relationship with him
	a.  Takes a sacrifice to maintain that relationship
	b.  There is a price involved - Poverty of Spirit, Pain, Persistence
4.  (Lk 9:23-24) - Nice Summary of this lesson
	a.  Need to be ďsold outĒ for Christ
	b.  Need to have him at center focus
		- When in locker room, when at work, at home
	c.  What takes your focus off of him?  What saps your persistence?

Questions for Small Group Discussion