Friday, March 7, 2014

They Forsook All

  Life of Christ 39

Luke 5:11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

          Before I leave this story of the calling of Peter, James, and John, I must draw from it one more lesson. This is a crucial lesson, indeed, not for the casual Christian, but then again, the casual Christian almost certainly isn't reading this blog. No, the casual Christian comes to Christ for what Christ offers him i.e. peace of mind about his sin, a home in Heaven, and an occasional happy emotional experience in a worship service. The simple truth is that to get all of those all you have to forsake is an inflated sense of yourself as you come to Christ alone for salvation. But to mature, to grow, to walk closely with Him, you must continually forsake aspects of your life that once were dear.
       When a diamond comes to light out of the African mud it doesn't look anything at all like what your wife wears on her hand. I vividly remember the first time I ever looked at a diamond closely. I had just gotten back from the mall where I purchased my now wife's engagement ring, and all alone, I lay on the floor of my church auditorium and held it up to the sun streaming through the window. How it sparkled and glittered as it threw light all across that high ceiling! But it only became that brilliant by yielding chunks of itself to be split off, splintered away, sanded down, and polished off.
          Jesus will take any sincere follower, both the distant and the close, but He will give Himself to those that are close, not just once, but again and again. However, you cannot become close if you hold on to what you already have. Paul said it this way, 'But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ' (Philippians 3.7-8).
          Some are called to forsake family. Some are called to forsake business opportunities. Some are called to forsake long cherished desires of the heart. Some are called to forsake free time and spare money. Some are called to forsake the good opinion of others. Some are called for forsake ease and comfort. Some are called to forsake their native land. …and, in return, they get Him.
          As a 15 year old boy I knelt in the far back corner of an enormous empty auditorium. Tears streamed down my face. I raised my hands and said, 'God, take it all; I hold nothing back. All I ask in return is yourself.' Not sixty minutes later, I sat toward the very front of that auditorium, and listened, spell bound, as a preacher said, 'There probably aren't five teenagers in this room that understand this, but when you give up everything God gives you Himself in return.' Please don't misunderstand me. There have been plenty of times in the intervening years where the living sacrifice of my life has crawled back of the altar and done its own thing, but I have never regretted, for one solitary moment, giving God everything.
          What did Peter, James, and John forsake? Two boats, some nets, one of which was broken, and the detritus that collects in the bottom of every boat I've ever been in, swishing slowly back and forth with the tide. What did Peter, James, and John get? Jesus Christ, and all that came with Him.

          What stands between you and closer relationship with Him? What do you need to forsake? Money? Fun? How you spend your time? Your choice of entertainment? Your pride? Your friends? What?
          If you give in, you will get a whole lot more out of it than it cost you to give up. You will get Him.

If you would like to listen to the sermon connected with this blog you may find it here on our church website. Just press 'launch media player' and choose We Preach Christ 17, 'They Forsook All and Followed Him.'

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