All of Me
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
September 10, 2006

 

Main Passage: Luke 14:25-33 (NLT)

 

In 1914, the Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton set out with a team of men with the goal of crossing Antarctica on foot… a total of about 2400 km. It was a very dangerous mission to be sure, and things didn’t go exactly as planned, as you may already know.

Shackleton began the mission with a team of 28 men, plus 68 husky dogs which had been shipped from Winnipeg. And they all set sail together on a ship called the “Endurance”. But as the ship approached the point where the foot-part of the expedition was to begin, it became caught up in the ice. In fact, it was stuck in the ice at sea (the Weddell Sea) for about 11 months, until finally the ship was squashed by the ice and sank to the bottom.

So where did that leave Shackleton and his crew? Well, they had to abandon ship and were stranded on the ice floes. Five months they spent on the ice. Fortunately for them, it was during the summer months. So they were even able to get in some hockey and football, as you can see [PowerPoint].

Of course, it leaves one to wonder how they survived. I mean, what did they eat? I assume much of their provision went down with the ship. Interesting that there’s no dogs in that photo, isn’t it? I’m just saying…

Well, the expedition was to take them to Antarctica. But the whole time they were on the ice floes, they were drifting away from the continent. But they did have some luck, because after spending 497 days at sea, both on the ship and on the ice, they were finally able to lower their three lifeboats into open water and travel to Elephant Island.

But oddly enough, there were no elephants on Elephant Island. In fact, there were only a few penguins and seals there for food. Shackleton and his crew were still in a bad situation.

So Shackleton and five others set out on a small 22-foot boat… look at the size of that [PowerPoint]… and miraculously crossed over one of the most dangerous sections of ocean in the world, and landed successfully on the island of South Georgia. But that was not the end, and there was no time for dillydallying. They still had to travel over rough terrain and glaciers and mountains. No one had ever successfully crossed the island that way before. But they pressed on, until they reached a whaling station and were able to get help. Even then, it took four attempts over the course of 3 ½ months, but a rescue ship was finally able to reach Elephant Island and rescue the other survivors, capping off one of the most successful failures of all time. In fact, the 90th anniversary of that rescue was just over a week ago (August 30, 1916).

[Sources:
http://indigo.ie/~jshack/Other%20Ernest%20Pages/endurance.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Shackleton
Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint, August 30, 2002]

It was a dangerous mission right from the start. So how did Shackleton recruit the men who would risk their lives and accompany him? Well, that’s a good question, and there’s actually a lot of debate about it. But according to some, the men who joined him volunteered to do so as a result of an ad Shackleton had placed in the newspaper. This is supposedly what the ad said…

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”

And because of that ad, men came from all over to sign up and join the crew. And before they set out, Shackleton made them a promise. He promised them that none of them would die, and then told them, “Follow as I lead, do what I say must be done, and I’ll get you home.” It took him two years to do it, but he did it. Not one member of the crew perished.


But you do understand what he was asking of the crew, don’t you? He was asking them to trust him. He was asking them to follow his instructions. He was asking them to place their lives in his hands. He was asking them to give him their all… 100%. And if they would do so, he promised them that he’d get them home.

Well, that reminds me of something Jesus said…

Mark 8:34-35 (NLT)
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”

Jesus says, “Trust me. Follow my instructions. Give me your all. Place your life in my hands. And you will find true life.”

And understand, Jesus issued a warning of His own. He said right up front that it wouldn’t be easy. He said it would cost something. He said there could be danger and persecution around every corner. He didn’t pull any punches. He laid it right out there.

John 16:33 (NLT)
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

In fact, in Matthew 24, Jesus issued a warning to all believers who will be alive just prior to His Second Coming. I don’t know when that will be and I’m not going to take any guesses. But I know it won’t be a very pleasant time for followers of Jesus then.

Matthew 24:9 (NLT)
“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because of your allegiance to me.”

There. You sure you want to sign up?

You know, most weeks here at Sunrise we talk about how Jesus can restore meaning to your life, how He can bring you joy and peace and forgiveness and life, how He can comfort you and encourage you and sustain you, how His way of living is the best way of living… we talk about all those things. And they’re all true. But let’s not neglect His warnings that things won’t always be rosy. Let’s not be so naïve to think that we’re somehow exempt from all this hardship and persecution that Jesus foretold.

So when those times come… whether they come full force or in little doses… when those times come, where will your allegiance lie? You claim to trust Jesus; will you trust Him then? You’ve promised to live for Him; will you be faithful then? You’ve pledged your life to Him; will you lay it down freely, if that is what is required of you, then?

That’s what I want to ask you to consider here this morning. This is not going to be an easy message for you. It’s not intended to be. I want to present you with the challenge that Jesus gives to all of His true disciples…

Luke 14:26-27, 33 (NLT)
“If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me.”…
So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.”

Are you sure you want to sign up?

Because those weren’t just words. For many believers, those words have been literal. Just in the past 100 years, 35 million followers of Jesus have been martyred.


Let me give you an example. There’s a movie that we’re going to watch as a church this winter called “The End of the Spear.” It’s based on the true story of five men who risked everything to reach one of the most violent tribes in the jungles of Ecuador. 50 years ago this year (Jan. 8, 1956) those missionaries made contact, and were slaughtered by the tribe. The movie is the story of what lead up to that event, and what happened afterwards.

But those missionaries knew the risk. They knew that there was a good chance they wouldn’t survive. In fact, one of them, Jim Elliot, once said…

“If that’s the way God wants it to be, I’m ready to die for the salvation of the Aucas.”
~ Jim Elliot

How could Jim Elliot display such courage… such resolve… such dedication? Because he knew Jesus meant it when He said…

Matthew 10:39 (NLT)
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.”

You still want to sign up?

Or how about Rachel Scott? Rachel was a 17 year-old high school student who had plans to become a missionary to Africa, but one fateful morning in her Columbine high school she was shot in the back. And as she laid face down on the ground one of the shooters picked her head up by her hair, held a gun to her head, and asked her if she believed in God. She knew that she would either have to recant her faith or die. She chose to die.

Just in the past couple of weeks, there were four missionaries in China who were arrested for what was called “superstitious activity” and they were tortured. One of the female missionaries even had her hair ripped out.

We’ve even had a missionary speak here at Sunrise whose name I can’t mention on our website because it might endanger his life. It’s a dangerous world in which to be a disciple of Jesus.

You still want to sign up?

I recently mentioned to you that there is one follower of Jesus who is martyred every three minutes someplace in this world. Even here in North America there’s a growing culture of intolerance toward anything Christian.

You still want to sign up?

In the Bible, in the Old Testament, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego came face to face with that question. They were given the choice between…
• obeying the king and worshipping a golden statue, or…
• being faithful to God and possibly losing their lives because of it.

And what did they choose? They told the king…

Daniel 3:17-18 (NLT)
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

They knew what was at stake, they counted the cost, and they chose to sign up.

 

Now what you need to know is that Jesus loves you. He really does. And He wants the best for you. But He also expects a lot of you. And what He won’t stand for are hypocrites… people who claim to live for Jesus right up until the point it costs them something.

Being a disciple… being a follower of Jesus… will cost you something. I don’t know what. I don’t know how much. But it will cost. I believe that what you get in return far outweighs anything it could ever cost you, but it will cost you. In your notes…

 

Being a Disciple of Jesus Means…

1. Accepting the future regardless of the cost.

Luke 9:57-58 (NLT)
As they were walking along someone said to Jesus, "I will follow you no matter where you go."
But Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head."

Jesus Himself would travel around and wouldn’t necessarily have a place to stay on any particular night. Following Jesus means that you may not know what the future holds, but you choose to follow anyway.

 

2. Leaving the past regardless of the pull.

Think about those first disciples of Jesus. Several of them were fishermen. That was their livelihood. It was all they had ever done; it was all they knew. If I were them, I would have been a little more hesitant to leave all that behind and to travel and be apart from family for long periods of time, all in order to follow Jesus. But look what they did at their first encounter with Jesus…

Matthew 4:19-20 (NLT)
Jesus called out to them, "Come, be my disciples…" And they left their nets at once and went with him.

They left their past behind them in order to follow Jesus.

 

3. Seizing the moment regardless of the inconveniences.

As Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Ephesus…

Ephesians 5:15-17 (CEV)
Act like people with good sense and not like fools. These are evil times, so make every minute count. Don't be stupid. Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do.

 

You know, the prospect of dying for my faith is scary. And at the same time, there’s something oddly glamorous about it. But the toughest thing is not dying for Jesus… it’s living for Him. Dying for Him is an instant; living for Him is a lifetime. Day in, day out. Every day. 24/7.

And that’s the highest calling: to live for Jesus. In your notes…
 

When Jesus died for you, it was an all or nothing thing.
And when you live for Him, it’s also an all or nothing thing.
 

If you’re going to follow Jesus, it’s going to take everything you’ve got. 100% commitment. He won’t settle for anything less. He’s either Lord of all, or He’s not Lord at all.

So will you live for Him? Will His priorities be your priorities? Will His values be your values? Will His instructions be your marching orders? Will His Word be your life manual? Even when no one’s watching, will you live with integrity before Jesus? The choice is yours.

Do you want to sign up?

Because if you do… and if you mean it… there’s no limit to what God can and will do through you. John Wesley recognized that, and he said…

“Give me 100 men who love God and nothing else, who hate sin and nothing else, and I will change the world.”
~ John Wesley

Jesus asks for all of you. He demands your undivided loyalty. You can’t serve two masters. Will you give Him everything you’ve got?


SHOW VIDEO – Wholeheartedly (SermonSpice)
http://www.sermonspice.com/cart/?p=product&id=2614

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Greg Hanson, 2006 SunriseOnline.ca