I Surrender All
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In your Bibles, this part of scripture will a heading of “The Cost Of Discipleship, or The Cost Of Following Jesus.” Whatever it may be, you will see that it all means the same thing. Your life will cost you by following Jesus.
Last Sunday’s meeting, Bro Vili asked me, “how am I doing?” and my response was “I’m barely hanging on”. You see…at one point we will reach rock bottom in our emotions. At times we may think that we can face all things, and we will be ok. Then the truth comes out and the burden is to hard to bear. (You all get that feeling sometimes?)
If I am being honest with you all today, I must confess that there are times when I feel like quitting. Please don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. I love that fact that I am serving the Lord. Serving Him, is when I feel His presence the most. But, YES…there are times when my emotions get the best of me.
After feeling the way I felt in the past month, and opening up to all of you last Sunday of how I felt, then the Lord Jesus by His power gave this message as I reminder of where I stand by belonging to Him. Have I surrendered all?
Let me tell you…when God speaks, He really speaks to the heart. He will… by His power makes sure that the hearer will listen. God reminded me of the cost of following Him. And hopefully today, we will all be reminded of who we belong too.
So… this afternoon, lets look into…let us let our Lord Jesus teach us the cost of being His disciple. Being His follower….
The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message" "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north." The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am seaman third class Jones." Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."
- Paul Aiello, Jr.
There are many people who want full control of their life. Many refuse to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When we don’t listen to God’s instruction in our lives …WE CRASH! If that ship’s Captain refused to alter his course, he would have crashed right into the rocks below the lighthouse. If we refuse to surrender to the Gospel & the Spirit we will crash! Today the lost man refuses to surrender to Jesus for salvation. And many who are saved, refuse to surrender to Jesus’ direction in their lives as well. A common phrase in the church today is “I am going to commit my life to Jesus”. You have heard it, and many have said it! But when you really look at the word you will find that the word doesn’t go far enough.
This part of scripture has taught me three things, hopefully by the power of the Holy Spirit, it will open our eyes to truth…
First lesson is, We Must submit our lives to Jesus:
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
In Matthew’s account (Matt 8:16) of this event we are told that this man was a Scribe. A scribe was a religious teacher of the law. This event takes place shortly after Peter’s Mother in Law was healed. After this we read that “That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and He healed all the sick”.
It is possible that this “scribe” was among the great crowd that was with Jesus as He healed many. He comes to Jesus and says “Lord, I will follow You wherever You Go”. Notice Jesus' reply - “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Jesus wasn’t turning this man away, He was explaining to him the “cost of being a disciple” He makes it clear to the scribe that there was more to following Jesus than meets the eye. Many time’s we will find people who get caught up in the excitement of others. They see God moving and great things are happening and they want in on it! They need help and they think that Jesus is the answer. And we know that Jesus is the answer, but the problem is that these people want to make a commitment instead of surrendering to Jesus.
Webster’s defines “Surrender” as - the action of yielding one's person or giving up the possession of something especially into the power of another.
Surrender is illustrated in the actions of James & John after Jesus called them to be His disciples…
19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.
No questions asked. Jesus called James and John and they submitted their lives to Him. They left their home, their family, their job, their life as they knew it to follow Christ. When Jesus calls your name, you must SUBMIT to Him! You are to live a life of “I Surrender All” to the Savior! James, John, Peter, Andrew, Matthew and the others did not begin following Jesus and then go back. They didn’t go back to fishing or collecting taxes… they followed Jesus until the day they died for Jesus!!!
On a side note: Since I had mentioned Peter, did you know that after the resurrection, Peter was about to go back to his former ways of being a fisherman? Here let me show you…
John 21:3-8 (ESV)
3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So, they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
Peter was about to go back to his regular routine. He was going back to his old profession. He was in his work clothes when the Lord called him. It was as if Peter forgot why he was called, and Jesus reminded Peter of his “I Surrender All”.
Of course, after this fishing event was the greatest three questions ever asked of Peter.
“Do you love Me? Feed My Lambs”
“Do You love Me? Tend My sheep”
“Do You love Me? Feed My Sheep”
Jesus reminded Peter that he was not to go back to his old ways. Jesus called him for something better. “I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19) We cant look down on Peter for feeling the way that he did. He lost his focus on Jesus for a while, we all have been there right! Then Jesus, by His Spirit brings us back to course. Puts us back on the narrow path.
Anyway, lets go back to our text.
What about you and i? Have we fully surrendered our life to Christ or was it a half-hearted commitment? Have we given our all to Jesus and followed Him faithfully Or did we walk His way for a while and then return to what we were before?
The biggest problem for many people when it comes to “I Surrender All” to Jesus is that they are too concerned with the things of this world. But in verses 59-60 we will see that if you are going to “Surrender All” then you must deny this world.
Second Lesson: Deny The World.
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
Jesus now offers a man the opportunity to “Follow Him”. What a great privilege this man received. The same words Jesus said to the Peter, James, John, Andrew, Matthew, Thomas, and others. And Jesus is still calling men and women to “follow Him” today.
Jesus gave this man an invitation and the man wanted to accept it, but he had something that was important to him that he wanted to attend to. He said “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” This man’s Father was either dead or at the point of death. There was a custom for the Jew that if he had duty to perform concerning the dead he was exempt from any other responsibility or duty. This may sound like an honorable request, but the greater point is found in Jesus’ response to this man’s request.
Jesus is telling this man to let the spiritually dead bury the natural dead. What would hinder you from surrendering all to Jesus today? There are a few things that may be hindering someone from “I Surrender All”
Personal Aspirations: There are some things in this life that we just want to accomplish. This applies to the saved and the lost. The problem is we will never “Surrender All” if we let our personal aspirations get between us and God. There are places you want to go, things you want to see... goals you want to reach, And… because of these things many refuse to surrender ALL to Christ! Many like the idea of peace and joy and eternal life, but you want to live this life for yourself… THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS!!! As we saw in Peters story, we cannot go back to the way we were.
Another issue maybe…
Family Obligations: Now we can understand where this man is coming from. His father has passed away and he wanted to go and bury him. The problem is not that he wanted to bury his father. The problem is that he was giving Jesus a postponed commitment instead of complete surrender!!! So many put their family in front of Jesus. They can’t serve or honor their responsibilities in the church because their children have so much going on. They can’t do Kingdom work because they put their relationship to their spouse before their relationship with Jesus! Jesus makes it clear that if you are going to be His disciple our family CANNOT COME BETWEEN YOU AND HIM.
Jesus makes this clear in….
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
Another one may be…
Social Expectation: I wonder if this man thought to himself “what will my friends and neighbors think if I don’t bury my father?” Too many people are concerned with what the world is going to think about them if they get saved. Too many Christians are worried about what the world will think if they “Surrender All” to the Lord. If you seek to SURRENDER ALL to Jesus …This world, your family, your aspirations and desires cannot come before Jesus.
Listen to what the Apostle John had to say in…
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
If one desires to, “I Surrender All” then, one must deny the things of this world. Regardless of the cost!
In verses 61-62 we find the third thing that must be done in order to, “I Surrender All”.
Third: Kingdom Focus:
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”.
This involves the correct priority. The man had a demand, “but let me first”, we all have done that at one point or another right! This man gives Jesus a promise that came with some conditions. He says, “Jesus I will follow you after I tell everyone goodbye” He wanted to set his affairs in order.
This is a common issue in the lives of many today… MISPLACED PRIORITIES!! Our priorities must be in order or we will never be where God wants us to be. Our marriages will be a mess. Our children will be lost. Our household a total mess! Like I had mentioned last Sunday, if your relationship above is not right, nothing down here will be right!
This involves a clear perception, v62 reminds us all… “But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” When ploughing a farmer had to keep his eye on the work at hand. If he were to turn his eyes away from the field, the field would be ruined instantly. This “looking back” that Jesus is speaking of refers to a reluctance to break with the world’ Those who would look back do not have their mind properly directed towards the Kingdom of God. This type of person is also not fit to show the way to others. We must have a clear perception of the goals that God has given to us. So many have put their hand to the plow and then turned and looked back. Peter almost made that mistake…Peter one of the original twelve!
Notice Jesus didn’t say went back, “he says looking back”. When we look back we WILL face the temptation to go back to what we know, to go back to what is comfortable. What is the answer…. FOCUS ON THE KINGDOM!!!!
Three things we can all learn from our text that we can learn to “Surrender All”
First lesson is: We Must submit our lives to Jesus:
Second Lesson: Deny The World.
Third Lesson: Kingdom Focus:
All of these would be hard… even impossible without the help, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Just like the story of Peter, and the men in our text, Jesus is quick to remind us of who we belong too, and what it will cost you and I, by following Him!
Let us Pray:
Pastor Richard Santos
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