Summary: Examine the obstacles that will hinder you from moving forward in obedience to Christ.
On April 21st, in the year 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez sailed into the harbor of Vera Cruz, Mexico. He brought with him only about 600 men. Over the next two years his vastly outnumbered forces were able to defeat Montezuma and all the warriors of the Aztec empire, making Cortez the conqueror of all Mexico. How was this incredible feat accomplished, when two prior expeditions had failed to establish a colony on Mexican soil? Here’s the secret. Cortez knew that he and his men faced incredible odds. He knew that the road before them would be dangerous and difficult. He knew that his men would be tempted to abandon their quest and return to Spain. As soon as Cortez and his men had come ashore and unloaded their provisions, he ordered their entire fleet of eleven ships destroyed. His men stood on the shore and watched as their only possibility of retreat burned and sank. From that point on, they knew there was no return, no turning back. Nothing lay behind them but empty ocean. Their only option was to go forward, to conquer or die. (Contributed to Sermon Central by Alan Perkins)
In the spiritual realm there come times when you and I must decide to burn the ships. During those times we make a commitment to go forward with Christ. During those times we make a commitment to live for God. During those times we decide that faith is worth the effort. Today we look at a man that burned the ships of his past and decided to live for Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. Look at the text! "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen." Heb. 11:24-28 (NASB)
This is a timely subject. Some of you are considering following Jesus Christ. In order for this to happen you should burn some ships in your life. Some of you are considering a decision in your relationship with God. In order for this to happen you should burn some ships in your life. Some of you are still praying about your support of the Forward with Faith capital funds campaign. In order for you to do what God desires there are some ships that should be burned. The question remains, will you do what God desires? Jesus once spoke some words that brings this truth home. He said “"No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’’ Lk. 9:62 Lets see what we can learn from Moses about burning ships.
I. When we burn the ships there is a decision that must be made.
Some decisions are easy.
• The decision to go to the rest room is easy.
• The decision to eat a meal is easy.
• The decision to get a drink of water is easy.
Some decisions are difficult.
• The decision to go to the dentist is difficult.
• The decision to go on a diet is difficult.
• The decision to have surgery is difficult.
The decision to live for God can be a challenging decision. It involves eternal matters. It involves change. It involves pressure. It involves a change in lifestyle. It involves a tug of war between two worlds. Someone has pointed out the decision Moses faced.
• In Egypt he was given honor. With God’s people he faced humility.
• In Egypt he enjoyed all of life’s pleasures. With God’s people he faced persecution.
• In Egypt he enjoyed riches. With God’s people he faced ridicule.
The decision to live for God is a compelling decision. Some decisions are so compelling they must be made or face dire consequences.
Illustration: Several years ago we had an interesting speaker share her testimony at our church in Northport. This lady had the painful distinction of being listed in the Guiness Book of World Records (under the weight category). She had lost almost 1,000 pounds at the time I met her. Someone found out that she was to be in the area so we invited her to share her story at our church. She almost died due to her weight problem. Therefore, the decision to lose weight was not difficult to make.
The decision to live for God is a life changing decision. The first three words of verse 24 tell the story. It says “by faith Moses.” Moses made the decision. That decision forever changed Moses’ life. It changed his priorities. It changed his friends. It changed his values. It changed his perspective.