Summary: When we follow Jesus we cannot give up
Dare to Persevere
October 22, 2006
Lt. Col. Terence Otway, commander of the 9th Parachute Battalion of the British 6th Airborne Division, has an assignment to destroy the four powerful guns of a coastal battery in Merville, overlooking Sword Beach. If the 9th could not complete the task on time, naval gunfire would try. The bombardment was to begin at 5:30 a.m.
Otway had an elaborate strategy to overrun the guns, but the plan misfired. An initial air attack was a total failure, and then his battalion was dropped across almost 50 miles of the countryside. Of his 700-man battalion, Otway could find only 150 soldiers. Nevertheless, the men improvised brilliantly. They cut gaps through the outer barricade of the gun battery with wire cutters. One group cleared a path through the minefields, crawling on hands and knees while feeling for tripwires and prodding the ground ahead with bayonets. Now they waited for the order to attack. Otway knew casualties would be high, but the guns had to be silenced. "Everybody in!" he yelled. "We’re going to take this bloody battery!" And in they went.
Red flares burst over their heads, and machine-gun fire poured out to meet them. Through the deadly barrage, the paratroopers crawled, ran, dropped and ran some more. Mines exploded. There were yells and screams and the flash of grenades as paratroopers piled into the trenches and fought hand to hand with the enemy.
Germans began surrendering. Lt. Michael Dowling and his men knocked out the four guns. Then Dowling found Otway. He stood before his colonel, his right hand holding the left side of his chest. "Battery taken as ordered, sir," Dowling declared. The battle had lasted just 15 minutes. Otway fired a yellow flare -- the success signal -- a quarter of an hour before the naval bombardment was to start. Moments later Otway found Dowling’s lifeless body. He had been dying at the time he made his report.
Reader’s Digest, June, 1994, pp. 196-197.
We have been called to be disciples of Jesus. This means that we are called to a life of perseverance, a steadfast determination to follow Jesus no matter the cost.
How faithful is God to you? We often extol the grandure of God’s faithfulness and rightfully so. We place a great deal of our focus on His faithfulness and ignore the gaps in our own. How faithful are you to God? Faithfulness is byproduct of perseverance.
I love what Winston Churchill said about the perseverance: “God gave the bulldog a bent nose, so that it could still breathe while it hangs on.” The same should be said of us, that we hang on.
This morning as we continue our look at discipleship. I want to open to Paul’s message to hang tough and hang on. If you have your Bibles with you open them to 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
I. We can persevere because of our Savior (v. 7-11)
There is a massive paradox in discipleship. The limitless power of the gospelis entrusted to limited, frail human beings. When we compare our ability to God’s there is indeed a sharp contrast. We are much like jars of clay because we are vulnerable, frail and faulty.