Summary: Jesus is searching for people who commit their lives completely to Him

Developing A Radical Commitment

Matthew 16:21-28

October 29, 2006

Morning Service


February 15, 1921. New York City. The operating room of the Kane Summit Hospital. A doctor is performing an appendectomy. In many ways the events leading to the surgery are uneventful. The patient has complained of severe abdominal pain. The diagnosis is clear: an inflamed appendix. Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane is performing the surgery. In his distinguished thirty-seven-year medical career, he has performed nearly four thousand appendectomies, so this surgery will be uneventful in all ways except two.

The first novelty of this operation? The use of local anesthesia in major surgery. Dr. Kane is a crusader against the hazards of general anesthesia. He contends that a local application is far safer. Many of his colleagues agree with him in principle, but in order for them to agree in practice, they will have to see the theory applied.

Dr. Kane searches for a volunteer, a patient who is willing to undergo surgery wile under local anesthesia. A volunteer is not easily found. Many are squeamish at the thought of being awake during their own surgery. Others are fearful that the anesthesia might wear off too soon. Eventually, however, Dr. Kane finds a candidate. On Tuesday morning, February 15, the historic operation occurs.

The patient is prepped and wheeled into the operating room. A local anesthetic is applied. As he has done thousands of times, Dr. Kane dissects the superficial tissues and locates the appendix. He skillfully excises it and concludes the surgery. During the procedure, the patient complains of only minor discomfort. The volunteer is taken into post-op, then placed in a hospital ward. He recovers quickly and is dismissed two days later. Dr. Kane had proven his theory. Thanks to the willingness of a brave volunteer, Kane demonstrated that local anesthesia was a viable, and even preferable, alternative.

But I said there were two facts that made the surgery unique. I’ve told you the first: the use of local anesthesia. The second is the patient. The courageous candidate for surgery by Dr. Kane was Dr. Kane.

To prove his point, Dr. Kane operated on himself! A wise move. The doctor became a patient in order to convince the patients to trust the doctor.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

The writer of Proverbs is not saying that everything that you do in life is going to lead to amazing success. What is being said here is that without a firm commitment to the LORD everything you do in life is doomed to failure

Commitment is a dying reality in our world today. There are signs of dying commitment all around us.

• Marriages are breaking up left and right

• Commitment to attend events (such as weddings) continues to lower

• People are becoming less and less willing to join organizations because of the additional commitment

• The willingness to fight for our country has dropped even after the events of 9/11

• Many people feel that the have fewer close friends than adults of past decades

• Book clubs, record clubs are seeing fewer and fewer new members due to multi-purchase commitments

The Wesleyan Church was founded on a radical commitment to the principle that the power of Christ could change the world.

• John Wesley spent his life preaching, teaching and training ministers. In the end he left an incredible legacy

• Adam Crooks was a young man from Ohio who answered the call to start a new church in North Carolina. Remember it was an abolitionist church in a pro slavery state.

• The first missionaries our denomination ever sent out went to the county of Sierra Leon. They packed their belongings in coffins and all of them died within two years and are buried behind the church they left behind.

Wherever you are be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God – Jim Elliot

We have been called to be a different kind of people in this world. We have been called to live a life committed to following Jesus. We have been called to become radical.

Let me ask you a couple of questions before we launch into the text this morning: What does it really mean to be committed to Jesus? Do you have a commitment that would be worthy of being called radical?

If you have your Bibles open them to the most powerful passages on the issue of commitment – Matthew 16:21-28

I. The Demonstration of Radical Commitment (21-23)

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

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