Summary: Surrender, commitment, sacrifice of self
Matt 7: 21-23 April 14, 2013
I was just 26 years old when I went to Haiti for the first time….I went to an orphanage called “Christianville, about 6 miles outside of Port-Au-Prince (that six miles took over an hour). I took five adult sponsors and 16 students…And we were working with a Johnson Bible College couple named Paul & Rachel Rink. We stayed in the compound, worked with the children…I got to preach at a pig give-away…part of Christianville’s ministry was agricultural…they were teaching methods of recovery and farming to the people…to receive a pig…you came and listened to a sermon, took part in worship…and then got your piglet…any preacher that thinks it’s hard to communicate the gospel with crying babies…try to preach, with an interpreter, with 30 squealing piglets as your choir.
I met Maxwell John Baptist early on….He was 16….and he had made a decision to follow Christ as his Lord and Savior….He was loving, helpful, genuine…I connected with Maxwell almost from the start…His story was remarkable…His father was a Voodoo High Priest, His mother a priestess…His entire family, like many others in Haiti practiced this dark religion…A religion of death, a religion that delved into the dark spiritual world…In Haiti it had assimilated parts from other religious, part catholic, part Voodoo, part alcohol…I remember seeing one alter that had a shot class….filled…a deck of cards…and other worldly trinkets laid before their helpful spirits…Voodoo believes that all nature is controlled by the Spirit world…so you evolve spells or rituals to bring mostly good…but sometimes harm…
When Maxwell heard the good news that Jesus died for his sin, that he rose again to bring him life, his heart was cut…He surrender in baptism…He gave his life…and his father and mother immediately said they would kill him…16 and a contract on your head for your faith…He gave up his home…his family in his life.
You see you could have told Maxwell a lie…like Jesus ask Jesus into your heart with a prayer…or just get baptized and you become a Christian…or
You could tell him the truth…God is calling you to die…to die to his life, to die to his family to die to his friends…to die to his future….and in dying, to live…to conquer new life, new hope, a new purpose and mission…Maxwell was one of the most effective Gospel sharers in the Christianville Community and surrounding areas…why? I don’t think you even need to ask…Jesus doesn’t ask you to take that risk…to answer His call without providing the power to impact your world…
It’s been true since the beginning of Christianity.
I FOUR FISHERMAN BY THE SEA
Immediately after Jesus is baptized by John the Spirit sent Him into the desert…for 40 days he fasted, and was tempted by Satan…After John the Baptist was put in prison by Herod Antipas Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God…listen
Mark 1: 15-20 (p 699)
Four fishermen, by the Sea of Galilee….Casting their nets…or fixing them after a day’s work…It’s the life they knew…it’s their father’s life…it’s the family business…and Jesus calls them from it…FOLLOW ME
“Leave behind your profession, your possessions, dreams, ambitious, family, friends, safety and security….Abandon everything.
Follow me and I will make you fishers of men…
His call is one to abandon everything…He’s clear when he says, “If anyone [male, female, young, old, rich, poor] is going to follow me, he must “deny himself”…”Jesus said over and over again take up your cross” ...there is no other way for that to be understood than “Slay Self” in a world where everything revolves around pleasing self, protecting self, entertaining, comforting self, promoting self, taking care of self…Jesus says, “KILL SELF” .
And that’s exactly what happened to these 4 fishermen according to scripture and tradition…they paid a steep price for following Jesus…Peter was crucified upside down, Andrew was crucified in Creel, James had his head cut off, and John was exiled.
Yet they believed it was worth the cost…these 4 men found someone worth losing everything for…Jesus showed them a love beyond comprehension, a satisfaction that did not depend on circumstance, and a purpose that was so enormous it transcended every other pursuit in the world.
They willingly, eagerly and gladly lost themselves, their lives to follow in his footstep and proclaim the “good news”…His Gospel.
So, has the church wondered from that path 2000 years later, and if so…how far? Somewhere along the way…it seems the church has minimized Jesus call of abandonment…and churches are filled with supposed Christians who seem content to have a casual association with Christ while giving nominal adherence to Christianity –Although a countless number of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a Christian simply involves acknowledging certain facts or saying certain words, or doing certain things…it’s not true…Disciples like Peter, Andrew, James & John and Maxwell show us that the call to follow Jesus is not simply to say a pray or “get baptized”, it’s a summons to lose our lives.