May 24, 2003
DO 1965Compiled 2/84
—"FOLLOW ME!—And I Will Make You FISHERS of MEN!" (Mat.4:19)
1. WHEN JESUS WALKED BY THE SEASHORE, HE CALLED TO THE FISHERMEN WHO HAD JUST CAUGHT THE BIGGEST, MOST MIRACULOUS CATCH OF THEIR LIVES, "Come now & follow Me! That's the most fish you'll ever catch, you'll never catch any more than that, that's the ultimate!—So you might as well come with Me now, & I'll teach you how to catch something better!"
2. DID THEY STOP TO TRY TO FIGURE IT OUT?—"Let's see now, what about the house?—What about the wife & the kids?—What about father & mother? Can I get all the bills paid?" Or did they argue, "Well, we don't know how to catch anything better, we're fishers of fish!"?—No! They dropped everything on the spot, forsook all, & followed Jesus!:
3. "AND JESUS, WALKING BY THE SEA OF GALILEE, SAW TWO BRETHREN, Simon, called Peter, & Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them‚ Follow Me, & I will make you fishers of men! And they straightway left their nets‚ & followed Him. And going on from thence‚ He saw other two brethren‚ James & John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; & He called them. And they immediately left the ship & their father, & followed Him!" (Mat.4:18-22)
4. THEY HAD SUCH GREAT FAITH THAT THEY JUST DROPPED EVERYTHING, IMMEDIATELY FORSOOK ALL & FOLLOWED JESUS! How could they forsake their jobs & their own family & friends, without notice, to follow this strange Stranger & His motley crew?—Because He spoke the Truth & they felt it was the very Voice of God!—And because they must have wanted something better‚ something more than Papa & the business & the fish & the riches had given them.
5. "C'MON!—FOLLOW ME! Forget about old Daddy Zebedee & all the fish & the stinking boat & let's get moving‚ boys, let's go!" After all‚ Daddy can always get somebody else to help with the business.—There's always somebody willing to make money, always somebody willing to take care of the material things. But God can get ahold of very few people who are willing to really serve Him!
6. IT'S A HIGH PRIVILEGE TO BE CALLED BY THE LORD into His Service, & when the time comes, it's urgent, & often He expects you to drop everything immediately! Time & time again, Jesus' acid test for His prospective disciples was if they were willing to forsake all, drop everything, leave it all behind & follow Him!—And not even look back, not regret the past & not wish they could go back. And today it's the same: One of God's first tests for every disciple is to see if he loves Him enough to put Him first by forsaking all immediately to follow Him now!
7. BUT SOME HESITATE: "And He said unto another, Follow Me! But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go & bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou & preach the Kingdom of God! And another also said‚ Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, & looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God!" (Luke 9:59-62)
8. HOW SAD! THE SADDEST STORIES IN THE BIBLE ARE OF THE MEN WHO WERE DISAPPOINTMENTS TO GOD, the ones to whom He gave every chance & opportunity to make good, yet they flubbed it & went back, forsook Him or forsook their job, forsook His Work because they weren't willing to forsake something else instead—their wives or their family or their home or their wealth or their pride or their so-called "freedom"!
9. JESUS WOULDN'T EVEN LET THEM GO BACK & SAY GOODBYE TO THEIR PARENTS, much less bury their father! Now that may seem inhumane & unmerciful to some, & I've had unbelievers say, "That's horrible!—What a monster, Jesus wouldn't even let the poor guy go back & tell his family goodbye!"—Well, that was often one of their first & greatest tests, & this is why God still often brings division in families today.
10. JESUS SAID, "THINK NOT THAT I AM COME TO SEND PEACE ON EARTH: I CAME NOT TO SEND PEACE, BUT A SWORD! For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, & the daughter against her mother, & the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household! He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: & he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, & followeth after Me‚ is not worthy of Me!" (Mat.10:34-38)
11. ONE OF THE FIRST TESTS FOR NEWLY–CALLED DISCIPLES IS OFTEN THE OPPOSITION OF FAMILY & FRIENDS. God allows this to test your faith to see if you really mean business, to see if you really have faith & to see if you really love Him. Jesus doesn't want to divide families, He would rather they all be united in faith & service to Him.
12. IF YOU CAN BRING YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, EMPLOYER & EMPLOYEES WITH YOU TO SERVE THE LORD, FINE! But quite obviously the fishermen's father was unwilling to leave his boat & the business & all those nice new fish & follow Jesus along with them, & we never really hear of him again! The father who stuck by the business vanished into obscurity & oblivion‚ whereas those stinking fishermen sons of his wandered off with a perfect Stranger, & made History that has helped to save millions of souls for Eternity!
13. ISN'T IT RIDICULOUS NOW TO COMPARE THOSE FEW FISH‚ A BOAT‚ A BUSINESS & EVEN ONE FATHER & FAMILY‚ which all soon perished‚ with the millions of immortal souls who have been saved for Eternity through the decision of those simple fishermen to put God first that day, drop everything, forsake all & follow Jesus? Now that we can see the results it's easy to know they made the right choice, despite their father's probable objections & the wrecking of his business!
14. JESUS SAID, "IF ANY MAN COME TO ME, & HATE NOT HIS FATHER, & MOTHER, & wife, & children, & brethren, & sisters, yea, & his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26) In other words, if you don't love Jesus more than your own parents, more than your own fleshly family & relatives, you're not worthy to be His disciple!—If you don't love the Lord & God's service more than your own parents, virtually hating them by comparison, then you cannot be His disciple!
15. JESUS HIMSELF KEPT HIS OWN MOTHER STANDING OUTSIDE ONE TIME & WOULDN'T EVEN TALK TO HER, preferring to stay with those who were doing the will of God: "While He yet talked to the people‚ behold, His mother & His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him. Then one said unto Him, Behold, Thy mother & Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee. But He answered & said unto him that told Him, Who is My mother? And who are My brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, & said, Behold My mother & My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is My brother, & sister, & Mother!" (Mat.12:46-50)
16. SO IT COSTS SOMETHING TO SERVE THE LORD, & once you have chosen God & His way, He refuses to take second place to anything or anybody & will not let you put any other gods before Him—not your old job nor your old boss nor even your old family & friends!
17. AFTER ALL, IF GOD IS WORTH SERVING AT ALL, HE'S WORTH SERVING FULL TIME & ALL THE WAY! He says, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, & with all thy soul, & with all thy mind.—And thy neighbour as thyself." (Mat.22:37-40) He says these are the first & greatest of all the commandments in importance, & that you shall have no other gods before Him, for He is a jealous God. (Ex.20:3-5) He desires your love & for you to love Him first of all‚ above all, & seek first His Kingdom!
18. HE WANTS TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE GOING TO PUT HIM FIRST, & HE TESTS YOU TO FIND OUT! Because unless God can prove that you love Him more than anybody or anything else, then He doesn't know for sure whether you love Him enough! Besides that, unless others see that you are willing to give up everybody else, even those closest to you, & forsake everything in order to love & serve Jesus, then you're never going to prove to the rest of the World that you really mean business either!
19. THIS IS ALWAYS THE GREATEST WITNESS TO OTHERS: WHEN YOU REALLY GIVE UP EVERYTHING & FORSAKE ALL TO FOLLOW JESUS & devote your fulltime service to Him!—Such a powerful sample of commitment & dedication & living for Jesus speaks so much louder & clearer than all the sermons you may be preaching! This is what will challenge & thrill & encourage & inspire others, when they see such a dedicated‚ whole–hearted example & realise that you're happy serving the Lord fulltime instead of the System, working for the multitudes instead of the mammon, for the many instead of the money!
20. AFTER ALL‚ MOST PEOPLE WANT SOMETHING THAT IS WORTH LIVING FOR AS WELL AS WORTH DYING FOR! As my Mother used to say, "I'd rather die for something than live for nothing!"—The challenge to really be able to give your life & yourself to something worthwhile, even if it kills you! Why settle for something half-way & mediocre? The Church System & its lukewarm churchy systemites don't even go one-tenth of the way‚ & make God sick!—He says, "I would that thou wert hot or cold!" (See Rev.3:15,16.) Why not go all the way for the Lord?
21. BUT THERE WERE QUITE A FEW CASES IN THE BIBLE OF FOLKS WHO CAME TO JESUS who were really interested & attracted by the whole idea‚ yet they were never quite willing to pay the price. They knew He had it & they knew He was it, but they just couldn't quite make it. And that's a very sad thing: When God calls someone & they look back & turn around or even run away, & leave their plough deserted in the field!
22. SOME OPPORTUNITIES KNOCK BUT ONCE!—And then are gone forever! Delayed obedience can become total disobedience if prolonged too long, & you can make up your mind too late if you flounder around, "double-minded & unstable in all your ways"! (Jam.1:8) We can't always be choosers unless we choose God's time, or else we're more apt to be losers!
23. SO DON'T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF PUTTING YOUR HAND TO THE PLOUGH, THE LORD'S PLOUGH, THE CALLING & JOB THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU, & THEN LOOKING BACK! He says, "forget the things which are behind, & press forward to the things which are before!" (Phil.3:13) That's a commandment from the Lord!—Forget the past! —Think only of the glorious things that God can do & wants to do & is about to do right now through you‚ if you will only yield to & obey Him!
24. "REMEMBER LOT'S WIFE!" JESUS SAID. (Luke 17:32)—When called by the Lord to forsake her old life in the wicked city of Sodom, she was reluctant to leave. And although God warned her not to even look back—because that would mean & show that she'd really like to go back—she turned back anyway & immediately turned into a dead pillar of salt, stuck in the mud outside that wicked city! (See Gen.19:17,26)
25. SO IF YOU'RE SORRY TO HAVE TO LEAVE THIS OLD WORLD & ITS FLEETING PLEASURES & SELFISH INTERESTS BEHIND, like Lot's wife was sorry to leave Sodom & the young man was sorry to have to go on with the Lord without telling his family goodbye, then I'm sorry.—Because unless you have a change of heart & attitude, you are not worthy to be His disciple!
26. DON'T BE LIKE THE RICH YOUNG RULER, WHO CAME RUNNING TO JESUS SINCERELY SEEKING ANSWERS, to whom Jesus said, "Go & sell all that you have & give it to the poor, & come‚ take up the cross & follow Me, & you shall have treasure in Heaven!" (Mat.19:21) When the young man heard this, it says that he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions!
27. THE SADDEST THING WAS THAT THIS YOUNG MAN'S RICHES HAD NEVER BROUGHT HIM HAPPINESS OR SATISFACTION IN THE FIRST PLACE, or he wouldn't have come running to Jesus begging for an answer to his misery! Yet when Jesus gave him the answer to life & love & happiness in forsaking all for Jesus & others, he went away still full of the sorrows that riches bring, back to his riches which had never satisfied. As rich as he was, he was still unable to pay the price of the joy of giving all!—Which, of course, shows that he loved things more than God! What a sad, sad story!
28. THIS SAD STORY COULD APPLY TO ANYONE WHO'S HOLDING ON TO SOMETHING THEY'RE UNWILLING TO GIVE UP FOR THE LORD. You don't have to have very much to have "great possessions".—It only has to be just a little bit bigger than God in your eyes, just big enough to keep you from serving Him, that's all.—Just enough to keep you from breaking loose & shaking loose & serving the Lord.
29. AND WHETHER IT BE FAME OR FORTUNE, FUN OR FAMILY, it will not be easy to give up!—And usually the more you have, the harder it is to let go! But if you are willing to forsake a good thing for a better & a greater thing—like the picture of the little girl dropping her toy, totally losing interest in it as she lifts her hand to receive a beautiful descending dove upon her finger—God will mightily bless you!
30. FOR YOU WILL NEVER REALLY LEARN TO BE A FULL-FLEDGED SERVANT OF GOD, you will never know how to truly trust Him, & you will never revel in the fullness of the blessings of really living by faith, until you have forsaken all to follow Jesus!—You will never know the fullness of the joy of serving God to the utmost until you really forsake all to follow Him!
31. BUT GOD WILL NOT NORMALLY OVERRIDE HUMAN WILL. HE'LL LET YOU HAVE YOUR WAY & GO YOUR WAY IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DO WHAT HE WANTS YOU TO DO. Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him, He only said, "Follow Me" & "Come & see"! He doesn't draft you, you have to volunteer. He said, "Pray the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into the harvest." (Mat.9:38) He'll be glad to send you if you're willing—but you have to be willing. He likes whole-hearted volunteers, 100%ers, forsake-allers—total commitment!
32. AFTER ALL, JESUS GAVE HIS ALL!—HE CAME & SUFFERED & BLED & DIED FOR YOU to save your soul, to save your life for Eternity! So you should be willing to do anything for Him now, whatever He asks or tells you to do! If you're not willing now to turn around & lay your life down for Him, to turn around & live & fight & die for Jesus, Who was willing to suffer & die for you, then you're no disciple!
33. JESUS WAS WILLING TO DIE FOR US TO SAVE US, & HE WANTS US TO BE WILLING TO DIE FOR HIM TO SAVE OTHERS! He died for others, He died for us‚ so He expects us to be willing to do the same! "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
34. YOU NEED TO REALISE THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER YOUR OWN! "Know ye not that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price!—With the precious blood of Christ!" (1Cor.6:19,20; 1Pe.1:18,19) Jesus bought & paid for us, we're His property, we belong to Him now! You don't just belong to yourself anymore, you belong to the Lord‚ & you can't just do as you please!
35. MY GOODNESS‚ WHEN JESUS DID ALL THAT HE DID FOR US‚ OF COURSE WE OWE HIM EVERYTHING! Of course we should forsake all & follow Him & try to win as many others as we can! My Lord‚ you should certainly be willing to die for somebody who saves your life! That's why His Word says, "I beseech you that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice‚ holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Rom.12:1) It's only our "reasonable service" to try to give our lives back to Jesus, seeing that He gave His for us!
36. THAT'S THE LEAST THAT HE CAN EXPECT OF OUR LIVES & OUR SALVATIONS! He died to save us, why should we not die to save others? In fact‚ the Apostle says, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: & we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1John 3:16)
37. JESUS HIMSELF SAID, "EXCEPT A CORN OF WHEAT FALL INTO THE GROUND & DIE, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit!" (John 12:24) And if we will go out & "die daily" for the Lord in His Service (1Cor.15:31), we will bring forth much fruit—more Christians like ourselves to preach the Gospel to more of the lost & win them to the Lord also, that He may have much more fruit!
38. THE LORD INTENDED FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN TO BEAR FRUIT LIKE HIMSELF—OTHER CHRISTIANS! As with any kind of fruit—if you plant an apple, you get a whole tree full of apples, or a mango, you get a tree full of mangoes! Every Christian was intended to bury his life in the soil of God's service & sacrifice, to lay down his life & take up his cross & follow Jesus & bear fruit—more Christians like himself!
39. "AND HE SAID TO THEM ALL, IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, & take up his cross daily, & follow Me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples!" (Luke 9:23‚24; John 15:8)
40. SUCH FRUITFUL, ALL-OUT, SOLD-OUT, WHOLE-HEARTED, FORSAKE-ALL, WILDLY WILLING WORKERS who'll "die daily" for Jesus & others, are few & far between! Have you got the guts to be one? He says, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2Cor.9:7) Are you willing to "cheerfully give" your all to Jesus?
41. THE LORD SAID YOU'D BETTER SIT DOWN & COUNT THE COST FIRST BEFORE YOU START, to make sure you're able to finish what you've begun: "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, & counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, & is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, & was not able to finish!" (Luke 14:28–30)—If you don't finish the job, you may have done more damage than good!
42. "SO LIKEWISE, WHOSOEVER HE BE OF YOU THAT FORSAKETH NOT ALL THAT HE HATH, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE!" (Luke 14:33) Now some people say you can be a Christian without being a disciple & serving Jesus fulltime. But a "disciple" means a "follower of the teaching", so how can you be a Christian & not a follower of Jesus' teaching? Jesus said‚ "If you love Me‚ keep My commandments‚" & "How say ye unto Me, Lord, Lord‚ & do not the things which I ask?" (John 14:15; Luke 6:46)
43. A DISCIPLE IS ONE WHO FOLLOWS THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST!—Who said‚ "Forsake all, come follow Me & I will make you fishers of men!" So if you're not forsaking all & following Him & fishing for men, how could you be called a disciple? If you want to follow Jesus one hundred percent, you've got to forsake all & preach the Gospel!—Or you can't be His disciple!
44. GOD COULD HAVE YOU GEARED & EARMARKED FOR A MUCH GREATER JOB & MINISTRY THAN YOU COULD EVER POSSIBLY EVEN IMAGINE! But if you're going to settle for some stinking job at some dead-end place working for Mammon, if you choose that instead of God & His highest & best in His service‚ let me warn you, you're liable to get stuck & suckered & hooked into the worst mess, & God's curse will rest upon it & He won't bless it & everything you put your hand to will crumble & turn not to gold, but to dust!
45. EVEN SO-CALLED "SUCCESS" IS A GREAT DEFEAT WHEN IT'S A SUCCESS IN THIS WORLD & takes you away from God's Work!—The Devil's success is a defeat for the Lord! So "seek ye first the Kingdom of God, & all these (other) things shall be added unto you!" (Mat.6:33) If you put God's Kingdom first, He'll take care of you, no matter what!
46. WHEN JESUS SAID, "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD", He didn't mean to seek first the things with which to serve God, nor the means to serve God, but to seek God first & His Will & His Kingdom first, & then all these other things would be added afterwards—"all these things shall be added unto you." (Mat.6:33) But there are a lot of people trying to store up things‚ trying to store up money, trying to store up knowledge, trying to store up this & that, & saying, "Someday I'm going to serve God, when I have enough of this or that or the other."—When they ought to be serving God right now!
47. WHEN YOU GIVE EVERYTHING TO GOD, THEN HE'LL TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING FOR YOU. But as long as you've got anything that you're holding back, He's going to let you take care of that! If you straighten out your own heart & get right before the Lord & yield everything to Him, forsake all, then He will straighten out & take care of all the other things. But as long as you are double-minded & wavering, then things are never going to get straightened out! (Jam.1:8)
48. I'LL NEVER FORGET THE TIME, THIRTY YEARS AGO, WHEN WE'D RUN PRETTY LOW ON MONEY & I WOUND UP GETTING A TEMPORARY JOB WORKING FOR THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY on the twelfth floor of the courthouse in Miami, Florida. One day as I was looking out the window across that beautiful, sunny view of Miami, as clear as I ever heard the voice of the Lord, I heard Him say, "Look, the whole World lieth in darkness!" It was a nice bright sunny day, but He said, "Look, the whole World lieth in darkness while you're sitting up here pounding on a typewriter!"
49. I SAID, "BUT LORD, I'VE GOT TO SUPPORT A FAMILY!—Lord, I've got a wife & four children & I've got to take care of them! What am I supposed to do, just walk off the job & go out there, start going door-to-door or something & expect You to feed me?" And the Lord said‚ "Yes!" So I said, "But Lord, You know what my relatives will say!" My wife's father was a churchy Christian & was always giving me his favourite Scripture for me, that "he that fails to care for his own hath denied the faith & is worse than an infidel!" (1Tim.5:8)
50. SO THE LORD TURNED AROUND & USED THIS SAME VERSE ON HIMSELF & said‚ "Yes, & if I don't care for you, I'll be worse than an infidel! If you go out & do My work fulltime, if I don't pay you as good or better than a Worldly employer, then I will be worse than an infidel!" So we launched out by faith into His fulltime service again, & He never let us down!
51. THROUGHOUT MANY YEARS OF SERVICE WE HAVE FOUND THAT THE MINUTE WE STARTED OBEYING & WORKING FOR GOD‚ HE HAS NEVER FAILED TO DO HIS PART, He has always blessed! God has never ever deserted us or left us without our needs. In fact, He has abundantly heaped more than our needs upon us as long as we faithfully serve Him & do His will & preach His Gospel & faithfully witness to others! His Word says‚ "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phi.4:19, 1Cor.9:14)
52. JESUS EVEN SAID, "TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR YOUR LIFE, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body‚ what ye shall put on."—Don't worry about whether you're going to have anything to eat or enough to wear. He says that you're not even to worry about the necessities of life! "Is not the life more than meat, & the body than raiment?" (Mat.6:25)
53. "BEHOLD THE FOWLS OF THE AIR: FOR THEY SOW NOT, neither do they reap‚ nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them."—The birds don't reap & store up for the future! "Are you not much better than they?" (Mat.6:26)—"If I feed the birds‚ don't you think I'm going to feed you?" Don't you think He's more concerned about you?
54. "THEREFORE TAKE NO THOUGHT"—that means fretting, worried, anxious thought. Don't worry about, "What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles"—the World—"seek". (Mat.6:31) That's all the Worldly people live for, that's all they work for!—To have something to eat‚ drink, wear & live in. They're slaves of things! "For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." (Mat.6:32)
55. BUT "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD & HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; & all these things shall be added unto you!" (Mat.6:33) Put God's Kingdom first! Just obey the Lord & He'll do all the rest! Drop your "nets", follow Jesus, do His work, witness, win souls, go into all the World & preach the Gospel to every creature! Take care of God's business & He'll take care of you!—Because that is His business, taking care of you!
56. BESIDES, HIS WORK IS THE GREATEST WORK IN THE WORLD & gives the greatest happiness, 'cause you're working for the best Boss in the World Who gives more than any other Boss could ever give! He'll make you a hundred times happier, He'll give you a hundred times more friends, a hundred times more love, a hundred times more joy, a hundred times more everything, praise God!—Jesus said so!
57. "AND EVERY ONE THAT HATH FORSAKEN HOUSES, OR BRETHREN, OR SISTERS, OR FATHER, or mother, or wife, or children‚ or lands, for My Name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, & shall inherit everlasting life!" (Mat.19:29) If you give all to Him‚ He will give you back one hundredfold in this life!—And in the World to come life eternal!—All this & Heaven too! Give all & you're going to get back not a mere hundred percent, not just what you gave, but you're going to get back an hundredfold‚ a hundred times one hundred percent, or 10,000%! PTL!
58. YOU'LL NEVER BE SORRY IF YOU GIVE YOUR LIFE TO JESUS! He can & wants to use you to give the Answer‚ His Love & Salvation, to others, if you will "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, & entangle yourself not in the affairs of this World, that you may please Him Who hath chosen you to be a soldier!" (2Tim.2:3‚4) But if you don't‚ you will lose the reward & another will take your crown, the reward that God had intended for you‚ because God's going to get the job done somehow, with somebody!
59. SO "WATCH & PRAY, THAT YE ENTER NOT INTO TEMPTATION" THAT MIGHT LEAD YOU ASTRAY from the straight & narrow way which leads to the highest crown & greatest reward! (Mat.26:41) The true followers, the true disciples‚ those willing to forsake all & truly follow His teachings & obey His Words, are always few.—For "straight is the gate & narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, & few there be that find it; but wide is the gate & broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, & many there be which go in thereat!" (Mat.7:13,14)
60. VERY FEW GO THE NARROW WAY, VERY FEW FORSAKE ALL.—Because they are either too lazy or unwilling or don't love Him or others enough to do it! He'll usually still try to use them somewhere in what little they are willing to do, but it seldom amounts to much when they're so disobedient & rebellious in the major needed thing that God has called them to do.
61. MY MOTHER USED TO SAY, "DON'T TALK ABOUT GOD'S BEST & HIS SECOND BEST & SO ON. As far as the Will of God is concerned, there's only one best, that's His first best, His first choice! And if you take second choice, so-called second best, it's not really His second best, it's your best!" So what you don't want to do is miss His best‚ "the High Calling of God‚ which is in Christ Jesus!" (Phi.3:14)
62. AND ALTHOUGH THE REWARDS ARE GREAT, IT DOES COST SOMETHING in self–sacrifice & personal effort to really serve the Lord.—And often it costs in persecution & actual suffering as well! But Jesus Himself promised that if you would suffer with Him‚ you would also reign with Him. (2Tim.2:12) So what would you rather do?—Reign now a little while living for yourself & suffer a lot of shame later?—Or are you going to suffer a little for Jesus now & reign with Him forever?
63. IF YOU CHOOSE GOD'S WAY, WHEN YOU SEE JESUS & THE RESULTS YOU'RE GOING TO KNOW IT WAS WORTH IT ALL! Giving your life to His service is an eternal investment that will pay dividends in Heaven & souls for ever & ever & ever! You'll never be sorry, you'll always be glad throughout all Eternity that you gave your life to His service! Then you'll hear His "Well done, good & faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" (Mat.25:23)—Forever!—With all the souls you helped love into His Kingdom eternally!
64. SO WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE? What are you doing with your life? Jesus said‚ "You're either for Me or against Me!" (Luke 11:23) You can't be on the fence!—It's too uncomfortable & dangerous & impossible! Sooner or later you'll fall for one or the other, either for Jesus or the Devil's System! "Ye cannot serve two masters!" (Mat.6:24) Who will yours be?—Jesus?—Or the System?
65. YOU EITHER WORK FOR GOD‚ OR YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK FOR THE DEVIL! So it's up to you!—The choice is yours. He can't choose for you!—You have to make the decision. But if you do choose Him, He'll do everything else for you—give you strength, power, wisdom, life & love. All He asks is that you commit yourself.—Will you?
66. MAY GOD HELP YOU TO HAVE THE FAITH TO BELIEVE GOD & HIS WORD & not man & the Devil's lies, & to drop everything today! "And immediately they forsook all & followed Jesus!"—And to be willing to "go out not knowing where you're going"‚ not knowing how God's going to supply your needs, but willing to obey Him & do everything you can do so that God can do the things you can't do! (Heb.11:8)
67. YOU HAVE TO NOT ONLY HEAR HIS WORD, BUT YOU MUST OBEY & DO IT! "Be ye doers of the Word, & not hearers only." (Jam.1:22) Jesus said that, "Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, & doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, & the floods came‚ & the winds blew, & beat upon that house; & it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
68. "AND EVERY ONE THAT HEARETH THESE SAYINGS OF MINE, & DOETH THEM NOT, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, & the floods came, & the winds blew, & beat upon that house; & it fell: & great was the fall of it." (Mat.7:24-27)—What a sad illustration of the difference between those who build their house upon the Rock of the Word, Christ Jesus, that can stand the storm, & those who build their house on the sand of disobedience!
69. SO MAY GOD HELP YOU TO SERVE THE LORD! "Choose this day whom you will serve!—If God be God, then serve Him!" (Joshua 24:15; 1Kings 18:21) Don't be like the rich young ruler, whom Jesus told to "forsake all, give to the poor, & come follow Me" (Mat.19:21)‚ but he went back sorrowful because of the riches of this life, considering them of more value than the riches of Christ & the riches in souls.
70. BUT BE LIKE MOSES, WHO FORSOOK EGYPT! He looked beyond this World because he saw Jesus & had an eye on Eternity & its great rewards!—"For he counted the riches of Christ greater than the riches of all Egypt!" (Heb.11:26)—The greatest & most powerful & richest nation on the face of the Earth in that day, of which he could have been Pharaoh, couldn't compare to Christ!
71. "HE COUNTED THE RICHES OF CHRIST GREATER THAN THE RICHES OF THIS WORLD, because he had respect unto the recompense of the reward"—far greater than all the riches of this whole World combined & all of its selfish pleasures & selfish interests! TYJ! So "he chose to suffer affliction with the children of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of this life for a season." (Heb.11:25)
72. "ONLY ONE LIFE, 'TWILL SOON BE PAST! ONLY WHAT'S DONE FOR CHRIST WILL LAST!"—What are you doing?—For whom?—Will it last forever for Jesus & others? "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose!" Do it now! Now may be your last chance to serve Him & help others! Don't waste another day! Tomorrow may be too late! Don't delay!—Do it today!
73. GOD'S CALLED YOU!—HAVE YOU CHOSEN HIS HIGHEST & HIS BEST? NOW IS YOUR LAST CHANCE!—TODAY!—Tomorrow it'll be gone forever! Did you spend today's precious time for Him & His?—For Eternity?—Or is it gone forever? How will you answer Him? What will you say? How can you face Him & others then, if you're wasting your life on yourself & nothing now? It's better to die for something than to live—& die—for nothing!—Which are you doing? "Start living TODAY! There's only ONE WAY!"—For JESUS!—Amen?
74. P.S. ALTHOUGH GOD'S BASIC PRINCIPLES OF FORSAKING ALL, PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE & SEEKING FIRST HIS KINGDOM NEVER CHANGE‚ a thorough reading of the Gospels makes it clear that He calls different people in different ways. Jesus & His fulltime, forsake-all disciples had many undercover friends, members of the System, who didn't always give up their businesses or their professions, perhaps because they could do more good for the Lord's Work from their positions of influence within the System.
75. IT'S A HIGH PRIVILEGE & A SPECIAL CALLING TO BE ONE OF HIS FULLTIME DISCIPLES.—Jesus had only 12 to 70 fulltime disciples, who were with Him & followed Him around almost continuously. But He also had many thousands of others who received His Words & believed & spread them to others, including a great company of the priests & even some secret believers amongst the Sanhedrin‚ the rulers & the rich, who were important & necessary, friends‚ helpers & protectors whom God had ordained for this ministry!
76. BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE SURE YOU DO IT WITH THE RIGHT MOTIVATION—because you want to serve the Lord & win others into His Kingdom. If you believe that God's highest calling is to "go into all the World & preach the Gospel to every creature", if that's your motivation & that's what you really want to do—or make it possible for others to do—if you're "seeking first the Kingdom of God & His righteousness," the Lord will bless it & He'll be with you & help you! So let's work together for His glory!—Amen? C'mon!—Let's go!