by E. A. Wilson

Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him, which had the dropsy.
3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go:
5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
6 And they could not answer him again to these things.
7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him,
9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place, and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Counting the Cost

We are living in a time when businesses are busy reevaluating the cost of manufacturing their product. They want to make sure that the cost of manufacturing is not greater than the price they sell it for. Anyone who manufactures a product for $5.00 and sells it for $4.50 would be out of business in a very short time. Too many so-called

Christians go out of business for a similar reason: they fail to stop as often as they ought to reevaluate the cost of being a disciple of Christ and reevaluate what it brings them in return. It is definitely necessary that we do this.

According to the Bible, if you will honestly and sincerely count the cost of being a Christian and pay the price, you will find that the benefits of true Christianity far exceed the price it costs. It will do away with discouraging feelings and such thoughts as, "I might as well give up. It does not look as though I am getting anything out of it." If you are a true Christiaz4 you are getting much more out of it than you are putting into it, and if you are not getting anything out of it, you are not putting anything into it. If you will reevaluate your experience, as Jesus said, and truly count the cost and evaluate the benefits of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, you will find that they far exceed the cost.

Jesus wants you to know that, discipleship has been designed by God with your best interest at heart. Many times, the minds of men have been affected by the enemy of souls: in their own human nature, they feel that all they do is give up things for God, and that they do not receive anything in return. God has designed discipleship for our best interests. The requirements in God's Word, the price we must pay, and the conditions we must meet to be true disciples were designed to help us, not God. Everything in the Book is to help us. It is God's plan for real living and God's plan to help His people to be able to live right on this earth. Too many people have the idea that God has set this up for His good and our suffering. No, He set this up by His suffering for our good! Let us not forget this, and let us not allow the enemy to cause us to think otherwise.

True discipleship was designed to give us the help we need. If we do not stay close to the Word of God, and if we do not stay in close communion with Him, the enemy of our souls will cause us to think otherwise. Many people, especially those who know the way, are not serving God because they are not willing to pay the price, and the reason they are not willing to pay the price is that the enemy has succeeded in making them feel that they can get more blessings at a cheaper price by going some other way. On the contrary, the Bible lets us know that this is a deception of the devil.

Giving Back What God Has Given You

I read one time about a man his wife, and two children who were traveling through Georgia at night during a heavy rain. As they came around a curve, their headlights fell on a man and a woman walking in the rain, and the woman was carrying a little baby. They said they could not pick them up because they were in a Volkswagen and there were four of them, plus their luggage; so they went on by. The man drove another mile and became troubled and said, "Those people are in trouble. I must go back;" so they went back. The man who was walking in the rain told him, "We live miles away from our neighbors, and two hours ago our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. We are walking seven miles to my sister's house, to stay with her until we can gather some things together and get another home." The man reached into his pocket and gave the woman $20; then he went on feeling pretty good. However, he again became troubled and said to his wife and children, "Do any of you have any money?" Between the four of them, they came up with $98. He turned around and stopped again where the man and woman were walking and said to the woman, "Do you still have the $20 that I gave you?"

"Yes, sir."
He then said, "Give it back to me."
The woman was astonished, but she reached into her pocketbook and gave him back the money. When she gave it back to him, he said, "I just wanted you to give it back to me so that I could put another $98 with it."

This is exactly how God works with us. Anything you may have that is worth anything, whether you are a sinner or a saint, God gave it to you. All that God asks in discipleship is for you to give back what He has given you, and He will give you infinite power and glory and enable you to be every- thing you need to be in every way. However, many do not want to give back what God has given them. God wants to bless His people, individually and collectively. He has chosen a way that He knows will work; it is the right way and the only way. If we will submit to it we will be blessed by Him. I say again, God asks us to give Him what He has already given us, and then He combines it with His unlimited resources and gives it back to us.

What Is Real Discipleship?

Discipleship is an opportunity to draw upon the infinite resources of God. There is a difference between a Christian and a real disciple. A man or a woman can come as a sinner and confess and truly repent of sin and be made a Christian in a second of time, but discipleship takes time. Christianity is a free gift of God, but discipleship costs. Too many want to be Christians but not disciples. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said to go and teach all nations. The Amplified Bible says, "Go then and make disciples of all the nations…" Discipleship involves teaching and lining up with the teaching. All you need to do to become a Christian is truly be sick of your sin, confess it, and turn from it; then God will change you.

Discipleship is the molding of a Christian life by the teachings of God's Word. To be a disciple, you must be willing to hold still while God lays down the price you need to pay. I repeat, discipleship, from the very depth of it, is an opportunity to draw upon the infinite resources of God. It is a chance to give our lives real significance rather than mediocrity.

There can be real significance in your life. You will never again need to say, "I do not know why I was ever born," if you will adhere to the message. You will not have to wonder why you are here, what is going on, or what your future will be. Life will bear a deep significance to you.

In true discipleship you are not doing God a favor; He is doing you a favor. You need to grasp this truth. There are people who think they have done God a favor by attending church services. No matter how much of yourself you give and how much effort you put forth to serve God, the truth of the matter is, you are not giving God anything; He is giving you something. Jesus warned us to weigh the cost in the latter part of Luke, the fourteenth chapter. In other words, make sure you are ready to pay the price of being a disciple: you must count the cost of finishing before you begin.

Let us consider some of the highlights of discipleship. Verse one of our Scripture lesson reads, "And it came to pass, as he [speaking of Jesus] went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him." They watched Him because He claimed to be different and He claimed to be the author of a brand new way of life. His words in John 10:10 were, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." He was speaking to people who were just as alive physically as you are. They watched Him to see if He was genuinely what He claimed to be.

Church, we are His disciples, and the world is going to watch us. You may think that it is nobody's business what you do, but it is everybody's business. They watched Him, and they will watch you. If you claim to be in touch with reality in the midst of a supposed-to-be Christian nation that has fallen to the level of false, ceremonial religion, people will watch you. If you claim to be a disciple of Christ, one who is genuine and has the real goods, they are going to watch you. You need to realize that God has ordained for them to watch you. Paul let the Hebrew Christians know that they were a gazingstock. God has placed you where you are in order for people to watch you. People watched Jesus, and people will watch you also.

True revival is the effect of a cause. When God's people meet the requirements of revival God will send it. Since the world is watching us, we need to be very careful. Many victories have been lost and many souls have been lost because the world has watched supposed-to- be Christians do what they should not do. The devil uses this more than any other avenue. We need to be careful and prayerful about how we live. [ End of Part 3 ]

Marks of Discipleship

Our Lord lived by principles, not circumstances. If you are a true disciple of Christ, you need to fix and settle it in your heart and mind that you are going to live as Jesus lived, by principles, not circumstances. You do not have control over circumstances. Different circumstances will arise, and the devil will work through them; nevertheless, you do have control over how circumstances affect you.

The Lord lived by principles; likewise, a true disciple of Christ also lives by principles, and he will not allow circumstances to change those principles. It can be illustrated in this way: Suppose you decide to trade in your car because there are so many things wrong with it. When the dealer begins to appraise it, he asks you, "Is there anything wrong with this car?" You must make a decision to either go by circumstance or by principle. If you go by circumstance, you may try to be half-truthful and say to yourself, "Well, he is a man who knows about cars. Let him find what is wrong with it." But if he would do that to you, you would sue him, and all the while claim to be a Christian. This is one reason many Christians are losing out.

The idea that sometimes it is better to lie than to tell the truth is a work of darkness, a lie of the devil. There is never a time when it is better to tell a lie than to tell the truth. Why? You are to live by principles, not circumstances. There are corners you can cut, and there are ways of cutting them so that nobody will find out about it before you die; but God knows, and you are living by principle, and the principle of it is wrong. A true disciple is one who determines from the Bible what is right and lives it consistently. He does not allow circumstances to shape his conduct.

Another mark of discipleship is found in verse 2 of our Scripture lesson, which reads, "And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy." A true disciple is one who is in constant touch with people who are in need. Jesus went to a Pharisees' house to eat, but there was one who was in need before him. Brother, if you are a true disciple, you are where God wants you to be, and the needs of others will always be before you. False religion and false evangelism will tell you about a selfish gospel: if you serve the Lord, the Lord will give you a new home and two cars. There are too many, who are trying to be disciples of Christ, but all they want to hear is a message of how God will bless them.

We are here in Christ's stead, and Jesus said in John 14:12, "The works that I do shall he do also; and greater works [not in kind, but in number] than these shall he do…"

Before Jesus could eat, He had to help a man with dropsy. He had a difficult time doing it because there were a lot of supposed-to-be religious folks who were watching Him. They thought that if Jesus healed that man on the Sabbath, He was not of God. Jesus knew what they were thinking, and in essence, He said to them, 'If your ass or ox fell in the ditch late Friday night, would you leave him there till after the Sabbath or would you get him out?" They could not answer him, because they knew that if they were to say, 'Yes, we would take care of that temporal need," He would say, "Is that temporal need greater than this man's need? He was in the ditch with dropsy, and I merely reached down and pulled him out."

Humility

The trend of our day is toward selfishness. There are people who drain the many funds of the government by craftiness. They could care less if the nation goes bankrupt, as long as they get what they want. That spirit is abounding, and it will try to work in the church if we are not careful. When somebody does put himself out to help an- other person by going without sleep or giving away his funds until he himself is struggling, many people who claim to be Christians will tell him that he is a fool. If yox4 too, think that such a man is a fool you are blind to what true Christianity really is. The very things of God that bring us to the vital place of real Christianity, are being looked upon by many as foolishness. The reason for this is they are using their natural minds to weigh things. True disciples are in constant touch with people in need. We are here to help the world.

Verses 8-11 of our Scripture text tell us about a man being bidden to a wedding, and because he felt that he was really somebody, he took the uppermost seat, the seat where the guest was supposed to sit. However, when the host came ir4 he said, "Sir, would you mind get- ting out of that seat and taking a lower seat?" Therefore, the man was ashamed in front of everybody. Jesus said when you come in, hunt for the lowest seat, so that when the host comes in, he will say, "Why are you sitting way down here?"

"Everybody else is so much better than I, and I felt that I should sit back here."

"No, you come right up here and sit in the best seat." What was Jesus trying to teach? Verse 11 says, "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Friend, our appetites and innate desires are not wrong in themselves. They only become wrong when we seek to satisfy them in an unscriptural manner. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be exalted, wanting to be first, or wanting to be a leader. There is nothing wrong with your wanting to have the cleanest house on the street, or wanting to keep your clothes better than anybody else. Humility is not shown by unpressed trousers, dirty dresses, or dirty houses. Somebody who is what he needs to be desires to be a leader. Every Christian ought to want to be the best Christian; however, too many are satisfied to ride the caboose, so to speak, instead of trying to get on the locomotive. There are good desires and good appetites that God has given us, but you will get into trouble if you try to satisfy them in an unscriptural manner.

Keys to Discipleship

Jesus set up some keys to discipleship. The key to being first is to be willing to be last. The key to living is dying. If you really want to live, you must die out completely to your own will at an altar of prayer and truthfully say, "From this point on, not my will, Lord, but thine be done."

The key to being free is be- coming Christ's save. Paul said he was a prisoner and a slave to the Lord, but he was one of the freest men who ever lived. Real freedom is not being able to do what you want to do; real freedom is being able to do what you ought to do. Many people are not free, and they will tell yot4 "I know I ought to live differently." Real freedom is being able to be what you ought to be. That comes about through submission to Christ.

The key to becoming a leader is to be willing to be a servant. Jesus said the greatest among you is the servant of all. The key to being exalted is to be humble.

The sad part is, too many people want to live selfishly. They are struggling, but they do not want to die out to their own selfish will to the place they can say, "For me to live is Christ." The only way to live is to die out to self. This is the secret of true discipleship. Too many want to be free, but they do not want to become a slave to Christ. They say, "You are not going to make me a slave." With that kind of attitude, you never will be free. When you become a Christian, you do not become some preacher's slave; you will become Christ's slave. You are not committing yourself to some preacher; you are committing yourself to Christ.

Many people today are striving to get more, but they do not want to give. The key to receiving is giving. Luke 6:38 reads, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

I repeat, in Heaven God is not thinking, "I wonder how I can make life more miserable for my creatures on earth." A lot of people have that attitude toward God. They think He is out to make us miserable by binding statutes and commandments upon us. My friend, this is the way God is thinking-. "What guidelines (or what laws and commandments) can I lay down for My people that will enable them to live life to the fullest." The laws of the New Testament were made to help us, not hinder us. God's New Testament laws were meant to make us happy and enable us to find real fulfillment in life. They were written to keep us out of trouble, and they will work.

God created the world. He made us, He made life, and He made the rules by which we must live in order to find life in its blessedness. God knows more about life than all of us put together. If you were to buy a new lawn mower, you would receive a book, which would tell you how to start it and keep it functioning well. That is what the Bible is to us. It tells us how to start this new life and how to keep it functioning; it even tells us what to do when something goes wrong. God's Word was written to help us. God made the rules by which we ought to live our lives.

Paying the Price

It is sad to see so many who want the results but will not pay the price. Whether it is consistent living, living with power in your life, living an overcoming life, or wanting revival if you are not careful, you will plead with God to give you the results without being willing to pay the price. If you will pay the price, you will not have to plead with God for the results. Christian living is simpler than many allow it to be. Let us not want results without being willing to pay the price.

Let us not allow our scheming minds to think, "Surely it is possible for me to receive without giving." You may receive some, but you cannot truly receive without giving. Your scheming mind may say, "There must be some way to be first without being last"; so you begin to trample on other people. Remember, the way up is down. If you want to come up to a higher level of living, get down in humility and much prayer before God; the more you get down, the higher you will go. This is God's law, and we cannot get around it. May the Lord help us.

When you endeavor to take shortcuts on God's rules, you will short circuit the system and it will not work. God has a system for real living, for being effective in your witnessing, and for helping others. He knows what will work; but if you try to take a shortcut, the power will not be there. The true disciple has learned this great truth: there is no way a person can truly receive without giving or truly live without dying.

Luke 14:15 says, "And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." If you are able before God to eat bread in the Kingdom of God, you are blessed. Jesus said in verses 16-17: "A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready." What are we feasting on in the kingdom? God's Word.

Verse 18 tells us that they all began to make excuses. This parable deals with preoccupation: the individuals expressed a desire to come, but each one was too preoccupied. The first one said that he had bought a piece of ground and had to go look at it. Another said he bought five yoke of oxen and had to go prove them. And another said he was married and could not come. They were so tied up with insignificant things that they found it impossible to bring priorities where they ought to have been. Are you trying to be a disciple, but cannot be a good one because you are too preoccupied with other things?

Many years have passed since Jesus spoke this parable; however, excuses are still being made today. For example, the first person asked made an excuse about a piece of ground that he had to go look at. You may already have the ground; so now you are working to build your dream house. Instead of going and looking at a yoke of oxen today, you may be on a business trip or a business venture of some kind; so you will not be around for the feast. Preoccupation is ruining many people's Christian experiences.

The third person he asked to come said he was married, and that excuse is still being used today. For a large percentage of young people, marriage wrecks their Christian experience. If the Lord had been in their marriage, they would have become better Christians. It makes no difference what you are preoccupied with, it must not take priority over your service to God.

The Law of Discipleship

Becoming a Christian is free of charge. Ephesians 2:8 says, 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." God furnishes every- thing for salvation but discipleship costs. What does it cost to be a disciple? It costs becoming involved in God's way rather than your own way, and it costs working to reach the goal that God has set for your life and not a goal that you have set.

It is very easy for believers to become preoccupied with their own dreams, their own aspirations, and their own little deeds, and yet miss God's perfect plan for their lives. God rarely shouts at a person who is being lead astray. The Holy Spirit usually speaks with a slight inner prodding, while the believer reads the Scriptures or communes with God. There will be a stirring down inside to whatever may be wrong in his life. This is why the devil wants to keep you from praying and reading the Bible as you ought, because you will not get any proddings from the Holy Spirit, and you will feel that you are right when you are wrong. Someone may say, "God never told me this was wrong." However, we need to be close to God so that we can hear Him speak. True disciples are in tune with the voice of the Spirit of God.

Luke 14:25-33 reads: "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, mother, and wife, and childrer4 and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my dis ciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finsh it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finsh. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

Verse 25 says, "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them…" In verses 26-35, Jesus was putting forth the law of true discipleship. When He turned around, the Pharisees, the Saducees, and the professed religious folks were gone. All He had to do was lay down the law of discipleship, tell what it would cost them, but they were not willing to pay the price.

Luke 15:1 says, "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him." It is the same way with multitudes today. Many claim to be with Him, but they are not with Him at all; even many preachers claim to be with Him, but they are not. When a true minister begins to lay down the law of discipleship, many will not have anything to do with it. False ecumenicals say that God loves everything, and that most everything is all right with God. However, when Jesus laid down the law of true discipleship, the professors of religion were gone. When the professors left, the sinners drew near to Him.

Why did the publicans and sinners draw near to Jesus? There were two kinds of people: those who did not want to hear Him, and those who did. Chapter 15 tells us that those sinners and publicans who heard Him wanted to hear Him.

True Christianity is a religion of rescue. It was designed for those who are desperate about their condition, for people who have a craving to do more than they can do by themselves, and for people who are weary of the carnal life they are living and would like to live differently. Christianity was not designed to appease hard-hearted religious professors. Some people say, "I know I am not right. Can you tell me something that will change me? I want to know what life really is."

Verses 26-33 of the fourteenth chapter let us know that we need to count the cost. It starts with a real willingness to renounce all other loyalties in place of Jesus Christ. Why did Jesus say that you must hate (or the Greek translation says love less) father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and your own life? My friend, you must come to the place where you love God supremely. When a person's love for God is above everything else; that person will be a better husband or wife to their companion a child will be a better child, and a parent will be a better parent. A true disciple must discount everything else or he will be hindered. There are some people, who want to be disciples of Christ, but because their spouse will not join them, they decide not to.

The Peril of Unbelief…Part 9

In Numbers, the thirteenth chapter, the children of Israel, were not far from the promised land. Numbers 32:6 tells us, they were in Kadesh-barnea. There was no stream to cross; they could have gone right in on dry ground. However, unbelief, doubt, and fear rose up, and they began to want to spy out the land.

Brother, whenever you spy out what God has already promised you, you are going to get an evil report. Unbelief will cause you to scout out things. You can read in the Bible and know what it tells you to do, but if you say, "I think that I ought to ask some other people what they did when they were in this shape and ask them what they feel I ought to do about it," you will receive an evil report.

All but two of the twelve scouts brought back an evil report. They said the cost of entering Canaan was much too high and that giants dwelt there. In that moment of fear that came upon the people of Israel, because of unbelief, they decided to turn back. Because of this, only Joshua and Caleb were permitted to go into Canaan; the rest of them who were twenty-one years old and over died in the wilderness of sin.

God never promised Israel, that there would be no giants, mountains, or hard places. (He never promised us that there would be no mountains, giants, or hard places in our experiences either.) Nevertheless, He did promise the children of Israel that He would assume the responsibility for safe survival in the promised land. Likewise, He has promised to take us to Heaven. God accepts the responsibility of protecting us and fighting our battles. All we have to do is make and keep a full commitment of our lives to Him, and He will do the rest.

Numbers 14:3, tells us that these Israelites hid behind the women and children. They said that giants dwelt there and that the giants would kill their wives and children. The men were not worried so much about their wives and children; they were worried about themselves. Many hide behind their children today. They say, "I have to stay home, because my children need their rest." God may take them from you if they are really hindering you. In too many cases, it is not the children that are hindering people; they just hide behind them. Many people hide behind this and hide behind that; but God sees the real reason they are being hindered. They do not have that willingness, that willing mind that a person must have and keep, to eat the good of the land, according to Isaiah, the first chapter.

"Be Not Rash With Thy Mouth"

Luke 14:28 speaks of somebody who starts to build something but cannot finish it. Have you ever started something that you could not finish? Have you ever had the impression that God called you to do something, but you have not done it? Ecclesiastes 5:2-5 reads: "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business: and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay."

You may have thought that the Lord was definitely leading you to do something or to go into some field of labor, but you have not done it yet. After years have passed, you may come in contact with the same people to whom you told that, and they are still wondering what is going on. Perhaps you may feel 'a tightness' when speaking to them, and the devil will make you feel that God's people do not love you. However, the fact is, they do love you; they just do not have any confidence in you. If this is the case, you need to get free from that pressure by telling the people, "That was an impression of mine; God was not in it." If God were in it, it would have worked out, because nothing can hinder God's will from being done. When you misfire over and over again, people will not have much confidence in your ideas. They will think that your next idea is another misfire. We all have started something we could not finish. God only asks us to be humble enough to own it and confess that we were wrong.

What Kind of Example Are You?…Part 11

Ability in our Christian living comes through the resources of Jesus Christ. The only factor we need to add to the resources of Christ is our will. Second Peter 1:2-3 states: "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." God, through Jesus Christ, has given us all things: He has given us everything we need to live godly in this life. We need to align our will with His will. God will not force anyone to serve Him. There must be 'a willingness' on our part.

Luke 14:34-35 tells us: "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." These verses of Scripture picture a believer who refuses to be a disciple, one who goes back on His commitment. He has made a commitment and says that he will be the salt of the earth, but he has backed off and has not held to his commitment. Jesus said that such salt is good for nothing.

Why did Jesus say that it was good for nothing? A person such as that cannot get saved because he thinks that he is already saved. All messages on salvation will never reach him, because he feels that he is not lost; yet God cannot use that individual because he is unavailable. As a believer, he keeps going to church, and he becomes an ex- ample of 'what not to be.' Every one of us is an example of something: some are examples of what we ought to be, and others are examples of what we ought not to be.

When a new convert goes to the pastor with a question in his mind about Brother So-and-So, all the pastor can say is, "If you are going to watch that person, watch him as an example of what not to be." Children's minds sometimes become full of questions such as, "Why does Brother So-and-So do what he does? How can he do that, without feeling any condemnation?" As a parent, you have to tell your childrei4 "He is an example of what not to be. If you want to live for God, do not live as he does."

Destroying All Avenues of Retreat…Part 12

When Cortez landed to begin his conquest of Mexico, he had only seven hundred men. Once the soldiers had set their feet on the land, he sent one soldier back to purposely set fire to their eleven ships and told the other soldiers, "Watch it burn," and they watched their only chance of retreat bum. He said, "There is no way for us to go backward. Let's go forward," and they took Mexico. With no means of retreat, there was only 'one way' to go: forward. Have you burned the bridges in your life? Do you have a way of retreat? If you have held on to some reserves in your life, sooner or later, you will retreat. On the other hand, if you will come clean with God and really sell out, burn every bridge, and have no thought and no way of retreating, there will be nothing left for you to do but to go forward with God and press the battle on.

True disciples will destroy all avenues of retreat. The attitude of a true disciple is that he will go forward, whatever the cost. It will cost you all to be His disciple. All is a big word: it is an infinite word, and it is greater than we can comprehend. Jesus said we must forsake and give up all that we have. I remember the time when I made a commitment to God. I did not realize at the time, what I was getting myself into, but the love of God within me caused me to humble myself and say, "Lord, I will do anything, and I will give up all." I am still giving up all. You may say, "I have given up all," but there will be more to give up as you continue to live for God. Giving up all will reach on through to the end of your time here on the earth.

Have you truly sold out to God? Have you burned all the bridges behind you, so that if the devil gets you to look back, all you can see is a burned field and no way to go back? Can you truly say, "I will go forward, by the grace and power of God, and I will take more ground for God?" [ The End ]


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