Today’s Scrip-Bit   5 December 2021 Luke 14:27.

Luke 14:27.     And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Here we are together friends on another Sunday, just thrilled to be in each other’s company, whether physically in the Lord’s Sanctuary, or by technological means. The important thing is that we are together for worship, prayer and thanksgiving. And I recently read an interesting statement where a lady asked a pastor why we go to church, and he replied that we go to church because someone might need us there. That’s good. It’s also true. And the corollary to that is also true, we too might need someone there. 

Now if you have doubts about why we gather on the Lord’s day, then listen to these moving words from Hebrews, written to the displaced Christian Jews who were suffering serious persecution all over the Roman Empire. The author writes: ‘Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith (hope) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke (stir up) unto LOVE and unto good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’ (Heb. 10:23-25) 

And the scholars explain: ‘10:25. Not forsaking the assembling: This admonition involves far more than an erratic attendance. It involves the entire worship of Christ and is an outward indication of an inner condition. The assembling of God’s people provides opportunity for reciprocal encouragement, strengthening, and the stirring up that can be gained from one another (cf. Col. 3:12-16) It consists of participation in worship and fellowship. The church is a body interacting (1 Cor. 12:14-17); it is not merely a dispensary of spiritual food and medicine.’ 

Wow! Yes friends, we don’t go to church just to be spiritually revived, but also to give of ourselves and to interact with others in praise and thanksgiving to our wonderful God. And now that we have a better understanding of why the saints of Christ ought to assemble, let’s get to some good old fashioned hymn singing, offering up praises to our heavenly King and Father. No doubt some of you are surprised that we didn’t begin as usual with the singing, but I happened upon those verses of Hebrews, or was led to them, who knows, and thought it a good idea to refresh our minds on the subject. 

And today’s hymn is a great favourite, one written around 1896, by the American hymnwriter, Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939) and most appropriately titled ‘All to Jesus I Surrender.’ So, in a soulful, harmonious, scintillating, mid-tempo riddim, let’s offer up our sacrifices of praise from deep in our sincere hearts. 

‘All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give; I will ever LOVE and trust Him, In His presence daily live. (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.) All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken. Take me, Jesus, take me now. (Refrain: I surrender all..) All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Saviour, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine. (Refrain: I surrender all…) 

All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy LOVE and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me. (Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame; Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His name! (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all…I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all… All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all…’ 

Ah mih people, that was a wonderful rendition, but the problem now is how many of us are truly ALL surrendered to Jesus? We sing it like we mean it, but in actual life do we give Him our ALL, do we let every aspect of lives fall under His omnipotent dominion, or do we hold back some parts that we still feel the need to control? Remember Jesus sees our hearts and explores the real motives that lie hidden there, so it doesn’t make any sense to sing one thing and deep down inside do something else. We might fool our fellow believer, but we won’t fool Jesus. 

And remember Jesus said He requires all of us, or nothing at all. Please don’t forget what He told the rich young ruler who enquired about eternal life, about keeping the commandments. And when the ruler said he had been doing that all his life, ‘Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt (want to) be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.’ (Matt. 19:21) 

Obviously, the man didn’t want to do that back then, and so do a lot of us today. We want to follow Jesus, but we don’t want to give up our earthly possessions to do it. However, Jesus requires us to sacrifice our will for His own. As Luke recounts of Jesus in his epistle. ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren (brothers), 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 disciple.’ (Luke 14:26-27) 

Those are certainly tough words my brethren. But they are surmountable ones. Hear how the scholars explain them. ‘14:26. In comparison to one’s devotion to Christ, one’s family ties must be secondary. This does not set aside Jesus’ other teachings to LOVE one’s enemies, to honour father and mother, and the like. It does highlight that absolute loyalty to Christ is paramount, even though in many societies, including the one in which Jesus taught, as well as many today, following Him, involves precisely the either-or that this verse sets up.’ 

Thankfully though, in our current society, most believers do not have to give up all their physical belongings to follow Christ, but He does need our spiritual wherewithal, which can call for different kinds of sacrifices on His behalf. And that’s the main point in being a follower of Christ…that we subordinate our will to His, and are willing to give up whatever it takes, to make whatever sacrifice that’s necessary to do His will. 

Now that’s something for us to ponder on today. Considering all that we’ve said, are we fully surrendered to Christ? Only the individual believer can truly answer that. But let’s hope that we can all answer truthfully the question with a resounding ‘YES! Much LOVE!

…surrendering all to Jesus…is small potatoes…compared to what He surrendered for us…His sinless life… 

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