OFFER OF THE KINGDOM – Radically Surrendered

I read recently in Voice of the Martyrs about a pastor in Indonesia who had been in prison for three or four years and was unexpectedly released. He had a family and children but wouldn’t leave the prison and stayed an additional two years because he was discipling a number of inmates. That’s not “looking back.” That is letting the children of the world do what only they can do. That is trusting God.

Can we trust God with our families and children? Can we? I met a Christian family in China that I came to know personally. The husband and wife had been imprisoned for many years but several of the children survived. Their twelve year old was beaten to death in the town square. The ten, eight, and seven year olds were left without a home because it was confiscated.

This was back in the early 60s during the Cultural Revolution. The children lived in a neighbor’s coal shack where the coal was stored in the basement and they lived out of a bowl of rice that miraculously never did go empty. I met those kids when they were some twenty years older.

Can we trust God with our families? Can we trust our children to be satisfied with less for the sake of the Gospel? It is going to require a resolute decision to surrender self-reign, self-will. Repentance of our reign, repentance of our will is not a light thing. It is a surrender, it is not a performance; it requires a decision that knows the cost.

Jesus in two parables concerning counting the cost makes it very clear that the time to count the cost is at the beginning. Most of us had a gospel with the cost hidden shared with us in the beginning. Some, when they finally discover the cost are going to be, and I’ve seen this, become a bit angry because they believed in the beginning that it was costless. This decision is not only resolute and radical but it’s costly.

A Radical Lifestyle –

Let’s continue in Luke chapter 16.

The decision to surrender our reign and our will must be radical. Go to verse 16.

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John;” it was a Gospel of demand, “since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God,” surrender, “the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

That is a difficult sentence to hear. Why is everyone forcing his way into it? We are going to look at a couple of texts to get the feel of this.

Let’s look at Mark chapter 9 beginning with verse 43.

“If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”

Who is speaking, by the way? Jesus! What is He saying?

If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”

“If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. For everyone will be salted with fire.”

Now go to Matthew chapter 10 and verse 34.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

It means something!

There’s something wrong with the picture when it shows that we will spend more on our children’s teeth than we will on their discipleship. What’s wrong with the picture? We will make a greater effort to see that they are educated in a way that the world receives them than to see that they are discipled to the kingdom. We will see that our children have more opportunities at extra curricular activities like dancing, soccer, baseball, football, basketball, archery, drama, piano and the like than to see that they are discipled to the King. I believe the Lord is saying, “If some of these things are getting in the way of their making it into the reign and receiving the life…”

Do you know what the percentage is of the last two generations of Christian children who have stuck with it? Do you know how many make it to thirty, I could say twenty, but by the time they are thirty, how many of our children are in church? It’s fewer than ten percent. But they’ve got beautiful white straight teeth!

I’m not saying we need to neglect their teeth. But Jesus is saying the decision has to be radical. If we have to lose an eye or a foot it’s a cheap price to pay. He’s saying those things that we believe are absolutely essential. If they are keeping us from His reign, they need to go. And His illustration is an eye, and an arm and a foot. How much more personal and necessary can you get? Is this too hard? Every illustration I have used has to do with self-will and self-reign. We have chosen these things for our kids. We have chosen this life style, this vocation, this work to fulfill; not the kingdom but our reign and our will. Too hard? Radical!

And if we think we are going to make it by grace that does not empower us to live the life that He’s presenting, we’re deceived, because it is an offer not a demand. And all it requires is a surrender to receive. But the decision is radical because it is repenting of our self-reign, it is repenting of self-will.

Lord we need grace to hear this.

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9 Responses to “OFFER OF THE KINGDOM – Radically Surrendered”

  1. Archie Says:

    Jerald. Thank you for stopping by God Spots. You speak truth about the price we are paying for being socially acceptable. I hear over and over from Christians who are surprised they suffer. And yet, the ones that suffer the most appear to be closest to Jesus.

    Most are not willing to go there. Most step out of the fire. A few go through the fire and know the abundant life (the perfection of God’s will and purpose) God intented. It is likely the 10% you refer to.

    God bless. Keep running the race to win and thank you for your prayers for Michelle. I trust she is one willing to go through the fire.

  2. Jerald Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Archie. Willing or not, some do go through the fire. But the fire is not the end – it’s usually the means to get us where we are most useful. I pray that Michelle will see beyond the fire for it is there that victory comes.

  3. timbob Says:

    Hi Jerald. You touch on some critical things here. It’s amazing how many will be more concerned for their childrens situation in the present world to the point of placing it above their spiritual condition. It’s an area that I fear falling short in and I cannot simply pas the blame on not having a spouse who is on board. The matter is far too serious for this. My household, as mentioned in times past, is unimaginably complicated as tweo kingdoms are striving for victory. It keeps me in prayer and also keeps me from reacting to situations in a way that would only aggrevate the situation.

    The paragraphs on committing our families unto the Lord are needful for all to read; especially when time is approaching where family members may be used to force us into compromise. I remember Richard Wurmbrand talking about how the Romanian government would remove children from their christian parents unless the parents renounced their faith in Christ. Many parents refused to bow down to the governments demands andtheir children were placed into the custody of a communist government. But God has more power than any government of this world and so these parents committed the keeping of their children unto him.

    We’re approaching a time where we may be called upon to make the same kinds of choices. Even in the United States. (This will never be discussed from the pulpits of most churches.) How imperative it is for us to draw close to Jesus, walk in the Spirit continuously, and ensure that our steps are truly being ordered by the Lord.

    This is a most needful post because I fear that few saints understand the lateness of the hour or have considered these kinds of issues. I think I’ll run off some copies of this post and take into work today. Blessings always in Jesus name.

    timbob

  4. Jerald Says:

    Thanks for your comments Timbob. Just today I was talking with the woman who cleans our church buildings. She also attends our church so I told her that I had missed her yesterday. She said that one of her kids had some kind of sports practice so she was unable to attend.
    How sad that is. How truly sad that the parents seem to be more concerned about the momentary pleasure of a sports program than the eternal rewards of knowing Jesus Christ.
    And I agree that one day, these kinds of things will be much more up front even here in the US.
    Have a wonderful blessed day.

  5. “And All Nations that Forget God” « Grace County Says:

    […] OFFER OF THE KINGDOM RADICALLY SURRENDERED […]

  6. fivepeasinapod Says:

    Hi Jerald

    It amazes me that many Christian parents put so much time and energy into ensuring their children are successful by worldly standards, and so little time training their child in the way he/she should go, with little regard to their eternal success!

    This is an essential post at this crucial time when God is all but pushed out of our schools and society as a whole. Here in Australia, we seem to be walking the same path as America, one which requires all who are aware, “knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, persuade men.”

    Blessing to you, from an aussie sister in Christ.

  7. Jerald Says:

    When you compare the family life of western Christian family to one, say in China, you’ll see there is quite a difference.
    And, the things we do we might say they are for our children’s sake but they’re only to enhance our standing in the community. If we really cared about our children, we’d see to it that they had a solid spiritual foundation at home.
    Thanks for dropping by my aussie sister. Come any time.

    Blessings.

  8. marksan Says:

    I too have read the stories of brothers and sisters across the world who have suffered great hardship, including having to sacrifice their children. I have no idea if I would ever be able to do that if push came to shove. How easy and spiritual sounding it would be to declare, when I face no such demand, that I would allow my kids to suffer. But the more honest thing to say is- I simply don’t know. I would like to think that I could and would but who knows. I believe that if I were placed in such a situation, only then would I truly know the strength and equipping power of our awesome God who would enable me to do withstand something so hard.

    In the meantime, we need to stand in prayer for our spiritual family across the world who truly know what it means to count the cost of following Jesus.

  9. Jerald Says:

    Mark,
    I don’t think I would have the strength to leave my loved ones either but God does supply all we need.
    May I suggest that you read the book by Norman Grubb called “Rees Howells, Intercessor.” It’s a true story and Rees Howells did this very thing. If you read the book all the way through you’ll see how God works all things out for His glory when we are obedient.
    Rees Howells did count the cost and paid it in full.

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