How To Be The Most Victorious Loser In The World

March 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Sermons

by Dr. Oliver Araiza

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.  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, and the daughter against her mother, and 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: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.  He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.  He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.  And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”  (Matthew 10:32-42)
Young people, this passage is dealing with discipleship.  I’m a little concerned that sometimes we want to paint to you all the perks of serving the Lord in ministry, as if we could entice you to join the ranks of full time Christian work.  And don’t misunderstand me, God’s blessings are great, and there is no better life than giving 100% to God and living your life to do His work.  But the truth is, if you are going to serve the Lord, it WILL cost you something.  That’s what Jesus is talking about here — the cost of discipleship.  If you’re going to make your life count for God, it is going to cost you something.  I want to preach a message that I’ve entitled, “How To Be The Most Victorious Loser In The World.”

I want to read verse 39 again.  “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Matthew 10 is dealing with the price and the privileges of true discipleship.  I’m going to pull out a couple more verses. The Bible says it will show us the price and privileges if you’re going to be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I mean one that stays with the Lord Jesus through thick and thin, a true disciple.  Look at the first verse of chapter ten.  “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits,…”  We know that one of the things God gives us is the power to serve Him; we don’t have to do it under the influence of our flesh.  Thank God, we have help from Heaven to live out these decisions.  He gives us the power.  You can grunt and groan and strain and try harder.  It will fail you every time.  But the way to victory is in the Lord Jesus Christ.  You just have to keep submitting to Him and asking Him to help you.  “I don’t feel like I did that right last time, Lord.  I didn’t talk right.  I didn’t act right.  I didn’t behave right.  Forgive me, Lord.  Help me.”  Keep looking to Him.  Victory is in the Lord Jesus.

Look at verse 16.  “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:…”  You want to be a disciple.  Jesus said it’s like you’re a sheep in the midst of wolves.  I’ve never been around wolves too much, but I know they travel in packs.  A sheep is absolutely defenseless to anything that a wolf can dish out.  There is no way in this world that a sheep can defend itself.  Jesus says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:  be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Look at verse 22.  “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake:…”  Hey, young people, if you can’t take somebody calling you a name now and then, you’re not going to make it living the Christian life and being a true disciple.  I’m not saying that you’re not going to go to Heaven, but if you are going to live your life 100% for Jesus, you have to be able to handle some ridicule.  There are going to be some people who call you names or laugh at you.  They’re going to mock you.  I guarantee you there are teenagers not here tonight and no longer serving God because somewhere down the line somebody called them names and they couldn’t take it.  Jesus said that you’re going to be hated of all men for My name’s sake.  Do you realize we’re living in a society where you can talk about Allah?  You can talk about Muhammad.  You can talk about Buddha.  You can talk about Confucius, but if you mention the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re going to be ostracized.  The reason why is because when you mention His name, it is so intimidating to all others, because they are dead and in the grave and Jesus is alive and He lives in us that are saved.  “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake:…”  It would be unfair to speak of the price and privileges of true discipleship and ignore the perils, because there are a lot of perils to it.

Verses 32-33 says, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”  Young people, there will come a time, maybe even next week, at school or somewhere that you will have an opportunity to speak up for Jesus.  Don’t be quiet.  Speak up!  We have got to take the beliefs and values that we have from the Bible and take them outside of these walls.  What good is Christianity if it stays in this room?  Somebody has got to speak up.

Verse 34 says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”  It’s not a Sunday school picnic every day.  “It’s a battlefield, brother, not a recreation room.  It’s a fight and not a game.”  Like old Lester Roloff used to say, “Run if you want to, run if you will, but I came here to stay.”  We need teenagers that have that idea, and the desire to be faithful even though it’s a warfare and not fun and games.

Verse 38, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”  There is a cross to bear.  That cross all through history has stood as an object of shame and disgrace and death and blood.  It takes young people who are willing to die to self.

Verse 39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  This word disciple is a very interesting word.  It’s the single word most often used in the New Testament to describe those who are going to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  As a matter of fact, when you study the Lord Jesus and this idea of a disciple, the Lord Jesus demanded total devotion from those who would be His disciples.  “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, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:25-26)  Most folks would like to tone that down and trim it off and make it fit, but the Lord Jesus is saying if you are going to be His disciple and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re going to have to give Him devotion and faithfulness in the face of hardship.  He says that the the intensity of our love and desire to serve Him ought to be so fervent and so far above every other love, that it would make our love to father, mother, wife and children look like hate in comparison.  He says that we cannot be His disciple without this kind of love for Him.  He says, “I need total devotion.”  That’s a heavy price.  I guarantee you a generation or two behind us, they used to preach it, but we’ve almost become too soft for it.  We’re almost afraid to preach it to teenagers.  We want to throw out the perks and encourage them to come in desiring the blessings, and there definitely are plenty of them.  But I want to tell you there is a lot of peril out there too, not just perks, but it’s worth it in the end.  Jesus demanded total devotion from those who were going to be His disciples.

As a matter of fact, the Great Commission is supposed to result in the multiplication of disciples.  It’s a sad truth that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.  That means that Muslims are more aggressive at evangelism of their gospel and discipleship than we are.  Can you imagine that?  That’s a shame.  Discipleship is all about devotion and being totally surrendered to God.

Brett Farve, quarterback for the Greenbay Packers, his father passed away.  If I’m not mistaken, the same day his father’s funeral was to take place, they had a ball game scheduled.  He said that he played and was faithful to that ballgame in honor of his father.

But you know what, young people?  The Bible says to honor your father and mother and the way you do that is to be present at times like that.  I don’t care what anybody says.  That would be the way that you honor your father.  Why do these men do that for football?  Devotion.  They have given their life.  Jesus says, “If you’re not willing to do this, you cannot be My disciple.”

Matthew 10:39 helps us to see the difference between a lip disciple and a life disciple.  “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  This idea of sacrificing your own values, sacrificing yourself, dying to self for the purpose of someone else’s ideas, for someone else’s values is so foreign today.  As a matter of fact, the philosophy of sacrificing your wants and your desires and your goals and your dreams is opposite from the way the secular world sees it today.  Secularism or worldliness says, “You live for you.  You take everything for you.  Look out for number one.”

We’re just coming off the Christmas season.  I don’t ever remember hearing this until this year.  Things like, “Don’t forget to put you on your Christmas list.”  I don’t ever remember hearing that before, but we’re being programmed more and more to be self-centered. What they’re saying is “Me, my things, mine, what I want, how I feel.”  You take the world’s philosophies and values about life, about business, about marriage, about children, about love, and compare them to Christianity, it will always be a 180% difference, in the total opposite direction.

For example, to the world greatness is to be served, but to Christianity greatness is to serve others.  To the world love is to fulfill my lust, but to Christianity the Bible says that love fulfills the law.  The world says, “You give to get,” but God says, “You get to give.”  The world says, “Be modern.”  The Bible says, “Be modest.”  The world says, “Serve self.”  The Bible says, “Sacrifice self.”  The world says, “Use others.”  The Bible says, “Live for others.”

The world says, “Marriage is a union of the same sex.”  The Bible says, “…For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:…”  What the Bible teaches and what the world teaches are always in stark contrast.  The world and Christianity are always that way.  This is why you can’t love both.

The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  (I John 2:15)  You don’t have enough room in your heart to love both.  You cannot be in love with this world and God at the same time.  You don’t have enough room in your heart to do that.  The Bible says, “…If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  You can’t do it because there is no room.  The Lord Jesus demands total devotion, total loyalty from those who are going to be His disciples.

We’re talking about the price of true discipleship.  A disciple willingly loses, and that word lose in our text verse is a very strong word.  It literally means ‘to destroy fully.’  The Bible says a disciple is going to lose his life, but not for something that doesn’t mean anything.  He is going to lose it for Jesus’ sake.  That word sake means ‘final cause, with purpose.’  It is the end, the purpose of what you want to obtain.  Jesus says, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  He sells everything for the sake of Jesus Christ.  He is going to receive life back in return.  We’re talking about devotion, about young people that sell out to God for a lifetime.  I mean you raise the white flag on your own life and you say, “Jesus, my life is Yours. I surrender.”  It’s not going to be a game.  It’s not going to be easy, but it’s worth it and God will supply every need that you have.  Devotion.

To be a real winner in life, you first have to be a loser.  To be the most victorious loser in the world, you have to do some things.  The first thing you have to do according to the Bible is you have to lose your life.  That means your goals, your desires, your dreams.  You have to lose it, destroy it.  You have to obliterate it for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Lose your life for the sake of His testimony.  What is the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ?

You know one of the most troubling arguments for unbelieving skeptics is why do the people of Jesus’ day believe that He was the Son of God?  What I’m getting into right now is a subject called apologetics.  We don’t hear it mentioned much, but these things are important.  One of the biggest arguments for unbelievers that study history they say, “Why did the people of Jesus’ day believe that He was the Son of God?”  I’m asking you, young people, to throw everything that you want to do out the window for somebody that you have never seen with your eyes.  I’m not going to promise you like the Muslims promise, that if you die for their cause you’re going to meet 72 virgins.  I’m talking about you’re throwing your life away for the sake of Jesus Christ, God the Son.  Why did the people of Jesus’ day think that Jesus was the Son of God?

Let’s look at some verses here.  “And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”  (Mark 15:39)  There He goes.  This is a man that no doubt had seen many people be put to death by crucifixion, but when Jesus Christ died on the cross, when He gave up the ghost, the centurion said, “This man was different from everybody else.  Truly He was the Son of God.”  Why did those people say that Jesus was the Son of God?  This man did.

“Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”  (John 1:49)  Jesus had just spoken prophetically to him.  He is thrown back by it and he says, “Truly, You’re the Son of God.”  What would make these people say that this man walking the streets of Jerusalem is the Son of God?  One of the most troubling arguments that unbelieving skeptics have to deal is this:  “Why did the people that lived in the time of Jesus, why did they say He was the Son of God?”

“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”  (John 6:65-69)  Why did the people of Jesus’ day say that He performed the miracles?  Why did they say He was the Son of God?  Why did the people of Jesus’ day say that He rose from the grave?  Those are some of the hardest questions for unbelieving skeptics to deal with.  Their answer is they just wanted him to raise the dead and perform miracles.  Young people, they’re not answering the true facts of history.

Even a greater question of the unbelieving, rationalistic skeptics is, “Why did the Lord Jesus say that He was God’s Son?”  We understand that people are fickle.  I mean, they’ll follow all kinds of weird people.

In Texas years ago under Bill Clinton’s administration, they had that following down in Waco, Texas.  A lot of people followed a man by the name of David Koresh.  He said that he was Christ and they followed him.

So you know the skeptics, when they say, “Why did the people in Jesus’ day say that?”  They answer it, “Well, They just wanted to believe that He did these kind of miracles.  They just wanted to believe that He was the Son of God.”  Why did He say that He rose from the grave?  They just say it because they wanted Him to.  That’s their answer.  But then one of the other questions that boggles them is why did Jesus say it?

I’m talking about the price of discipleship.  If I’m going to ask you to give your life to somebody that you’ve never seen based on His testimony, then we have to know something about His testimony.  If we’re going to give our lives to somebody and destroy what we want to do and live our lives for His sake, for His values, for His doctrine, for His Gospel, for what He says, we need to know something about Him.  We know what the people said back in His day.  He is the Son of God.  The skeptics say, “They just said that because they wanted to say that about Him,” but Jesus said it about Himself.

The Bible says, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”  (Matthew 4:1-10)  Over and over again the devil said to the Lord Jesus, “If You are the Son of God, do this.  If You are the Son of God, do this.  If You really are the Son of God, why don’t You do this?  If You are who You say You are, do this.”  One of the things that boggles the minds of the skeptics, the unbelievers, the folks that engage in higher criticism, is why did Jesus say that He was the Son of God?

If Jesus wasn’t who He said He was, then what does that make Him?  That makes Him a liar.  Can you imagine somebody coming on this earth saying, “I am God’s Son.  I’m the only begotten of the Father,” and he’s not.  “…Let God be true, but every man a liar;…”  (Romans 3:4)  Young people, He said it.  That causes a real problem to unbelieving skeptics.

If Jesus believed He was the Son of God, but He really wasn’t, what does that make Him?  Have you ever heard the word lunatic?  If somebody went around saying, “I’m the Son of God,” and he wasn’t, then somebody slipped the cheese out of his happy meal.  He’s not there.  There is something wrong with this guy.  Young people, Jesus said that He was.

The Bible says, “And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.”  (Matthew 26:62-63)  This is the Roman court system and now they are questioning Jesus.  They’re interrogating Him.  Just right as clear as can be they’re saying, “Tell us who You are.”  That’s where we are at in the story.  Look at verses 64-65.  “Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.”  Young people, Jesus did say that He was the Son of God.

Matthew 27:43 says, “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”  John 4:25-26 says, “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”  History will either fortify or falsify the testimony of Jesus Christ.  History will prove whether Jesus was a liar or a lunatic, or the Lord of Glory.  History does that.

I’m going to give you some quotes by some unbelievers and this is what they say, “Christianity is either everything for mankind, or nothing.  It is either the highest of certainty, or the greatest delusion.”  A skeptic by the name of Jenkins said, “Christianity is based on indisputable facts.”  There are those that lie and say that Jesus is not even a historical record, but He is.  He is all through history.  I’m quoting from the Encyclopedia Britannica.  One of the latest editions used 20,000 words describing the historical person of Jesus Christ.  His description took more space than was given to Aristotle, Cicero, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, or Napoleon.  Concerning the testimony of the many independent secular accounts of Jesus of Nazareth it records, “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was disputed for the first time and on inadequate grounds by several authors at the end of the eighteenth, during the nineteenth, and at the beginning of the twentieth century.”
I stand before you and say, “Sell your life out.  Destroy your life for the sake of Jesus Christ.”   You’re not giving your life for some made-up, heathen idiot.  He’s the eternal Lord of glory.  When you live for Jesus, it is the best.  When you lose your life for Jesus’ sake, you will have real life in the end.  We want to paint all the perks.  “If you live for Jesus, this is what you’ll get.”  We almost want to entice young people to become disciples because of all the little neat things they’ll get, when the truth of the matter is there is a price to discipleship.  But when you lay down your life for His sake, it’s worth it.

The resurrection proved that Jesus was different from all of those men, proved that He was the Lord of all.  Go ahead, secularist, go ahead you agenda historians, and atheists, and modernists, and liberals, you go ahead and contrast the Christ of Christianity with the philosophers and thinkers and dictators, go ahead and contrast the Christ of Christianity with Nirvana of Buddhism.  Go ahead and pair Him up with the emperor of Shintoism and the Karma of Buddhism and the pope of Catholocism and the Angel Moroni of Mormonism and the devil of Satanism and the false gods of paganism and the education god of secularism.  Go ahead and compare Jesus.  Go ahead and match Him up with the Allah of Islam along with his prophet, Muhammad.  I guarantee you, my friend, they’ll all fall short of the love and loveliness of Christ.  They’ll all fall short of His grace and graciousness.  They’ll all fall short of the mercy and mercifulness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.  That’s why He says, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  You go ahead and live for your values and your ideas and your goals and dreams, but in the end you lose.  You destroy your life for His sake and then you’re really going to find life.  Jesus Christ is the risen Lord.

Someone may say, “Well, I’ll live for money’s sake.  I’ll live for pleasure’s sake.  Oh, Preacher, I’m going to live for my own sake.”  By the world’s standard you will, but when it really counts, you are the loser.  Yet if you lose your life for the sake of Lord Jesus, remember He is the author of life.  He’s the breath of life.  He’s the giver of life.  He’s the sustainer of life.  He’s the light of life.  When you lay down your life for Him, brother, you’re the winner when it really counts.  I’m talking about laying down your life, losing your life for Jesus’ sake, for the sake of His testimony.  What is His testimony?  His testimony of Lordship.  Jesus is the Lord of glory.  Lose your life for the sake of His testimony of Lordship.

Lose your life for His testimony of friendship.  Friendship in teenagers is a big thing.  Teenagers think a lot about friends.  Every teenager wants to have friends.  When you came to a meeting like this, a lot of you were thinking about, “Who am I going to hang around with?  Am I going to see some of my friends?”  In your teen years, friendship is real important.  If you are by yourself and don’t have anybody that you know, you just feel all alone.  Man, if you’ve got a friend, it makes all the difference in the world.  You can take it.  You can have a wonderful time.

Let me tell you about Jesus.  You talk about a friend!  Jesus is that friend.  In John 15:15 Jesus is talking to His disciples.  “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”  The reason why He called them friends was that He had now treated them as His friends.  When you’ve got a true friend, you will tell that friend things about you that you wouldn’t even probably tell your mom or  dad.  It shouldn’t be that way.  You ought to have an open relationship with your mom and dad, but that’s the way it is.  We get so attached to friends.  You begin to share things, serious things.  There are teenagers that come to a point and things happen in their life, maybe their parents get divorced, or somebody dear to them dies.  I’ve known of teenagers going up to their friends and saying.  “I’m just facing problems.  All these things are happening in my life.  I’m beginning to even doubt that there is a God.”  You wouldn’t say that to your preacher.  You wouldn’t say that to your parents or anything like that, but you’ve shared things that intimate with friends.  We’re talking about friendship.  Jesus shares some pretty intimate things with you.  It’s that He is your friend and you are His.  Friendship talks about sharing.  We can’t even begin to get into it for the sake of time, but Jesus shared it with them.

Something sweet about  friendship is trust.  The reason you tell them those things is because you trust them.  They’re not going to go all over the school yard, or youth group telling all those things about you.  If they did, that would be the last time you ever told them anything because you couldn’t trust them.  When you lay down your life for Jesus’ sake, for the sake of His testimony, His Lordship, and for the sake of His friendship, you can tell Jesus everything.  Do you know what many of you need to do?  You need to get somewhere all by yourself and just tell Jesus everything that bothers you.  I mean you just need to lay it out.  “Why did this happen?  Help me, Lord.  Show me.  Teach me.  I know these people and everybody thinks this about them, but I know this.  Lord, why?  How can that be?  That hurts me.”  You just need to open up and give it to the Lord.  He can take it.  He’s the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Do you remember Judas when he betrayed the Lord?  What did Jesus say to him?  He called him friend.  Even though he had betrayed the Son of God, Jesus was his friend.  I’m telling you that you can lay down your life for Jesus’ sake, the sake of His Lordship, and the sake of His friendship.  The Bible says that He’s the friend that sticks closer than a brother.  You can share and He’ll share with you about life.  You can trust Him and He’ll trust you.

Do you know what else?  One thing about a friend that is neat, you say this about your friends.  I hear it at graduations all the time, said about family members and their pastor.  “He was always there for me.”  That’s what counts with you about your friends.  “They were always there for me.”  You know what?  Jesus will always be there for you, teenager.  He’ll never leave you.  He’ll never forsake you.  He’s always there.

I don’t know exactly how old I was, but it was around the fourth of July.  We had moved out in the country from Dallas, a little community called Kaufman.  We had a storm cellar in the back yard, but it was run down and had stinging scorpions and spiders in it.  We weren’t going to use it for storing vegetables, so my dad decided to use it for an incinerator.  We put trash in it.  We were going to light it on fire and burn.  That’s the way people do it out in the country.  How many of you know what a burn barrel is?  You pick out all the glass and things that don’t burn and you burn all the paper and cardboard.  We filled it up.  It was crazy because the very day we were going to light it on fire was July fourth.  We were going to do a little more work around the house and then load up.  My dad had a big, old Ford Esquire station wagon back then.  We were going to load up in the station wagon and head to the church picnic.  We had an old Ford tractor parked right there in front of the doorway of this incinerator.  My dad said, “Son, I need you to move the tractor.”  I got on that old Ford and put it in gear and moved it around.  My dad, just before that, had taken a little gasoline and put it on top of that trash to help get the fire going.  To be honest with you, that probably saved his life.  Since he had put gas on it, he struck a match and tossed it over on that garbage, the entrance of that cellar.  When that match hit that doorway, you talk about an explosion.  Remember it was the fourth of July.  I don’t remember how old I was, maybe about 12 or 13 years old.  I already told you I like firecrackers.  When I heard that explosion, I thought to myself, “Good night, what kind of a firecracker was that?”  I turned and looked over my shoulder and saw this black mushroom cloud.  Then I looked back around and I saw my dad.  The explosion had blown his shirt completely off and he was laying face down on the ground.  I knew it was bad.  What had happened was that old vegetable cellar, because it was used as a root cellar, when vegetables rot, a very explosive gas is created.  It was like a bomb waiting to happen.  If my dad had not put that gas on there, he would have struck that match and leaned down to light it.  If he had been that close, it would have killed him.  The casing of that thing, there is no telling what it would have done to my dad.  That thing blew up and I remember my mother screaming.  I remember thinking to myself, “Lord, what is going on?”  I wasn’t even a Christian yet.  It just seemed like such dark days for us.  When those days are dark like that, young people, we don’t know what in the world is going on, remember you can lay down your life for the sake of His testimony, His Lordship, His friendship.  He’s not going to leave you.  He’s not going to forsake you.

Do you remember reading that poem about footprints in the sand?  This person talks about looking back at his life.  During the darkest days of his life, he only saw one set of footprints.  At other times he’d see a double set of footprints.  It seemed like in the trying and darkest days of his life he was by himself.  This poet goes on to say when he gets to Heaven he says, “Lord, I don’t understand.  During those dark days of my life, Lord, I only see one set of tracks in the sand.  Why did You leave me?  Why did You leave me by myself?”

The Lord said, “Oh, son, I didn’t leave you by yourself.  Those are the days that I carried you.”

Hey, young people, you can lose your life for the sake of Jesus, for the sake of His testimony.  You check it out.  He is a historical figure.  They’ll all talk about Him.  The reason why He said He was the Son of God was that He is, and the proof that we have is that He rose from the grave.

You can lay down your life.  You can say, “Jesus, I’ll give up my dreams, my goals, everything for Your sake.”  Okay, who am I giving that to?  Brother, you’re giving it for the sake of His testimony, His Lordship.  Jesus is Lord.  When you lay down your life for Him, you’re the winner in the end.  As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to wait until the end to win.  You win all through life.  Glory to God!  You can lay down your life for the sake of His testimony of His friendship.  He’ll share things with you.  He’s always going to be there for you.  You can trust Him.

As I was thinking about this message, I just started thinking about all the ‘ships’ that Jesus is.  You can trust Him on His Lordship, His fellowship, His headship, His Sonship, His friendship.  I like this next one.  His championship, His comradeship, His partnership, His relationship, His hardship, His leadership, His followship, as He followed the Father.
Jesus says, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  Do you want to be the most victorious loser in the world?  Lose your life for Jesus’ sake.  I’m not asking you to do that for some far out, weird person.  I’m saying you do it on the sake of His testimony, His Lordship, and His friendship.  I’ll take Jesus any day.  Boy, we need a whole lot of others to join up, and pay the price of discipleship.



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