Luke 14:31, Jesus speaking, “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? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
I’d like to speak about the power of an unconditional surrender.
I tell the story about as a little boy, I grew up in Portland.
It was on 90th and Stark.
The home we lived in, we had this couch, or davenport, or sofa, but we called it a couch.
It was back in the day when the cushions on the couch had springs.
So, when you sat on the couch, especially as a little boy, you found yourself springing.
My sister and I liked to jump on the couch.
Mom, if she told us once she told us a thousand times, not to jump on the couch.
But it was a temptation we just couldn’t resist.
One day they were gone, and my sister Kay and I were jumping on the couch, from the arm to the cushion to the back of the couch to the cushion.
I jumped and my back hit the window at the back of the couch and shattered it into a thousand pieces.
I never meant to break that window.
My sister told me, “Mom told us not to be jumping on the couch.”
I knew that.
I didn’t need her to tell me that.
But now something serious had happened.
I was so fearful.
I went to my room.
I knew my folks were going to be so upset.
I knew they were coming.
I was mortified.
I was beside myself with fear and concern.
I spent the afternoon in the room.
I had a little piggy bank.
I knew how to open it.
I knew how to count the coins therein.
I dumped it all out into my little hand, and I sat there and held it in my little hand until my parents came home.
Mother and Father came in the door.
I rushed out.
My sister beat me there, and she told them what had happened.
I was in tears.
I was crying, and reaching out my little hand, “Here, Dad, take it” as I held out my hand.
My dad could see I was holding out all I had.
My dad accepted that.
It could never pay for a window.
But my repentance and my all, it touched my father’s heart, and I didn’t get a spanking.
He took care of it and made things right.
A new window was put in place, and it was never spoken of again.
I don’t think I ever jumped up and down on the couch again.
We’ve all made mistakes and done things.
We know right and wrong and we’ve been told what’s right and wrong, but we don’t consider.
Then something happens that we never meant to do, and we find ourselves in terrible trouble.
Fearful of a punishment and a reckoning.
It was such a burden for a little boy – and for a man or a woman to carry their sins.
There’s wonderful provision in the gospel because of the price paid on Calvary – Jesus Christ giving His life so we could find forgiveness for our sins, and our wrongs could be made right.
Our Father in Heaven paid the price to send Him to this earth.
He’s willing when we come with repentance, and in our desperation, and with our all; it touches His heart.
It gives us access to His mercy, His forgiveness, and things can be made right.
We purpose never to do those things again.
I’d like to think – I don’t know – I had pennies, I had nickels, dimes and probably not many quarters– I’d like to think if it had been just two pennies and it was all I had, if I came with that same spirit with just two little coins to my father, that he would have accepted that because of the repentance, the desire to be right, to be reconciled.
I believe he would have accepted that, and things would have been made right.
It’s not how much if it’s our all; it’s our all that touches God’s heart.
That story we read about in Luke 21, Jesus looked up and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury; He saw them and He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
“And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.”
What do you think happened to that woman, to that poor widow?
Do you think she starved to death?
She gave her all.
With those two mites, she unlocked the power of heaven.
Heaven was going to do everything needed to meet her needs.
God respects that.
Jesus commended her for it.
She has given her all.
It’s like a key.
An unconditional surrender is like a key that opens up the kingdom of heaven – to the power, the wisdom, the help that we need.
God didn’t need those two mites, but He needed her total dependence on Him to open up that door, that key that opened up the door.
Those other men, it says they had given quite a bit.
They were rich men, and they had given quite a bit into the treasury.
But those men, their confidence was in what they had, and not in what they had access to.
That woman had no confidence in what she had but every confidence in what she had access to. In faith she gave her all.
Heaven responded to that unconditional surrender.
Do you see the wisdom in the way Jesus sent out His ministry?
He sent them out without anything.
Sell what you have.
Give it away, discard it.
Go in faith preaching the gospel.
So, they would not have confidence in what they had, but confidence in what they had access to.
When they went forth in faith to preach the gospel, they had access to the power of heaven on their behalf, on their side.
That dear woman, when she gave her all, had miracles happen.
Those men that had confidence in what they had, there were no miracles for them.
They had their confidence in their own way, not in what they could have access to.
The verses that we first read, we understand not everyone is called into this work of the gospel; not everyone is asked to give everything and go forth in faith to preach the gospel, but everyone is asked to forsake all they have, to give their all, as Jesus said in Luke 14:33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
He’s not asking everyone to go out into this work, but he’s asking us to surrender all, to give all.
It’s the key that gives us access to the power.
You can see why when Jesus said it’s so difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, because the tendency is to put our confidence in what we have instead of what we could have access to.
That takes our all, forsaking all, the Lord making us a steward.
God makes us a steward over what we have.
He doesn’t take it away from us.
So now this is not our own.
It belongs to God, and our thinking changes.
The things we have and possess, we’re stewards over them.
The world doesn’t think like that.
It’s ours, and they put their confidence in that.
Can you imagine a rich man, a billionaire who can go anywhere and do anything, coming to God with that and saying, I give it all, I yield it all.
Just make me a steward, make me a servant.
Very, very difficult to not put our confidence in what we have, instead of what we could have access to.
It can be done.
Jesus says it is possible.
God says with God all things are possible.
There were those in the scriptures who understood what it is to be stewards.
I think of Job and all that he had.
He lost all that he had, even lost his family; he lost it all.
Do you know what Job said?
Job 1:21, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
His life was all God’s.
He knew it was a gift from God and God gave and God took it all away.
There was a balance.
Then we read later that he was blessed richly.
This, of being a steward, if we yield it all, it gives us access to the kingdom of heaven.
We read about an unjust steward in Luke 16, who used his master’s goods like they were his own.
His lord said I’m going to take it away from him.
When he realized he was going to lose it, he began to use it differently.
His lord commended him.
Luke 16:12, “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?”
If we have access to the wisdom of heaven and we are a good steward and have access to the source, He’ll show us how to invest it in such a way that we’ll have treasure for all eternity.
He gives us that wisdom.
He tells us how to use what we have so it brings blessing to ourselves and others.
I remember when I was a young boy and made my choice.
It was an unconditional surrender; but with time when I got into my teens and involved at school, my unconditional surrender became conditional.
I wasn’t faithful to my commitment.
That window, that door that had been opened, closed and I had no power.
I had no access to the kingdom of Heaven because my surrender was conditional.
I still went to meetings and took part.
I came to convention but I came for years with a conditional surrender; I couldn’t access the rest, the peace, the wisdom.
I couldn’t access the power.
It was 16 years before I came to the end of myself and surrendered completely.
That’s when the door of Heaven opened, and the miracles began to happen.
I was drawing from the source of peace that I hadn’t had since I couldn’t remember, and a joy.
I was drawing from the source that has kept me.
I rejoice in it today.
It’s not in us.
It’s something we have to access, and no amount of money, no amount of anything can give us that peace, that rest and joy, the things that we need.
The things that are eternal that money cannot buy.
It’s not in ourselves.
It wasn’t in Jesus, His perfect life.
We see Him in the garden and He’s begging, He’s praying; He didn’t have it, but He had access to it.
Facing the cross and crucifixion, facing taking on the sins of all the world – I can’t even bear my own sins – and He’s asking for power, power to do the will of God and to take all the sins of the world on Himself.
It says an angel appeared.
An angel appeared from heaven.
He had access.
An angel strengthened Him, and He prayed more earnestly.
He prayed and was crying out.
He needed help.
“Not my will but thine be done.”
God gave Him that power and He went and did that most difficult thing; He gave His life for us sinners, He gave His life for us.
He accessed that power every day.
That’s what He had.
He had an unconditional surrender.
He was giving His all.
Every day He was drawing from that source, the power that enabled Him to have a sinless mind, to live a sinless life.
We can have access to that, too, that power to live a sinless life.
We can have an unconditional surrender with repentance, and we can be reconciled.
He’s opened the door of heaven to us.
He’s given us access to it.
Men and women throughout the ages have accessed that power.
We read about them in the scriptures, and every one paid that price of giving their all and an unconditional surrender.
He said, in Luke 14:33, “Whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, cannot be my disciple.”
If we’re not willing to forsake ourselves, deny ourselves, we cannot draw from that source.
And how can we be His disciple?
How are we going to follow Jesus without the power of heaven?
We cannot be His disciple unless we have unconditional surrender in our lives, and then we have access.
We read in Hebrews 11 of those godly men and women.
It speaks of what they went through.
Every one of them had the power of heaven, access to that power.
They were men and women like us.
They didn’t have it in themselves, but they had a power working in their lives, and access to a power that made them mighty, made them strong, made them godly, made them Christlike.
I think of us going out from this convention; we don’t know what lies ahead, we don’t know what’s coming.
If all we have is access to what we have here, we’re not going to prevail.
We’re not going to have what it takes to face the future.
I say about myself, I’ve been in this work over 40 years, but if I was to put my confidence in what I had – my experiences and my years in the work and all – I would be very, very foolish.
That would not prepare me for what’s coming tomorrow, and in the future.
That was God’s keeping power.
That was God working in my life.
If that’s what I put my confidence in, if that’s what I’m trusting in, I’m not going to be prepared to meet Him.
I have to have access to the power of heaven.
We all have to have that if we’re going to be victors, if we’re going to succeed.
We can’t trust in what we have.
We’re going to need God keeping us, and we have to have access to the power of heaven to face the days ahead.
May God help us to have the wisdom to understand the power of an unconditional surrender.
It opens the mercy of God.
It opens the power of heaven to us.
May God help us to have access.