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FORSAKING ALL – THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP

A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
and preached by Mr. John Samuel Cagan
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, February 4, 2017

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).


Dr. and Mrs. Hymers once knew an elderly woman who kept the bodies of dead dogs in her refrigerator, sometimes for months on end. She couldn’t bear the thought of getting rid of them. She should have opened the refrigerator and thrown those dead dogs out! Get rid of them! Abandon them! Get rid of them! Bury them! What good were they? How did they help her? Throw them out! That’s what I say she should have done with those dead dogs!

That’s what Jesus is saying here about getting rid of the things in life that keep you from full commitment to Him.

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Dr. Ellicott tells us that this verse means “Whosoever renounces not all that he hath cannot be my disciple.” He says, “This, then, was the immediate lesson…to say good-bye to their ‘all,’ whatever it might be. Fishing nets and hired servants, or great possessions, or ease and safety, or besetting sins, or fancied righteousness – all had to be renounced,” given up to be a real Christian (Charles John Ellicott, Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Zondervan, 1954 reprint, volume VI, p. 313).

Whatever it was that kept them from Christ, the Disciples had to forsake and leave behind. Throw them out! Like those dead dogs – throw them out! Leave them behind! Give them up! Don’t let them pollute your heart, and destroy you, and keep you from Christ! Forsake them – whatever it is that holds you back from Christ!

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

This is a good text. It is full of meaning. It will help you come to Christ and be converted. Listen carefully while I draw three lessons from it.

I. First, who Christ is talking to as He spoke.

Who is He speaking to in the text? Notice the first five words,

“Whosoever he be of you…” (Luke 14:33).

So, these words were spoken originally to the entire group of people Christ was addressing. Look back to verse 25,

“And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them” (Luke 14:25).

This whole passage, from verse 25 to verse 35, was originally spoken to a large crowd of people, who came to hear Christ preach. These people were not Christians. They were unsaved people. What did Christ say to this great crowd of lost people? He said,

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

“He cannot be my disciple.” The word “disciple” translates the Greek word “mathētēs,” which means “a learner…it denotes one who follows one’s teacher,” according to W. E. Vine. And Vine tells us that the word “disciple” is used in the New Testament “of those who believed upon Him and confessed Him” (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Revell, 1966, p. 316).

Some have made a distinction between a “believer” and a “disciple.” But I believe that this is a false distinction, not supported by the Bible. The New Testament often speaks of true believers as “disciples.” “Disciple” doesn’t just mean the twelve Apostles, or a special group among the “believers.” The word is often used in the New Testament to describe anyone who is a real Christian. The old commentators made this clear. For instance, Alexander Cruden, writing in the 18th century, said this concerning the word “disciple,”

Most often the word is used with reference to the believers in Christ, both those who believed during His life, and those who later joined the early Church (Alexander Cruden, Cruden’s Complete Concordance, Zondervan, 1968 reprint, p. 151)

Cruden was exactly right. Again and again, the word “disciple” is used of all true believers in Christ. For instance, in Acts 6:1,

“And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied…”

Again, in Acts 6:7, we read,

“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly…”

And again, in Acts 11:26, we read,

“And the disciples were called Christians…”

An unbiased study of the word “disciple” in the New Testament shows that a disciple and a Christian are the same thing, not two different things, as some modern writers wrongly tell us. A Christian is a disciple. If he is not a disciple, he is not a Christian! Acts 11:26 tells us that “disciples” and “Christians” are exactly the same.

“The disciples were called Christians” (Acts 11:26).

So, Christ is telling us that we cannot be Christians unless we are willing to be disciples, and forsake the things that keep us from trusting Him fully.

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

The word “whosoever” goes beyond the multitude to whom He spoke that day. “Whosoever” refers to all mankind.

Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Christ is speaking to you and me. You should think carefully about this before you consider becoming a Christian. You should “count upon forsaking all and consent to it.”

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

II. Second, what “forsaking all” means.

It means there must be a new direction in your life, a new center, a new goal. You must direct your life in a way that pleases Christ. Christ must become the very center of your life. Your goal must be to please Christ in all you do. It means that you must be willing to forsake anything that prevents you from coming to Christ, and then following Him as His disciple.

If you want to become a Christian, you must count the cost! You must agree to make Jesus Christ and His work the most important thing in your whole life! The Apostle Paul said,

“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

What is it that keeps you from trusting Christ? Are you afraid that you won’t make enough money if you don’t work during the hour of worship on Sunday?

“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Don’t hang onto anything that keeps you from Christ! Hanging on to something that keeps you from Christ is like keeping dead dogs in your refrigerator! Throw the dead dogs out! Throw those stinking dead things out of your life! Throw out the dead dogs and come to Christ! Listen to me read the words of an old hymn,

I am resolved no longer to linger, Charmed by the world’s delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler, These have allured my sight.

I am resolved to enter the Kingdom, Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me, Still I will enter in.
I will hasten to Him, Hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Greatest, Highest, I will come to Thee.
   (“I Am Resolved” by Palmer Hartsough, 1844-1932).

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

III. Third, why forsaking all is essential to conversion.

“Forsaking all that [you have]” is really just another way of saying “repent.” A person who repents lets go of the things that keep him from trusting Christ. That’s what it means to repent! Jesus said,

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Did you ever wonder why people like Dr. Chan, Mr. Griffith, Mrs. Hymers and others got saved so quickly? Did you ever wonder why they got saved right away, while others went on and on – attending our church, but not being converted? The answer is given in our text,

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Mrs. Hymers came to our church from Guatemala. She was only sixteen, but she was saved the first night she heard Dr. Hymers preach. How did she get saved so quickly? Why, it’s because she forsook all she had. She threw herself on Jesus and became a serious soul-winner right away. She did not just go to evangelism on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. She went to evangelism every day. She also did phoning to arrange rides from 10:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night. Then Dr. Hymers drove her home and she worked until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning – translating Dr. Hymers’ sermons into Spanish. She did all that right away as a sixteen and seventeen-year-old high school student. She threw herself on Christ, and then immediately became a great worker in our church for many hours every day, not just on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. She grew quickly into such a powerful Christian that Dr. Hymers married her when she was only nineteen years old. She started doing all that work while she was still in high school. She wasn’t fooling around like you are. She was saved the first time she came to church because she was willing to forsake all to be a disciple of Christ!

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Young people, you should rethink the whole direction and purpose of your own life. Make money a secondary thing in your life, or you will lose your soul, in one way or another, amid the baubles and toys of American materialism. Decide now to make the accumulation of money a secondary pursuit. Put Jesus Christ first in your life! Be in church every time the door is open. Make lots of time for Jesus Christ in this local church. Let your parents and friends call you a “fool” for doing so. They will be wrong when they do. Come fully into the church. Commit your whole life to Christ. Give a tithe, a tenth of your income, to the Lord’s work in and through the local church. Go to evangelism every week, to bring in the lost to hear the Gospel. And remember, full commitment to Christ ought to mean that you will be in church every Sunday, instead of running off to that sinful Hell-hole of Las Vegas, or to do some other foolish and wicked thing. Give those things up and become a real Christian – a real disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Non-Christian friends and relatives may say you are spending too much time in church, and they may discourage you from coming. But they will be wrong – and you will be right for giving Jesus Christ first place in your life.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Come to Christ. Throw yourself upon Him by faith, and His Blood will wash away your every sin. Come to Christ by faith. Surrender your heart to Him. He has risen from the dead, to the right hand of God the Father in Heaven. Die to the pleasures and sins of the world and come to Jesus, for it is in dying and rising with Him by faith that we overcome the world and are born again to eternal life! That is real conversion! Let us stand and sing number three on your song sheet. Sing it with full fervor!

Give of your best to the Master;
   Give of the strength of your youth;
Throw all your zeal and fire
   Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example;
   Fearless was He, young and brave;
Give Him your loyal devotion,
   Give Him the best that you have.
Give of your best to the Master:
   Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation’s full armor,
   Join in the battle for truth.

Give of your best to the Master;
   Give Him first place in your heart.
Give Him first place in your service;
   Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
   God His beloved Son gave.
Eagerly seeking to serve Him,
   Give Him the best that you have.
Give of your best to the Master:
   Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation’s full armor,
   Join in the battle for truth.
(“Give of Your Best to the Master” by Howard B. Grose, 1851-1939;
      altered by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.)

Will you resolve to come to Christ no matter what it costs you? That is what it means to trust Christ. Will you trust Him alone? Will you repent and believe on Jesus? Will you promise Christ that you will be in every church service? Will you promise Him that you will go to evangelism every week? Will you promise Christ that you will give a tithe, ten percent of your income each week? If that kind of consecration is what you desire, I want you to come forward and kneel in front of the pulpit. I want you to get out of your seat and come and kneel here in front of the pulpit while Mr. Griffith sings that old hymn, “Living For Jesus.” While he sings, you come.

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
   Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
   This is the pathway of service for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Saviour, I give myself to Thee,
   For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other Master, I bow before Thy throne.
   My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
   Bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
   Follow His leading and give Him my all.
O Jesus, Lord and Saviour, I give myself to Thee,
   For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other Master, I bow before Thy throne.
   My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
(“Living For Jesus” by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1866-1960;
      altered by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.).


WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 14:25-27, 33.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Living For Jesus” (by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1866-1960).


THE OUTLINE OF

FORSAKING ALL – THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP

A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
and preached by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

I.   First, who Christ is talking to as He spoke, Luke 14:25;
Acts 6:1, 7; 11:26.

II.  Second, what “forsaking all” means, Philippians 3:8.

III. Third, why forsaking all is essential to conversion, Matthew 16:26.