By Russell DeLong
Scripture: Matthew 16:24-27
One of the most popular radio programs is called "Double or Nothing." A contestant is
given a number of dollars, then asked a question, and if he gives the correct answer this amount is doubled. But if the answer is wrong, he loses all -- so it is double or nothing.
Following Christ is similar but even more daring -- it is all or nothing.
As one has aptly put it, "Christ must be Lord of all or He is not Lord at all."
Jesus himself said: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and
love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24).
You must be one thing or the other. It is all or nothing.
Jesus at another time said, "He that is not for me is against me." There is no halfway place. You cannot hold Christ in one hand and the world in the other. It must be one or the other -- all or nothing.
True religion, genuine salvation, either means everything to you or it means nothing. It
should erase the past, cleanse the present, give perspective for the future.
Jesus in calling His first disciples said some pretty hard but all-important things. Listen!
"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" (Matt. 10:
Jesus spoke to Peter and Andrew, fishermen, and said, "Follow me, and I will make you
fishers of men. And straightway they left their nets, and followed him" (Matt. 4: 18-20).
A rich young ruler came to Jesus seeking eternal life. He was educated. He had power. He possessed wealth. He held position. He was moral. He kept all the commandments. The fact is, he was better than most present-day church members. But that was not enough. Jesus said, "One thing thou lackest." In other words, the young man was willing to surrender everything but one. The terms of Jesus were "All or nothing." The surrender to Him must be complete and unconditional. There are no bargain counters and no reduced prices.
Jesus told of the man who sold all that he had to purchase the pearl of great price. If you
want real religion, genuine salvation, you must make the supreme gift yourself. If He has you He will have all you are and all you own. It is all or nothing.
To the rich young ruler He gave this command, "Come, take up the cross, and follow me"
(Mark 10: 21).
We might well connect this to the call of the disciples when He said, "Follow me, and I
will make you fishers of men." Let us put a period after the "you" and let the two passages read, "Come, take, follow, and I will make you."
Christ-made men are Christ-surrendered men and Christ-transformed men.
Consider the three verbs-words of action:
1. Come -- A Change of Place
Come always means leave. Leave the old life, leave the old places, leave the old habits,
leave the old companions, leave the old ideals, leave the old pleasures, leave the old sins. Before one can come one must leave. That is step number one.
2. Take -- A Change of Activity
Instead of pleasure and comfort take up thy cross. There are duties and responsibilities in
the world as well as rights and pleasures. There is a task to be done that requires sacrifice and toil, but with it come the greatest of satisfaction and the thrill of achievement.
3. Follow -- A Change of Allegiance
Before the call my loyalties are to self and Satan. When Christ taps me on the shoulder and I turn around and follow Him, my loyalties are shifted and my allegiance is given to a new Leader and a new life. One is never the same after that tap on the shoulder. It is life's supreme moment. If one rejects, life becomes miserable. If one accepts, life becomes happy. If one spurns the call of Christ, he becomes disloyal to the truth and murders his own best self. If he responds to the call a new day dawns, a new life comes, a new inspiration thrills.
4. The fourth verb is make. "I will make you." Jesus will change you so that your old
environment will not be attractive any more.
He'll change you so that your old habits will not control you any more.
He'll change you so that your old companions will not dominate you any more.
He'll change you so that your old ideals will not govern you any more.
He'll change you so that your old loyalties will not bind you any more.
Yes -- it is all or nothing -- but it is all. You'll be all new when you surrender your all to
The hymn writer expressed the truth of this sermon when she wrote:
All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
All my being's ransomed powers,
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours!
ALL OR NOTHING