9/24/12 – “NO TURNING BACK”

Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I can remember years ago, some 20 plus years ago when we started our church at one time I was not just the Pastor, I was the worship leader, janitor, fix it man, etc., you name it, I did it. There was a very simple song we used to sing that said, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” As simple as that song was, it is exactly what every believer who has ever received the wonderful gift of eternal life should do. They should make the decision to follow Jesus, walk after Him, and chase after Him, choosing to turn from the world and it’s ways.

I know that scripture reveals in the last days there are going to be those whose love for the Lord will grow cold. The problem is they won’t think so, but in fact it will happen. Even though I know this to be true, it is still difficult for me to watch as a Pastor. They continue to chase the dreams of the world, and don’t realize that once they turn from the plow of God, they are going to harden their hearts toward God.

I want to address this issue from the scriptures to hopefully do two things. I hope to keep those whose hand is still on the plow chasing after their God, and those who may have turned loose or may have never had a hold on the plow firmly to begin with, to help them take hold of what God has for their life and let go of the things of this world that are keeping them from God. I just don’t think many believers realize what lies ahead, and scripture reveals to us that when we see the things we are now seeing in the world, our focus is to be looking upward toward our God who will keep us close to Him.

Luke 9:59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
Luke 9:60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

Jesus in these verses leading up to our foundation verse in Luke 9:62 was talking about the cost of discipleship. There is a misunderstanding when it comes to what Jesus’ desire is for everyone. He never told His disciples to just go out and get people born again, but to go and make disciples. That is the goal of what Jesus came to accomplish in peoples lives. To become a disciple is more than just praying a prayer to become born again. Jesus is speaking of this here in these verses above.

Notice He tells a man to follow Him. My first question is why would we not want to follow Him? Notice when Jesus tells him this his response was, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Some may have gotten quite offended at what Jesus said, but He tells the man to let the dead bury their own dead, but he was to go and proclaim the kingdom of God. This is not being disrespectful, but revealing to follow Jesus one must be focused on building the kingdom of God.

Another said He would follow Him, but he must first go and bid them farewell at his house. This is where Jesus responded that he who has put his hands to the plow and then looking back is not fit for the kingdom. The word “fit” here means to be well placed, to be useful. One who is well placed is one who is focused on their life going forward into God, and not going back to the way of the world in which they came from. Before Christ I know my focus in life was totally about what I could get from the world in which I lived. I thought the only way I could be happy is getting out of this world all that I wanted. But I found out that was not going to bring fulfillment in my life.

When I accepted Christ I wanted to know Him and to be a part of what He is doing in the earth. I was amazed that I could even know God, and that through Jesus I could have a relationship with Him. The focus from day one for me was the fact that I could have a relationship with God. I wonder how many people come to God not for the relationship, but what they can get out of knowing God. I just wanted to know Him. This has been my pursuit since the day I got born again. So I do believe that if that is not our focus, we are going to look back because we were not focused on the right thing to start with.

Phil. 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead,
Phil. 3:14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The apostle Paul was one of those in the New Testament who once receiving Christ did not turn back, but went fully after God. Paul was one who was focused on living a life of man-made religion. After Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, he turned completely away from the ways of man, and focused fully on God. In these verses above Paul teaches a very important truth if you want to rise up into the upward call of God that is in Christ Jesus. That upward call is not walking in the fear, stress, worry, and defeat of the world; but walking in the peace, joy, and love that God has for us. A life free from care and worry.

Now many Christians hear that but don’t think it’s possible, but in fact as a believer in Christ you are in the world, but not to be of it. Scripture clearly teaches us that we are to live life free from the cares and burdens that life tries to bring. It is obtainable or Jesus would not have told us in Matthew 6:34 that we are not to worry about tomorrow. Often believers that I talk to or hear speaking to others are constantly being affected by what other people do to them, or what the storms of life do to them, and allowing pressure and stress to affect their life is because they are still looking back.

They may have accepted Christ into their life, but they are unfortunately still looking to the way they have always lived their life and trying to fit God into that picture. What they don’t realize is that they need to learn not to fit God into their life, but they need to learn that God is what the focus becomes, and that the rest of our life fits into Him. This is what Paul knew. As he states in verse 13 above he had learned to forget what was behind. Without forgetting what is behind, you will never go forward to what God has ahead. Forgetting what is behind is far more than just forgetting what someone may have done to you, or something you may have done, that is included; but more importantly forgetting the ways of the past and going into a new way of life with God.

Paul gives us a very important key in this verse as to how one does this. Notice he became single minded. That is the most important key to going forward with what God has for your life. A life filled with God, filled with all He is, and with all He desires for your life. Yet far too many believers are still stressed, fearful, frustrated, lacking true peace and contentment in their life. They just don’t seem to realize that this is the way they lived life before Christ when they were focused on other things. To continue to focus on anything other than Christ as the main focus in life will keep us from the upward call of God. What was that single focus in Paul’s life? Take a look at a preceding verse of scripture in which he reveals this single focus.

Phil. 3:10 My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death,…

Paul’s single-minded focus was first and foremost to know Jesus. Paul did not want to just know about Him, Paul wanted to know Jesus intimately. For example when I saw my beautiful bride for the first time, I want to get to know her. From the first day I met her I began to think about her everyday, and I began to focus a lot of what I did with my time around her. So it is in our walk with Christ, and getting to know Him intimately will help us in our relationship with others.

My concern is that many who have prayed to receive Christ as their Savior have yet to get their single-minded focus on a relationship with Christ. If this is not our focus then we are going to look back to continue in the ways we have always lived in the world. Doing so is why there are far too many believers still living below the calling God has for their life. Relationship with God is what this is all about, but much of modern day Christianity is about self-improvement, and not relationship with Christ. It is through our relationship with Christ that our lives will be greatly improved, but the focus must be on knowing Him.

To know Him means we will also then get to know the power of His resurrection. The power He experienced in His life was the anointing the Father had anointed Him with. We can walk in that same anointing, which comes from relationship with God. This is what will change the lives of others around us and it only comes by getting close to God.

Child of God make sure you are not looking back. If we are not single-minded with a heart to know Christ, we are going to keep looking back to a life of the world that will keep us from the higher calling of life God has waiting for us. Don’t look back, get focused on Christ and keep plowing for Him and you will break up that old hardened ground and experience a heart touched and changed by God. No turning back, no turning back!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

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