The Point Of No Return
Luke 9: 62; Genesis 6:3
In the novel, The High And The Mighty, a crisis appears in the huge airliner over the ocean
when the navigator informs the pilot that they have reached the point of no return.
They had come to that particular place in their journey where a would be impossible
because of the mileage and fuel supply to return to their home base.
That fact made it mandatory that they continued to go forward.
There are times in all of our lives when we reach the same "point of no return."
There is a time when we can turn around.
There is a time when we can change our minds.
There is a time when we can go back.
Then, we arrive at a place from which it is impossible to go back, and then we must go on.
There are times as much as we would like to go back to the comfort of our origin,
and to the familiarity of home, and to the complacency of uninvolvement.
But it is impossible to go back without disastrous results.
In the words of Columbus, we must "Sail on, sail on, sail on."
We Must Follow the Example of Jesus.
Luke 9: 51, 53 said that Jesus "steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem."
He had a definite destination, and He knew what it meant for Him.
It meant that He would go to Jerusalem with its sorrow, to Gethsemane with its travail,
to the judgment-hall with its injustice and shame, and to the cross with its suffering and anguish,
and even to the hiding of the Father's face.
For Jesus there was no royal road to the throne of Israel.
For Jesus the only path was to Jerusalem and Calvary.
It was a long and weary road, but Jesus took every step.
He was tempted to turn aside from His goal, and He was tempted in His sufferings.
His friends wished to prevent Him from His sufferings.
Peter rebuked Him when He spoke of them.
Satan tried to tempt Him.
The soul of Jesus trembled when the time for His crucifixion came.
Yet, Jesus knew that He had reached "the point of no return."
And, still yet, He preceded to go forward to the cross for He would be victor once and for all.
When you look at the life of Jesus, you have to be impressed with His steadfastness.
He was never shifting from here to there, and never allowed Himself to be driven away
from His divine purpose of coming into the world.
His life was always constant and perfect.
Exclusion From the World (Verses 53 and 58)
No one is excluded from the presence and the person of Jesus.
No one is excluded from the power of His redemptive Gospel unless they choose to be excluded
by rejecting Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.
The people in a Samaritan village did not know the joy of His companionship nor the power
of His life because "they did not receive Him."
Jesus knew the sorrow of being rejected.
The Gadarenes rejected Him when He converted their demonic man. (Matthew 8:34)
The people of Nazareth rejected Him because He was too much one of them,
and His face and voice were too familiar in their city. (Mark 6:3; Luke 4:28,29)
The chief priests and rulers rejected Him and brided the mob to cry out for His blood.
In fact, the entire Jewish nation refused to acknowledge and accept Him,
and refused to receive Him as their Messiah. (John 1:11)
Although Jesus calmly received their rejection, and reacted only in love, He still felt impelled
to warn the people of the consequences of their rejection. (John 12:48)
When the world rejects a man, he must decide whether he will compromise so that the world
will accept him or continue to be outside the world.
Jesus made a very clear and definite decision about it, and the result was worldly homelessness
and poverty and humiliation. (Luke 9: 58)
We do not have to live as foxes without holes and birds without nests, and neither did Jesus.
He did not have to exclude Himself from the world.
In fact, they would have been glad to receive Jesus on their terms.
When we encounter the opposition of the world which we are sure to do if we ever assert
a positive allegiance and commitment to Jesus Christ.
We will also find that sooner or later we must decide whether we will be excluded
from Him or them.
Once the world learns that our road leads to Jerusalem and ultimately to Calvary,
it will become a lonely road.
No one wishes to walk with us who have the shadow of the cross upon our face,
yet it is the cross which shall lead us to the victory beyond.
The Exhortation For Disciples (Verses 23-240
Jesus calls us to self-denial, cross-bearing, self-sacrifice, and daily duty.
Jesus has never claimed that we would have an easy way, but He goes before us
and leads the way.
Jesus has never asked us to go where He does not go.
There comes an hour or a day when we must either listen to Jesus as He calls us to follow Him
beyond this point of no return or to follow our selfish plans or follow a fickle society.
But there must be a positive action to the calls Christ.
Just as an airliner cannot stay in one place in the sky, but must go forward to stay aloft,
neither can we stay in one place.
Decision is courage put into action.
It is choosing alternatives from the best information and the best knowledge that we have.
Most of us are not called on to decide questions of war or peace or the fate of nations,
but we never know when circumstances and opportunity will make it necessary for us
to make important decisions.
Samuel Johnson said: "Every person's business is important."
Every day on our job, in our home, in our community, we are called on to make decisions.
James Bryant, an engineer and educator once said: "Behold the turtle;
he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out."
Each indecision brings its own delays for we are soon caught in a hopeless muddle of confusion.
Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes said: "Man is born to act, and those who do not act
are the mere spectators of life."
The ability to make decisions comes from a confidence born of success.
The ability to make decisions comes from a thoughtful assessment of ourselves
and of our goals in life.
This ability also comes from a determination for self-improvement.
Someone has said: "There is no job so humble or so routine that it does not involve decision.
Man is not a machine ... he can be an active, thinking, planning, positive, determined,
There are times of decision in our own personal lives when we must decide either
to go or stay where we are.
There are times in our business life when we must decide that we will expand and prosper
and increase or that we shall become stagnant and unsuccessful.
There are times in our church life when we must accept the role of the body of Christ in the world
or decide to be simply another charitable organization.
Today could be the point of no return for the followers of Christ.
For the disciples and for others throughout history, including us, sitting in our comfortable seats
in this comfortable church -- this could be the point of no return.
Only God knows when that point of no return is for any one person or church.
For if we take up our cross and follow Jesus, we could lose everything or gain everything.
This kind of a challenge does not come with conservative, "middle of the road" options.
It is all or nothing -- it is let go of control of life .... forever.
We can remain in darkness or live in the Light -- that is our two possibilities.
Being truly found in Christ is not just saying you are a Christian, not just putting
a Jesus fish on your car, not just showing up at a church on Sunday mornings.
These do not prove that we are followers of Jesus
Following Jesus will require that we go where He goes.
It will require us to be willing to die to ourselves so that we might live in Him.
It will require us to take a good, hard look at our lives and start cutting things out that come
between us and our ability to serve God and serve others.
It will means that we will be relying on God.
What God sent Christ to do was not an easy or simple thing to do;
what God calls us to do will not be easy or simple either.
If Jesus Christ was "troubled" by the magnitude of the sacrifice required of Him,
we too will need to push through our fears and hesitations required of us to follow Him.
No one is exempted from the cross-roads; therefore, no one is exempted from decisions.
If we really could go back, would we want to?
Even though we may remember it as being more comfortable than the present would
would we really like to return to the past?
Think of the fears that are already conquered, and the problems that are already solved.
Think of the miles that we have already traveled, and the decisions already made.
If we were to go back to our origin, and start all over, then, all of these experiences
would have to be ours again.
There are greater experiences and wider horizons and more productive years ahead.
Let us set our face and go steadfastly toward Jerusalem.
Let us accept the destiny that is ours, and have the actual potential of the present tense.
William Shakespeare wrote:
" There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries;
And we must take the current
When it serves,
Or lose our ventures."
This morning we are faced with passing through the point of no return with Jesus.
We can go where He goes, do what He does, be led by the Holy Spirit and motivated
by the power of His love.
We have a choice, we can sit in our pews and continue with business as usual
or we can enter into new places of intimacy and victory with God.
We can continue to be slaves to the same old insecurities and frustrations
or we can choose to focus on service to others and the love that Christ died to share with us.
I hope we are ready to go forward with Christ.
There is no turning back!
"I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back."
-- S. Sundar Singh
Up to now this message has been to Christians.
Now I want to speak to those who have never received Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
You know that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
You also know that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
You also know that "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgment."
(Hebrews 9: 27)
Today, you will make the most important decision that you will ever make in your life.
You will either receive Jesus as your Saviour or you will reject Him!
Therefore you must: "seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near."
He is near!
That is why you are here today!
One Biblical interpreter says that the true sense of Isaiah 55:6 is:
"Seek ye the Lord, because he may be found: call upon him, because he is near.
Repent before ye die, for after death there is no conversion of the soul."
"While He may be found."
God is near to you now, and you have already been convicted of your sin,
and the time to come to Jesus is now!
The time will come when you will pass the point of no return,
and it will be impossible for you to ever be saved from your sin and from eternal death.
Only God knows where that point is in your life.
People in the days of Noah had been warned for 120 years that judgment was coming,
and that to be saved they must be inside the ark.
Genesis 6:3 says: "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man,
for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."
A hundred and twenty years passed, and the people in Noah's day went past the point of no return,
and were killed in the great judgment waters.
What if this day is the "point of no return" for you?
What if God withdraws his Spirit, and you have committed the sin which can never be forgiven?
What if you were to die in your sins tomorrow or even tonight.
Then, it will be too late.
And you will end up in an eternal hell forever and forever.
It is amazing how anyone could pass up a day of salvation, and lose their own soul.
Some years ago, our family visited Niagara Falls.
As we were following a tour guide, he pointed out a sign that said: "Point of no return."
He said that if a boat goes beyond this point, the rapids are too swift and the current
is too strong to turn back.
He warned that any one passing that point would be carried over the falls to their death.
He said that at that point no one could turn back.
It was the "Point of no return."
There is a point of no return for all who go on in their sins and continue to reject
Jesus as their Saviour.
But the most wonderful good news that I can give you today is that if you will call upon the Lord,
this can be your day of salvation.
For Romans 10:13 says: "For, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
That means you!
You came in here with your sins and with the sentence of eternal death in hell upon you.
You can leave here with your sins forgiven, and leave with eternal life forever and have a home in heaven.
So, be resolved that this will be your day of salvation.
Let these words be your words:
"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 go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.
I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.
I am resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.
I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We'll walk the heav'nly way.
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee."
-- By James H. Fillmore, Sr.
Sermon adapted from many sources by Dr. Harold L White