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Reckless Abandon


Please note in this study I have included several YouTube videos to enhance the teaching


3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.
4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering,
5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
 
Genesis 4 v 3 to 5

I want to encourage us all to live with reckless abandon, first I want us to understand what it means.

Reckless: To not care for the consequences. 

Abandon: To leave behind or give up. 

If that worries you good, if that fills you with excitement even better. I will try to explain what I mean by reckless abandon and then explain why I believe once your living it, there is nothing reckless about it.

However if you are not seeking it, then you are not fully living in Jesus. We could all do with more of it, we could all do with more Jesus.

Our reading for this study:  Jesus Walks on the Water


22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,
24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
 
Matthew 14:22-33

You may be reading this thinking you’ve heard sermons preached on this before and know everything about it, please give it a chance. Scripture can talk a fresh no matter how long you’ve read it or been at church.


This passage picks up after the feeding of the 5000. Can you imagine how amazing it would have been to be a disciple of Jesus, witnessing the miracles and hearing His teaching on a daily basis!

They would have listened to every word and seen everything He did! 

Let me ask you a question; do the miracles happen or does the teaching never stop in your discipleship with Jesus? If not why not, ask yourselves why. 

As some of you know I teach martial arts, in Japan they have a saying: “too much mind”

You cannot focus on what is in front of you because you are thinking about too many other things, are you?

  • Safety 
  • Financial Security 
  • Retirement 
  • Social standing 
  • Your job

Too much mind? Abandon it.

Focus on the job you have been called to do, the only really important job we have is to serve Jesus. 

Look at what Peter did in these verses:


24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

Peter had a lot to think about.

The wind was against the boat. He was a fisherman who had fished these waters many times so he knew how dangerous they were, he knew they had to work to keep the boat steady. 

In the midst of this situation a ghost appears walking on the water, they would have been terrified.

Then what happened?


27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.

Why did peter ask that question? Was he doubting or was he making sure he recognised the Lord’s voice? All that follow Jesus know the sound of his voice, as it is written:


27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

John 10 v 27

Peter knew the sound of Jesus’ voice. I have met many Christians that have said things like “I have been a Christian for over 20 years and God has never spoke to me” or “I don’t believe he speaks to people any more, he doesn’t speak to me”.

This is the beautiful thing about not having a recognised position; not being a vicar, pastor, priest as well as not being aligned to one specific denomination. It gives me freedom to tell the truth when others might feel they can’t.

So here it is: You are plain wrong.

Jesus speaks to you every day, teaches you every day. If you cannot hear Him the fault lies with you not listening or not being able to listen, not God; you have too much mind.

The world, society, and all that comes with it; stress, anxiety, fear, the need for material wealth as well as security are shutting out His voice.

Abandon them recklessly by throwing yourself into Jesus without a plan B and you will hear his voice! 

Peter heard His voice and he responded instantly. Peter was a fisherman, he knew all too well you cannot walk on water. Yet in this moment of recognition, he abandons everything he knew before knowing Jesus. He went with what he knew to be true since knowing Jesus.


14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15

Peter didn’t look back, he didn’t plan it out and tentatively putting a toe over the edge he went for it without a safety net or back up plan. He didn’t take time to put on a life jacket (if they even had those but you see my point). Why do it? As Jesus called him. There is nothing reckless about answering Jesus’ call.

People are always saying to me “it was reckless of you to leave your job and pension to follow Jesus“

  Or 

“You have a wife and children and don’t even own your house. Don’t you think money on the table, safety and security are more important than following this call?” 

Or

“What is your financial plan, how are you going to fund this work? 


My answer is simple. I believe in a God that walks on water, a God that split the Red Sea, a God that provided manna from heaven. Do you?

If I worry about any of what these people say I know I’m not looking at Jesus but instead looking at the problems. I have too much mind and I will not hear him speak. 

  Cornerstone has grown massively, our reach is now huge, we are now serving regularly a hundred plus people every week. Many are being found by Jesus. Why? As they are turning their backs on what they knew, they are abandoning their old lives and are now hearing Jesus’ voice. 

We’ve had people leave their jobs, move away as well as put down long-term addictions to follow Jesus. Turning their backs on a secure safe future which is only secure in the world’s eyes and step in to the only real safe and secure future, which is full of worldly risk and danger. In doing so they are recklessly following Jesus, which is full of worldly danger but it is the safest thing you can do.

It is time to change your perception or you will miss out on living life to the full. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pastor, deacon or leader. It doesn’t matter if you have attended church for forty years plus or if you have a degree in theology. If you haven’t sought Jesus with reckless abandon you are missing out, but it is never too late to start!

Let us look at these verses again:


29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

  • What was Peter doing when he stepped out of the boat and answered with reckless abandon to Jesus’ call? 
  • Where was his focus? 
  • What happened to Peter when he focused on the problems? 

To achieve the impossible Peter had to stop being limited by the possible. He had to abandon what he knew of the world. Where his understanding stopped, God started.

There is no difference for us where our skills stop, where our knowledge stops God starts! If God is calling you he will enable you; where he guides he provides! 

Where is the risk in following Jesus?

  When I plan a study or talk I ask the Holy Spirit a simple question without my own bias or preconceived ideas: Tell me what you want me to say or write and take precedence over my mind. 

This was the answer: 

It is for all of us, none of us are exempt. Stop being safe and secure, follow Jesus with reckless abandon.

I have been given the freedom to give you all and myself included this message, so I’m not going to waste my opportunity.

If God is calling you to it, do it.


4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4 v 1

Change job, join a mission, give away your savings, sell your house for the kingdom, start a new work for God, train in theology, open a soup kitchen, sponsor a child, tell everyone where you work you love Jesus.

Be reckless in seeking Jesus. 

If you recognise his voice, answer it. Worldly success is not the same as Godly success. Take a risk and stop measuring yourself by the world’s standards.

  • What is your fear? 
  • Do you believe in Jesus teaching or not? 
  • Do you trust he will pull you out the water? 
  • Do you believe if you focus on him you can do anything through Him? 

Peter followed Jesus and was overcome by the world, his fear, his reason and knowledge of how things should work all got in the way. Yes this might happen to me and it might happen to you, but let’s look what happened to Peter after:


31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter called out to Jesus and He saved him.


What are you holding onto? What is holding you back? 

Imagine how different things could be if we as a people, church and individuals actually did the things we say we believe!

Where is the risk being held in the hands of Jesus? You may lose everything but what you will gain will be worth far more.


24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? His?
  Matthew 16:24-26

What if losing everything is what it takes for you to realise that God isn’t interested in how smart, rich, successful you are; following with reckless abandon and trusting only in Him. God does not care how much we earn every year as individuals or an institution; He is only interested if we are willing to give it all away if asked.

Last verse of the passage:


32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter is drenched, half drowned and cold. Things did not go as he thought they would follow Jesus. What does he do? What do they all do?

A life lived in Jesus is based on Jesus, not circumstance.

They worshipped him, nothing else stood in the way. The priority wasn’t to get Peter new clothes. They didn’t flock around peter saying “wow that was crazy you nearly drown” they worshipped: mind and heart focused on Jesus.

I will finish with a list 5 keys to reckless abandon. I believe this list has been put together by Elisabeth Elliot. They can be found on the website graceful abandon. I have included them because I agree with them.

1. A life of reckless abandon is passionate about love. 

We are told in the bible to love God and love people. 

2. A life of reckless abandon is one that looks at God, not at self. 

We are told to look at the Father, praising God and to think of others before ourselves always. 

3. A life of reckless abandon knows to abandon everything else

Everything we have for all God offers. That is the cost of following over believing. 

4. A life of reckless abandon is rooted in the bible

Live totally in Jesus as he has asked us to. We must know what He wants, loves and hates; to do that we must be completely grounded in scripture. 

5. A life or reckless abandon is content with God, not with circumstance

If I am to turn my back on what the world has to offer, I must view Jesus as sufficient at all times. 

The Truth is that God wants us to live with reckless abandon for Him, rather than abandoning our hearts to a pale comparison found in this world. 


Forget what you think you know, abandon it and follow Jesus.

There can be nothing safer. Even if you suffer, lose everything, struggle. You are safe in Jesus’ hands.

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