Lutz Campus

18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd.
Lutz, FL 33548

Idlewild at The Springs

8209 N 19th St
Tampa, FL 33604

Iglesia Bautista Idlewild

Main Campus, Student Building, Hall 2

@HOME – 5/22

Burn The Boats

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)


Hernan Cortes Pizarro (1485-1547) was from Spain. On April 21, 1519 he came to Mexico and landed on the shores of Yucatán Peninsula with the intention of claiming the treasures of the Aztecs and building a colony there. With 500 soldiers, 16 horses, 100 sailors, and 11 ships, Cortes set sail with the intent to overtake the Aztec Empire. Knowing he faced incredible odds, Cortes changed the quest to die by ordering his men to “Burn the Boats.” If we are going home, we are not going home in these ships.” There was no way out. The Indians outnumbered the Spaniards 300 to 1. There was no fall back option. Cortes ultimately succeeded. Do you know why? Here’s the lesson: Retreat is easy when you have the option. He removed the excuses. He burned the boats. “We’ll die trying, but we’re not going back.”


May I have the permission to tell you something? There’s only 1 way to survive a marriage. Burn the Boats. There’s only one way to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Burn the Boats. Jesus is telling us something today life changing and very significant. In fact He’s saying to us 3 things.


Deny Yourself


He says the word, ”If.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to have said,”Since..” or even, “Knowing that?” No, it really wouldn’t have. He’s not going to beg us, or force us, or coerce us, or put the squeeze on us, or even manipulate us. “If” is a conditional clause. I’ve never met anyone who wanted to follow Jesus who couldn’t follow Jesus. Now I’ve met plenty who could have, but didn’t want to. Jesus isn’t trying to hide the price tag. He’s saying it requires you losing your life. Denying yourself is demanding. He is not saying to deny yourself things. He’s saying. “Deny Yourself.”


Die To Yourself


Not only deny yourself, but die to yourself. The cross is a symbol of death. Whenever you saw someone carrying a cross, you knew one thing: They are never coming back. So it is with us as followers. One of the reasons why Baptism is so very important is, it’s a declaration that we have died in Christ, to ourselves, and are buried. He said, “If you find your life you lose it. If you lose your life, you’ll find it.” When we were kids we had a rhyme that went like this: “ Finders, Keepers; Losers, Weepers.” That’s not what Jesus is saying. He’s saying, “Finders, Weepers; Losers, Keepers.” The Truth is we are all going to lose our life anyway. The question is, to whom?


Devote Yourself


Following is more than just walking after someone. It’s walking the same way, It’s taking the same road. It means, “Surrender.” It implies losing. We live in a culture that despises losers of any kind. Yet Jesus says the opposite. He says, “the only way up is down, and the only way to live is to die. And the only way to win is to lose.” You have 2 options in how you live: waste your life by holding on to it, or invest your life by giving it away. Jim Elliot said, “ He is No Fool Who Gives What He Cannot Keep To Gain What He Cannot Lose.” That’s much different than what Dolly Parton said to her friend: “ If I see something sagging, dragging, or bagging, I get it sucked, tucked, or plucked. It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” Listen, eventually for all of us… it’s going to sag, drag, or bag. Give it away to the One who is worthy, of your Body, Soul, and Spirit. I have one message today for all of us… Let’s Burn The Boats. There’s no turning back.


– Pastor Ken Whitten