"NO RESERVES, NO RETREAT, NO REGRETS!"

Written and preached by David P. Nolte




PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11


In 1904 William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy estate, graduated from a Chicago High School - already a millionaire. His graduation present was a trip around the world. He traveled through Asia, the Middle East and Europe. What was intended to be a pleasure trip turned out to be a life changing experience. William became burdened for the hurting and lost people of the world. In a letter home he wrote, "I'm going to give my life to prepare for the mission field." He took his Bible and wrote two words on the fly-leaf: "No Reserves." William Borden truly had a missionary mind-set. His attitude and decision call to mind that attitude and decision of Jesus Christ. Think about this: God had only one Son and He became a Foreign Missionary! Jesus had a missionary mind-set. And when He came to earth on His mission, He came with "No Reserves!" Paul urges us to have that same mind-set. The King James reads, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus!" But how does having a missionary mind-set play out in life?
  1. WE WILL GIVE OURSELVES TO GOD WITH NO RESERVES: VV5-7:
    1. Consider Jesus who is a model for us all: He did not consider any price too high to pay. He was equal to God, a resident of heaven, worshiped by angels - and called upon to leave that for a world that would crucify Him! But without qualm, without hesitation, without argument, with no reserves, He gave it all up!
    2. We are told to have the same mind, the same attitude. Are we willing to serve Him, to obey Him, with no reserves?
    3. Let us lay aside, with no reserves, anything that hinders us:
      1. It may be some material possession: "Oh, I can't give up my house, or car, or money!"
      2. It may be some personal pursuit: "I don't want to give up my athletics, or amusements, or education, or vocation."
      3. It may be some detrimental relationship. "I can't give him / her / them up!"
      4. It may be some attitude: "I don't want to be inconvenienced, or uncomfortable, or taken advantage of."  or "I just can't stand that jerk!" or "If I don't look out for myself first, who will?"
      5. It may be fear or timidity: "I don't want to be rejected or persecuted or maligned or injured." or "I don't want to fail!"
    4. How right Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary, was when he said, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Let us cast off, give up, lay down and rid ourselves of all that gets in the way of serving Him with no reserves.

Borden gave up much, with no reserves, to serve Christ. After graduation from Yale University he had many lucrative offers, but he kept his rudder true and his course straight. Right after the words, "No Reserves" in his Bible, he had written, "No Retreat." Again, how like Jesus, Who pressed on to Calvary without retreat.  But that's how it works.

  1. IF THERE ARE NO RESERVES, THEN THERE WILL BE NO RETREAT: V8:
    1. Jesus didn't go half way and then back out. He prayed that the cup pass from Him, but yielded to the Father's will: "Not My will, but Yours be done."
      1. The Prophet Isaiah spoke of this when he wrote of the coming Messiah: "The Sovereign LORD has spoken to Me, and I have listened. I do not rebel or turn away. I give My back to those who beat Me and My cheeks to those who pull out My beard. I do not hide from shame, for they mock Me and spit in My face. Because the Sovereign LORD helps Me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set My face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph." Isaiah 50:5-7 (NLT).
      2. Luke records Jesus' no retreat attitude, saying, "And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem;" Luke 9:51 (NASB).
    2. We are told to have the same mind, the same attitude. Are you as unswerving in your commitment to serve Him with no retreat? Let ours be this determination:
      1. I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back!
      2. "I am determined to keep Your principles, even forever, to the very end." Psalms 119:112 (NLT).
    3. When Cortez landed in Vera Cruz to conquer Mexico in 1519, he purposely burned his 11 ships so his 700 men could not try to retreat. There was, then, only one way to go: forward to conquer. For them it was to be no reserves and no retreat.
    4. That's what it takes for us to follow Jesus, to have a missionary mind-set, to be faithful: no reserves, no retreat.

Borden's life was given to God with no reserves and would not retreat. He completed his studies at Princeton to prepare for missionary work. He sailed for China to work among the Muslims. On the way, he stopped over at Egypt for some final preparations. There he was stricken with Spinal Meningitis and within days, died at the age of 25 years. He died! What a fluke! "What a waste!" some say. But those who looked in his Bible saw, penned after "No Reserves" and "No Retreat" the words he had penned just shortly prior to his death, "No Regrets." Nor did Jesus have regrets. The disciples may have considered the cross a defeat and an end to hope; Satan may have figured he had won; but all His agony brought Him satisfaction of soul and He'd do it all again if He had to - he came with no reserves, pressed on with no retreat and has no regrets. So it is with the faithful.

  1. NO RESERVES MEANS NO RETREAT, AND NO RETREAT MEANS NO REGRETS: VV9-11:
    1. He left heaven, He humbled Himself to be a servant, He died on the cross, He was buried, He rose again and has been exalted, and now has no regrets.
    2. We are told to have the same mind, the same attitude as He had. But what if we have to give up our best things, our most cherished dreams, our desires, our safety and even our lives? Isn't there regret in that?
      1. Paul assures us, "Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later." Romans 8:18 (NLT). No regret in that.
      2. And "For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT).
      3. "For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and patience." Hebrews 6:10-12 (NLT).
    3. Wilfred Grenfell went to Labrador as a medical missionary. Dwight Moody asked him, "Do you have any regrets?" Grenfell replied, "No, the only regret is for the person who comes to Christ for salvation, but then does nothing for Him."
    4. William Borden, Wilfred Grenfell, Jesus Christ and others have set the example of serving God with "No Reserves," "No Retreat," and "No Regrets."

So, I am compelled this morning to ask myself, "What about me?" And I ask you, "What about you?" Will we serve, give, share and tell with no reserves? Will we go with no retreat? Will we faithfully endure so we will have no regrets? It will take commitment. How can we make that kind of commitment? First, be sure of Who God is: He is Sovereign Lord and is due our obedience, without reserves. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift and we can serve Him without loss. Then remember that the light of God surrounds us, no darkness can overcome us. The Love of God enfolds us, no hatred can conquer us. The power of God sustains us, no weakness can undo us. The presence of God goes with us, no loneliness can defeat us. The call is for those who will follow where He leads, go where He sends, without reserves, without retreat and without regrets.

Story of Cortez from Walter Henricksen, Disciples Are Made - Not Born; Grenfell and Borden from Daily Bread, December 31, 1988, and The Yale Standard, Fall 1970 edition. Quotations taken from Borden of Yale, by Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Press, Chicago




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