December 1, 2023
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Christians that were in Russia anytime during the 1950s to about 1990 were familiar with the voice of Nick Leonovich. For decades before the Iron Curtain came down, Nick had been faithfully broadcasting the gospel in Russian to his people. When the doors began to open, and Nick would travel through Russia and meet those Russian believers finally, a lot of them would stop him and they'd say, "Hey, I know your voice! You led me to Christ." Wow!
Well, I've got to tell you, Nick wasn't always working for the Lord. That took a miracle. Nick was living as a teenager in Passaic, New Jersey, and his older brother, Alex, was pioneering Christian broadcasts in Russian for a company and ministry in Ecuador. And when he would ask Nick about his relationship with Christ, Nick kind of waved him off and said, "Hey, that's my business." It was an August day in 1945 when older brother Alex was driving to the radio station in Ecuador, and he heard the breaking news. He threw out his planned message and he spoke spontaneously from what he had just heard on the news. Nick happened to be listening on shortwave radio in New Jersey. He would never be the same.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I was to have A Word With You today about "Unconditional Surrender."
The news that day? The unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces. Japan had expressed earlier interest in a surrender with specific conditions. But that day in 1945, they surrendered without condition. Alex Leonovich spoke on the subject Unconditional Surrender to Jesus Christ. Nick heard it in New Jersey, and he fell to his knees. He said, "Lord, I've been a Christian but on my terms. Now I want to surrender to You with no terms. I unconditionally surrender." Well, I'll tell you, the lid came off his life from that day on.
And just as God directed a man to speak about unconditional surrender over a radio almost 70 years ago, I really believe God has wanted me to do that today, maybe for you. Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans 12:1-2. "I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is; His good, pleasing and perfect will."
You notice here, that the appeal is made on the basis of God's mercy; after all He's done for you through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. So, we're being asked to respond to what He did for us. Then it says, "Offer yourself as a living sacrifice." A sacrifice. Well, that means that you have no further plans of your own. But you're still going to go on living, except from now on you will live surrendered to Jesus and His plan for your life.
No longer marching to the drum beat of your generation, or the culture, or your surroundings, your environment, your occupation. No, you won't be conformed to the world, because you're hearing another drummer. The result: You will be experiencing God's good, and pleasing, and perfect plan for you. The reason you're here.
See, conditional surrender, which is what most of us would like to do, hands Jesus a contract for Him to sign with your conditions. Unconditional surrender gives Jesus a blank piece of paper which you've already signed, and then He fills it in. Have you ever done that? That's how you get His best. That's when He's truly your Lord.
The world was changed by an unconditional surrender. And the world will always remember that day. One man's life was changed by an unconditional surrender, and he would always remember that day. Maybe that day is today for you; the day you win the battle because you unconditionally surrender to the Savior who unconditionally surrendered His life to rescue you.