March 9, 2014

Declaration to Follow

Passage: Luke 9:57-62
Service Type:

Bible Text: Luke 9:57-62 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: 40 days of Abiding
Here we have the words of Jesus to three would be followers who make a declaration to follow or not to follow:
Luke 9:57-62 As they were walking along someone said to Jesus, I will follow you no matter where you go. But Jesus replied, Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head. He said to another person, Come, be my disciple. The man agreed, but he said, Lord, first let me return home and bury my father. Jesus replied, let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God. Another said, Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family. But Jesus told him; anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.
#1 Sacrifice (57-58):
Before anyone becomes a believer they need to count the cost. Being a member of the church does change your life, priorities and how we think, behave and feel. Most of the scribes became Jesus’ enemies, but at least one apparently recognized Jesus’ authority and wanted to be his disciple. Jesus’ reply, however, pointed out to the man the cost of becoming a genuine follower of Jesus.
To be Jesus’ disciple, a person must willingly put aside worldly security. To follow Jesus wherever he would go would mean a willingness to give up home and security
2 Timothy 2:1-7 Timothy, my dear son, be strong with the special favor God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others. Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
These commands represent the twofold strategy needed in a Christ-centered life:
we are empowered by the Holy Spirit
we are to endure the difficulties of life by the grace of God
And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.
The soldier must trust the commanding officer and desire to please him so that obeying the commander becomes central, even when difficulties are encountered. No good soldier is alone, he/she is part of a team, success, protection comes from being part of the team, being able to take orders and follow orders.
#2 Commitment (59-60):
Jesus asked a man to follow him. But this man explained that he first needed to go and bury his father. In ancient times, doing a proper burial of a dead person was a sacred duty. It is unlikely that the father was already dead and the son was merely asking permission to finish the funeral because, if that were the case, the son would have been
nowhere near Jesus — hardly on the road where Jesus was walking — because he would have been at home with the mourners. More likely, the man was asking for permission to wait until his father died — an indefinite delay.
If we put off to tomorrow what God tells us to do today, it is most likely we will not do it and it may become a missed opportunity.
No great success comes without sacrifice. Ask any champion athlete or concert musician what they had to give up to attain their level of expertise. Ask a mother if she has had to forgo some of her own plans and desires in order to do what is best for her child, and she will tell you that she has.
Nothing worthwhile comes without sacrifice, and that applies to Christian discipleship as well. Of course, there are incomparable benefits to having a living relationship with God, but they do not come without a price. Jesus said that he, the Son of Man, didn’t even have a home, a place to call his own.
Luke did not give the reason why this man said no to Jesus. Perhaps he was the firstborn son
and wanted to be sure to claim his inheritance. Perhaps he did not want to face his father’s
wrath if he were to leave the family business. Whether his concern was fulfilling a duty, having
financial security, keeping family approval, or something else, he did not want to commit
himself to Jesus just yet. Jesus used the response to teach an important lesson. True
discipleship requires instant action; the responsibilities of the kingdom cannot be put off
until a “better time.”
Jesus challenged the man to consider that his commitment had to be complete, without reservation. As God’s Son, Jesus did not hesitate to demand complete loyalty. Even family loyalty was not to take priority over the command to go, proclaim the kingdom of God.
Jesus must always come “first,” above all human loyalties.
“The dead” in Aramaic can also mean “the dying.” So Jesus may have been saying, “Let the dying bury the dead.” In other words, let those who are spiritually dying (those who have not responded to the call to commitment) stay home and handle responsibilities such as burying the dead.
Jesus did not teach people to forsake responsibilities to family, but he often gave commands to people in light of their real motives. Perhaps this man wanted to delay following Christ and used his father as an excuse. There is a cost to following Jesus, and each follower must be ready to serve, even when it requires sacrifice.
#3 Passion (61-62): A third person approached, and this one, like the first, expressed his desire to follow Jesus. However, this man too had something he wanted to do first. Jesus ascertained in this potential follower a sense of reluctance and an unfortunate willingness to put something else ahead of following Jesus. This man lacked passion for the mission.
Luke 9:62 Jesus told him, anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus commands our dedication. No one can plow a straight furrow while looking back over his shoulder. We cannot move forward, living in the past! What does Jesus want from us? Complete commitment to Him, no halfhearted commitment; We must count the cost and be willing to abandon everything else that has given us security.
Discussion Questions:
What do think it means when scripture refers to counting the cost of discipleship, of becoming a genuine follower of Jesus?
What sacrifices has God asked you to make in view of the much greater privilege of following Jesus?
Describe the two-fold strategy outlined in 2 Timothy 2:1-7, what are the two major parts? How are these evident in your own life?
What do you think it means, “A person must willingly put aside worldly security to follow Jesus? What are some practical examples?
When the man Jesus asked to follow Him explained that he first needed to go and bury his father, what is the likelihood that his father was already dead? Explain your answer.
What happens when we fail to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading, prompting immediately?
How do you correctly reconcile Jesus direction to the man to allow the dead to bury the dead, with the fifth commandment to honor father and mother?
In verses 61 – 62 we see a third person who wants to follow Jesus, he also has something he wants to do first before he follows. How was he putting his family ahead of following Jesus? What was the heart attitude?
For you specifically what does it mean to put your hand to the plow? What could tempt you to look back and consider compromising? How can you protect yourself so you do not “look back”?
Have you ever had a crisis in your life, a point where you had to decide if you were going to follow Jesus and do it His way or not, that the Lord used in order to help you grow closer to Him? Please share your experience with the group.

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