Luke 14; Matthew 28:18-20
Most of those who profess Christianity don’t know basic teachings and don’t act differently because of their Christian experience. Many evangelicals read their Bible only once a week or not at all.
Examples of True Discipleship
The Church Is Called To Make Disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Our Lord often put obstacles in the way when calling people to follow him. He asked James and John to give up their lucrative fishing business. He asked Matthew to leave his well-paid job. He asked Peter to put him first even though he had a wife and family to look after. He asked Paul his high position in Judaism and leave everything to follow him. Jesus called the young ruler to give up his money and follow him but the cost was too great. Another young man said I will follow but let me go home and bury my father first, his father was still alive.
Discipleship is a command that requires obedience and action on our part. It is not a Sunday activity or a midweek prayer meeting attendance. The churches great failure is to make disciples, it just does not do it. Discipleship will teach Christians how to live out their faith, how to handle problems, to witness, share their faith, or grow effectively spiritually. However they need to be shown how.
What is True Discipleship
True discipleship is more than conversion, conversion it is the beginning, the entrance, into the Christian life. It is more than Baptism which is the public dedication of your faith, your public testimony. It is more than church membership. Many can remain untaught and become confused or complacent, or they are swept away by false doctrines and cults because they do not know the difference. It is more than church attendance it is total commitment and to be yielded to the Lordship of our God and not to the desires of our will. It is to do what He would want us to do.
The Church Is Called To Make Disciples
True discipleship is to yield to the Lordship of our God and not to the desires of our will. It is to do what He would want us to do. Jesus was saying we are to evangelize and make disciples. One needs a willing heart and desire to learn and grow in Christ. We need to humbly learn. Discipleship is not an option, but a command to follow.
To be effective you must be taught, learn and put it into action. It is not following some political agenda or religious ideas but believing Gods word and obeying it. It is being equipped and understanding your purpose in life. It is developing gifts and having goals in life. You receive direction. It makes you a better person. It changes your character and behaviour and conduct.
Jesus discipled the apostles for three years. He taught them and modelled out the way to live. He taught them to go and reproduce themselves. This is a command for every Believer. If we know the way we can teach others the way. The Word of God must change your heart and transform your life.
Dependence on God
God does not ask us to seek converts, He simply asks us to make Disciples. Discipleship is obeying the Word, it is living the life, it is prayer and worship and love and fellowship. It is mission and evangelism. It is reaching out to a lost and needy world. It is relying on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to bring people into an intimate relationship with God.
Discipleship Will Upset your comfort Zone and Relationships
Fear of the unknown and having to change will upset your lifestyle will hinder you as a disciple. Some people don’t want to be bothered or put out of their “comfort zone.” Others think discipleship, is only for the spiritually mature, or just for certain people. When an older Christian takes a younger one and teaches and disciples them it gives them a great start in the Christian life. They also pass on their experiences which will help the younger believer to more effective and mature.
Teaching is a priority. The church must teach doctrine. The early Church continued in the apostles doctrine. What you believe is important. The Lord has given the gift of teachers in the Church we should listen to them and learn from them and check out what they say with scripture We are to be like the Bereans. We should seek out sound teachers and churches. Most Church’s do not teach doctrine any more. They do not study the Word of God. AS a matter of fact most are taught to question it not believe it. Christians need sound instructions on how to live the Christian life. We need to know what God says. Although the Spirit will lead us, it is still our responsibility to learn and grow. The church must first teach the basics, how to study the Bible, how to pray, how to worship, essential doctrine, the concept of growing in the Christian family, how to find God’s will, discovering our spiritual gifts, putting your gift into action, how to live in the work place, leadership, and so forth.
How can we call Him Master and yet not serve Him? We are to practice what we preach. We are not to be hearers only but doers of the Word. As servants we minister for and to Him. It is not optional but is essential. How you live your life, what you do with it has eternal ramifications. We are not to drift through the Christian life aimless. We are to aim at something. If you don’t know what to do ask the pastor/elders what can I do? How can I serve the Lord, how can I serve the Church? How can I get equipped? How can I be built up! If you want real Christianity you must be real with Christ. You must be willing to change, willing to learn.
Jesus’ main goal was “discipling” above any other activity (Matt. 9:9)! Jesus taught the need for repentance publicly and challenged His disciples to follow Him and obey Him. Jesus called people to obedience and personal sacrifice. He gave them an eternal goal to look forward to.
Jesus calls you Personally
We often think God is calling the dedicated person, the young person, the one most spiritual or mature but He calls each of us without exception. This call is a privilege to attach yourself to the King of the Ages. It a challenge to put Him first. It calls for a personal response, a total commitment. Its a challenge to leave your comfort zone and set out on an adventure with Him.
First you must know you have become a Christian. Then you must continue to follow Him and learn from and about Him. You learn to forgive as He did, to confront as He did, to endure hardships as He did. There is so much to learn and it is all for our benefit.
Discipleship is a lifestyle. Discipleship is a change of heart, a change of direction for a lifetime. It is to deny ourselves and to surrender ourselves completely to Him. We follow Him wherever He leads us! Discipleship is dynamic, not static. It is action and involvement and is not just about sitting in church. It is about a life committed, a life changed, a heart and will surrendered, and a new direction and world view with His precepts and character for living as our example.
Luke 14; Matthew 28:18-20
Who Do You Live For?
Do you live just for yourselves, for people, for things, for money, for position, for fun, for football? Do you limit your life to temporal things? Do trust Him completely in all aspects of our lives from the highest highs to the lowest lows. It means we are not only willing to trust Him to provide for our salvation, but we trust Him for the future. We are to trust Him even when we do not know, like, or understand, and when where He is leading is unpopular!
Being a true disciple allows us to put our hand to the plough and not look back. It is pressing towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus.
The picture Jesus sets before them is a meal table. It is one of the social centres of the home. Lots of fun, laughter and serious talk occurs around the meal. Some of our warmest memories have happened there. It when the children come home from school and we can find out how what kind of day they had and how they are doing. At Christmas the family gather together and have a festive meal, fellowship, and pleasant memories.
In our text a prominent Pharisee asked Jesus to eat at his home. What Jesus was about to say would give them indigestion. It was a meal some would regret going to. It was an occasion full of tension. The conversation was not going to be warm and friendly. Most if not all the hearers would not like what they were about to hear. Especially those Pharisees who were present. It was a time of rebuke and sober warning from the lips of our Lord. It was not a pleasant meal.
Vs 1-6 The meal took place on the Sabbath. Things started off with a confrontation over the legality of healing a man on the Sabbath. The hostile Pharisees silently watched as Jesus healed a man of dropsy. They remained silent when Jesus asked them whether or not healing would be possible, nor spoke when Jesus unveiled their own hypocrisy as to the keeping of the Sabbath.
Vs 7-11. The guests were jockeying for position at the table. The wanted to be centre of attention. They wanted the best sea. They sought status and position. But Jesus told them that the way to get ahead was to take the place of less honour and status. Status was gained by giving it up. One is exalted by humbling himself, Jesus said.
vs 12-14 The Lord turned his attention to the host who had invited all the prominent people to his table on this occasion. Jesus told him that while men might seem to get more in return from inviting their friends, family, and prominent people to a meal, Gods way was to invite those who could not give anything in return—the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
A Call to the Great Supper
Vs 15-24 The place was tense and uncomfortable. When Jesus mentioned “the resurrection of the righteous,”a man called out, “Blessed is everyone who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (v. 14). Jesus’ response was even more unnerving. He went on to tell a parable about feasting at the banquet of heaven would be a blessing, it was one that they would not experience. Jesus indicated that the prominent people would turn down the invitation given them and that the guests would be those they would never have anticipated, indeed, that they would never have invited to their own banquets.
Vs 17 Come, for all things are now ready: The time was right for the banquet to be announced.
But they all with one accord began to make excuses: They all wanted to come but made excuses. One man excuses himself to look at land he has just purchased, which apparently he had not inspected before the purchase. Another declines to “try out” his oxen, which he bought untested. A third has to stay at home with his wife, whom he has just married.
The excuses are different, but really all the same – they all with one accord began to make excuses.
I have bought a piece of ground . . . I have bought five yoke of oxen: The first two excuses have to do with material things – and are stupid excuses. No one buys a piece of land, and then goes to check it. If you have already bought ten oxen, you would have tested them before you bought them. .
I have married a wife: This man puts his family before the Lord. These excuses are not acceptable to God.
Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind: The feast is not affected because some refused to come. Jesus is asking you what is your excuse?
Especially when you know what sort of people will be there: redeemed sinners and the maimed and the lame and blind.
Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled: Jesus said compel them, the outcasts let them know they were really welcome. It is the urgent desire of the master to have an absolutely full house, that they overcome the wonder of being asked.
The Cost of Disipleship
Luke 14:25-35 “Now, great multitudes were going along with Him and He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children…..” Many would love to have great multitudes coming to their church, they would not want to offend anybody or loose people. They think numbers mean success. But Jesus was different. Large crowds did not fool Him. He was interested in their commitment. He knew that many were following Him for selfish or superficial reasons, some for entertainment, some to see miracles and maybe be you or someone you knew would be healed. But Jesus was not a false recruiter. He wanted to weed out those who followed Him for superficial. He is making the point that no other relationship is first for a disciple. Salvation is both absolutely free and yet it costs you your very life. You receive it freely at no expense to you, but once you receive it, you have just committed everything you are and have to Jesus Christ.
“Hate” is used figuratively and suggests a priority of relationship. You may love football, love music, love food but you love your children and family more. They get first priority.
“My disciple.” verse 26, 27 and 33. This is about being a disciple of Jesus. This is about one belonging to Him. Jesus is calling people to come to Him and to follow after Him. He is saying this to the masses who are following Him and hearing Him and seeing His miracles and being attracted to Him and in process of deciding what to do with Him.
The word is ‘mathetes’ it means a learner or a student, a teacher moving about with people following Him. Some of these disciples had a different understanding of their commitment. Some are nominally committed, some are truly committed, some are half hearted about their committment and some are not even committed; they’re just there out of curiosity. Jesus wants people to be sure about the commitment they make. He is saying if you belong to me your attitude to life will change.
Becoming a disciple of Christ is a call to salvation and acknowledging the old life is gone. It is Jesus taking over your life. He becomes the sovereign Lord, ruler, controller and king of your life. It is not saying a simple prayer or raising ones hand it is giving one life totally to Christ. Jesus put up barriers constantly by making statements that were absolute and exclusive and extreme to prevent easy believism. He sought no superficial followers whatsoever. He knew the enemy was going to sow the tares among the wheat. He did everything He could to keep the tares out, to sift the chaff from the wheat. Never would He give anyone an easy way to secure a false sense of salvation.
Real faith produces a real desire for discipleship. It has to be real. It seeks first the kingdom of God and all else he needs will be added unto him. Matthew 13:44-46, “…the kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man found and hid and from joy over it, goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls…upon finding one pearl of great price…went and sold all that he had and bought it.” A man found something so valuable that he gave up everything for it. Jesus is saying it’ll cost you everything. You give up everything to get it.
A Promise of Receiving a Great Extended Family
But there is a promise for doing so Mark 10 “…no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms for My sake and the gospel’s…but he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecution(s), and in the age to come, eternal life.” Jesus says what you give up you will get them back in the church, in the fellowship you enjoy here and even more importantly, in the eternal life to come. This kind is the right kind of attitude. John 12:25. “He who loves his life loses it. He who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.” Luke 9:23 “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.” Verse 23, “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it. Whoever loses his life for My sake is the one who will save it. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
Some departed when they heard the cost involved John 6 says many of His disciples left…said to the ones that stayed, Do you want to leave also? And Peter summed it up and he said, “To whom shall we go? You and you alone have the words of eternal life.” We’re here because we gave up everything to follow you and will go on doing so. We don’t want possessions or people, we are even willing to give up our businesses to follow you, we will die for you. The treasure is that valuable, the pearl is that valuable. Paul says everything I had, I considered manure. He had the right attitude. The Jews didn’t want to give up their religion, they wanted to hang onto their ancestry to Abraham and their ceremonies and traditions and law keeping and they wanted to earn their way in.
You can enjoy the pleasures of God now as well as in heaven. You can know his presence now and receive his riches now as well as hereafter. You can enjoy salvation now. Your world view can change now. The past is dealt with the present is provided for and the future is anticipated. And it all begins with an abandonment of past priorities.
Vs 26″If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yea, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” In verse 33, “So, therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” This is a call to have a greater love for God than anyone or anything else. Your life belongs to Him. It really doesn’t matter any more what you want, it what he wants that counts. Yu say “It doesn’t matter what you want me to do where you want me to go I am totally yours.” You have died to self and live for Christ. He is reigning authority in your life.
Jesus is your first loyalty. You always choose Him first. In certain parts of the world it will cost you your family and even your life if you become a Christian especially if you are publicly baptised. Many Orthodox Jews and Muslim families disown family members who come to Christ. They know the cost.
Luke 9:23; Luke 14:25-35
Jesus asks do you want to be My disciple. If so there is a price to pay. It will cost you your life, it is not going to be easy. It is not just saying it but living it in a sacrificial way. It is being a servant to serving him and his church. Discipleship is costly it means giving over your will, ideas, and plans. It is forsaking all for Him.
When He says, “Follow me,” it going His way doing His will, fulfilling His purpose, not doing your “own thing”. You follow his blueprint you do not draw up your own plans. We forsake the word, the flesh and the devil and commit all to Him. The world wants you, it draws you with it advertising with its political promises, it wants to be god in your life,
Considering the cost of discipleship means asking the question, “What does Jesus want me to do?” We cannot say to God that we are only available two hours on Sunday! We must respond with the attitude of Isaiah, Here I am God, ready to be used by you.
Chapter 14:26: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yea, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”Hate is a strong word, but that is exactly how it can seem to family members and friends when we put Jesus before them. It is a comparison word, you may love music, food or sport but you love your family more. It means you put them first. In verse 33, “So, therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Your possessions are a gift from God and we thank them for them but in comparison with Christ they come way down the list. Your life belongs to Him. It really doesn’t matter anymore what you want, it what he wants that counts. It means you desire to do His will. You deny self.
It may cost some their family, it may cause a problem in the home, it costs yourself and all you have and your stuff. You will gain everything spiritually. We’re commanded to love everybody and honour our parents. Certainly that implies loving them. Husbands we are to love our wives. And we’re taught to love our children. We are to love our family, we are even to love our enemies. We are to love other Believers. But not love any of them more than God. Jesus boldly says that nothing can come between you and God.
Disciples must count their Old Life Dead.
Verse 27, “Whoever doesn’t carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” The cross is a symbol of death. The person carrying a cross knew it was death for him. They would have to go the whole way and their life taken from them. With us it is a choice. Your life does not belong to you any more if you gave it to Him. If you take it back “He cannot be My disciple unless he gives up all his possessions”. If your His it calls for total commitment. He gave all for us and expects us to give ourselves to Him totally. You surrender your desires, your ambitions, your objectives, your goal, to Him. You give up your selflessness. You’re willing to put your life in His hands not matter what comes your way. You have the most precious gift, Gods Son and He is worth giving up all for Him. You now have eternal life all else is temporal. Count the cost. Paul counted all but lost for Christ’s sake. He didn’t want his old life. A disciple will do what the Lord wants no matter what the cost is.
Counting the cost before you come to Jesus. Vs 28-33
Sit down first and count the cost: Think of how your life will change. The first picture involves the building of a watchtower for a vineyard. This building program must be planned out carefully and the builder must have enough to finish it. If he doesn’t t him and mock him. So Jesus asks what person does not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it.
The second picture is of a king who finds his forces outnumbered as he considers going to battle. If he thinks he will loose the battle he decides that appealing for peace is a better idea. Sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand: In the parable of the king, Jesus says “sit down and see if you can afford to refuse My demands.” He count the cost before he act.
Jesus said, “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple…” This does not mean you must clean up your life and get all religious before you come to Jesus. It means come as you are and let Him change you. Give your life to Him. He comes in and makes a new person out of you. To forsake all that he has means “to say goodbye to” the old life, the old sinful ways and trusting Jesus.
Don’t be a lukewarm follower of Jesus! Vs 34-35
“Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Salt that has lost its savour is useless and should be thrown out. It is no good to anyone. The professing Christian without salt is no use in Christ’s service. To be of use to Him is to obey Him and live the way He wants us to. Christ says, “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Jesus must be first.
How much does discipleship cost? Are you willing to pay the cost? The rewards are terrific and eternal. In time, you will never lack a genuine need. He will take care of you.