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76: Defining True Disciples

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Luke 14:25-35

Outline:

  1. The Criteria Luke 14:25-27
  2. Illustration #1 Luke 14:28-30
  3. Illustration #2 Luke 14:31-33
  4. Illustration #3 Luke 14:34-35

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Jesus is having a successful ministry by man’s standards while in Perea. Many people are following Him wherever He goes. So Jesus talks about discipleship in strong terms as a means of separating those who truly seek Him from those who are just idolizing Him. We have heard Jesus say these same words before in Lessons 41, 51, and 55. Jesus is not preaching hate but love in this passage. We are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are to be selfless, not selfish. We are to deny ourselves. In other words, Jesus wants all of us, not just part of us. Discipleship will bring hardships, persecution, and suffering. Discipleship will also be filled with love, joy, and hope. Discipleship results in receiving an inheritance from God because we are His children, redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Discipleship results in eternal praise, thanksgiving, and fellowship to/with God in heaven. It’s His promise and He is faithful.

This message is necessary so that people understand the truth clearly. Being “born again” is not a joy ride, something short term, something to be given and then abandoned when the going gets tough. Following Jesus is a lifetime commitment. It is forever.

Jesus gives three examples. The first is of a builder estimating the cost to finish a project before it is started. Likewise, if our commitment to Jesus is going to be strong, we must understand what the cost [consequences, hardships, conflicts] might be. Regardless, the Holy Spirit will be accompanying us to give us strength, guidance, and hope.

The second illustration is of a king going to war against a stronger king and realizing his best option is to send a peace delegation and agreeing to terms. There are two ways of looking at this illustration. The first is to consider it another story illustrating someone counting the cost. The second way is to think of the man-king having to fight the God-King. There is no way for him to win and, therefore, he can save his life and those of his subjects by making peace with God. He gives up all if necessary to have peace with God, submitting to Him as Lord, protector, and provider.

The third illustration is about salt losing its’ saltiness similar to the Dead Sea salt which loses its’ saltiness over time because of contaminants. This illustration is about people with good intentions. They follow, they serve, they worship but they don’t repent nor do they submit. When persecution, suffering, hardships come, they fall away quickly [see Lesson 26 and 36].

Now let’s discuss the minor doctrine of eternal security again; the concept of once saved, always saved. This is a true doctrine. The real question is who is truly “born again”, a true disciple, fully committed. They are the ones who have counted the cost and have put their faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ as being more important than anything or anyone else. Their sole purpose in life is to follow Jesus,; obey Him, identify with Him regardless. These are the people Jesus will not let out of His grasp. Satan is powerless to destroy them because they belong to Jesus Christ.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. The cost of discipleship is great but far less than what God paid. The rewards are even greater.
  2. A true genuine commitment to Jesus Christ requires that all other things are a distant second. You can not serve two masters.
  3. Jesus is more than a hero, a prophet, or a good teacher. Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Kings. He is all powerful. Those who place their complete faith in Him, obey Him, serve Him, honor Him, and acknowledge Him before men are guaranteed eternal life. A halfhearted commitment is no commitment in the eyes of God. We are either for Him or against Him.

Choose carefully.

Choose wisely.

Choose Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

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