Or, “Why You Cannot be the Lord’s Disciple”
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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #158
TEXT: Luke 14:25-33
Two weeks ago we began this series titled, “Are You a True Disciple?” or “Why You Cannot be the Lord’s Disciple.”
Many Christians today are confused about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Some believe that because they come from a Christian background or upbringing, they qualify as followers of Christ. Some think that all it takes is reading the Bible every day, attending church every week, and praying on occasion. Still others engage in “a la carte Christianity”, picking and choosing what they like and what is comfortable to them.
Even in Jesus’ day, there were people who wanted to follow Him, who expressed a desire to follow Him, but who, for some reason or another, would not follow Him. Throughout his ministry, Jesus informed those who wished to follow Him that there would be a price to pay, there would be some things they had to give up, and there would be some people who would try to hold them back.
In this series, we are looking at one of those passages in which Jesus is talking about the cost of following Him. Specifically, He is addressing the ties that we have with people that seem to make us hesitate when it comes to following Christ. We have already looked at two of these groups of people who can hold you back if you desire to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
1. The first point we discussed was: don’t let the crowd hold you back from being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. We looked at the crowd that followed Jesus and the reasons why many people in the crowd are not really true disciples of Jesus Christ — they are just fans. There is a difference between being in the crowd and being committed to Christ. And I want to encourage you to not just be in the crowd, but to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ.
2. On last week, we discussed the second point of this passage which is: don’t let family ties hold you back from being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells those in the crowd that if they are to be true disciples of Him, they must not let their love for their family come before their devotion to Him. In others words, a true disciple of Christ is one who puts Jesus Christ and the things of the Kingdom of God first and foremost. When Jesus said that you cannot be His disciple unless you “hate” your family members, He was simply saying that your love for Him must be so intense that if you tried to compare the two, it would seem as though your love for your family was on the level of hatred.
Now, today, we want to move on to the third portion of Jesus’ message on being a true disciple of Christ, and that is:
3. Don’t let your love for yourself hold you back from being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not just command us to “hate” our family members, but if we look at verse 26 again, He says, “If any man come to me, and hate not…his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Some of you may find it hard to love Jesus Christ more than you love your family. But, I assure you, your greatest struggle will come when you have to choose between Jesus Christ and yourself, between Jesus Christ and your comfort, between Jesus Christ and your reputation, between Jesus Christ and your money. Jesus says, your love for Him ought to far exceed your love for yourself.
Once again, Jesus is not saying that you must disregard yourself to the point of self-harm. What He is instructing us to do is to have the right priorities. As New Testament scholar Darrell Bock reminds us, Jesus Christ is to be our “first love” and all others second. We must be prepared to reject family and even self for the sake of becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ.
There may not be a crowd holding you back from becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. You may not have family ties that are holding you back from becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. But you may be holding yourself back. You may be afraid to risk it all in order to follow Jesus Christ. You may have had well-laid plans for your life and known where you would be at a certain age. However, Jesus Christ stepped into your life, and now you hear Him saying, “Come, follow Me.” And you know that following Jesus will cost you something. As Kyle Idleman said, “Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a 24-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small-print — that’s a guarantee.”
What kind of disciples is Jesus looking for? Jesus is looking for those disciples who are willing to set aside what they want in life in order to pursue what God wants. A true disciple sets aside all of his aspirations for those of Jesus Christ.
Early on in his ministry, it is said that evangelist D.L. Moody heard a preacher state, “The world has yet to see what God can do through one man who is wholly committed to Him.” D.L. Moody said that he wanted to be that man. From that point forward, D.L. Moody got up early every morning, usually before 4 a.m., for prayer and serious Bible study. He learned the value of staying in touch with God and often asked those in the cities where he was to preach to pray and fast with him before an evangelistic outreach. As he walked with God, he made a commitment to not let a day go by that he did not tell someone about the Gospel. There would be some days when he would be preparing for bed and realize that he did not speak with someone about their need for Christ and he would go out and find somebody to share Christ with. He put the interests of the Kingdom of God above His own interests.
Are you willing to give up what you want in order to follow Christ as a disciple? Yes, you can love the crowd; you can love the friends you have in the crowd. You can love your family. You can even love yourself. However, you must love Jesus Christ far more than anything else if you are going to be a true disciple. That is the first requirement.
Once, someone was talking to a great scholar about a young man. This person said, “I know a young man, Mr. So-and-so, who tells me that he was one of your students.” The scholar shook his head sadly and said, “He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students.”
Is your relationship with Jesus Christ like that today? Are you just a part of the crowd but not one who is committed? Are you a fan but not a follower? Are you letting family ties hold you back from going all out in your devotion for Christ? Or is something on the inside — is your love for yourself — what stands in the way of you becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ?
These are important questions that every person who claims to be a Christian must face. Lord willing, on next week, we will continue looking at this passage as we seek to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.
MUSICAL SELECTION: Maurette Brown Clark singing “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus” and Building 429 singing “Press On” (feat. Blanca Callahan)
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.