Last Sunday (August 29, 2021) we closed our study of the book of Philippians. Next Sunday our hope is to begin a study of the life of Jesus in the gospel of Mark.
This Sunday, September 5, 2021, we will bring together two specific requests that we received under the title of Discipleship.
On the one hand one of our members requested that we have a lesson about obeying the Gospel. Paul defines the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Jesus tells us that following Him requires counting the cost in Luke 14:25-35. Paul tells us what happens when we obey the Gospel in Romans 6:3-14.
The second request was to focus upon what it means to become living sacrifices as Paul details in Romans 12. Here he calls us to become ‘living sacrifices’ who live lives that are being transformed.
Bringing these two suggestions together means talking about what obeying the gospel truly means as we both count the cost to follow Jesus and lives for the Lord with every day.
In the gospel of Luke the crowds play an important part as different groups of people strive to understand Jesus, who He Is and what is His mission. By Luke 14:25 the crowds are traveling with Him and His disciples. It is time to challenge them all to start thinking about what it means to be one of Jesus’ disciples. So, Jesus clearly states His demands.
LOVE HIM MORE
Jesus insists that His followers–His true disciples–must love Him so much that, in comparison, their love for father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–even one’s own life–looks like hatred (vs. 26). Love for Him is supreme, beyond anyone else; even one’s self.
YOU MUST DIE TO SELF
Before anyone could grasp Jesus’ own understanding of His upcoming death on a cross, everyone understood the horrors of crucifixion. As frightening as this torturous execution might be, Jesus uses it to convey the depths of commitment required of a disciple. It’s like carrying your own cross for crucifixion. You are a dead person walking. This is how Jesus characterized His disciples.
RENOUNCE YOUR POSSESSIONS
Nothing is excluded from Jesus’ demands. Nothing. No hoarding among kingdom people. Packing away keepsakes makes no sense. When the call comes to let it go, the disciple does not worry about losing anything. All of those things were given up when they decided to follow Christ.
I suspect that Jesus’ pronouncements about discipleship thinned out the crowd a bit. At the least it led people to think about their walk with God and the importance of Jesus’ words.
There can be little doubt that many would still hang around for a free meal, a healing, an exorcism or a good word or two. But, I think people had trouble shaking the totality of Jesus’ demands for those who would follow Him and become a disciple.
Indeed, counting the cost would take on a whole new meaning for those who would take Him seriously. Just like it provokes you and I to wonder if I have truly handed it all over to Him….