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Is Jesus Worth it?

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There are times when even the strongest believers wonder if it really is worth it to Follow Jesus.

Once you make that commitment … there are commands you are obligated to obey … some pleasures you forego … sacrifices you are to make.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow … is it really worth the trouble
Maybe life is better with Jesus … but it doesn't always seem that way:
When doing the right thing makes you unpopular at school
When others who have no moral scruples are getting ahead of you in business
When you must say no to a romantic relationship … that seems so right … but God is clear … It’s not
Is it worth it to follow Jesus when it seems that Billy Joel was right “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, cause sinners are much more fun”
Is it worth it to follow Jesus when what God wants for you is not the same thing that you want for you?
The Question posed by every hard obedience … Is Jesus Worth it or Not?
Remember
Luke 5:11 ESV
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
These guys had LEFT EVERYTHING - Now they could not help but wonder did they make the right decision?

Lets look at

An Honest Question

The question is actually found elsewhere
Matthew 19:27 ESV
Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
Matte
Ever had someone ask you a dumb question: At NBBI My senior job was to deliver the mail … we all had mail boxes. I would pick it up from the office before lunch and usually put it in boxes after lunch (I was regularly pestered) … One day before lunch I was putting all the mail … which was an armload of packages and the 4 mail bags over my shoulder in the mail room … one of the freshman girls came up to me as I was jumbling my armload of deliveries and asked me a very sincere question … “Byron have you delivered the mail yet?” … I did not Respond!
My second dumbest question … I was riding my bike … mid summer … in London … Really hot day … I remember exactly where I stopped … Corner of Dundas and Maitland Street. I stopped for a drink of water. I’m still on my bike … I have just reached down to get a drink from my water bottle. Get the image.
Two Mormon Missionaries came up to engage me in a conversation … The one who had been given the responsibility of breaking the ice asked me a question:
“Hi, are you out for a bike ride?” … My response … I wasn't rude or sarcastic … I was just a bit hesitant … I said nodding my head … “Yeah I am”
Jesus doesn't chide them or criticize the question
Remember that this question is posed after hearing about a man who was very rich … and he prized his riches even above Jesus.
Was this question asked because there was a lack of assurance … or on the other hand was the question one for clarification?
IN contrast to the Rich Ruler who DID NOT value Jesus above His riches … The disciples had left everything and followed Him -
David Gooding in His Commentary on Luke thinks the question: “carried the unfortunate suggestion that their sacrifice was, compared with the rich young man’s attitude, wonderfully meritorious.”
“carried the unfortunate suggestion that their sacrifice was, compared with the rich young man’s attitude, wonderfully meritorious.”
Whatever they were thinking … these men had an honest question … “It is worth it to follow Jesus?”
What then will we have?
Jesus didn't always answer people’s questions directly …
Here we might have expected Jesus to tell his disciples that they didn’t deserve ANYTHING in return for what they had done …
Instead Jesus gives them a PROMISE of incredible reward

Leaving it all Behind

Luke 18:29–30 ESV
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Sweeping Promise:
This promise if for all who leave everything to follow Jesus
This is actually the description of a Christian
A Christian is someone who has decided to have Jesus instead of anything and everything else.
IN Repentance we leave our sin behind …
IN Faith we Trust Christ alone
Puritan Thomas Boston near end of his life and ministry:
Luke, Volumes 1 & 2 Leaving It All Behind

O Lord, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I confess from my heart, that I am by nature a lost sinner. I am fully convinced that I am utterly unable to help myself. But as there is a covenant of grace, I do now again take hold of that covenant, for life and salvation to me; believing on the name of Christ crucified, who made atonement, paid the ransom, and brought everlasting righteousness for poor sinners. I resign myself, soul and body, to him, to be saved by his blood alone. I give up myself wholly unto him, to serve him for ever.

Then, as Boston came to the end of his personal covenant, he called on the very walls of his house to witness the promise he was making to Jesus Christ:

Let it be recorded in heaven, O Lord, and let the bed on which I lean, the timber, and the stones, and all other things here in my closet, bear witness that I, though most unworthy, have this second day of December, here taken hold of, and come into thy covenant of grace, offered and exhibited to me in thy gospel, for time and eternity; and that thou art my God in the covenant, and I am one of thy people, from henceforth and for ever.

This is essentially what we all need to say to God, even if we use simpler words to say it. If we want to have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, we need to say to him, “I am yours and you are mine forever.” This is the prayer of every believer.

Some believers are called to go beyond this … To make some more specific sacrifices … for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
Some are called to leave home and families behind.
IN some cultures … to become a Christian … you will be disowned by family … it might even get dangerous.
Some believers are called to serve oversees as missionaries … They give up … in order to fulfill
This returns us to the question:
Is it worth it?
Is it worth it … to follow Jesus and being separated from your family?
Is it worth it … to follow Jesus and give up your dream house?
Is it worth it … to follow Jesus and let go of your plans for a husband and family?
Is it worth it … to follow Jesus and take your children away from their grandparents?
Is it worth it … to follow Jesus and risk your reputation?
Worth it or not? Give your summer to work with sweaty noisy kids … like many of our teens are doing this summer?
People who follow Jesus
May doubt
Or even struggle with regret
BUT THEY WILL NEVER END UP ON THE LOSING END OF GOD’S PLAN
WE HAVE A GUARANTEE … A PROMISE
Luke 18:29–30 ESV
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Luke 18:30 ESV
who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
NO ONE WHO GIVES UP SOMETHING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL FAIL TO RECEIVE GOD’S BLESSING.
THIS BLESSING IS A DOUBLE BLESSING
BLESSING NOW
BLESSING LATER

Now and Later

I LOVE DAVID GOODING’S COMMENTS ON THIS …
Making sacrifice for the kingdom of god is like making a long-term investment that continually pays out rich dividends without ever diminishing the capital.
Luke, Volumes 1 & 2 Now and Later

The promise is absolute: no one who gives something up for the kingdom of God will fail to receive God’s blessing. Everyone who follows Jesus will gain what he has to offer. What Jesus offers is a double blessing—a blessing for now and a blessing for later.

Many would think of Christianity as a good long-term investment … Like life insurance
May people
Sure Jesus will save you when you die … but now being a christian takes the fun out of life!!!
That statement … tells me that “Jesus is not really worth it”
Notice Jesus’ promise here:
Best short term investment
Best long term investment
Bet of both Now and Later
Look at 18:30 “Many times more”
NOW -
Look at text … Leave Family
WE gain Family of God
God our Father; Christ our Husband; and every other Christian our Brother and Sister
In the Church we have brothers/sisters/fathers/mothers/children
The Church is our “First and everlasting family” We should treat it as such though out our lives.
Do you treat it as such
I first came to know Christ through the church family God placed me in
I learned what it meant to serve Christ
I was mentored and found help for my struggles in the church.
When I went away … to school for two years … one year in Washington, DC and second in London Ont
I found a home … in two local churches … they were my family
WE NOT ONLY RECEIVE A FAMILY
“Many times more” … there is something more than simply a family.
Jesus was also talking about giving us himself!!!
Thats more than anything we think we might be missing:
Listen to Bishop J.C. Ryle -
Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 Luke 18:28–34: Encouragement to Leave All for Christ’s Sake,—Crucifixion Predicted

the believer shall find in Christ a full equivalent for anything that he is obliged to give up for Christ’s sake. He shall find such peace, and hope, and joy, and comfort, and rest, in communion with the Father and the Son, that his losses shall be more than counterbalanced by his gains. In short, the Lord Jesus Christ shall be more to him than property, or relatives, or friends.

If we give up everything else in life ...
OR Give it up b/c God has called us to make radical sacrifices for the Gospel
WE STILL HAVE JESUS
WE ALWAYS HAVE JESUS
WHAT WE HAVE IN HIM CAN NEVER BE TAKEN AWAY
WHEN WE DONT HAVE A HOME … HE IS OUR REFUGE
WHEN WE ARE IN A STORM … HE IS OUR SHELTER
WHEN WE CANT SEEM TO FIND A FRIEND … HE IS THE ONE FRIEND THAT STICKS CLOSER THAN A BROTHER
WHEN WE ARE OUTTA MONEY … HE REMAINS OUR TREASURE
MANY TIMES MORE!!!!!!!!!!!
WHATEVER YOU GIVE UP … HE IS WORTH MANY TIMES MORE THAN THAT:
DR. J. WILBUR CHAPMAN WROTE: JESUS WHAT A FRIEND FOR SINNERS:
Jesus! I do now receive him,
More than all in him I find;
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am his, and he is mine.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
FOLLOW JESUS NOW … GET JESUS NOW … AND JESUS FOREVER
ETERNAL LIFE NOT JUST ABOUT LENGTH … BUT QUALITY.
IT WILL BE FREE FROM SIN (OURS AND OTHERS)
FREE FROM PAIN AND SADNESS (EVERY TEAR WIPED)
FULL OF WORSHIP
FULL OF GLORY …
FULL OF GOD … FULL OF JESUS
HEAVEN NOT JUST ABOUT REUNION WITH COUSIN MYRTLE OR UNCLE FLOYD
IF THAT IS ALL YOU THINK IT IS … YOU MISS JESUS’ INTENT
This was the testimony of Elizabeth Freeman, who served as a pioneer missionary to India in the nineteenth century. Living and serving under conditions of extreme hardship, Freeman wrote to her niece back home: “I hope you will be a missionary wherever your lot is cast, and as long as God spares your life; for it makes but little difference after all where we spend these few fleeting years, if they are only spent for the glory of God. Be assured there is nothing else worth living for!” Nor is there anything else worth dying for, as Freeman’s tragic death at the hands of Muslim attackers would soon prove. Eternity will prove that nothing is more worth living for, or dying for, than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ryken, P. G. (2009). Luke. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (Vol. 2, p. 288). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

Are we Worth it?

SO FAR WE HAVE BEEN looking at things from our perspective … Asking if Jesus is worth it for US
But what Jesus says at the end of this passage compels us to ask a more fundamental question:
Are we worth it to Jesus?
This question begs itself because all of the blessings that Jesus has for us can only come at the cost of His Blood!!!!
Luke 18:31–33 ESV
And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
Luke
This is the fourth time Jesus prophesied his suffering and death
Luke 9:51 ESV
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:22 ESV
saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Luke 9:44 ESV
“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
Luke 9:22
His death was never far from His mind
18:31 - We are going to Jerusalem - Crucifixion at Hand … the shadow of the cross is looming
He will be handed over to the Gentiles … all humanity - Jews and Gentiles complicit in His Death
Mocked - Beaten - Abused
It is clear what will happen - Perhaps Jesus is thinking about ; or
Notice the way Jesus introduced the subject of his sufferings, and notice his absolute confidence that the Bible must come true. Jesus said, “Everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished” (). What, exactly, did the prophets say about the Son of Man? As Jesus studied the Scriptures—as he read the words of men like David and Isaiah—he saw that the Son of Man would be forsaken by God (), mocked by his enemies (), tormented by thirst (), pierced through his hands and feet (), despised and rejected by men (), wounded for transgressions (), and crushed for iniquities (), until finally he was poured out unto death ().
It wasn't just that Jesus had to die … HE HAD TO DIE THIS WAY
IT WAS A CRUEL DEATH - AN ABUSIVE DEATH
JESUS KNEW WHAT AWAITED HIM ON CALVARY
Luke 18:31–33 ESV
And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
JESUS ALSO KNEW THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
WAS IT WORTH IT FOR HIM TO SUFFER ALL THESE THINGS?
EVERY STEP TOWARDS THE CROSS … HE REMINDED HIMSELF OF THE WORTH …
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
THE WORTH OF SECURING FORM HIMSELF … A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME
WE ARE WORTH IT B/C OF THE VALUE OF HIS SACRIFICE
Luke 18:34 ESV
But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
What they did not understand is that Jesus would be the Passover Lamb
What was about to happen was God’s plan … suffering and death no surprise.
A Suffering Messiah … foreign to Jewish hearers
Emil Shurer - 19th Century Historian summarizes first century Jewish Expectations regarding the coming of Messiah:
First coming of Messiah would be preceded by a time of tribulation
IN the midst of the turmoil an Elijah-like prophet would appear heralding Messiahs coming
Messiah would establish his glorious kingdom and vindicate his people
The nations would ally themselves together and fight messiah
Messiah would destroy all those opposing nations
Jerusalem would be restored, made new and glorious
The dispersed Jews from around the world would return to Israel
Israel would become the center of the world and all nations subjugated to Messiah
Finally the Messiah would establish His Kingdom … a time of eternal peace, righteousness and Glory
Luke, Volumes 1 & 2 Are We Worth It?

The disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying, but Jesus said it anyway, so that they would understand it when the time came. He also said it so that we would understand. Do you understand what Jesus did in dying on the cross and rising again on the third day? Do you understand as well that he is offering you eternal life in himself?

If you do understand this, then you know that Jesus is worth it. Absolutely he is worth it—right now and forever. Whatever God is calling you to give up for his kingdom, do not hesitate, even for a moment; Jesus will more than make it up to you. But never forget that Jesus is worth it to us only because we were worth it to him, on the cross where he gave his blood for our sins.

Some see Jesus as a good man … a bit naive though,
Well-Intentioned but Misdirected
A misguided nationalist …What he had hoped ended in a nightmare
Nothing could be further from the truth
The trajectory of His life prophesied 700 years before
Isaiah 52:13–53:12 ESV
Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 52:13-
Jesus not a well-intentioned victim
John 6:38 ESV
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John
John 12:27 ESV
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.
LOOK at what we have already seen in LUKE
Luke 5:34–35 ESV
And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
Luke 9:21–22 ESV
And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Luke 9:44 ESV
“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
Luke 5:34
Luke 12:50 ESV
I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!
Luke 12
Luke 13:32 ESV
And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.
Luke
Luke 13:34–35 ESV
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Luke 17:25 ESV
But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Luke
They were headed for Jerusalem for the Passover …
Luke 18:31 ESV
And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.
What was about to happen was God’s plan … suffering and death no surprise.
A Suffering Messiah … foreign to Jewish hearers
Emil Shurer - 19th Century Historian summarizes first century Jewish Expectations regarding the coming of Messiah:
First coming of Messiah would be preceded by a time of tribulation
IN the midst of the turmoil an Elijah-like prophet would appear heralding Messiahs coming
Messiah would establish his glorious kingdom and vindicate his people
The nations would ally themselves together and fight messiah
Messiah would destroy all those opposing nations
Jerusalem would be restored, made new and glorious
The dispersed Jews from around the world would return to Israel
Israel would become the center of the world and all nations subjugated to Messiah
Finally the Messiah would establish His Kingdom … a time of eternal peace, righteousness and Glory

1. Specific Death. After Adam’s sin in the garden, God pronounced His curses upon all of the participants. He began with the serpent, but that curse contained a clear allusion to a definite atonement:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

—Genesis 3:15

In the midst of a series of devastating judgments, there is a sparkling diamond of grace. Theologians have called it the protoevangelium, which is Greek for “the first mention of the gospel.” Here in the garden of Eden, God revealed perpetual enmity between the seed of Satan—that is, all unbelieving descendents of Satan (John 8:44; Eph. 2:2)—and the seed of the woman, namely, those believers who would be in the family of God. But God also gave a prophecy of the cross, saying that Satan would bruise, metaphorically speaking, Christ’s heel, causing Him to suffer—but not be defeated. Through His death, Christ would crush the Devil, rendering him a devastating blow and defeat. Therefore, in this first mention in the Bible of Christ’s death, there is the teaching of a definite redemption on behalf of the believing seed of the woman. The bruised Messiah would die specifically for those who would belong to His kingdom—that is, for all believers.

Concerning this first promise of a Redeemer, MacArthur writes: “The greatest blessing that is bound up in the curse is the promise of Christ, the Redeemer, the Seed of the woman—the One who would crush the serpent’s head.… First, He would be the Seed of the woman. This is significant language, because normally, offspring are spoken of as the seed of their fathers. This seems to be a subtle reference to Christ’s virgin birth. He was the offspring of a woman in a particular sense, but God was His only Father (Luke 1:34–35).… Second, there would be enmity between Him and the serpent.… This signifies the continuous conflict between Satan and Christ. Satan, the destroyer of men’s souls, opposes Christ, the Savior of the world. The evil one hates the Holy One and has therefore set himself and “his seed”—all those who belong to his kingdom (both demons and humans)—against the Seed of the woman. Third, the Seed of the woman would suffer. Satan would bruise His heel. This speaks of Christ’s suffering on the cross.… Fourth, the Savior would triumph. He would end the enmity forever by crushing the serpent’s head. Satan, the serpent, did his best to destroy Christ, but in the end it left only a bruise that would heal. Christ rose from the dead in triumph, gaining redemption … crushing the serpent’s head as promised.” Through His death, Christ would save all who believe.

2. Specific Substitution. In the garden, God also gave a symbolic picture of the future death of Christ for His chosen ones. By His sovereign initiative, He made coverings for the nakedness of the first couple:

And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

—Genesis 3:21

The Lord Himself killed an innocent animal and made coverings for the nakedness and guilt of Adam and Eve. This was the first death in God’s newly created world—a slain sacrifice. This animal was killed at the hands of God Himself, and He provided its skin freely for the first couple as an expression of His saving grace. Their garments of skin represented God’s provision for restoring Adam’s and Eve’s relationship with Himself. This bloody sacrifice pictured the coming of Christ into the world to redeem His people. God’s Son would be the Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of His people (John 1:29, 36). His sacrifice alone would provide a covering for the exposed nakedness of Adam and Eve’s guilt.

In explaining this substitutionary death, Boice points out that it symbolized the shed blood and perfect righteousness of Christ. Boice writes: “In order to make clothes of skin, God had to kill animals. It was the first death Adam and Eve had witnessed, as far as we know. It must have seemed horrible to them and have made an indelible impression. ‘So this is what death is; this is what sin causes,’ they must have exclaimed. But even more important, the death of the animals must have taught them the principle of substitution, the innocent dying for the guilty, just as the innocent Son of God would one day die for the sins of those God was giving to him. When God clothed our first parents in the animals’ skins, Adam and Eve must have had at least a first faint glimmer of the doctrine of imputed righteousness.… God saved Adam and Eve from their sins by clothing them in the heavenly righteousness of Jesus Christ, which he symbolized by their being clothed with skins of animals.”

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