Faithlife Sermons

Choose Wisely

The Life and Teachings of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The choice to follow Jesus should not be made prematurely. It needs to be evaluated and made understanding the full cost.

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Choose Wisely

Luke 14:25–35 NASB95
Now large crowds 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 and brothers and sisters, yes, 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. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Lifetime Servant Wanted!

Accepting applications for a lifetime servant. Hours are 24/7. Responsibilities require diligence in all areas of life. Must be a self-starter. Must accept verbal and sometimes physical abuse. Must display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control at all times, regardless of circumstances. Will reap small daily rewards, but the main salary will be paid upon death. All are welcome to apply. Applications are surrendered where you are on your knees. Do not delay! Employment period enters soon!If you saw this ad in the newspaper, how many of you would instantly apply? If someone told you you can receive a $1,000 check with no strings attached and all you had to do was go down to the City Hall to pick it up, I bet none would hesitate. However, the above calls for a lot more thought.
The next few weeks as we continue with the teachings of Jesus, we will be learning exactly what the expectations are for those who answer God’s call. It is not a play date, but a call to serious work with difficult circumstances. So why do people answer the call? Because the benefits, while not understood by the world, are far more valuable and long lasting than what the world offers us. But to receive the bulk of it, we have to first go to battle against an unseen enemy that controls most of what is around us.
You see, Christianity is not about what we believe, but about how what we believe changes everything in our life. Is it any wonder it is so difficult to get people to buy into it? It is not what we believe that will help them to make that choice, but how it changes and enriches our life thI..at will help them to take that step for themselves.
Pray
A few week’s back we looked at the Parable of the Sower and we found that some of the seeds fell on rocky ground. They burst forth in life, only to die in a short time due to the lack of water under a scorching sun. Jesus is not interested in looky-loos or those wanting something for nothing. He is looking for serious applicants to the position of follower. We see this as we begin this morning.
I. Employment E
Luke 14:25 NASB95
Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,
Jesus saw the crowd gathering. People that He had not called to follow, but who were just gathering to see what He would do next or hoping to benefit from His actions. However, Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem and the cross. All who follow Him will be in jeopardy of losing their life. Instead of ignoring them and continuing on, He turns and addresses them and begins to describe what is expected of them if they continue on.

A. Abandon Everyone for God ()

Luke 14:26 NASB95
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
We always shudder to hear this. Surely God does not expect us to turn our backs on our families. In truth, we are called to love our families. Our first responsibility is to minister to our family. is a really good example.
1 Timothy 5:8 NASB95
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
I Timothy 5:
and .
Exodus 20:12 NASB95
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Not only are we to provide for their physical needs, but we are also to provide for their spiritual. There are lots of scriptures regarding the spiritual upbringing of family, especially in Proverbs, Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Ephesians.
Not only are we to provide for their physical needs, but we are also to provide for their spiritual. There are lots of scriptures regarding the spiritual upbringing of family, especially in Proverbs, Psalms, and Deuteronomy.
I Timoth
Proverbs 22:6 NASB95
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 NASB95
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians
The question begs to be asked, “is Jesus contradicting scripture in this passage?” Not to mention the word “hate” seems particularly harsh. The use of the word “hate” is figuratively used to show the importance of what Jesus is wanting understood. Jesus is not contradicting Himself, however He understands that this is a serious challenge. The command of God to “have no other gods before me” includes our family. If we choose our family over God, we are not only condemning ourselves, but them also. The best way we can lead them to serve God is to serve God first ourselves.
Likewise, we cannot love ourselves above our love for God. If we do, we will never be able to serve Him as we should and we will eventually rebel and take our own path. However, the real gift to our families and ourselves is that by putting God first, we are better able to love our family and meet their deepest needs. And for ourselves we find true contentment in who we are and were created to be.
The point of not loving ourselves above God becomes necessary to fulfill the next requirement...

B. Accept and Walk Boldy Toward Death ()

Luke 14:27 NASB95
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Jesus boldly set His course for Jerusalem fully understanding that the cross was where it would lead. He stayed that course and allowed nothing to dissuade Him from it. We need to be willing to do the same.
I am a huge fan of American history. My all time favorite movie is “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson. My favorite part is near the end. The battle is raging. The patriots are losing ground and there is a cry for retreat. Mel Gibson has lost so much already. He has lost two sons and in this battle he has caught sight of the man who killed them both. His personal desire is to proceed to that man and kill him. When he hears the cry for retreat, he looks around and sees the men fleeing. The battle is about to be lost. He understand the higher objective, even though his personal objective may be crying out for something different. He turns and grabs a flag and cries out for no-retreat! He pushes through the fighting soldiers against all odds and takes higher ground, at which point others see him and turn and follow him. This turns the course of the battle so that the patriots win the victory. The whole movie carried the theme of “stay the course” and that is what Mel Gibson did. He stayed the course against all odds and he won.
That is what Jesus wants from us. Despite the personal adversities that come and want to distract us from the course, we need to carry our cross and stay the course no matter what if we are to win. In the days of Rome, they expected criminals to carry their own cross (typically, the cross bar only). It was humiliating to carry the vehicle through which you would be killed. The crowds would cry out and jeer at the ones as they carried their cross. No one would willingly do so, but were forced to do so. However, Jesus chose to do so willingly, the moment He set out for Jerusalem. We do so willingly, the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our savior. We are able to do so boldly since we know that true life can only follow death.
John 11:25–26 NASB95
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
The third expectation is that we...
The third expectation is that we...

C. Must Have Ability to Complete ()

At this point, Jesus gives an example of the expectation.
Luke 14:28–30 NASB95
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
We live in an entrepreneurial country. However, everyday new businesses fail because people underestimated the start up costs of getting a business going. In fact, statistics show that 50% of new businesses fail within the first year. An even sadder report is that 96% will fail within 10 years. Why, because they cannot pay their bills. They failed to account for how much cash capital it would take to open a new business. It is humiliating to have a business fail, not to mention the loss of time, effort, and money one experiences.
Jesus uses this illustration to get them to realize that they need to understand what it takes to build a relationship with God just as if they would if building a building. It does not come cheap!
Proverbs 1:5–7 NASB95
A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:5 NASB95
A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
Proverbs 12:15 NASB95
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Proverbs 15:28 NASB95
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
Once we have weighed the cost, we make the choice understanding what is to come, exactly what it is we are staying the course for.
Philippians 3:12–14 NASB95
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus proceeds with another example and expectation.
Jesus proceeds with another example and expectation.
Jesus proceeds with another example and expectation.

D. Willing to Fight Against all Odds ()

Luke 14:31–32 NASB95
“Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
We are in a war and the odds appear against us since we are in enemy territory. We need to understand that and again make a decision to “stay the course” no matter what. If we do not consider what is up ahead, when we see the larger force we will panic and send to make peace. In other words, we will jump ship. Once again, we waste our time if we are not willing to “stay the course.”
David was willing to “stay the course” when he saw Goliath. He understood that the power behind him was greater than the monster in front of him.
1 Samuel 17:45 NASB95
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.
When we take time to count the cost and look into the resources we have to fight the battle, we can follow Christ in full confidence, because we find the truth. It is not about the number of the enemy coming against us, but it is about the power that is behind us in facing those.
When we take time to count the cost and look into the resources we have to fight the battle, we can follow Christ in full confidence, because we find the truth. It is not about the number of the enemy coming against us, but it is about the power that is behind us in facing those.
1 John
1 John 5:4 NASB95
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 Peter 5:4 NASB95
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
The numbers of the enemy do not matter when we understand where the victory comes from; not our strength and power, but God’s.
Finally, we find an expectation that we...

E. Willingly Accept Poverty ()

Luke 14:33 NASB95
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Jesus was not rich. He was the son of a poor carpenter.
Luke 9:58 NASB95
And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Yet we know, that Jesus was obedient to the Father and the Father rewarded Him for it.
Philippians 2:8–11 NASB95
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Just as Jesus was rewarded for His obedience, so we will be rewarded.
1 Peter 5:4 NASB95
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
So we are paupers for a short lifespan, but sons and daughters of the King who promises all He has for eternity.
The passage ends with a disgusting admonition.

F. Worth Less Than Dung ()

Luke 14:34–35 NASB95
“Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Luke 14:
Okay, I know it does not exactly say “worth less than dung,” but think about it. Even dung has a purpose. We use it to fertilize.
However, if we choose to follow Jesus, but do not live the life that God calls us to. We are useless. We do not even have the function of dung.
When I was a young girl I decided to make brownies one morning. My dad used to make brownies every Saturday morning for breakfast. This particular morning, my brother was milking with dad and so I decided to surprise dad by making brownies for breakfast before they came in from milking. Well it was probably my first attempt to cook anything. When my dad and brother came in, they were delighted to smell the scent of brownies. They looked good as they baked. They smelled good as they baked. Everyone’s mouth was watering for those brownies. I was so proud to see how good they looked. I proudly scooped a big one out onto dad’s plate. He took a generous bite and got the worst look on his face. He promptly spit the brownie out and asked me what I had put in the brownie. I told him I had followed the recipe. I quickly got the recipe out and realized I had misread it. Instead of 1/4 tsp of salt, I had put 1/4 cup of salt in it. Well everyone just roared with laughter. My brother, turkey that he is, decided to show me how bad my brownies were. He took his out into the yard and placed it by a dog pile covered with flies. The flies jumped from the dog poop to the brownies, but swiftly returned to the dog poop. My brother roared and told me that my brownies did not even serve the flies. As you can imagine, my family has never forgot that story. I have lived with it all my life.
The sad thing is that, Jesus is saying it is the same way with those who follow Him, but do so for the wrong purpose or do not serve their purpose. They are useless. There is no purpose served by them. They are not even useful to dung!
Conclusion:
There is another movie I like and I believe it has a good lesson for us on this passage. Watch this short clip with me. If your children are with you today, please note that a part of this clip maybe be a little too graphic for sensitive children. I expect you have all seen this and will know where to distract your children if need be.
Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0TalLrtZ24
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Holy Grail scene (5:30)
All are welcomed to come follow, if they have counted the cost and made a decision for the right reasons. The right choice leads to life while the wrong choice leads to death. Unfortunately, the right choice seems contrary to what we expect in this world. The question for us here today is...
Are you willing to set your eyes on God alone forsaking all others as well as yourself?
Are you willing to take up your cross and boldly walk toward your Jerusalem?
Are you willing to commit to the end?
Are you willing to face your Goliath?
Are you willing to live as a pauper now for the glory that comes later?
Be careful; choose wisely. In this game there is no door number three from which to choose. You are either salt or you are less than…
There is another aspect that the video clip brought out and it is the idea of who are you going to hand off to. Indiana took the prize and carried it to his father.
Luke 14:35 NASB95
“It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Luke 14:
There is another aspect of this video that I like. Indiana chooses wisely, but then he carries his prize to another to give life. It is his father he hands off to. But who will we hand off to? Who will we deliver the life-giving prize to? Not only do we hand off the prize, but we prepare those who accept what we give to carry on the mission. What are we leaving the generation coming behind us? A debt and building that demands their time or a church ready to be filled? Do we condemn them to give both their time and money to a building or free them and their resources for kingdom work?
We have a mission ahead of us. We have been doing our best, but we have not had much success in the past few years. I believe God is about to turn us upside-down. To succeed, we all need to be fully invested! We must be good salt, not tasteless salt. I really believe that God is in this process we are in now as we consider buying the Baptist church. My mom recently reminded me of a scripture in Haggai where God berated the people for being content in their “paneled houses, while this house (the Temple) remains in ruins.”
This week as I was looking ahead to sermons for November and came across another scripture from Haggai. What I read took my breath away. I felt God was speaking directly to me; directly to us. Here is what I read.
Haggai 1:14–2:9 NRSV
And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month. In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.
Haggai 1:14-
There are those who have spoken to me of the glory of earlier days. I believe God is telling us that a greater glory is yet to come. We have spoken many times of the people who have come and professed that God had something He wanted to do here. Churches are closing around us and yet this move would prosper us. God is working! We have prayed and God has answered. Now we need to put our full trust in Him and allow Him to complete the task. We need to trust our prayer has been answered and stand firm as adversity will come with the project. That is a given whenever we are in the will of God. We must “stay the course” and see it through! We will see the glory of God revealed!
Pray
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