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FAN OR FOLLOWER  2        LUKE 14:25-35
            If you will take your Bibles and turn to the 14th chapter of the gospel of Luke.
Luke, the physician and historian, walks us systematically through the life of Christ on earth.
He begins with the birth of Jesus, then the baptism of Jesus, and finally into the ministry of Jesus.
As you read the account of Jesus life, according to Luke, you will find him walking from city to city, village to village performing miracles, ministering to the misfortune and teaching about the Kingdom of God.
Also, you will read of the times He calls people to follow Him from the disciples to the crowds at large.
This is what we have in our text this morning, Jesus calling people to be His disciples.
So let me read these verses about being a follower of Jesus.
Just reading these verses, it seems extreme.
It sounds as if Jesus is making it hard on people to become His disciples, almost impossible.
It goes against the grain of what we want to hear in our society.
In fact, our culture wants things easy.
We want them not too difficult and as a result this philosophy has crept into the church.
People want a gospel that is easy on the ears, as well as, on the demands.
But folks, I want to be honest with you, this morning, these are not my words.
These are the very words of God Himself.
Jesus, as you know, is God’s Son and He and the Father are one.
This is His standard that is being taught, not man’s standard.
We have to come to grasp that Jesus is making these demands because He does not want fans, superficial followers.
He wants disciples, true disciples; people committed to Him and who love Him with all their heart, mind and soul.
John MacArthur, in his book /Hard to Believe/, gives an apt description of the church today.
He wrote, “The first role of successful merchandising is to give consumers what they want.
If they want bigger burgers, make their burgers bigger.
Designer bottled water in six fruit flavors?
Mini-vans with ten cup holders?
Give ‘em 20.
You’ve got to keep the customer satisfied.
You’ve got to modify your product and your message to meet their needs if you want to build a market and get ahead of the competition.
Today, this same consumer mindset has invaded Christianity.
The church service is too long you say.
We’ll shorten it.
One pastor guarantees his sermons will never last more than seven minutes.”
Too formal?
Wear your sweat suit.
Too boring?
Wait till you hear our band.
If the message is too confrontational or too judgmental or too exclusive, scary, unbelievable, hard to understand or too much anything else for your tastes, churches everywhere are eager to adjust the message to make you more comfortable.
This new version of Christianity makes you a partner on the team, a design consultant on church life and does away with old-fashioned authority, guilt trips, accountability and moral absolutes.
One suburban church sent out a mailer recently promising an informal, relaxed, casual atmosphere.
Great music from our band and believe it or not, you’ll even have fun.
That’s all great if you’re a coffeehouse.
It’s Christianity for consumers, Christianity light, the redirection, watering down and misinterpretation of the Biblical gospel in an attempt to make it more palatable and popular.
It tastes great going down.
It settles light.
It seems to salve your feelings and scratch your itch.
It’s custom tailored to your preferences.
But that lightness will never fill you up with the true saving gospel of Jesus Christ because it’s designed by men not God and it’s hollow and worthless.
In fact, it’s worse than worthless because people who hear the message of Christianity light think they’re hearing the gospel, think they’re being rescued from eternal judgment when, in fact, they’re being tragically misled.”
So Jesus makes it clear to the crowd that follows that day that they understand what it means to be His disciple.
He wants them to know what true salvation entails.
As I read these words from the lips of Jesus, I hear no easy believism, I hear no adaptation to give the crowd what they want or even Him asking do you have any suggestions to how you think people will follow Me.
No, what I hear from Jesus is that I am the author and perfecter of faith.
In other words, I wrote the manual on salvation.
Before the foundation of the world and you were even born, I had in mind how people would get saved.
I know the seriousness of your plight, the tragic results of your sin; but I have come to remedy your situation.
I have come to rescue you from the kingdom of darkness and bring you into the kingdom of light; I have come to deliver you from your sins and forgive you of them; I have come to save you from the wrath of eternal damnation and give you eternal life
But in order for you to have peace with Me and an abundance of life, then you must listen to Me on how you can obtain it.
You must come to Me on My terms.
You must accept it the way I designed it because this is only what I will accept.
So here, in Luke, Jesus said a disciple understands the priority of following Him.
This is what we discussed last week.
Before we move on to the two other truths in these verses, let me summarize the first truth again for you.
What Jesus is saying in verses 26, 27, and 33 is that I must be number one in your life.
I must take precedence over your family, your possessions, and yourself.
When it comes to choosing between these three things, then you must choose Me.
I must have first loyalty in your life.
In other words, it is a call to self-denial.
It is a call to be sold out for the cause of Christ.
It becomes a matter of preference that Jesus is to be loved more than those closest to us, to our own desires and ambitions, and even our own possessions.
What Jesus is asking is “If following Me means that you lose your family because they disown you like many Jews and Muslims and people of other religions have done, would you do it?”
If following Me means that you have to give up your career, goals, and desires because the Spirit tugs on your heart to go in a different direction than you originally planned would you do it?”
If following Me means that I ask you to sell all your possessions like I asked the rich young ruler who wanted to be saved would you do it?”
Now, this does not mean that any of these things are going to happen.
In fact, in most of our cases they probably have not happened, but if they were required of us would we abandon all priorities in order to follow Him.
You see we need to understand that the gospel is not preached in order for us to have heaven on earth, like many who teach you will be healthy and wealthy and things will go better for your family or they will like you more.
In some cases, this is not true.
Some people lose it all in order to gain Christ.
But being a Christian does make life better in the sense that I will love my family more as God teaches me in His word.
I will serve Him better in that job or goal or desire that I have because I want it to glorify Him.
I will see myself as an owner of nothing, but a steward of everything that the Lord has blessed me with in my possessions.
Paul understood this because he wrote, “whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for who I have suffered loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him” (Phil.
The first truth is that a disciple understands the priority of following Jesus.
Next, Jesus gives a second truth painted in two pictures which build on the first truth.
            In verses 28-32, Jesus tells two stories about counting the cost.
Now in order for us to understand these two parables, we must note that the ancient Near East was based on an honor~/shame culture.
In other words, you did everything to protect your reputation and not ruin it in that culture.
So Jesus talks about a man who gets ready to build a tower, but he must first sit down and see if he can cover the cost of this great enterprise.
You see this man was not just adding an addition to his house or making improvements to his estate.
He wanted to build a tower which all would see.
A tower was built sometimes for protection.
Jesus told a story about the person who sows tares in someone wheat fields.
So the owner of the estate might put someone in that tower to guard against an enemy who could possibly destroy his crop.
Some towers were built for grain storage much like a silo is used today.
Whatever kind of tower it was, it was big enough for all to see.
If you ran out of money after laying the foundation, then you could imagine being the laughingstock of the community.
So the man sits down and calculates the cost.
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