2017-08-20 – Luke 14.25-33 – Salvation’s Price Tag
25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
This morning we are continuing in the sermon series on The Parables of Jesus. Last week we read the parable entitled The Lesson of the Fig Tree, where Jesus was introducing the disciples to the understanding of the Rapture and the signs of the Tribulation. He said these things will happen quickly. We will witness signs in the heavens, the seas will be crazy, the weather will be crazy, and when that happens we should be “Looking-Up”. Looking Up, because our Savior is coming back to Christians into Heaven, and it is going to happen soon. To that I say Praise the Lord. Now Today’s message is called Salvation’s Price Tag. And it deals with the cost of following Jesus.
Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 14.25, page 78 in the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. But first let us Pray…
Speaking of Yard Sales. I heard of one that ended up on the evening news, where a Chinese bowl bought by a New York family, became famous in April of 2013. The new owners paid just three dollars for what turned out to be a bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty that was more than one thousand years old. Until someone told them what they really had, the family had the bowl stuck on the mantle over their fireplace. When they placed the bowl with Sotheby’s Auction House for sale, it was estimated to go for about $200,000. Instead a dealer from London purchased it for more than $2,000,000!
So you might be asking, why would the first owners sell something so valuable for just $3? The obvious answer is that they didn’t appreciate what it was worth. We may shake our heads at that, but the truth is that every day men and women give up things far more valuable than money could buy for something that is ultimately worthless. Consider that the teaser for today’s message.
Our verses today are assembled in the section called The Cost of Discipleship. However before we jump into them I feel it prudent to set the stage.
I hope you would agree that perhaps the most fundamental element of Christian discipleship is our love for God. Recall when the disciples asked Jesus “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Jesus makes a distinct connection between our love for Him and our obeying His teaching. He also said in John 14:21 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And “Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
Jesus is stating that if we keep His words, and honor the principles that He is teaching, then it shows that we love Him. He goes on to say that there are blessings for those who keep His commandments and choose to exhibit their love for Him, that they will be loved by the Father and that Jesus will love them and show Himself to them.
The Greek word for keep is tereo (tay-reh-o), which means to attend to carefully, to observe. So Jesus is saying that those who love Him will observe, comply with, and follow what He has taught. This same word comes up in John 14:23 as well, it says:
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words.
Again, we show our love for Jesus through keeping His word, by living them out, by putting them into practice. And when we don’t keep them, then it infers that we don’t love Him.
Jesus also said in John 8:31,
If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
The phrase “continue in My word” in other English translations is rendered as abide in My word, or remain in My word, if you continue in My teaching, if you hold to My teaching.—All of which convey the same principle: that doing what His word says is proof or the fruit of what is in your heart, your love for Him, and it is one of those things that indicate that you a true disciple.
That seems fairly clear, yet as we all know it’s much easier said than done. I don’t always keep Jesus’ words; I don’t always keep God’s commandments; and I don’t always demonstrate God’s love. Sometimes it is by oversite or accident, but sometimes, sad to say, it is on purpose.
In our message today, Jesus is addressing this character trait, that is in the disciples and the Jewish folks that were around him that day. He had already accused them of losing their first love; their love for God and their love for each other. God sent Jesus, who is God in the flesh, to the Jewish nation so they might know Him personally. So the Jewish nation might be saved. But they effectively rejected Him by giving excuses and setting Him up to be persecuted.
In Luke chapter 14, right before our primary verses today, Jesus told them about parable of those that were invited to a great banquet. Jesus said:
A man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.” But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.” Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.” Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.”
The people in the parable are putting possessions and family as more important than the invite to the banquet. When Jesus finishes that story, He gave them our parable today. Verse 25 of Luke 14 says:
25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
In this parable, Jesus is laying out the spiritual principles for us that heeding God’s call, following Him, and doing His bidding is very important. Count the costs. To be a disciple or follower of Jesus, proper priority needs to be given to God, His will, and His call on you as an individual. And having the correct priorities in life will cost you something. It means carrying your cross; it is a true sacrifice.
Jesus isn’t preaching hate for your children or your parents or your siblings or yourself or even your things. He is saying that God is the Creator, and we owe our existence to Him. When people decide to be disciples, they are making a commitment not just to believe, but to follow Him, to make God’s priorities their own, to make His will for them their own. True disciples give their primary allegiance to God. This doesn’t mean they have no loyalty to anything or anyone else, or that they don’t love others; it means that their first allegiance is to God, because they love Him most of all.
When Jesus says to “forsake all that you have”, or as it says in other translations, “renounce all that he has” (ESV); or “give up everything he has” (NIV), He’s speaking of priorities.
In principle, to renounce your possessions, to give them up, to forsake them, all have to do with your priorities, what comes first in your life, God or your things? As a disciple, one who is committed to loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, the first priority needs to be God. Not your stuff, not your house, your money, your investments, not even your friends, your family, your spouse, your children, but God.
In our parable verse here Jesus said some things a casual reader would probably think were pretty extreme, things which are very difficult to read, let alone comply with, such as:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
He also said: “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.”
Those are very strong statements, which when taken literally seem to make being a disciple unattainable. For instance, it would be impossible for me to hate my wife and children, or my mother and father. Does this mean I can’t be a disciple?
You might also recall the harsh answer Jesus gave to the rich young ruler. In Luke 18:22 He said:
“Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he [the rich ruler] heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
You might be asking yourself why would Jesus say something like that? Well, because often when a person has wealth, they will find it harder to prioritize that wealth in relation to God, especially if God asks you to give it up completely, or to share your wealth with others. The rich young ruler couldn’t let his wealth go and thus he was saddened by that realization. His possessions were sadly his priority.
Or how about in Matthew 8:21, where the disciple asked Jesus to let him go and bury his father. But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” This is tough love.
We need to look at the principle of what Jesus is saying here. Jesus isn’t asking everyone who wanted to follow Him to stop loving their family, or physically leave all of their worldly possessions behind. We know for example that Joseph of Arimathea was both rich and a disciple. Jesus didn’t ask him to give up anything. In that regard, we can conclude that Joseph had the right priority regarding his material goods in relation to God. We know it was this same Joseph who later supplied Jesus’ tomb, and who also used his position and influence to ask Pilate to release the crucified body of Jesus to him for burial. So having money and things and loving your friends and family is perfectly fine and a true blessing from God.
When Jesus mentions words like forsaking, renouncing, giving up, they all have to do with relinquishing our claim of ownership over to God. Everything in this universe belongs to God, and we are now simply the steward or caretaker instead. That being, if God asks you to leave them behind as you walk on the path of discipleship, you should do so, because God is the rightful owner of all things. A disciple’s true allegiance is to God first, not to other people or things.
When Jesus says “Follow Me,” He’s speaking to you personally. The path He calls you to follow is your path of discipleship. It’s a customized and personalized individual path that God has designed for you specially. With the rich young ruler, the path Jesus asked him to take was to sell all that He had. Someone else’s path would be to keep the material possessions and follow God’s lead in a different manner. The principle is that if the disciple belongs to God, then his first allegiance is to God, and he loves God enough to do what God asks of him.
True discipleship is loving God in a manner that makes you willing to follow whatever He shows you, no matter how steep the cost. The cost is different with every individual. So when Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple”,. He’s talking about your own cross, your individual cross that you must carry. The call He gives you is yours, and your willingness to carry it is reflected in your readiness to give first allegiance to God and His call for your life. When He says to you, “follow Me,” He’s asking you to put yourself into His hands and trust Him, to make Him your first priority, to give up ownership of yourself, to put yourself in the rightful place in relation to Him as Lord of your life. Jesus said:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
That passage is written in Matthew 22, Luke 10, Mark 12, and even in Deuteronomy 6 in the Old Testament. Do you think this is important to God?
Understanding the principle of loving God, keeping His word, and the positional relationship that God deserves in relation to the loves of this life, and the possessions we have, provides a guiding principle which can help us in the life decisions we are regularly faced with. The basic principle being that God—our Creator, our Savior, and the Spirit that dwells within us—asks for and deserves our first love and the proper allegiance and place in our lives. It’s in loving Him that we take the first step of true discipleship.
You might be asking yourself. Is it really worth it? To that I say absolutely. How many times must a person fail at trying to run their own game before they finally let go and let God?
I struggled with this for many years myself. I didn’t want to make God’s agenda, my agenda; God’s plans, my plans; God’s priorities, my priorities. I went against His will for so many years. Only to find myself failing again and again in some way or another. It seemed I could never get ahead of life’s challenges. Then finally, when things couldn’t get much worse, I surrendered. And oh what a difference it has made in my life. Have you come to that point yet?
The title of this message today is Salvation’s Price Tag. Jesus paid the ultimate price for you on the cross at Calvary. So don’t be hanging on to those chains of sin and pride no more. How much is that gift of salvation worth to you? Is it like the 3 dollar yard sale find. Or is it priceless?
We are going to do something different today.. I am going to show you a little video. This video is about 4 minutes long. It is from the Creation Museum and it depicts all of God’s great creation. I believe you will find it beautiful indeed. However, while this movie is playing, if you would like to come forward and let me pray for you, please do so at this time. [Alter Call & Prayer] – Please Stand.. [MOVIE]