Summary: Discipleship involves serious commitment; boasts and excuses won’t get the job done.
BOASTS AND EXCUSES
1. Matthew 8:19-22 (NKJV) Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
2. Two men came to Jesus. Each offered a promise to be one of Jesus’ disciples. However, the Lord found a problem with what each man said. By studying these brief conversations, we learn something important about the kind of discipleship Jesus wants from us today.
I. THE FIRST MAN: "I’LL FOLLOW YOU WHEREVER YOU GO"
A. This is a wonderful promise. Christians should be committed to following Jesus wherever that discipleship takes us.
1. We will have enemies if we follow Christ.
a. Luke 6:26-28 (NKJV) Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets. 27 "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
b. Matthew 5:11 (NKJV) "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake." Jesus didn’t say if they persecute you. He said when they persecute you. People will oppose us whenever we try to be true followers of Christ.
2. We may have strife within families because we are following Christ. [Matthew 10:34-38 (NKJV) "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 "For I have come to ’set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 "and ’a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.] We’ll study this passage in more detail in a few weeks, but simply observe now that Jesus says that opposition to us following Christ often comes from within our own families.
3. We may pay a financial sacrifice for being Christians. Christians must be honest and ethical in business dealings. Others who don’t have those scruples may do better than we do in purely monetary terms. If the amount of money you bring in every year is the top consideration in your life, you might do better NOT trying to follow Jesus. After all, Jesus said, "You cannot serve God and mammon." [Matthew 6:24]. Whenever you divide your loyalty between things of this world and things of the world to come, you will not be successful in either pursuit.
4. We may have more spiritual battles when we’re trying to be disciples. Satan is our adversary [1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.] The devil is not out to get people of the world . . . he already has them. Those who are trying to be Christians have to stay well-armed against the devices of Satan [Ephesians 6:11-13 (NKJV) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.]
B. Every individual needs to make an informed decision about becoming a Christian.
1. We should "count the cost."
a. Luke 14:28 (NKJV) "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it;
b. Luke 14:31 (NKJV) "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
c. These illustrations make the point that those who are thinking about following Christ should consider the price they will have to pay [Luke 14:33 (NKJV) "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.]