Summary: A deductive exposition of the text following illustrations leading to a call to commitment. Individuals will be asked to make or reaffirm their commitments during Communion.
Topic: Christian Living / Jesus
Theme: Totally Committed Christian Living / Following Jesus
Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness calling God’s people in my care to totally commit themselves to Jesus.
There’s a sign in the window of an English company that reads: “We have been established for over on hundred years and have been pleasing and displeasing customers ever since. We have made money and lost money, suffered the effects of coal nationalization, coal rationing, government control, and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, lied to, held up, robbed, and swindled. The only reason we stay in business is to see what happens next.”
-- Bits & Pieces, March 4, 1993, p. 24
Humans are very curious. We enjoy checking things out for ourselves. Have you ever noticed that an auto accident on a four-lane highway slows traffic on BOTH sides? People tend to slow down to see what happened.
We all want “to see what happens next.”
Curiosity builds a crowd, and that’s why...
(LUKE 14:25) Large crowds were traveling with Jesus….
“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song, tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’
“‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’ “I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book—whatever we choose—we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.” --Guideposts
Commitment builds a disciple, and that’s why when Jesus saw the crowds traveling with him, he said.
[LUKE 14:26] “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot -- be my disciple.”
Jesus was asking for a commitment to him that put everything and everyone else in a distant second place. If you and I want to follow him now, we must make that kind of commitment too.
When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. Ordering his men to march to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat. Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer! And that is exactly what they did.-- Source unknown
For Caesar this was a one way trip. Unfortunately for his army they were forced to join him.
Commitment always involves self- denial, and that’s why Jesus said...
[LUKE 14:27] “... anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
It’s a one way trip up Golgotha. My friend, Dave Cox, said, “No one ever picked up a cross expecting to come back.”
Jesus calls his disciples to sing the old song that says: “I have decided to follow Jesus… no turning back, no turning back.”
Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team said, “The thrill of knowing Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened to me.... I think God has put me in a very special place, and He expects me to use it to His glory in everything I do. ... whether coaching football or talking to the press, I’m always a Christian. ... Christ is first, family second and football third.”
Self-denial produces rock-solid priorities, and that’s why when Jesus saw the crowds traveling with him, he said...
[LUKE 14: 26] “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
William Carey, one of the first missionaries to India, became deeply concerned about the attitude of his son Felix. The young man, a professing Christian, had promised to become a missionary. But he broke his vow when he was appointed ambassador to Burma. Carey requested prayer for him: “Pray for Felix. He has degenerated into an ambassador of the British government when he should be serving the King of kings.” Our Daily Bread, February 2