Summary: Being a dedicated disciple of Christ should not be taken lightly. The life of a disciple demands that one's relationship with Christ be without rival, without refusal, and without retreat.
Demands For Dedicated Discipleship
Text: Luke 9:23; 14:27 & 33
Intro: Quite often, when people think about Christ’s twelve disciples, they do so from sort of a romantic, idealistic frame of mind. They think about how wonderful it must have been to walk and talk with Jesus—to hear His words and see His miracles. Some, perhaps, even muse over the atmosphere of love that must have been felt in the presence of the Lord Jesus. And, without a doubt, all these things are exciting to ponder in one’s mind.
However, one doesn’t have to read far into the gospels to discover that the lives of Christ’s twelve disciples, as well as all who committed their life to Him, was anything but rosy or romantic. It was a life that could rightly be characterized as one of denial, difficulty, and often, death. To be Christ’s disciple meant that one was willing to be totally committed to Christ, their Master, and to champion His cause. That disciple’s commitment often resulted in condemnation from his family and peers, contempt from the religious leaders of that day, as well as condescending and cruel treatment from people in general.
When Jesus spoke to people about discipleship, He never glossed over the truth of the issue. This fact is verified by the words of my text. They don’t paint a very glamorous or enticing picture for disciple-want-to-be’s. What these words do make clear is that discipleship required an “all or nothing” kind of commitment to Christ. There were certain demands that Christ made of His disciples. These demands are still valid for His disciples of today. Let’s take a look at them.
Theme: Dedicated disciples of Christ must have…
I. NO RIVAL IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
A. One’s Relationships Must Not Rival Christ For Control Of Their Heart.
Luke 14: 26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
NOTE:  I remember that the first time I read this verse, I thought this was an impossible requirement. I thought to myself, “How could anyone be expected to hate one’s relatives and immediate family, in order to claim Christ as Savior, and live a committed life for Him?” In light of the fact that the Bible specifically tells us to “love one another” (John 13:34, 35), this verse seemed to be a biblical contradiction. But I assure you it’s not a contradiction.
 The word “hate,” found in this verse, is without question, very strong language. Surely Jesus isn’t saying that we must bear ill will toward our family and others with whom we have close relationships, in order to be saved. Indeed He is not. One commentator explains by saying, “This is strong language to indicate that devotion to one’s family must take second place to devotion to Christ.”(1) Another writer agrees with this idea when he says, “One’s loyalty to Jesus must come before his loyalty to his family or even to life itself.”(2)
 The NLT is helpful here. It translates as follows:
Luke 14: 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”(3)
 The Amplified New Testament is helpful here by stressing the fact that Christ’s statement draws a comparison between the believer’s love for Christ and their love for family and others. It reads as follows:
Luke 14: 26 “If any one comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [that is, in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters, [yes] and even his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”(4)
B. One’s Riches Must Not Rival Christ For Control Of Their Heart.
Luke 12:15 “Beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
1 Tim. 6:9 “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
17 Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all thing to enjoy;”
NOTE:  In Luke 12: 15, the word “covetousness” means, “a desire to have more.”(5) The idea here is synonymous with the sin of greed.
 The idea behind the words “…they that will be rich…” of 1 Timothy 6:9 is those who exhibit a craving, a preoccupation with getting wealth. The fact is that anything could become an obsession, causing one’s loyalty to Christ to be compromised. Christ, and Christ alone, must control the heart of God’s child.