Summary: Discipleship Requires Determination: a study of Luke 9:51-62.
Discipleship Requires Determination
1. Gabrielle Douglas spent the first year of her life with her homeless family that lived in the back of a van. They were taken in by relatives but soon her father abandoned the family … mother and 4 young children. As she grew older she aspired to be a gymnast. One of few African Americans in the sport of gymnastics, she says she was taunted by her coach, teammates in VA. "I've always put my heart into gymnastics and pushed myself every single day, no matter what else was going on.”. With Olympic dreams, she acquired one of the most renowned coaches in the sport and at age 14 moved to train in the cornfields of Iowa. Just a few months before the 2012 Olympics she wanted to quit and work at Chick-Fil-A. But she refocused on her goals, threw herself into her training and in London she grabbed gold in both the team and individual all-around competitions. Gabby Douglas says, “…Never give up. Times may be tough but sacrifices, they do pay off. If you give up, you will always have regrets that you didn't push through…”
As with every great endeavor in life, it is the spirit of determination that we need to succeed. Determination: The act of deciding definitely and firmly; firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end. Discipleship requires determination!
1. Determined to Follow Jesus (Luke 9:51)
In Luke’s Gospel our text today is a turning point. It is called the “Travel Narrative” and it encompasses ten chapters, with much material not found in the other gospels. Called ‘travel narrative’ because it reflects a time in Jesus’ ministry when he began his march toward Calvary. (Read Luke 9:51). Jesus travels through Samaritan territory.
" A sense of purpose, immediacy, and danger frames this passage. These elements are present from the opening lines that convey the rejection of Jesus by the Samaritans." (C. Merritt)
Strong teachings that Disciples Must be Determined!
2. Determined To See Others As Jesus Does (Lk. 9:52-56)
The ‘sons of thunder’ have a temper flare up! Earlier in chapter they witnessed the Transfiguration. James and John (and Peter) saw Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah. In 1 Kings there are two episodes of Elijah calling down fire.
Jesus’ mission was seek & save lost, not seek & destroy! It’s easy to let a self-righteous spirit change how we see others - and even cause damage to others.
Galatians 5:14-15. How many churches and Christians have been destroyed by other believers? In the church, among churches, and even among believers who have differing views. It can happen in communities between groups of people who are divided economically, racially, educationally, and in other ways. We have to be careful that we have the spirit of Jesus, not the spirit of Elijah as we see others. This is especially true when we are being mistreated/hurt by others. Retribution is not a Kingdom virtue.
Disciples Determined to Follow Jesus and See Others as Jesus Did.
3. Determined To Place Jesus First (Lk 9:57-61)
B. T. Brown called these the ‘would-be followers of Jesus’. We notice that Jesus’ reaction here seems harsh. We’ve come to have such low expectations of disciples today that any mention of inconvenience or choosing between important things seems cruel or difficult. Jesus saw something different than we see. He was on a journey through a dangerous land. He did not know if people would be hospitable. He knew the discomfort -more suffering ahead. He knew these men’s hearts. If Jesus’ responses to his would-be followers sound harsh, that is because “one who has set his face like a firm stone to go to Jerusalem has no bargains to offer.” - F. Craddock, via B. T. Brown.
What areas of life are you waiting to give Jesus 1st Place?
-Until my kids grow up (sports, school, clubs, etc)
-Until I can get my life right. I don't want to be hypocrite!
-Until I make more money so I can be generous
-Until I have more time?
-Until I learn more about the Bible?
Do we get the impression from this text that Jesus is not accepting excuses?
Disciples are Determined to follow Jesus, to see others as Jesus did, to place Jesus first…
4. Determined to Never Give Up (Luke 9:62)
The disciples will face some rough roads ahead. Sometimes stumble, but never turn back. What kinds of things cause us to want to give up living for Jesus? When does it seem too hard? To follow Christ requires a single-minded resolve that looks forward to the work ahead and is cognizant of the risk that accompanies discipleship. (C. Merritt)
Disciples cannot back off from the task. Discipleship is not a second job, a moonlighting task, an ice-cream social or a hobby. it is the product of God’s calling and should be pursued with appropriate seriousness. -Bock\