Summary: There are times in our spiritual lives when we want all the blessings of heaven, but with the least amount of sacrifice possible. There are times when we live our Christian lives in such a way that we seem to be saying, “What is the least amount that I ha

Opening illustration: Surprised to see an empty seat at the Super Bowl stadium, a diehard fan remarked about it to a woman sitting nearby. “It was my husband’s,” the woman explained, “But he died.” “I’m very sorry,” said the man. “You know, I’m really surprised that a relative or friend didn’t jump at the chance to accompany you to the game in the seat reserved for him.” “Beats me,” she said. “They were all stuck on going to the funeral.”

The call of the world is very attractive to some. But let’s be honest — aren’t we more like that woman than we would admit? We prefer to seek our own comfort, our own enjoyment. We resent anything, or anyone who would call us away from our own pleasure.

In Luke 14: 25-35, Jesus calls out to those who would be his disciples. He calls them, commands them, compels to make a choice — who will be first in their lives? Who will be the priority? It all demanded that once the choice was made, there would be no turning back. As we hear what Jesus had to say to the people of that time, we will also hear that same call going out to us.

Will you hear him? How will you respond to Him will make all the difference in your life and in the life of others around you.

Let us turn to Luke 14 in our Bibles and be part of the crowd that Jesus is addressing before He proceeds to Jerusalem.

Introduction: We live in a society that loves bargains. Everybody loves a bargain. It is a great feeling when you pay very little but you get a lot. Bargain hunters are everywhere. They go to garage sales. They search the classified, they wait for the sales in big stores, they use e-bay. And the basic mantra of the bargain hunter is, “What is the least amount I have to pay in order to get as many benefits as possible. How do I sacrifice a little and still get all the goodies?” Everybody loves a bargain.

Now sometimes the bargain we are looking for isn’t always a material thing. Sometimes we search for bargains in or spiritual life. What I mean is this. There are times in our spiritual lives when we want all the blessings of heaven, but with the least amount of sacrifice possible. There are times when we live our Christian lives in such a way that we seem to be saying, “What is the least amount that I have to do and still receive all the good stuff of heaven?”

Now this kind of attitude is nothing new to our generation. This kind of attitude has been around for thousands of years, including the time when Jesus walked on this earth. Luke tells us in chapter 9: 51, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9: 51) Apparently most people had no clue that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to give up his life on a cross. So when the Bible tells us that Jesus was going to Jerusalem it is saying that Jesus was choosing to go to the place where eventually he would give his life for those he loved.

Why should we NOT TURN back?

1. Allegiance to Christ (vs. 25-27, 33)

Yet we can imagine that Jesus’ words to the crowd astonished and offended them. His words were a blatant, frontal attack upon that which they treasured: “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” (Luke 14: 26). Jesus refuses to spare the feelings of anyone who would claim to be a follower of him. The call of discipleship is, fundamentally, a call to allegiance. Jesus refuses to be an afterthought, a diversion, or a hobby in the lives of those who claim to be his disciples. In the midst of that crowd, a crowd which lived in a society that valued family ties and commitments above all else, Jesus proclaims that a price, a heavy price, is to be paid by those who would follow him.

But — did Jesus really want the crowd to hate their fathers and mothers, their wives and children, their brothers and sisters? Weren’t there times where Jesus commanded his hearers to love one another —to love one’s neighbor as oneself? How did those concepts jibe with the shocking words they’ve just heard? We must realize, however, that Jesus was not calling his disciples to despise their loved ones. The word hate used in this instance is used rhetorically, comparatively. He spoke of the priority of the disciple’s commitment to him, a commitment that was too far outstrip all other commitments. As the light given off candle or a match seems like darkness compared to the light of the lamps on a lighthouse, so the love of the disciple for his Lord should be so great, that love of family would seem, by comparison, to be hatred.

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