Summary: This is the second in a short series of messages adapted from David Platt's "Radical" series.
Text: Luke 14:25-35
(Read Text and Open with Prayer)
Now we read this text last Sunday and we talked about how if this Book is true, then it should impact the way we live our lives, the way we spend our time, the way we spend our money, and the way our church operates. We talked about the fact that if the Bible is true, then what it says about the Church and the eternal destiny of the lost is true, and that should also impact all of those things as well.
Now my job as a pastor; when I’m preaching, is to expose what the Bible teaches. Sometimes that can make us feel uncomfortable; sometimes it can even sting a bit. It’s not necessarily what we want to hear, but what God wants us to hear. It’s what we NEED to hear. And so when we look into the text of the Bible we should always ask ourselves, “What is God saying to me in this portion of His Word?”
I think another question we should probably ask ourselves is, “Does God really want this from me today? Or was this just something Jesus was demanding of His followers 2,000 years ago?” And what I hope to do in this study is avoid getting too specific. And the reason I don’t want to get too specific is because we have created a system of Christianity that consists of a bunch of boxes to check off. That’s what legalism does. If you look at legalistic religions that’s the sort of thing you see. Take Islam for example… pray five times a day facing Mecca – check. Make the hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) – check. Participate in ritual fasting – check. And they go down the list of boxes to check off. The danger in this is that we hear the Word of God and then we crave these boxes… because we wrongly assume that if we can check off boxes, we can have assurance; but like I said, that’s legalism – and that would be a false assurance. Instead; what I hope happens, as we go through this series of messages, is that they drive us to wrestle with God in hours and hours of prayer, so that we can get a true Word from God, for ourselves and for our church. The problem we have with that is that we will do everything necessary to bypass spending time with God to find out what He has for us. I think that if most people were honest they would find that they do that… and if they were really honest, they would admit that they avoid spending time with God, and avoid finding out what He has for them, because they quite simply, don’t want to do it. As the saying goes – “Ignorance is bliss.”
But I hope that we… each one of us… will get alone with God, and wrestle with Him and find out how His Word is applied to us personally as individuals.
So I want to begin today by asking you this question – are you willing to come to Jesus on His terms? You see; the brand of Christianity that we’re all familiar with allows us to come to Christ on OUR terms. We hold on to what we’ve been told: “Walk an isle – say a prayer – ok; you’re good to go…” There’s no counting the cost, there are no demands, and truth be told; in many instances there is no change in ones life to speak of. But look at what our text says are Jesus terms for being His follower. Have we counted the cost of being a Christ follower? Did we count the cost of following Him before we walked an isle? Or a better question would be – were we told that there would be a cost? Sure we were told the benefits of being a Christian. Forgiveness of Sin, being made right with God, an eternity with Jesus in glory. But that’s only half of what it means to be a Christian. The latter half… the reward half.
Many weren’t told that when we were rescued from sin that we had been drafted into the Lord’s army and that we were to go out and rescue others in the same way that we ourselves had been rescued, by sharing the Gospel with them.
Can you imagine standing in that crowd that day listening to Jesus? I’m sure there were some who were thinking to themselves, “Who does Jesus think He is? He’s asking us to give up everything, and then we’re supposed to pick up an instrument of torture and death, that’s only used for the worst of criminals, and follow Him?” You see how different this is compared to what we do today? And here’s what I find interesting, this is how Jesus introduced people to Himself. This was the initial invitation. There was no “easing them into it.” In other words; He taught a little while, did a few miracles and then said, “Be prepared to give up everything, grab a cross and follow me… but be sure you’ve counted the cost, because you very well might have to give up everything. And you very well might have to die on that cross.” And you notice; this initial invitation wasn’t given to mature believers… this wasn’t something that someone who had been a Christian for a long time was required to do… this was the initial invitation. It was the elementary; basic truth… the beginners steps of being a Christ follower.