Sermons

Summary: Three men and three different excuses as to why they couldn't follow Jesus. We can learn from their mistakes to live out our calling with passion and to keep from letting the world distract us from this important mission.

MANY OF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH “ALICE IN WONDERLAND.” IN THE MOVIE, ALICE FINDS HERSELF AT A FORK IN THE ROAD. AS SHE CONTEMPLATED HER DECISION, SHE NOTICES THAT THE CHESHIRE CAT IS UP IN THE TREE.

UNDECIDED ON WHICH ROAD TO TAKE, ALICE LOOKS AT CHESHIRE THE CAT AND ASKED HIM, “WHICH ROAD DO I TAKE?” THE CAT RESPONDS, “WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?” ALICE ANSWERS, “I DON’T KNOW.” THEN CHESHIRE THE CAT CALMLY STATES, “THEN, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHICH WAY YOU GO.”

UNDECIDED. UNCOMMITTED. UNCERTAIN. DISORIENTED. IT IS NOT JUST ALICE IN WONDERLAND, BUT THE ATTRIBUTES OF A WHOLE WORLD OF PEOPLE WHEN IT COMES TO FOLLOWING JESUS CHRIST.

LIKE ALICE, WE ARE AT A FORK IN THE ROAD…FOLLOW JESUS OR GO ABOUT OUR BUSINESS. AS STATED IN MATTHEW 7:10-14, WILL WE TAKE THE BROAD AND DESTRUCTIVE ROAD THROUGH THE WIDE GATE OR WILL WE CHOOSE THE NARROW ROAD BY WALKING THROUGH THE NARROW GATE THAT LEADS TO LIFE.

FOLLOWING JESUS MUST BE A PRIORITY. OUR ALLEGIANCE TO ANYTHING OF THIS WORLD MUST NOT SURPASS OUR ALLEGIANCE, LOVE, DEVOTION, SERVICE, WORSHIP OR OBEDIENCE TO THAT OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

IT TAKES SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE TO PUT ALL THE ASPECTS OF OUR SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL LIFE INTO THEIR PROPER ORDER OF PRIORITIES. THE THREE PEOPLE IN OUR SCRIPTURE TODAY DIDN’T QUITE DO THAT AND JESUS USES THEM AS AN EXAMPLE TO HELP US.

THE FIRST PERSON, IN VERSE 57, TELLS JESUS THAT HE WILL FOLLOW “WHEREVER YOU GO.” JESUS REPLIES “FOXES HAVE HOLES AND BIRDS OF THE AIR HAVE NESTS, BUT THE SON OF MAN HAS NO PLACE TO LAY HIS HEAD.”

JESUS IS WARNING US THAT SOME OF THE COST OF FOLLOWING HIM IS FACING RIDICULE AND REJECTION. FOLLOWING JESUS WILL NEVER BE POPULAR. DISCIPLESHIP IS DEMANDING AND WILL REQUIRE TENACITY TO STAND FIRM WHEN FACING ANY FORM OF PERSECUTION, HOSTILITY AND REJECTION.

JESUS HAS WARNED US THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL BE AS ACCEPTING OR POLITE WHEN WE PROFESS OUR FAITH. NO MATTER WHERE WE GO, WE MAY NEVER FIT IN OR BE WELCOMED. WE MUST BE PREPARED TO ENDURE THIS KIND OF TREATMENT FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE SUCH AS OUR FAMILY, AT WORK, IN THE MEDIA, AND EVEN AT CHURCH. WILL YOU FOLLOW JESUS WHEREVER HE GOES?

THEN THERE WAS THE SECOND MAN IN VERSE 60 WHO JESUS PERSONALLY ASKED TO FOLLOW HIM. THE MAN HESITATED BECAUSE HE WANTED TO FIRST GO HOME AND BURY HIS FATHER.

THE FACT DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER. JESUS IS NOT EVEN REFERRING TO DEATH. JESUS IS ACTUALLY ADDRESSING HESITANCY WITH NO EXPIRATION DATE! JESUS WAS CONFRONTING HIS “NOT NOW – MAYBE LATER” ATTITUDE…HE WAS ASKING JESUS FOR AN INDEFINITE DELAY.

HE WASN’T READY TO COMMIT HIMSELF TO JESUS “JUST YET.” JESUS SENSED HIS RELUCTANCE BECAUSE WHATEVER IT WAS THE MAN WANTED TO DO…HE WANTED TO DO THAT “FIRST” BEFORE COMMITTING TO WHAT JESUS WANTED HIM TO DO.

YES, GOD GRANTS US COMMON SENSE, BUT WE ALSO HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPING US TO KNOW WHEN TO PROCEED OR TO RESCHEDULE EVENTS AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS SO THAT WE HAVE A PROPER BALANCE OF RESPONSIBILITIES AND COMMITMENTS TO GOD AND OUR PERSONAL INTERESTS, WORK AND FAMILY MATTERS.

BUT, THE POINT STILL REMAINS....LOYALTY. WE MUST ASK OURSELVES WHAT OR WHO HAS OUR HEART AND OUR LOYALTY? MATTHEW 6:21, “FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO.” IS JESUS YOUR TREASURE? BE LOYAL TO JESUS!

THE THIRD MAN IN VERSE 61 STATES HE WANTS TO FIRST GO BACK HOME TO SAY GOOD-BYE. ALTHOUGH IT WOULD SEEM LIKE A LEGITIMATE CONCERN FOR FAMILY, WE ACTUALLY SEE THAT IT IS A STRUGGLE OF PRIORITIES. JESUS IS SAYING THAT OUR GREATEST PRIORITY IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

JESUS IS WARNING US AGAINST LETTING THINGS DISTRACT US. WE ARE BEING TAUGHT A VALUABLE LESSON: WE ARE NEVER JUSTIFIED PUTTING THINGS OFF TO A “BETTER TIME” THAT SUITS US. WE MUST AVOID STALLING, DELAYING AND COMING UP WITH ALL KINDS OF EXCUSES TO AVOID DOING WHAT WE KNOW TO DO.

JESUS IS CHALLENGING OUR TRUE MOTIVES. WHY ARE WE UNWILLING AND RELUCTANT TO PUT GOD FIRST? DO THE THINGS OF GOD ALWAYS GET PUT OFF IN PURSUIT OF OTHER LOVES? WE MUST MAKE A CHOICE! GOD MUST BE OUR PRIORITY!!

JESUS NOW, WITH THREE WAVERING POSSIBILITIES, VERY CLEARLY CONCLUDES IN VERSE 62, “NO ONE WHO PUTS HIS HAND TO THE PLOW AND LOOKS BACK IS FIT FOR SERVICE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” I BELIEVE HE IS EMPHASIZING THAT OUR FOCUS MUST BE VERY INTENTIONAL SO THAT WE WILL NOT GET DISTRACTED AND PUSH JESUS ASIDE BECAUSE OF OTHER ENTICING COMMITMENTS.

DISCIPLESHIP IS NOT A PART-TIME JOB NOR IS IT A HOBBY TO TINKER AROUND WITH. IT IS A SACRED DUTY OF GOD'S CALLING ON YOUR LIFE AND SHOULD BE PURSUED WITH THE UTMOST PASSION.

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