Summary: This is the first in a series of sermons adapted from David Platt's "Radical" Series.
What the Gospel Demands
Text: Luke 14:25-34
This morning I want to talk to ya’ll about something that the Lord has been laying on my heart for some time, it’s just that I didn’t have a clear picture of it. And I think that it’s pertinent and relevant, and very important for us as Christians today to understand what we’re going to be going over the next few Sundays.
And I’ll say right now; that what I’m going to be preaching on the next couple of weeks might make you feel a little uncomfortable… maybe not, but it might. I can also tell you that it’s probably something you wouldn’t hear in most churches. Not because it’s wrong, or unbiblical… quite the contrary. It’s very biblical… you wont hear it because it’s unpopular! But it’s my hope and prayer that in preaching this series of messages, that we as believers, and we as a collection of believers… as a church, will be challenged to move forward in our service to the Lord.
(Read Text and Prayer)
How many of you know that our culture can often times dictate our way of thinking? Think about it. Did you know that in some places, men with big pot bellies are considered more desirable than men who are fit and athletic looking? In some cultures the man with the most tattoos on his face is the most desirable man in the village. I’m sure you’ve all seen the National Geographic shows where women and children are only partially dressed, but no one seems to have any problem with that in those cultures. Our culture; and any culture can influence the way we see things, the way we view things, and the way we understand things.
So what about the culture we find in the Bible? In this text that we just read for example, how did Jesus’ culture understand the words that Jesus had just said to them? And how do we view it and understand it? Do you think maybe our cultural understanding can cause us to marginalize, minimalize, and misinterpret the meaning of Jesus’ words? I think so, and I think it does. Probably more than we realize. And sometimes I wonder if we believe in what is taught from the pages of the Bible, or if we just believe our cultures rendition and spin on what is taught in the pages of the Bible. Does the Bible shape our thinking or does our thinking shape our understanding of the Bible? Do we believe what the Bible teaches?
Because here’s the thing; if this book is true, then it has radical implications for our lives. Just this text that we’ve read, has radical implications for our lives… and for our church, and for THE CHURCH as a whole.
I mean; look at what Jesus is saying here. He’s basically saying, “You can’t call yourself a follower unless you’re willing to give up everything.” Granted; He may not call you to give up everything, but are we willing to if He did? And so the question is: Do we believe this Book?
I want us to look at a couple of things that jump out at me from this passage today and we’re going to be looking at them from a question standpoint. .
1st – Do we believe what the Bible says about the Church?
Turn with me to Luke 9:57-62 (Read). Now at this point in time; there were large crowds following Jesus. He was doing miracles, feeding thousands of people, and many thought that he was going to be the one to throw off the yoke of Roman bondage, and so people were flocking to Him and wanting to be His followers.
But what we see in this passage is Jesus doing something that might make us scratch our heads. Because if we read it as its written what we see is Jesus, and it looks almost like He’s talking people out of following Him, rather than trying to get as many converts as He could. And this is what I mean by how a culture can influence thinking. Because what Jesus is doing here, goes completely against our cultural thinking. Today we say do whatever it takes. We’ve got to have the right kind of worship music, and the right kind of preaching, and plenty of programs for the kids, and enough things to keep people entertained, and the list goes on and on. As long as we can get people to show up, and then once they show up, we don’t place any real demands on them other than “Keep showing up and give us your tithe.”
You know… I can just see the disciples when something like this would happen. It probably drove them crazy. They were probably like, “Hey Jesus, you know every time we start to get a big crowd you say something like, ‘Eat My flesh and drink My blood,’ and we end up loosing 2/3rds of our congregation. C’mon Jesus, how do You expect us to get on the list of fasting growing religious movements?”