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Summary: The challenge and cost of following Jesus

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Where are you heading? 2/4/06

Luke 9: 51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[c]?" 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and[d] they went to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

59He said to another man, "Follow me."

But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

61Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good bye to my family."

62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

Determination

Each of us is heading in a direction that will take us somewhere.

Daily we take decisions, which have consequences.

For example if I were to choose to start seeing another woman socially I would have taken a small decision that would have enormous consequences.

I would have taken a new direction in my life. It would be a direction which involves both the thrill of thinking I wouldn’t be found out coupled with deception of people close to me.

My decision to start seeing another woman would inevitably involve, secret text messages, a huge mobile phone bill, making excuses, telling lies, breaking the heart of the woman who has spent more than 30 years married to me and deserves better, letting down my children, losing all my friends in the church who wouldn’t want to keep company with an adulterer, a certainty of divorce and all the financial consequences of that. Most seriously of all I would I would not inherit the kingdom of God. I Cor 6;9 seems to state that if, as a Christian I choose to take this path of deception and die unrepentant then I would have broken the solemn and binding vow I made to God at my marriage and my eternal salvation is in doubt.

Each of us is heading in a direction that will take us somewhere. The question is where are you headed?

Where was Jesus heading? Jesus set his face with determination to go to Jerusalem.

Jesus lived every moment of His life knowing the specific purpose and the specific destiny for His life.

He knew that the reason he came and lived among us full of grace and truth wasn’t just to heal and teach and do miracles, wonderful though those things were. He know the real reason was to go to Jerusalem and to lay down his life in order to accomplish his Father’s will of bringing a lost world back to the possibility of enjoying the wonderful things God had created both for now and eternity.

How much do we want to accomplish Father’s will for our lives and for His world? Do we live our lives with a sense of determination and purpose or are we content just to drift?

Is this church heading anywhere or are we content to let it plateau and stagnate? We are not to compare ourselves with the church in the next town but with the church in Acts 2.

I do not believe that God has spent the last few years building up this congregation spiritually and numerically to see it dwindle, decline and sink back into mediocrity. God wants no one who is a member of this church to be content with lukewarm Christianity and complacency.

God is builds up the local church because His only plan for the salvation of people in this town is the church.

His only plan to reach the growing population of the southeast is the church.

His only plan to draw the UK back to God is the church

His only plan to bring salvation to a lost and broken world is the church.

God only has the church. His church is composed not of Christian superstars, not of people who take the stage at meetings in huge auditoriums or lead worship in vast arenas.

Most of his church throughout the world is made of Christians like us. People sometimes wonder how they are going to meet their bills. They have anxieties about their health, their future and their family. However with God’s help, and with the power of God’s spirit we can see the local church advance

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