Sunday 4 September 2022

 Luke 14  v25-33

Jesus stated, if anyone comes to me and does npt hate his father, mother, wife and children,his brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be my disiple.

For which of you does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to  build a tower does not sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it. Otherwise he has laid a foundation and is unable to complete it, all who see it will mock him, saying he built a ower and could not finish. Or what king going to war with another king, will sit down and deliberate whether he with ten thousand meet him with thirty thousand. And if not, when the other is a great way off, sends a delegation and ask for peace. So therefore, when anyoney who does not renounce all that he has, cannot be my disciple.

The fame of Jesus had spread throughout the countryside of Galilee, and crowds followed him wherever he went,  Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing he was going to suffer a cruel death on the Cross, a most savage way of being put to death.. The crowds who were with him expected him to lead an  army to create an empire.  In an uncompromismg way, Jesus told them who followed him were not going to seek worldly power, but would be expected to follow him. He was saying he would be the only way through which people could be righteous in God's sight. He was saying he would be the only way through how people could approach God, and the means by which we can be granted salvation.

The words of Jesus must be understood with care, not in a cold critical way.  The words of the gospel writers were of Aramaic interpretation, which were often vividly brutal.  It is inconceivable that Jesus would violate the fifth Commandment, in which God stated we should honor our parents.  Jesus just wanted to emphsize that to be a true disciple one must have love for him.

When we make a  decision to follow Jesus and accept him as Savior, we are committing ourselves to obey his teaching, which includes a moral, ethical way as well as a spiritual one.  This means abandoning vertain lifestyles, and a lot of people are not prepared to do that; they want to carry on as they have been doing.

It is a Christian's first duty to count the cost of following Jesus, and should not be taken lightly, but show reverence for God.  Many people who attended the great evangelical Crusades of Billy Graham, inspired by the singing of massed choirs, tuneful hymns, and preaching by the greatest preacher in Christian history.  When they returned to parish Churches there was such a contrast, their faith had not been strong enough to, instead of giving up on hearing dreary chants and poor preaching, often of a false nature, they should have stood firm and tried to influence services.

If you desire to follow Jesus, be sure you know what it means, with discipleship of hostility and sacrfice. We can never know or anticipate our future, so should in the hope of future salvation, make sure we be on the Lord;s side.

Life can be hard and short for some, and when someone we love dies,  believe me, the consequnce for the bereaved is desolate and lonesome, as we know we will never see that dear one again in this world. Friends we once had make a sudden exit, but Jesus is saying he will in either in this life or the nxt, he will be with us.

There  are times when family members fall out, especailly when one member pursues a commitment to follow Christ.  In such cases the Christian must stand firm in faithfulnnes and belief.  There should not be any long term enmity, perhaps with gentle persuasion, a compromise may be obtained, Christianity has not been spread by aggression, as Paul pointed out to Timothy

I know through experience, that parents can be rather severe in their attitdues to children who wish to attend Church.  The only way to overcome is to pray for help from God insisting to parents that you don't want to do anything to offend, and that there are far more many other things  that are harmful.

I have witnessed total and uncompromising resistance towards wives by aggravated husbands, which causes distress to their wives, and to whose who witness such determined bullying. Instead of remembering wedding vows, and being understanding and tolerant to those they are supposed to show love and care for , they display contempt .

I have seen women who attended Church just for a worshipping service, without any fuether involvement, be threatened.  One such man gave an ultimatum to a lovley lady, who wasgenerally liked, that it ws either the Church or him, and he would leave with the children.  Imagine the horror and terror of that woman. I imagine some wives may object to husbands attending, although I have not personally known of any. In either case, things get painful, and true love can never be present in such instances. Those of us who do not have that problem should thank God for his blessing upon us,and to those also who have to suffer marital disturbance.

I often wonder what Jesus would say to his Church today. Could you foresee Jesus being happy when Ministers of the Church give false teaching, especially on immorality; teaching that tells people to follow their desires, for God will forgive ; when congregations are told by Church leaders not to attend meetings, because the evangelical preacher is a hate speaker, who says marriage is only between a man and woman.  How wondeful if all preachers and speakers spoke with one voice, and kept to God's teaching in the Bible.  When there would be no controversies  over social or ethical matters as well as spiritual issues; where preachers would not re-interpret the Bible in passages which offended the weak minded. Christianity demands faithfulness, belief based on sound doctrine, convictions which strengthen others

Let us learn from this passage, that there are many people who claim to follow Jesus, but they are not real followers.  There is a massive difference between those who attend services, and being a real Christian. It has been a supreme handicap that in the Church there are so many distant followers.

An unfinished tower is a humiliating thing. In every sphere of life we are called to count the cost.  No one tries to be a student without realizing there must be studying and learning. Men and women are told when marrying, not not enter unadvisedly or lightly.  It is so when becoming a Christian; if a man or woman is concerned about the cost demanded by our Lord, they are not left alone, Jesus is ready to walk a difficult path with you to the end.


No comments:

Post a Comment