At the conclusion of Luke 14 at verse 43 Jeuss says, “If anyone would come after me, he must give up everything he has”. So, there it is: Give up everything you have, pick up an instrument of torture (the cross) and hate your mom and dad. That’s a lot different than admit, believe, confess, and pray the prayer. You get to Luke chapter 18, an eager guy, a young guy with money comes up to Him. If anybody needs to be in, this guy needs to be in. Think of all that he can do for the kingdom. (If) this guy gets saved, you put him on the circuit…
Unfortunately, Jesus did not have the personal evangelism methods that we have today and He looked back at him and said, “Go sell everything you have. Give it all to the poor. Then come follow me”. And the man turned away. And Jesus, here’s what’s scary, Jesus seemed to be ok with that.
So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these people in the first century. What if Jesus said these things to us? Now, some people say, “Now Dave, you’ve got to be careful here, maybe we’re not all ready or mature enough to think about this”. Don’t miss it: This was the introduction to Jesus in the Gospels. So what if your introduction to Jesus- instead of repeating the words after me as you pray this prayer- what if your introduction to was: Go sell everything you have? And give it to the poor? and hate your mom and dad? or give up everything?
And this is where we come face to face with a frightening reality: Jesus HAS said these things to us. He has told everyone of us in this room to give up everything we have. He has told us to love Him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world, look like hate in comparison. And we don’t see in Scripture that He has commanded every single follower of His to sell everything they own. But the reality is that He COULD say this to any one of us in this room.
We don’t believe this. We take passages like this and we say, “What Jesus really means was…” And this is where we need to be really careful because this is where we start redefining Christianity according to our own preferences. We start taking the Jesus of the Bible and saying, “Well, what He really meant was…” and we fill in the blank with the Jesus that we’re a little more comfortable with. A Jesus that fits our lifestyle a little better. A nice, middle class, American Jesus, who looks like us and thinks like us, a Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism, a Jesus who is ok with nominal and half hearted, lukewarm devotion. A Jesus who would not call us to dangerous extremes and for that matter, a Jesus who wants us to avoid danger altogether.
But here’s the real danger: Now, we’re taking the Jesus of the Bible and we’re twisting Him into our image, so He looks like us, and thinks like us and aligns with us and when we gather together in our churches and our worship services and we sing our songs and we lift up our hands, the reality is that we are not worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. We are singing to and worshiping ourselves. And we think we’re worshiping Jesus. So I want you to see in this text who Jesus is. He is the Savior who is worthy of all your trust.
Luke 9:57 - The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”