I Have Decided to Follow Jesus: 2016 Gospel of Luke #58
This is an exposition of Luke 14:25-33. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, May 14, 2017.
The year was 1845; Sir John Franklin and a crew of 138 set sail from England to find the Northwest Passage across the high Canadian Arctic to the Pacific Ocean. The voyage was estimated to take 2 or 3 years. They sailed in three ships, each of which carried an auxiliary steam engine. The problem was that they only took enough coal for twelve days. The reason for so little coal was that they made sure they had enough room for a 1,200-volume library, a hand-organ that played fifty tunes, china place settings for all 138, cut-glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware. They took no special clothing for this Arctic expedition but they were sure to take their dress uniforms from Her Majesty’s Navy.
The ships set sail amid enormous glory and fanfare. Two months later a British whaling captain met them in Lancaster Sound and reported back to England on the high spirits of the officers and crew. He was the last European to see them alive. For the next twenty years search parties recovered skeletons from all over the frozen sea. Sir John Franklin and 138 men perished because they underestimated the requirements of the Arctic exploration. Instead of recognizing the treacherous conditions that lay ahead, they ignorantly imagined a pleasure cruise. They exchanged necessities for luxuries and it cost them their lives.
Tragically many have made shipwreck of their souls because they refused to count the cost. They set sail on a great adventure with no idea of what was required of them. Others have run aground because they were urged to “try Jesus” and never told of the cost of following Him. Like a boy watching a military parade who is carried away by shining guns, bright medals and impressive uniforms. He was eager to join but gave no thought to war, blood, pain, suffering, death or unmarked graves. Oh there is joy and peace, meaning and purpose in following Jesus but there is also a price to be paid. One thing is certain – Jesus made it clear to those who wanted to follow Him, it comes at great cost. That is our focus this morning as we consider Luke 14:25-33.
Text: Luke 14:25-33
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem.
The time has come – the time for which he came into the world.
The crowds are still flocking to him.
The religious establishment is becoming increasingly furious.
Tensions are mounting.
Jesus is just leaving the home of a Pharisee following an interesting and revealing dinner party.
His words to the gathering multitude serve as a sobering reminder:
Thesis: Discipleship demands wholehearted devotion rather than a token commitment.
This is an important and timely word for us in our culture of “easy-believeism.” Too much of what goes on in evangelism today could be described as “Burger King evangelism” – evangelism that says, “have it your way!” But when it comes to salvation and discipleship, there is only one way – his way!
There are three things I want us to note in our text concerning the nature of wholehearted devotion.
- Wholehearted devotion sets proper priorities. (14:25-26)
- Wholehearted devotion embraces a lifestyle of continual sacrifice. (14:27)
- Wholehearted devotion gladly surrenders all for the sake of the call. (14:28-33)
So, you call yourself a disciple of Christ, a Christ’s follower?
What are your priorities? “If you don’t hate father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, even your own life – you cannot be my disciple.”
What about your life? “If you do not carry your cross and follow me – you cannot be my disciple.”
What about your all? “If you do not give up everything you have – you cannot be my disciple.”
It cost to follow Jesus. The call to be a Christ follower is exceedingly great but it is well-worth the cost because to have Christ is to have everything. Life without Christ is to have nothing at all.