Date: 27 June, 2014
Text: Luke 14:25-35
Title: Will You Follow Him?
Proposition: Not just anybody can follow Jesus.
2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
Gideon had to go into battle with limited troups. It wasn't because Israel didn't have great more able bodied men. But, only 300 men hundred passed God's test to get into Gideon's army. God thinned the ranks of Gideon's army to bring glory to Himself.
God is seeking men today who are qualified to be in Christ's army, these who will follow His commands.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Our story this morning is Jesus thinning the ranks of his followers. He wouldn't accept just any soldier in His army. He would only take those who would bring God glory.
25 ¶ And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
note: It's as if Jesus has stopped, turned and drawn a line in that sand and said, "Not just anybody can follow me. To cross this line you must..."
I. To cross this line you must Love me supremely.
note: If you don't love him supremely, than any one of these things could stop you from following him.
A. You must love him more than family.
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,
question: What does the Lord mean? Would the Lord say to love your enemies but hate your family? Of course not. But, if it is a choice of yielding to family or yielding to God - YOUR LOVE FOR GOD SHOULD COME FIRST.
1. What if your mum and dad don't want you to follow Christ?
exp. "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1) but you must hate your parents to follow Jesus.
exp. How many mum's and dad's have been guilty of keeping their kids from following Christ.
ill. We highlighted that recently as I recounted the testimony of Isobel Kuhn's mum who stood in her way. But, Isobel lovingly trusted the Lord and allowed him to open doors through which she would step despite the hinderance of her mum.
app. As parents are we willing to let our children move away and serve God wherever he desires them to go? As children are we willing to go wherever God wants us to go even if unbelieving or BELIEVING parents stand in our way? Jesus said you must if you would follow him.
2. What if your spouse does not want you to follow Christ?
exp. "Husband's love your wives" (Ephesians 5:25) but you must hate your wife if you would follow Christ.
note: God may at times test our allegiance to his will by having someone we love and who may even love Him resist God's will in our lives.
ill. Great man of God who lovingly served the Lord faithfully to the end of his life. "Brother Shore I dread seeing you and your family in a caravan." God had clearly directed us to do that AND that was the biggest blessing to our family on deputation.
app. God may allow a Godly friend to be blind to His will for your life to see if you will follow him NO MATTER WHO resists. Husbands do you have the courage to lead even if your wife disagrees.
3. What if your children think your "religion" is restrictive?
exp. Perhaps a mum and dad have a rebellious child who doesn't want to go to a good church. They want to go to a church with wicked music. Or they want to hang out with wicked friends. Or they want to go to wicked places.
app. As parents we have a choice. Choose strife in the home and follow Christ. Or accept a false peace and pacify the rebel? Who will you love more? If you want to be a disciple it must be Jesus.
4. What if your brothers and sisters ridicule you?
exp. Can Jesus really mean this? In every relationship stand up and follow Him.
Did he ever face resistance from his family?
ill. Remember when Mary and Joseph sought him sorrowing. What did our Lord lovingly say, " Luke 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
ill. What about his half brother's who mocked him?
John 7 3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
app. Do you love the Lord more than family this morning? What aren't you doing that God wants you to do because a family member is more important to you than God?
B. You must love him more than life.
If any man come after me and hate not.....yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
exp. What if YOU are the one who protests against what God wants you to do?
ill. Jonah - 1 ¶ Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
question: Do we really know what is best for our life or does God?
Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
app. Many people never accept Jesus because they don't want to give up their life that is leading them to eternal death. It would be better for them to kill their "life" on the altar of sacrifice and have everlasting life. Christians do the same thing. They're saved but they don't know the joy of serving Jesus because THEIR SELF is in the way. You must hate your life to follow Jesus.
C. You must love him unto death.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
exp. Do you like crosses? What about the cross of Christ
ill. Mt 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
question: If you saw Jesus carrying his cross up Calvary for you, would you want to carry it for Him? Not carrying it to hasten his death but to soften his suffering.
quote: "As dear old Dr. Tozer used to say, 'one thing you know about a man carrying a cross. That man's not coming back.'" -Leanard Ravenhill
app. The cross is death to the world. It is the old man being crucified with Christ and letting the new man bear the print of the nails in identification with the Lord. You don't want a cross. You want a get out of @#!*% free without ever being IDENTIFIED WITH JESUS.
TRANSITION: There is the line in the sand. You CAN NOT cross it without supreme love for Jesus.
II. To cross this line you must be prepared to serve God.
exp. Discipleship is not a thoughtless process. It takes careful planning and preparation.
A. You must prepare to finish.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
exp. When a person commits to Christ, there must be preparation to serve Him.
ill. I watched a video recently on the Sherpa guides of mount everest. When they take a group up into the high altitudes they have base camps where they are allowed to acclimate to the altitude. Without that season of preparation the would never reach the top and may die trying.
ill. Some pastor's have the idea of educating young preachers by thrusting them out into the ministry. They are immature and unprepared and they soon quit serving Jesus. Some young people have the idea that they can serve God without the preparation time of discipleship.
app. Jesus took three years to train his men for the great work they must do. If the greatest teacher of all had to take time, shouldn't we take time to (PREPARE AND BUILD TO FINISH.)
B. You must prepare to win.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
exp. This is no fools errand. Their is wisdom in warfare that is essential. If you can't win, you had better submit. note: God's army isn't prepared to surrender but it ought not rush into battle without proper planning or the battle will be lost.
Pr 20:18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
app. Young person, you may believe God has called you into ministry, are you preparing with wisdom? Have you taken good council? Are you preparing with wisdom to win?
transition: Any person who has ever served in God's army has gone through years of diligent training. You can't cross the line unless you are willing to prepare to finish and to win.
III. To cross this line you must be fully committed to Christ.
A. You must FULLY surrender.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
exp. In case the Lord hasn't made it clear, you must be prepared to turn your back on everything to follow after him.
ill. The apostles demonstrated how someone does this practically. Matthew 4:18-22
18 ¶ And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
app. Some may say, "But we aren't getting enough people interested in serving God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength." Can't we just lower the bar? WE CAN BUT GOD WON'T. You will never truly serve Jesus if you hold onto anything.
B. Your ability, heritage, education, desire, pride will not make you a disciple.
....forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
note: There is no exception and there is no other condition. You may want to be a disciple and know that you should be a disciple - AND YOU WILL GO AWAY SORROWFUL LIKE THE RICH YOUNG RULER BECAUSE YOU REFUSE TO QUALIFY.
app. God has great opportunities for those who would follow Him but you are missing the blessing by holding onto anything and refusing to let go.
C. You must be distinctly different from the world.
1. You are God's seasoning.
34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned.
exp. Disciples in name only but not in practice are not disciples at all. We have churches full of unsalted "salt." They aren't the light of the world because they look just like the world. They sound just like the world. They are entertained just like the world. And THEY ARE NOT DISCIPLES BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
2. If you aren't salty, you're worthless.
35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.
app. Don't be foolish enough to shame the Lord by your brazenness to step over that line ifyour life is not fully surrendered and distincly different for the world. God takes that and throws it where it belongs not on his holy altar but on a pile of refuse.
Conclusion: Gideon's army brought great glory to God because they were the group that were qualified to serve Him.
Jesus now ends his qualifications for crossing the line into discipleship by saying...."He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
The multitude stands there looking at Jesus and the line drawn in the sand. THERE IS A CHOICE TO BE MADE. AM I REALLY GOING TO FOLLOW JESUS AND CROSS THE LINE. That decision is once again before us this morning. If you would cross that line you must....
Love Him supremely. (more than any family member, more than yourself.)
Prepare to serve Him. (You can't be a disciple and not study.)
Fully commit to Christ. (Have you surrendered ALL? Are you distinctly different from the world?)
If God is working inyour heart this morning, we'd love to talk with you. Please talk to myself or another Godly person in our church about what God is doing in your heart. We want to encourage you to FOLLOW JESUS.