Sermon: Giving Up Everything Except Christ (Luke 14:25-35)

Luke 14.25-35 Audio

Giving Up Everything…Except Christ

Luke 14:25-35

TT- All Christians must be ready, if need be, to give up everything for the call of Christ.

Today, as we follow Christ toward the cross in the Gospel of Luke we come up against an extremely demanding text.  I’ve approached this text today with much prayer and much fearfulness.  This is a text of Scripture we must get right.  The big problem with understanding this text is that we’ve been conditioned by the world we live in to not think this text is true.  We read it and then immediately make some excuse as to why Jesus surly can’t mean what He says.

Most in America, if you asked, are you a Christian would answer, Why, yes I am.  Most of the time this answer is based on some social idea that basically everyone is a Christian.  Most in this group have no idea what the Gospel even is.  At best they’re moral Americans who own Bibles.

The second group believes that they are Christian because they can affirm a few truths found in the Bible.  If you believe a few correct things about Jesus then you must be a Christian.  If you asked them certain questions, they might be able to give correct answers.  They own Bibles and perhaps even on occasion read it some.  If you asked them the same question, are you a Christian, they would answer, Why yes I am.

We’ve also been conditioned to believe that saying a short little prayer makes you a Christian.  If you come to the front of the church with tears in your eyes and hold the preacher’s hand a repeat after him then you are a Christian.

All these ideas are what we must get out of our heads because they are not true.  Yet, what makes it so hard for us is that these ideas are what we’ve grown up with and been taught all our lives.

If it’s possible, today, let’s not approach Christianity with these preconceived unbiblical notions but approach it fresh and listen to what Jesus, Himself, tells us what being a Christian really is.

For the next few minutes, lets pretend we’re hearing the requirements of a Christian for the first time.

I must qualify one very important point here, and that is when Jesus uses the title disciple in our text, it is synonymous with Christian.  A Christian is a disciple and there are no Christians who are not disciples.  A disciple isn’t a super Christian or something you become after you’re saved.  A disciple is a Christian.

Acts 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.   

Please hear God’s Word,

Lk 14:25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,

Lk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Lk 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Lk 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Lk 14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,

Lk 14:30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Lk 14:31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Lk 14:32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

Lk 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Lk 14:34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?

Lk 14:35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

1. Does Christ Have Your Supreme Loyalty? (14:25-27)

Lk 14:25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,

Lk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Lk 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Our text begins with Luke showing us the context of Jesus’ teaching.  There were many people following Jesus.  He calls them a great crowd other translations use the word multitude.

What’s going on is there were literally thousands following Jesus but He knew that their commitment was superficial.  They wanted Jesus for what they could gain now by aligning with Him.  They wanted earthly wealth and power and Jesus knew their motives were not admirable.

Are you a follower of Christ?  If so, why?  Why are you a follower?  Are you a superficial follower, a spectator or are you a committed follower a real follower?

The crowd wanted what they thought Jesus would give them.  However, the exact opposite was true, following Christ would cost them everything.  The same is true for us.  Following Christ cost us everything.

A. Following Christ Costs Relationships

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Believe it or not, this is how Jesus did evangelism.  This is an evangelistic text.  He doesn’t desire to turn away true followers, only those who are superficial.  Jesus desires all people to come to Him but in the universal call that goes out, along with it is the call to discipleship.  In other words, to be a Christian means that Christ has your allegiance.

We are not called to hate others.  We’re not called to hate our family.  What we are called to do is to love Jesus much more than we love anyone else.  This Love/Hate language is very typical of ancient hyperbole.

The point is, there are times when following Christ will in itself bring about feuds within the family.  When the son of a lost father comes to Christ and senses a call to missions and the father desires the son to pursue a law degree, there will be feuds.  By the way this was true in the life of Luther and Calvin.  They followed Christ not the desires of others.

Are you willing, if need be, to forsake family in the pursuit of following Christ?

TT- All Christians must be ready, if need be, to give up everything for the call of Christ.

B. Following Christ Cost Your Own Life

Lk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate …even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Jesus requires loyalty.  As Christians, we must be ready to forsake family if need be in order to follow Jesus.  He takes another step, when He commands all Christians to even be ready to give up their own life.  Do you love your life so much that you would rather deny Christ than give it?

We’ve already learned in Luke that we are called to deny ourselves.

Lk 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Lk 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

This true discipleship is nothing knew.  Jesus has been teaching this all along.

Mt 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Mt 10:35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Mt 10:36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

Mt 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Mt 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Mt 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The crowds were increasing in number.  Jesus wanted to make sure they knew His requirements.

Many preachers today are out for large crowds.  They will do almost anything to increase the size of the congregation.  This is because, they think, with more people comes more prestige and more money.  Some, who are more moral, will say that every number is a person and I want to see many saved.

On a few occasions, Jesus being in the midst of a large crowd of followers, would turn to them and say something like, I’m not sure if you realize what you’re getting into by following Me.  He would explain that following Him would require loss in this world.  So, very clearly, Jesus isn’t out to gather a large crowd of followers but a smaller number of true disciples.  Quality over quantity was His desire.  Recruits not spectators are His goal.

In the realm of Jesus’ evangelism He very clearly tells all would be followers that coming to Christ will cost family and even your own life…Your family and yourself.

Next He tells us it will not only cost your family and yourself but also your stuff…

2. Have You Counted the Cost? (Luke 14:28-33)

Lk 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Lk 14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,

Lk 14:30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Lk 14:31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Lk 14:32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

Lk 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Most modern day evangelists will tell us that if you come to Christ, you will begin living the good life; you’ll be healthy and wealthy.  Is this true?  Is this the message Jesus is sharing with us?  Is this the Gospel?  It’s true in the eternal sense.  It’s true that you will be blessed in many ways.

Mk 10:28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”

The issue isn’t what will you get by being a follower of Christ but what it will cost you now in this life.  Jesus’ point is it will cost you and so you’d better count the cost before you sign up.

Most today claiming to be followers of Christ have never given up anything.  They’ve only desired to get things.  When times get difficult they throw in the towel.

Mt 13:21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 

Why have you come to Christ?  Is it to get something in this life? 

Lk 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 

Here’s an example:

Most folks who are looking for a church to attend ask certain questions…

Do you have something for my kids?

Do you have a youth group?

Do you have a Wednesday Night service?

Do you have a center isle?

All these questions are focused on what the church has for them.  What can I get out of it?

I’d like more people to come and say, I want to come and serve and work where can I help?  But most today are takers and not givers.

Jesus now moves us on and points out something very freighting especially in today’s easy Christianity…

3. Do You Follow Christ Completely? (Luke 14:34-35)

Lk 14:34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?

Lk 14:35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

What’s Jesus telling us?  I’ve set the terms for discipleship and here they are: Give up everything and follow Me.  If need be, turn your back on family, friends, your stuff and even your own life in order to follow Me.

Jesus will not play second fiddle to anyone or anything.

According Jesus (not according to Pastor Brian), anything less is not Christianity at all.  Claiming to be a follower and not following wholly is an empty claim.  It means nothing.  It’s like salt that isn’t salty.  It doesn’t even make good fertilizer.  Its only purpose is to take its place in the trash heap.

One thing Jesus does here, is, in a round about way, claims deity.  If He commands His followers to have no other loyalties except for Him, then He is God.  Give up everything, all relationships all your stuff even your life, but don’t give up Jesus.  Everything else you can afford to loose but don’t loose Christ.

Jesus has made the call to discipleship so restrictive that on one occasion everyone left except His disciples and in John 6, He asks them are you leaving also?

Jn 6:65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Jn 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

Jn 6:67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”

Jn 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

Jn 6:69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

I think it’s time the bar is raised back to the place of biblical Christianity.  I’m afraid in America, we’ve been living in a fairytale world of make believe.  The demand of Christ upon all followers is total allegiance.  He will tolerate no rivals to His Lordship.  King Jesus will not bow to you or me; we must bow to Him and swear allegiance.

Jesus is telling us straight up, there is no fine print on the back at the bottom of Jesus’ brochure of discipleship.  When you sign up you are signing over all your allegiance and if need be, even your own life.  This is Jesus’ demands for His followers.

TT- All Christians must be ready, if need be, to give up everything for the call of Christ.

Application

Let’s place ourselves in another make believe situation.  Let’s imagine right now, this very second Jesus calls you to move overseas and begin working among an unreached people, sharing the love of Christ with them.

Would you do it?

Possible answers:

–No, I couldn’t possibly I have (various reasons) why I can’t go.  I would love to but I just can’t.

What are some reasons?  Health, Family, House…

–Yes, I can and will.  Where do I sign up?

Jesus has called you to follow and He is leading overseas.  To not go is to turn away from following Him.  Those who turn away, have just shown themselves to be superficial or false followers.

Are you a disciple?  Are you a follower?  Are you a Christ?  The answer must be yes to all of the questions or no to all.

I pray you are willing if need be to forsake everything to follow Christ.

%d bloggers like this: