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September 8, Discipleship Costs!
September 8, 2013 Invade Luke 14:25-34 Call to Worship (4 Callers and me) Intro: As we turn our hearts to the Word of God, I ask you to remember the song I sang at the beginning of the service. It was a song of invitation; a reminder that we dont seek God of our own volition but are responding to Gods calling our name. God is calling each of us to follow him, to follow Jesus, to allow Jesus to enter our lives in such a way that we are one with him and he with us. Hold on to that as we look at this passage together. Before we begin to read this passage, we need to have a little English teacher review. Who remembers what hyperbole is? Ill give you some examples: There will be enough food at our potluck to feed an army. Ive been waiting an eternity for this night to get here! The anticipation is killing me! What do all of these statements have in common? They are exaggerations. But they convey some truths: 1) There will be a lot of food at the potluck. 2) Ive been waiting earnestly for this night to come. The statements are not untrue, but they exaggerate what Im feeling, the point Im trying to get across. Jesus had a great command of language. He used different styles of speaking and in todays passage we get to hear him use hyperbole. He is exaggerating to make a point. Lets look at verses 25-27. Read 25-27 Jesus is exaggerating to make a point. The conclusion I draw is that there is no thing and no one more important for me to follow and obey than Jesus. And if Im not willing to bear the burden of my obedience, then I may as well not say that I follow Christ. Jesus is conveying the message that there is a cost in following him. There is not much of a cost in saying the words, I am a Christian, but to be a disciple, one who actively lives in obedience to Christ, there is a huge cost as it requires putting Christ and his will above all other things. For us those things may be certain family events or members, material pursuits, recreational activities, jobs we take, volunteering that we do. Sometimes carrying our cross and following Jesus will require us to stay silent and sometimes it will require that we speak up for those who cant speak for themselves. It may call us to be standing alone with people thinking that were odd for not joining in. It may lead us to the embarrassment of walking out of a situation that we realize we ought not to be in. There are so many examples. But Jesus exaggerates his statement to make the point being His disciple may cause problems among the status quo, and from time to time you may be required to choose Jesus over others. In the next two paragraphs, Jesus uses two parables to exemplify his point. Jesus would make his language teacher proud! First he uses hyperbole and then he uses parables which are short stories that teach a lesson. Lets see what hes after. Read 28-32 Being a disciple of Jesus Christ isnt something to be taken lightly. It requires thoughtfulness and it requires action and it requires making choices every day about who one will serve. In these two parables, Jesus makes the point that those who are really going to follow him, not just in name but in all that they do, need to count the cost. I want to say that this passage is in the lectionary for today, which is why I chose it, but isnt it a bit coincidental that tonight we meet to vote on the actual cost of our decision to follow Christ out of one denomination and into another? It is necessary and it is symbolic. We are cutting ties that have been significant to many and throwing in our lot with something that is not as familiar or as deeply established. We are, as a church, actively picking up our cross and following where Jesus leads and we are, actively counting the cost in doing that. But what about you personally? Read 33-34 What about you? What does discipleship cost you personally? What will it mean for each of us individually to pick up our cross and follow Jesus? I cant answer that for you but I do have a vision of what it will look like as we come together as individual disciples of Jesus Christ. I envision that when we gather here on a Sunday morning, we come because we want to give God all the glory for everything good that has happened in our week and at the same time we want to be in a safe place with others who have not lived perfectly so that we can confess our faults, our weaknesses and our need and know that we will not be meant with judgment, but with love, understanding, prayer, and encouragement. My prayer is that we will more and more become the embodiment of the person of Jesus Christ and that we will be recognized as such. My hope is that each of us will think about what it means to become even more serious about our discipleship. And whether that requires us to be more intentional in prayer, Bible study, worship, or service that we will choose to follow where Christ is leading. Concl: This morning I began worship with a song titled Invade. Invade is not a word associated with nice things. We think of armys invading countries. We think of an invasion of privacy, of someone coming in where they are not welcome. One of the online dictionary definitions included: to enter as if to take possession: to invade a neighbor's home. But here, this morning we used a song inviting Jesus to invade. What did we mean by that? What kind of pastor, what kind of people ask to be invaded? I think the kind that want to see Jesus and understand that following him on their own power is impossible. I think the kind of people that understand that due to their own self-centered humanity, they have a hard time seeking Jesus on their own and need help; the kind of people that want Jesus to show up in a tangible way; a people who are seeking to be transformed by the grace and mercy of God. I hope thats who we are. I hope thats the cost were willing to pay. Invade Come come in Invade all You see of us Any man who'd walk Your road Is welcomed here And You're the only one You're the only one You're the only one Oh Jesus come and walk The halls of this house Tread this place and turn It inside out with Your mercy And Jesus teach us the prayers That open these doors Until Your light floods in And illuminates these floors And let Your truth be on our steps And in these rooms Jesus invade invade Reach reach in With the hand that heals All our suffering Conquer all that is not of You Bring Your Spirit through As we fill these walls With Your praise (chorus) And I call for angels I call for mercy And I call for freedom In the name of Jesus In the name of Jesus Christy Nockels | Nathan Nockels CCLI License # 2015925