We continue our sermon series entitled “Stories Jesus told”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. This service also includes communion.
All of us from time to time are guilty of making excuses in life whether they are genuine or not. Today’s story includes 3 individuals who were keen to follow Jesus but were challenged in the area of their priorities. Jesus wants every Christian to understand the cost of being His disciple. Coming to Christ should never be under compulsion, peer pressure or a knee-jerk emotional reaction. Following Christ requires the believer to take up their cross and follow the master. Following Christ requires us to count the cost and understand the path that Christ calls us to tread.
Shedding excuses is a discipline that must be practiced with our thoughts, communication and action. There is only room for language that declares: I will! – S R Roberts
Today we are going to be challenged in the area of our excuses when it comes to prioritising Jesus and his kingdom.
Whether you are coming to Christ for the first time or seeking to follow Christ more deeply, may all of us be drawn to love Jesus more and respond more positively to the call to surrender all to Christ.
1. Are we too Cosy? – v57-58
- Jesus’ response to the man’s request to follow him was to give an update on his living arrangements. (Jesus did not have the comfort of a permanent place of abode)
- Following Jesus is not always comfortable and we may be asked to follow Him in places/seasons that are out of our comfort zones
- Jesus’ mission field is full of obstacles and challenges as well as tremendous fruit and joy.
Challenge – Are we fearful of stepping outside of our comfort zones? Are we concerned about the prospect of going somewhere new for the Lord? The will of God is not always comfortable and may stretch our faith but the joy of serving Christ will always outweigh the prospect of being uncomfortable.
2. Are we too busy? – v59-60
- The second individual was an aspiring disciple who placed his family responsibilities ahead of following Jesus.
- Jesus was not trying to diminish the importance of our families or discourage us from spending quality time with our loved ones, but He was giving us an example to follow that God is the most important source of our lives.
- The traditions of this man’s day would demand a quick burial and this would have been on his mind.
Challenge – Have we allowed the noise and demands of our time to cloud our times of devotion and worship with the Lord? Above all else, Jesus should be first and we should endeavour to prioritise His kingdom above all. (Matt 6:33)
3. Are we too distracted? – v61-62
- The final encounter included in Jesus’ parable was the request to go and say goodbye to his family.
- Again like the previous examples Jesus was not diminishing the importance of family or chastising the man for wanting to say goodbye to His family
- The teaching point of the parable is to help Christ’s followers count the cost of following Jesus.
- Plowing the field in Jesus’ day with a horse or mule required fixed attention on the job. Looking back could cause the animal to lose focus and go off course causing damage to the field.
Challenge – Distractions in our day can materialise in all shapes and sizes. They can come when we least expect them and can cause us to lose focus on the important things. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we and in Jesus’ Name we can stand against the distraction tactics of the enemy, so we can focus on what God has in store for us.
Questions – Based on Luke 9:57-62
1. Why is comfort so enticing?
How does it hinder faithfully following Jesus? Where have you seen comfort take precedent in your life?
2. What does Jesus mean when he says, “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”? Why do you think Jesus responded in this way? What does this mean for those who say they will follow Jesus?
3. What does this passage imply was the final decision of these 3 men in following Jesus? Do you think that Jesus was too harsh with them? Why or why not?
4. Read Luke 9:23-27 and discuss the similarities to 57-62. What crosses do we have to bear in our 21st-century living?
5. As discussed the parable was to provide a teaching moment to Jesus’ disciples about the cost of discipleship. What’s costs have you counted and continue to count in your walk with Christ?
5. Discuss and think about other Bible verses that speak about the fruit and joy of following Jesus. You may want to share personal testimonies of fruit in your lives and others you have seen/heard.