A. Great multitudes followed Jesus as He went about teaching the word
1. No doubt, the whole affair was a playful extravaganza to many
2. Some thought that He would become king and free them from the Roman dominance
3. Some were fascinated by His strange teaching
4. Still others followed Him hoping to see some mighty deed
B. It was to this crowd that Jesus said the words in Luke 14:26-33
1. Crowding along behind Jesus did not make one a disciple
2. Jesus used stern language to show the requirements for true discipleship
A. What did Jesus mean when he said we must hate our fathers, mothers, wives and children, brothers and sisters?
1. It is not to be taken literally because other passages teach the opposite
a. Far from hating their relatives, Jesus called on His disciples to love even their enemies
2. It does not mean that Christians are to love their relatives with a diminished or reduced love
a. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church - Ephesians 5:25
b. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and this includes all relatives, especially those of our own immediate family - Titus 2:2-3
B. The words hate his own life also supply the key to understanding what Jesus requires.
1. A disciple is to hate his relatives in the same sense he hates himself
2. He must hate whatever in himself is low and base, greedy and selfish - anything that would drag him away from Christ
3. In the same way, he is to hate his relatives.
a. He should love them as he loves himself, and he should hate them as he hates himself
b. If a choice has to be made between love of Christ and love of relatives, true disciples must be ready to treat their relatives as hated enemies
C. John 12:25 - Hebrews who love life (who selfishly seeks to please himself) will lose it, but he who hates his life (who denies himself and willingly takes up his cross and follows Christ) will keep his life for eternal life
1. In the movie "The Poseidon Adventure," the ocean liner S.S. Poseidon is on the open sea when it hits a huge storm. Lights go out, smoke pours into rooms and, amid all the confusion, the ship flips over. Because of the air trapped inside the ocean liner, it floats upside down. In the confusion, the passengers can't figure out what's going on. They scramble to get out, mostly by following the steps to the top deck. The problem is, the top deck is now 100 feet under water. In trying to get to the top of the ship, they drown. The only survivors are the few who do what doesn't make sense. They did the opposite of what everyone else was doing and climbed up into the dark belly of the ship until they reached the hull. Rescuers heard them banging and cut them free. (From Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, No. 2)
2. There are a few good people who do what makes no sense - They:
a. Empty themselves in order to be full
b. Admit they are wrong so they can be declared right
c. Die so they can live
d. Forsake in order to have
e. Give so they can keep
A. The first is that of a man who wanted to build a tower
1. The tower was most likely a vineyard tower as in - Matthew 21:33
a. Towers were built in vineyards so that the owner could watch and protect the vineyard from being stripped at harvest time
2. Before one built a tower, he should calculate what it was going to cost
a. If he began to build and could not finish, he would become a laughingstock to all who saw his unfinished work
B. The other illustration is of a king who contemplated war
1. Before meeting the enemy, he should calculate the risks involved
2. Could he stand against twenty thousand with his ten thousand?
3. Are his own soldiers well-trained and eager for battle?
4. If he could not withstand his enemy, he would be wise to send a delegation and ask for conditions of peace
C. Jesus' stern conditions of discipleship keep down superficial enthusiasm
1. Jesus was not like most recruiting officers
a. A military officer withholds comments about the dangers of being a soldier; otherwise, he would enlist very few recruits
2. Jesus did not want individuals to come after Him with false illusions.
a. He did not promise health and wealth or pie in the sky as the modern televangelists
D. Jesus lays before all men the challenge of the difficult task of following Him.
1. The expression "a few good men" comes from a time when three military recruiters were given opportunity to address high school seniors. Each recruiter, representing the Army, Navy, and Marines, was given fifteen minutes to speak. The Army and Navy recruiters got carried away, so when it came time for the Marine to speak, he had just two minutes. He walked to the podium and said, "The marines are looking for a few good men. I doubt whether any of you in this room could hack it in the Marines, but if there are a few good men here, I want to see you in the dining hall when we are dismissed." Hebrews then took his seat
2. Later, when he arrived in the dining hall, he was greeted by a large number of students who were interested in becoming Marines
3. Likewise, Jesus appeals to the heroic dimension in every heart, and is looking for a few good men
A. Am I willing to deny myself?
1. Self-denial is the first condition of discipleship - Matthew 16:24
2. Jesus did not mean a temporary denial of self, or a sacrifice of certain pleasures for a week or two, but He meant for a lifetime of self-denial
3. To deny self is to no longer live to please oneself
a. Paul had crucified his passions and lusts - Galatians 2:20
b. This is precisely what all Christians are to do - Colossians 3:5; Galatians 5:24; Romans 6:6; Romans 8:13
B. Am I willing to abide in Jesus' teachings?
1. One must have firm conviction that Jesus is Lord and King
a. He was born to be king - Luke 1:31-33
b. He was made both Lord and Christ - Acts 2:36
2. True discipleship involves continuing in His words - John 8:31-32
a. Again, are you willing to abide in His teachings?
b. Will you faithfully attend every service, put His kingdom first, keep yourself unspotted from the world? - Luke 6:46
C. Will I zealously follow Him to the end?
1. There are many who are eager to follow Jesus as long as the way is easy and pleasant
2. However, when the going gets tough, and the road stretches long, how many will give up?
3. Many Christians are like the tower builder.
a. They start building, but before long their tower lies dormant
b. Very little building is being done
A. Jesus did not intend to discourage people to never begin
1. He only wants them to carefully consider the cost
B. People would be wise to consider the cost in other endeavors in life
1. If one says, "I want to be a medical doctor," he must realize that it will take many years of study and hard work
2. If one says, "I want to compete in the Olympics," he must realize that it will take much self-discipline and training
3. If one says, "I want to be a Christian," he must see beforehand the hard and painful struggle that awaits him, and be ready to make whatever sacrifices are necessary
a. Those who count the cost and pay the price are the ones who will be rewarded
b. The cost does not equal the reward that will be granted - 2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:18
-- Don Treadway, March 2011 --