I have struggled to get this last sermon on We Have Come Into the Kingdom for Such a Time as This because of trying to organize it in a way that would be concise enough so as not to be discarded because of all the cumbersome pieces. I finally, put it back in the order that Luke recorded in the Gospels since it was Jesus’ idea in the first place. That is why I can’t let this go. After all, it is Jesus’ requirements for discipleship that matter in the end.
Another reason I can’t let this go is the three cannots that Jesus gave. For some time now, I have been mislead that coming to the place of telling the Lord, “I will do whatever you want me to do, and I will go wherever you want me to go,” was something that only ministers did. For no other reason, I guess, than that is what I said when I answered the call to preach. That is totally wrong! Notice the first verse which begins, “And he said to them ALL, If any man will come after me …”
Qualifications for Discipleship
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me,
1) let him deny himself, 2) and take up his cross daily, 3) and follow me. Luke 9:23
Six Classic Excuses
1. Accommodations Problem – let me read the benefit package before I sign up.
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Luke 9:57-58
2. Unfinished Business – now is not a convenient time. Lord, I will serve you when I am older.
And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. Luke 9:59-60
3. Family Approval – Lord, I would serve you, but I didn’t realize my family would come against me so much.
And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:61-62
4. Pressing Business Deals – Lord, I would serve you but making money is more important right now.
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. Luke 14:18
5. Making Life Happen – Lord, I would serve you, but you know I have to work to make ends meet.
And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. Luke 14:19
6. Hope and Dreams – Lord, I will serve you, but let me finish college, start my career, start a family first.
And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 14:20
Disqualifications for Discipleship
Jesus turned to the multitude, not just a handful of ministers, and gave this message:
1. If you don’t love Jesus more than your family you cannot be my disciple.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 14:26
2. If you don’t take up your cross and come after Jesus you cannot be my disciple.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 14:27
He prefaced the last one with, If you intend to build a tower, and you don’t first sit down and count the cost whether or not you sufficient funds to finish it, you will be mocked for starting a building project and not being able to finish it.
3. If you don’t forsake all that you have you cannot be my disciple.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33
The Key Word Study Bible offers this clarification to some puzzling statements that Jesus made here in Luke 14.
-Concerning family, Jesus requires that we love our families less than him.
-Concerning possessions, Jesus requires that we properly prioritize them. Jesus must come first place in our finances, not last.
The bottom line, we cannot tell Jesus how and when we will serve him. The terms of following him are not negotiable. Many people today are deceived into thinking that they are able to dictate the terms of the agreement. By their actions they tell God how often and how much they will serve; God you only get my service during these hours because my time is so valuable. Others, think they can put God off until they check other more pressing items off of their list, and serve God when they are ready, or at a more convenient time. Although God is loving and understanding, we must remember he does not play second fiddle to anyone or anything. First is the only place he will take in our lives. If we had to draw only one lesson from the Old Testament, it should be that God doesn’t tolerate idols with his kids.