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Lay Aside Every Encumbrance and Follow Jesus Luke 9:57 - 62

December 1, 2019 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel According to Luke

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Luke 9:57–9:62

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What will you pay to have Jesus?  Luke 9:57-62

57 And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59 And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Permit me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

A few months ago Pam and I went on a long weekend to visit our neice who has a house in Park City, Utah, which is a former mining town that is now a resort town for skiers, mostly.  Gorgeous area with a variety of Aspen trees in the high elevations I had never seen before.

So we were riding up a very long ski lift late one afternoon, this is summer and we're just out to enjoy the beauty and go for a ride up to the top of the mountain, and we had one of our grand-neices with us on the bench in the lift, and we were playing a game called;  "Would You Rather".

She is about 9 I think, and we had never played this before.  So you come up with the most bizarre things and it's would you rather do this, or do that.  Would you rather hold your breath until you turn purple, or would you rather pluck hairs from your grandmother's upper lip?  Would you rather eat a raw fish, or eat a raw chicken?  Would you rather take a bath in chunky rotten milk, or take a shower in hot prune juice?

Silly stuff and we all had fun dreaming up our own gross this or that's and it is always fun to laugh with any 9 year olds.  And actually we were all exercising a far more serious truth which is put into I think the most understandable terms by the French philopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal.  Here is what he said;

All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”
― Blaise Pascal

All men seek happiness.  Every choice in every moment in every day is teeter tottering on this one thing.  What will make me happiest.

People go on absurd diets and withhold from themselves great pleasure and happiness, because in their minds, the happiness of not being unhealthy trumps the happiness of short term satisfaction.

Vegans are convinced that they will ultimately be more happy if they do not partake of anything animal related.  Some people drink wine to be happy, and others do not drink wine . . . to be happy.  And we could go on and on.  The silly EeeWW-Gross game with the 9 year old is only exercising that muscle that makes us happy.  Two gross things, but we choose the least gross so we can get back to being happy with the least grossness.

Jesus is all about this happiness reflex . . . with a twist.  Jesus ultimately offers us the final and best happiness.  But what cost will men pay to have it.

We are condemned men, all.  And it is a condemnation we deserve.  All have sinned.  All have fallen short of the glory of God.  His condemnation is righteous altogether.  We are born into a rebellion.  Our planet is at war with God and Satan is the ruler of this darkness.  God must judge all of it.

Jesus paid my debt.  Jesus took my debt of rebellion and sin to the cross.  He died in my place.  He took the penalty I deserved.  And then, as if that wasn't enough, He gave me His righteousness.  He rose from the dead victorious over my sins that He suffered and died for.  He ascended back into heaven to dwell at the right hand of His Father.

Some day I will be re-united with Him and His Father in their glorious dwelling place.  I'll be dressed in spotless garments, white and clean.  My joy in that day will be unspeakable.  

Even now He has given me His Holy Spirit who has quickened me from spiritual death to life.  His Spirit dwelling in my heart is the downpayment, the promise of everything to come.  I have the joy downpayment in this world that keeps my heart singing, no matter what this world throws at me.

All of those blessings are free in the sense that I was helpless to do anything that could work towards paying the debt I owed.  I was bankrupt.  Helpless.  He paid it all.  In that sense, salvation MUST be free.  I can't do good works to pay my debt.  Anything I do in this flesh, is vile.  Worthless.  All of my righteousness is like soiled rags to God.

So in the sense of earning my salvation, paying my debt of sin by some kind of good works, I'm bankrupt.  That is hopeless.  Jesus paid it all.  

But having said all of that, so that there can be no confusion, what we're looking at in these three short stories today is;   What does it cost to follow Jesus.  What will we give up in order to have Jesus?  Sin is a blinding happiness.  There is real cost to be willing to give up the gratification of sin now in order to belong to Jesus and be an heir of unspeakable joys both now and later.

The Bible is littered with warnings that tell us our mechanism that chooses the pathway to satisfaction and real joy is broken.  My mind, my heart, my soul, my inner longings are broken.  That is true of every fallen person.  The human race is broken from the fall, and we are chasing phantoms that don't lead us to joy or peace or satisfaction.

Jeremiah writes; 2:13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.

We forsake the living water because our hearts tell  us, just dig a well, you'll be satisfied, you can do it, dig, dig, dig, and our cistern is broken, it doesn't hold water.  Our broken happy thing says; ditch the living water and go look for your own water out in the desert.

That's why the writer of Proverbs writes the two verses we memorized so long ago in sunday school.  Pr. 3:5,6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

That is SO counter-intuitive!  Our television sets are shouting at us 24-7 "do this and you'll be happy!"  Whatever it is.  Our world has all the answers these days, and this book says, they're all leading to destruction.  Our intuition is broken.  Really, what it is, according to this book, it's not so much broken, as it is dead.

Jesus says, the intuitive path that all the world is buying is the wrong way.  Mt. 7:13  “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

Pr. 14:12  There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Your happy thing that is always telling you what to choose, is broke.  Without this book and without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, your decision making process based on some happiness you long for, is broken.  We are desperately looking for the living water, in all the wrong places.

Salvation is a free gift and connot be earned.  But the whole idea of repentence, and you'll recall that the first words out of Jesus mouth in these gospels is a call to repent, the whole idea of repentence is leaving your old life behind, in order to follow Jesus in newness of life.

Paul defines real repentence when he tells the Corinthians 2Cor 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

So, in a sense, we could say, you can't pay for forgiveness of sins.  You're bankrupt.  You've got nothing of value to offer to pay off that insurmountable debt.  But then we could also say, there is no salvation, no following Jesus, without leaving this old world behind.  What will that cost.  What would you pay if the cost is giving up stuff in this world.

Every time we see Jesus talking to someone about following Him, it's a fail.  Well almost every time.  He called the 12 and they dropped everything they were doing, and followed Him.  But as we go through Luke's gospel we keep running into these folks who weigh the cost in the balance, and walk away.

What does it cost to have Jesus?  Listen to Jesus tell two short stories that explain the cost of entering into His kingdom, His authority to reign, His ownership and rule, as opposed to Satan's.

44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

In both of those cases, the person recognizes a treasure that they would gladly pay everything they own, in order to have it.  They both sold all that they had, and bought the treasure.

What does Jesus require, in order that you might have Him.  Everything.  Everything.  He's worth more than anything else.  

So Luke gives us just a couple of glimpses of real time scenarios that played out when Jesus was here.

57 And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”

The greek word translated as follow is; ak-o-lou-th