Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prepare To Live: Count the Cost of Commitment Luke 14:25-35

Prepare To Live: Count the Cost of Commitment Luke 14:25-35

Everything comes at a cost. An athlete must decide early in life just how serious he wants to become in his field of sport and so train with dedicated fervour. The parables today are simple stories in which Jesus illustrates the importance of fully devoted discipleship. One story is taken from the agricultural world of that day and deals with construction or building; the other is taken from a political situation and deals with destruction or fighting.

But Jesus used both parables to teach us to count what it would cost us to fully follow Him and what it would cost us if we choose a different path. Jesus used the word “hate” (26) ! Surely that’s not what He means is it? Just as property or material things can come between us and God’s kingdom, so can family ties. Here Jesus uses the strongest language to show how much he disapproves of it! We should love our family members less and love God more (cf Matt 10:37- parallel saying)! In fact, giving your family second place is one way of taking
up the cross. So, Jesus’ emphasis here is on the fact that we need to treat the Kingdom of God as the top priority!

The Parables:
(a) The Tower - or Count The Cost Of Following Jesus! (28-30)
The tower or silo story is straightforward enough. A farmer needs a place to keep his implements and produce secure from potential thieves or some kind of harm. First, if he builds it, he will gain respect in the community. Secondly, his property value would probably rise. Thirdly, he would finally have a place to store everything. Fourthly, the tower would provide security. So, he had obviously worked out all of the reasons for building this facility. But there was one thing that he overlooked: THE COST! Halfway through this project, he runs out of money. How humiliating! He ended up with an unfinished building he now could not use!

(b) The War (of the 2 Kings) – or Count The Cost of NOT Following Jesus! (31-33)
For his second story, Jesus noted that this particular king was being attacked by a rival king and was outnumbered two-to-one on the battlefield. If the king is wise, he’ll send out a delegation to discuss terms of peace. In effect, Jesus is saying: “I have come to take back enemy held territory. NOT to follow me means to set yourself up against me. And that’s a fight you will not win! Instead of resisting Him, make peace with him.

Following Jesus is your choice. But you must calculate what it might cost you to NOT follow Him. The reality is that it doesn’t matter how well you start the race if you fail to finish! Don’t drop out…“Finish.” Jesus talked earlier in Luke 14 about how everyone is invited to come to the banquet of salvation. It’s freely offered and freely received. So, we don’t have to count the cost for it. But when it comes to being a REAL disciple or follower of Jesus, we really DO NEED to count the cost of commitment! What about you? What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today! Read Luke 14:25-35

1. Describe the context in which this passage (25-35) takes place?
2. What did Jesus say to them (26-27)?
3. Why do you think Jesus might have used such strong words here?
4. How can we ‘hate’ our family when we are told elsewhere to love everyone (26)? What do you think Jesus meant by this?
5. What does it mean to be a ‘disciple’? What does ‘carry his own cross’ mean (27)?
6. Verses 28-35 share one theme. What is it? What are the two illustrations given?
7. The last two verses speak about tasteless salt (34-35)? To what does this refer? How does
this tie Jesus’ message together?

Personal and practical
8. What is Jesus’ conclusion (33)? What does it mean to you ‘to give up everything’? In what
way/s does this verse challenge you?
9. Can a person be a ‘believer’ and not a ‘disciple’? Why or why not?
10. On a scale (1 = not much to 10 = a lot) how would you rate your ‘saltiness’ at this time? What would you prefer it to be? Why?
11. What does it mean to you ‘to count the cost of commitment’?
12. How do you think your commitment to Christ could be improved? Be specific.
13. Pray through what God has been showing you during this study.

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