Saturday, September 7, 2019

Pentecost 13 - Proper 18

Pentecost 13 – Proper 18
Luke 14:28-32
08 September 2019
Look Before You Leap

Grant, merciful Lord, to Your faithful people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord.[1]  

You buy a car. But can you make the monthly payments, pay the taxes, insure the car, and pay the maintenance, repairs and the gas?

You matriculate to college. But are you focused and disciplined? To write the term papers, and pass the exams. 

You agree to take a job. But are you willing to get up early each workday? Deny yourself leisure. And put forth the effort of doing a good job? 

You jump into marriage. But are you able to pay the bills, make the sacrifices, educate the children, and stay home at night to baby-sit? 

These we can understand. But have you ever considered the const of being a follower of Christ? If you desire to follow the Christ you must ask yourself, am I prepared to count the cost? 

Choose my friend. But choose wisely.

There’s a tendency to enter into ventures without considering, what is required. When this is done, many are unable to fulfill the conditions. All might be lost. Jesus in our parable urges us to count the cost. 

Jesus uses two different circumstances to illustrate His point. Discipleship requires a conscious commitment, make with a realistic estimate of the ultimate personal cost. The practical nature of the circumstances Jesus so vividly pictures underlines the fact that Christian discipleship is not some theoretical abstract ideal but a hard reality of life.

1. Do I want to be a Christian? If so, do not become a “rash disciple.”

A. The foolish tower-builder began to build. Without knowing whether he could complete the project.

B. The king will not go to war with insufficient troops. Lest he is forces to sue for peace.

C. Do not enlist as a disciple, a follower of Christ, without first counting the cost.

1. Some follow Jesus only for the loaves and fish.

a. The desired for Him to be their bread king.

b. They were following for selfish ulterior motives.

2. Some follow Jesus for selfish reasons.

a. Some follow Christ for business or social advantages. In another parable, Jesus explains: “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” – Matthew 13:22

They do not hear the word “with joy.” Yet never permit the message about the kingdom to control them. Life has too many other commitments. That slowly chokes the struggling plant. So that it never matures and bears fruit.

The competing “thorns.” – The worries of this life. Devotion to wealth snuffs out spiritual life. “Deceitfulness” is how the Savior describes these temptations. One many not even be aware of the choking that is going on until it is too late. 

This warning is timeless. What you think will save or satisfy may in fact be the one thing that will rob you of life and happiness. Choose. But chose wisely. Your dream might turn into a nightmare. 

b. Jesus asks His disciples, “Will you also go away?” –John 6:67-68

c. Jesus wants steadfast disciples. “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13) 

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

TransitionDo not become a rash disciple. Instead, know the cost.

2. Do I know the cost?  “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciples.” – Luke 14:33

A. Our possessions are gifts of God. Always for our good. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

B. Possessions can prove to be a stumbling block to discipleship. “For the Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” -1 Timothy 6:10

C. Desire Christ over riches. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” –Matthew 6:24 Because God gives you abiding riches. Which include:

1. The forgiveness of sin. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. “ -1 John 1:7

2. The assurance of the abiding love of God. “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  – Psalm 73:23-35

3. The hope of heaven. “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” -2 Timothy 4:8

Transition: The demands and costs are high. Choose, but choose wisely.

3. Am I willing to pay the price?

A. Life is a gift, which we seek to preserve and enjoy.

B. The time may come when you must determine - between your life and Christ. Which is more important? Choose – but choose wisely.

1. Christ predicts that persecutions will come. “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 10:20

2. There is danger to choosing life instead of Christ. “But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” – Matthew 10:33

3. Christ encourages us to take up our cross daily. “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” – Luke 6:22-23

C. Prefer Christ over life. Because Christ gives real life.

1. He gives you life in fellowship with God now. “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. “ – 1 John 1:3

2. He gives eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10

A wise man once said, “He who loves liberty more than life, let him follow me.” Jesus said, “He who loves Me more than family, possessions, and life itself let him follow Me.”  Lord, help me to choose wisely. Help me always to desire Christ – over anything else.
Passive Sentences – 1%
Readability – 81.1%
Reading Level – 4.4
Luther’s Seal © Higher Things
Collect for Pentecost 16, Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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