Theme: Two More Shocking Truths
This week’s lessons focus on the high price of new relationships that must be paid to follow Christ.
Scripture: Luke 14:26
3. The inescapable priorities of true discipleship. As soon as we talk of “good” in every situation or of personal sacrifice “in a specific situation,” we tend to relax, assuming that we are therefore off the hook and that the disturbing radical nature of true Christian discipleship need not affect us. This is a false conclusion. It is true that Jesus may never ask us to break with our families for His sake or, as in the case of the rich young man, sell all we have and give to the poor and then come and follow Him. Indeed, in the great majority of cases, this is not required at all. But we must be willing to obey in these or any other areas if Jesus asks it, and we must do it, if He does.
This is to say that we must get our priorities straight. Following Jesus must be the most important thing in our lives, yes, even more than our lives. Nothing must ever be done that subtracts from that commitment. Everything must be done to strengthen it.
4. The dangers of this world. The fourth shocking truth in Christ’s statement about hating father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, is the insidious danger of this world—even in the area of normal human relations and affections. We must say to ourselves, “If I can be kept from Christ by the normal love that I should have for parents, spouse, children or siblings, as Christ obviously teaches I can be, then how dangerous must the snares of this world be!”
The world is sophisticated, persistent and insidious in its temptation. How is a person to resist these temptations—if they can even come to us through the proper and desirable affection and loyalty we feel for members of our own family? The chief way is to be bold in confessing Jesus Christ.
I offer this illustration. During World War I one of my predecessors at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Donald Grey Barnhouse, led the son of a prominent American family to the Lord. He was in the service, but he showed the reality of his conversion by immediately professing Christ before the soldiers of his military company. The war ended, and the day came when he was to return to his pre-war life in the wealthy suburb of a large American city. He talked to Barnhouse about life with his family and expressed fear that he might soon slip back into his old habits. He was afraid that love for parents, brothers, sisters, and friends might turn him from following after Jesus Christ. Barnhouse told him that if he was careful to make public confession of his faith in Christ, he would not have to worry. He would not have to give improper friends up. They would give him up. As a result of this conversation the young man agreed to tell the first ten people of his old set whom he met that he had become a Christian.
The soldier went home. Almost immediately—in fact, while he was still on the platform of the suburban station at the end of his return trip—he met a girl whom he had known socially. She was delighted to see him and asked how he was doing. He told her, “The greatest thing that could possibly happen to me has happened.”
“You’re engaged to be married,” she exclaimed.
“No,” he told her. “It’s even better than that. I’ve taken the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.” The girl’s expression froze. She mumbled a few polite words and went on her way.
A short time later the new Christian met a young man whom he had known before going into the service. “It’s good to see you back,” he declared. “We’ll have some great parties now that you’ve returned.”
“I’ve just become a Christian,” the soldier said. He was thinking in his head, “That’s two!” Again it was a case of frozen smiles and a quick change of conversation.
After this the same circumstances were repeated with a young couple and with two more old friends. But by this time the word had gotten around, and soon some of his friends stopped seeing him. The same confession that had aligned him with Christ had separated him from those who did not want Jesus Christ as Savior. So it will be for you. Nothing will so keep the world at bay as a frank confession of Christ. It is the way to be his disciple.
What is the third shocking truth concerning discipleship?
What is the fourth truth?
Application: What are some real dangers the world presents to you in your discipleship? How do you withstand those pressures?
Key Point: This is to say that we must get our priorities straight. Following Jesus must be the most important thing in our lives, yes, even more than our lives. Nothing must ever be done that subtracts from that commitment. Everything must be done to strengthen it.