Bible Lesson 71

#2 IN SERIES ON LOVE
Luke 14:26-33

As we begin our second lesson, in the series on love, we want to look at the love of the Christian, that born again, obedient, new creature that is now ‘in Christ’, and their love for the Lord Jesus Christ. In our scripture text for this lesson (Luke 14:26-32) we are notified about the extent of the love that exists between the Savior and the one that He has saved by His sacrificial death on their behalf. As we look at that scripture and I will quote it here for your convenience?

‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it– lest after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand’ Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.’

I would ask you to notice verse 25 of Luke chapter 14 because it puts the text in context. Here we see our Lord and Savior as He preaches to a great multitude, who had begun to follow Him, and he turns to them and speaks these hard sayings that we have in verses 26-33. Why in the world would our Savior speak that way to this huge crowd of people who wanted to follow him’

Apparently, He had not heard about our 20th Century church programs which point to ‘Megachurches’. Jesus Christ will not be much in demand if He continues to speak this way to His followers! That is the expected question and the answer is that Jesus Christ the Son of God, God in the flesh, was telling those who followed Him that being His disciple is not a sop, is not all roses and no thorns.

Jesus reminds me that, just as I used to do when I was a Recruiter for the military, I did not look for someone who just wanted to go a short way or who wanted the payday but did not want to be pressed to perform, and Jesus did the same thing.

If you have read the Bible over carefully at least a few times you will remember that Christ always looked for a few good men, and He always warned those who came to Him, about what would be expected of them (Matthew 8:19-22; Matthew 10:16-18; Matthew 16:24-27; Matthew 5:11-12; Luke 12:51-53; Luke 14:26-33; Luke 17:10; Luke 21:12-19; John 15:18-23; John 16:2-4).

When asked by a disciple, for permission to go and bury his father, Jesus said ‘Follow Me and, let the dead bury the dead.’ What Jesus was impressing on that disciple, and on us who read that today, is that there is absolutely nothing more important for the Christian, than our duty to Christ in this world, and things like funerals should be secondary; because those who are dead have plenty of ‘dead people’, those who are unsaved, to bury them (Ephesians 2:1-5; Matthew 8:21-22). That’s what the Churches of our day must come back to; the idea, and the fact, that nothing is more important than our love for and obedience to our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We certainly are not practicing the fellow-ship nor the follow-ship of our Lord. As proof of that, I would ask you to examine how most professions of faith are allowed to wither on the vine.

People join church groups and more often than not, the leadership allows their profession of faith to be no more than multiple choice answers to a form of questioning that always allows whatever the sinner wants to profess. If we are awake and aware, we know that the average person making a profession of faith does not last long in his ‘seeking the face of God’, because for the most part the churches of our day have taught us that it’s no big deal, all we have to do is to profess and then go our way. Think about this you who are wives and husbands, and people who will one day probably get married. What would you think, if on your wedding day, after the vows are said, and you start to leave the church with your spouse, then at the entrance to the church a cute red head or blond was standing there. What would you think and what would you do, if your spouse were to drop your hand and grab that person’s hand and leave the church with them instead of with you.

That would not be at all acceptable with humans; however we expect God to accept that kind of thing from us. Needless to say, that won’t happen, because God has already set the parameters for the true Christian’s life and it does not include adultery. All too often we seem to want to have Jesus in our lives but we want Him to be compartmentalized along with much worldly stuff. What we fail to see; because we do not properly and studiously read our Bibles is that He will not share His honor and glory nor His place with anyone. He must be Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all. Christ demands the preeminence in every life that is truly saved (Galatians 2:20; Mark 8:34-38;). If you think that Christ is demanding too much, then you have a real problem; because you only have two choices, and they are one, you can die to self and live in Christ and spend eternity in heaven; or you can refuse God’s free gift of eternal life in His Son and go to hell where you will eternally be tormented in literal flames along with your father Satan. There are no other choices, and Jesus Christ preached that in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-23). Jesus says in those verses in Matthew chapter 7, that there are two gates, two ways, and two destinations. Now which gate have you been through and which one of the ways are you following’ What is your destination’ Those are not trick questions and you must know the truth about your answers. You have either gone through the strait (narrow) gate which is Jesus Christ, and are following in His footsteps as you obey all that He has commanded, and you are heaven bound, or else you went through that wide gate and have followed that broad way that leads to destruction, as you slide toward hell!

Now, if you said that you have entered by that narrow gate, which is Jesus Christ, that means that you have been granted the New Birth, and you know that you are now that new , In Christ, and have been radically changed from the sinner that you were, to the saint that God brings forth. It is very important that you be willing to examine yourself in order to prove to yourself that you have right standing before God; because your eternity depends upon it. God loved people so much that He gave His one and only Son Jesus Christ to bear the penalty for their sins on the cross. That redeemed those that God would call with an effectual call by the Holy Spirit at some point in time. Now, who will God call effectually’ I don’t know and you don’t know and nobody but God knows who they are and the only proof that a person has been called by God is that they run to the cross and fall prostrate at the foot of the cross of Christ, loving Him more than they love anyone or anything in this world, ready and willing to take up their own cross, (the persecution and hatred of the world), and dying to their own plans, desires and hope, in favor of what Jesus Christ would command them.

Now, this is not some idle smoke and mirrors scheme, it is not something even that the one who is saved has any control over. Those who are effectually called by God, will, without fail, come to Him in all that He requires. I’m afraid that we have been taught a very different scenario about salvation. The church over the past decades has offered up a salvation that is under the control of the person who is being saved. In other words, God is not operative in salvation unless and until the person who is to be saved” decides’ to be saved. That sounds good to the humanist but it does not compute when we really think about what we are saying. God created us in the beginning and in fact, He created all that we know and probably much that we do not know. God has set the sun, moon, and stars in place and caused the various rotations and tilts and cycles that keep all of the planets in perfect synchronization. God has kept this planet and the people on this planet in a condition that allows us life and the pursuit of happiness and yet we want to think that we, condemned sinners under the wrath of God, should be able to make that crucial decision concerning our salvation. If God did not love us enough to bring us back from death in trespass and sin, to a quickened state, in which we are renewed spiritually so that we can understand our own depravity, we would never even desire to be saved (Ephesians 2:1-10).

If we stop to think about what we want to believe about salvation, we have to admit that we do not think very clearly; because we have no trouble praising God for Creation, and the miracles and all that we read in the Word of God; but we reserve that supernatural work of salvation to a fallen who rests under the wrath of God from the moment of birth until God sovereignly begins the work of regeneration. Until we are saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, we have no idea about love. Oh, we say that we love our wives, husbands, children and family and sometime we are even brave enough to say that we love what we know about God, but all of that love is predicated upon something in us that wants something from whoever it is that we say we love. Before true salvation, we may say we love our spouse, but that is always dependent upon them satisfying some requirement that we have, things like good looks, pleasing personality, a duty toward us and other things; but always we require that something for us be satisfied. God’s love does not require anything from his s, because God provides everything in salvation that God requires from His children.

God finds everyone who will ever be saved in the same condition. We are all born into this world with a nature that is against God, and we exist under God’s wrath until He chooses to save us. In true salvation God puts the old to spiritual death (Romans 6:1-9), and raises up a new that has the God given power in them to live in such a way as to glorify God

(Ephesians 2;10; 2nd Corinthians 5:17). Now, I would ask those who think that fallen can chose to be saved’. can you accomplish all that God does in true salvation’ We seem to think that God is pretty powerful, if we allow Him to be. Listen closely now, God is Almighty and He alone is the repository of all power, so He is sovereign whether you will allow it or not.

Some who have been brought up in humanistic churches and have chosen to believe what the Bible will not teach, probably have trouble accepting that; but regardless, that is what God’s Word teaches and we will never get to heaven unless we receive the Word of God and the God of the Word, (Romans 10:17; John 1:11-13). We must love others..especially our Christian brothers and sisters; because we are commanded to love them (1st John 4:20-21).

There is only one way given in the Bible that we can prove that we love God and that is that we keep His commandments (1st John 5:1-3; John 14:21-24). We are commanded to love our enemies; and that takes some explanation because of our skewed understanding of love. When God said that we were to love our enemies, He was not speaking of Hollywood’s kind of love, which is lust, but of a need oriented love. We may never be able to put our arms around some of our enemies and tell them we love them but we can always pray for their good and whenever we can meet a need that they have we should do that. It would be foolish if we got the idea that that our enemies would always come to love us and be our friends. Some may but some will never appreciate anything that we do for them, or recognize our love; but we love them albeit from afar, because God commands us to love them (Matthew 5:44-45).

One commentator (R.C.H. Lenski) had this to say about loving our enemies, ‘Love indeed, see all the hatefulness and the wickedness of the enemy, feels his stabs and his blows, may even have something to do toward warding them off; but all this simply fills the loving heart with the one desire and aim, to free its enemy from his hate, to rescue him from his sin, and thus to save his soul. Mere affection is often blind, but even then it thinks that it sees something attractive in the one toward whom it goes out; the higher love may see nothing attractive in the one so loved,’..its inner motive is simply to bestow true blessings on the one loved, to him the highest good’.I cannot like a low mean criminal who may have robbed me and threatened my life; I cannot like a false, lying, slanderous fellow who, perhaps, has vilified me again and again; but I can by the grace of Jesus Christ love them all, see what is wrong with them, desire and work to do them only good, most of all to free them from their vicious ways’.

We live in a word that is fraught with many dangers so we as Christians who are to be, ‘wise as serpents, and harmless as doves’ must always remember that we have the right to self-defense. We live among those who think nothing of taking your life or the life of your loved ones, so take care to be the protector of you family. First and foremost show the love of God to every

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob