Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Halfway Christians? by John

Halfway Christians?
Luke 9:57-62

1. Last Sunday I said you must make a commitment after you believe in Jesus. Until that commitment is made, you are not a Christian.
(1) Repentance, Belief, and Commitment all three are necessary parts of being born again as Jesus put it in John 3.
(2) So many only accomplish that middle part, belief.
(3) We need to remember that even the devil believes, but he is still lost! If that's all you do, you are still lost, too.
2. There were doubtlessly lost people in the first church in Jerusalem, just as Judas Iscariot was a lost Apostle!
3. Thousands of lost people were added to churches across the empire when the Roman Emperor Constantine ordered all of his soldiers to accept Christianity as their religion.
(1) For the most part, the soldiers met the basic physical requirements, such as some form of baptism.
(2) There is little indication that any of them met the spiritual requirements.
4. Halfway Christians are not just a thing of the past. Today's churches have many, many people on their rolls who believe in God and Christ and have made a commitment to the church, but not to Jesus! As someone said, "They have believed, but they have not received."
5. We have already said that this is not a new thing. Jesus faced this very thing in our text, and He refused to accept these three men as they came. (I believe He would have accepted them if they came surrendering everything to Him).
6. Matthew 8:18-22 contains another account of this, but Matthew only included two of the men who came to Jesus. Luke included all three, and that's the reason I used Luke for our text.

I. Saying the Right Words Is Not Enough!

1. This first man said the right words, didn't he?
(1) He said to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go!"
(2) What's wrong with that? The answer is, nothing!
2. Jesus challenged people to think when He said, "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?" (Luke 14:28)
(1) Is it possible this man had not counted the cost of following Jesus?
(2) So many preachers have proclaimed Christ as Savior without telling the hearers that there is a cost involved!
3. Jesus' response to this man was, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
(1) Jesus knows us! He knew this man had his own reason for following Him.
(2) He knew exactly what was in this man's heart, and He knows exactly what is in each one of our hearts right now!
(3) Many people today choose their place to worship by the size and beauty, or by the stately formality, of the building and the services held in it.
(4) Others choose the place of worship by how modern the service is, by the lifting of hands, the shouting, or the speaking in tongues! (5) A friend told me that he asked a lady how she liked her new pastor, and she said, "Oh! I just love our new pastor! He makes me cry so good!"
4. There is nothing wrong with any of the things I've just mentioned as long as they don't hide the truth.
5. The only good reasons for becoming a Christian or for joining a church is to have your sins forgiven, to enjoy a right relationship with God and to gain a home in heaven!
6. If it costs everything to achieve those goals, then Amen! It is worth it!
7. As far as we know, this man, like the rich young ruler, went away lost and sorrowful. He was not ready to pay the price Jesus asks!

II. Can Filial Responsibility Keep You Out of Heaven?

1. This second man certainly believed in Jesus.
2. And Jesus invited him to be His disciple.
3. The man indicated he would be, but he wanted to stay at home until his father died.
4. That sounds like the beginning of a successful relationship, doesn't it? But the man put in a condition.
5. This man placed his family, specifically his father, above his own need to follow Jesus.
6. Jesus knew what his problem was, and He told him what to do in v. 60. "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
6. Personally, I wonder if this man gave his real reason. I see so many people who want to live all their lives like the devil and then follow Jesus at the last moment so they can make it into heaven as if by the skin of their teeth!
7. People who think like this are gamblers. They are gambling that God won't call them home until they are old and worn out!
8. There is no promise of tomorrow! This could be the last day, in fact, the last moment of life for any one of us!
9. The song, "I Surrender all" tells us what our safe place is: "All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live."
10. It's dangerous to put off trusting Jesus and committing your life to Him, and it is dangerous to count anything of more importance than giving yourself immediately to Jesus!

III. A Lack of Purpose Caused the Third Man to Be Rejected.

1. Why did God want this account included?
(1) When you read it, it seems almost identical to the one just before it.
(2) There must be a specific reason to include it, right?
2. Broadman Commentary on this passage says this: "The third man finds it difficult to cut the ties that bind him to his past and his culture. He lacks the decisiveness and commitment with which one must face the future to which God has called him. In order to plow a straight furrow the farmer must choose a point of orientation and move toward it. He must keep his eye fixed on the goal. In the same manner the kingdom of God is all-absorbing, all-demanding, requiring that those who give
themselves to it do so without qualifications, reservations or regrets."
3. Jesus told the man in v 62, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
4. To become a real Christian requires more than a halfway commitment!
5. A hymn in our book says it well, "All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. "
6. The prophet Elijah was about to be taken into heaven. Prophets in the school of prophets knew it. Elijah told Elisha, his understudy, to stay at Gilgal because the Lord had told him to go to Bethel. Elisha already knew what God was going to do, and he told Elijah, "As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you." (II Kings 2:2) The prophets at Gilgal asked Elisha if he knew God was going to take Elijah, and he told them he did.
7. Elijah told Elisha to stay at Bethel because God had called him to Jericho, but Elisha gave him his same answer.
8, At Jericho the prophets asked Elisha again if he knew God was going to take Elijah away, and he told them he did.
9. In v 9, Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before he left, and Elisha told him, "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit!"
10. Just like Elisha yearned to serve God with all the power he could, we have to determine that we will give ourselves completely to God in Christ!
11. That's what it takes to be saved. That's what it takes to serve the Lord!


1. Is that what you've done?
2. If it isn't, do you really want Jesus to be your Savior?
3. If you do, you must commit yourself to Him as your Lord!
4. All of the things about us in this world can hinder us from making the right choice with the strong commitment that we must have.
5. We must be willing to count all those things as worthless in order that we may have Christ as our Lord, and as our Savior!
6. We invite you right now as we bow our heads in prayer to make that decision for Jesus and to commit yourself without any reservation to Him!
7. When you do that, you can be sure your own Lord and Master will never reject you!
8. Your life will change right now, your destination will change from hell to heaven, and your future will be filled with the brightness of God's presence with you!

Emmanuel Community Church, 3/19/2006


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