Wow, so much to talk about in today’s passages from Luke 14:25-35 and 1 Thessalonians 13:15. The first giving us insight on living in God’s kingdom on earth, the second on leaving this earth to enter into his eternal kingdom.
A newcomer to our church in Exmouth was so excited about meeting Jesus that he committed to reading through the bible, beginning with the Gospels. Almost daily I was given updates about the wonderful things he was reading. It was a real delight to see the Holy Spirit working through his bible reading. But this passage in Luke 14:25-33 stopped him in his tracks. When he next saw me he said “please help me to understand this passage, because if it saying what I think it is saying i can no longer be a Christian, because I love my mother and father.” Wow, the cost of discipleship! Knowing he had read through Matthew’s gospel, I was easily able to point him to Matthew’s account of Jesus narrative in Matthew 10:37 which renders:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me…”
Our new convert became excited again as he realized the implication of the passage that Jesus must be above all else and come before all else, and Jesus was certainly that to him. The next year he and his wife gave up their early retirement to become short term missionaries in Cambodia.
Just recently I was speaking with a young lady who was eager to find out more about Christianity. When I asked her why she said:
Because I want to get my life sorted out, and I think God is the answer. But I before I commit my life to Him, I want to know what I am in for.
Wow, the cost of discipleship! She knew that to follow God was going to be a cost to her. It would mean leaving behind her life that she controlled and handing it over to God’s control.
The Thessalonians were also eager young Christians. But as the reality of their new life in Christ became clearer and clearer, they realized they were confused about the return of Jesus and their resurrection. A quick letter from Paul sets them straight (1 Thess 4:13-15). Whether physically dead or alive when Christ returns, all will be resurrected. Sometimes we tie ourselves up in knots about how this will happen. My view? God’s got it sorted. The more important question is: “Will I be on the side of the sheep or goats? Do I believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection is sufficient for the atonement of my sin?”