Luke 14:25-30, 33 “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.’”
It’s a brand new year: 2015. What are you going to do with it? What are your plans? Have you got your eye on that new house or new luxury car? Are you hoping for a promotion or a raise from your boss? Are you trying like mad to finish your degree, or praying your kids will pass Algebra so they can get into the right college? Maybe you’re planning a long awaited tropical vacation. I’m sure you have something in mind, right?
So, what if God has different plans for your life than you do? What then? Are you willing to bend to His will, or will you feign selective spiritual hearing and do what you want anyway? When is the last time you contemplated exactly what you’re willing to surrender to the Lord? You may have done this when you were first all excited about being saved, but what about now?
It seems to me that the vast majority of Americans who profess to be Christians have never done this. They drive their beautiful cars to their beautiful churches every Sunday, wearing their beautiful outfits, and warm their pew, throw some bucks in the offering plate and call it a day. Some of them live perfectly ‘good’ moral lives; they don’t cheat on their taxes or their spouse. Most of the time, they try to practice the Golden Rule and follow the Ten Commandments as best they can.
But they’re much too busy to spend time reading the Bible or pray every day. Time just slips by and before they know it, it’s time to crawl into bed for the night. If God is lucky, they’ll quietly mumble a laundry list of needs and wants to the Lord as they fall asleep. And sometimes they wonder if it’s enough; if God is pleased with them. Oh, surely He is! After all, they’re good people, right? Salt of the earth types. Or are they? Is that all God requires of us to please Him?
I’m afraid not. You see, it’s true that salvation is free. BUT, if you want a real relationship with Christ, to have Him as a close, intimate friend, well…that will cost you everything. Absolutely everything. God doesn’t want you to know about Him. He wants you to KNOW Him! He wants a bondservant.
What’s a bondservant? Translated from the Greek word, doulos, it means: one who is subservient to and completely at the disposal of his/her master. In other words, it’s a slave. In Biblical times, that wasn’t necessarily a negative circumstance.
Sometimes, people would default on a loan and become the property of the lender, working for him or her until their debt was paid off. Exodus 21 says that a Hebrew had to be set free in the seventh year of their servitude. If that person was married when they became a slave, then the spouse was freed as well.
However, if the master gave the slave a wife or husband and they had children, then the slave would be freed at the appointed time, but the spouse and children would remain with the master. Exodus 21:5-6 explains “And if the servant shall plainly say, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out free’: then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him forever.”
Some people were happy with this circumstance. If they served well, sometimes the master would promote the servant to a high position over their household. But, they were never again free to make their own decisions. That was the price they paid in exchange for the security of knowing they, their spouse and children always had a roof over their heads, and food in their bellies.
Fact is, because of original sin, we are all born into slavery. We will serve one of two masters; satan or Jesus. Christ shed His blood and died on the cross to give us the choice whom we would serve. If we don’t make a conscious decision to choose Jesus as our Master, then we belong to satan by default. This indecision is the case for the vast majority of human beings born since Adam and Eve.
Now. According to Jesus’ own words and standards, choosing to belong to Him involves much more than lip service or pew warming. He wants the same level of devotion He demonstrated towards us. He gave us His very life and He expects our life in return. All of our life. That includes our hopes, dreams, plans, wealth, possessions, family, education, talents, health and body. To put it simply, Christ isn’t a cheap date!
He states over and over that He expects us to pick up our cross and follow Him. This means deliberately turning our back on the fleshly things of this world, and living as holy and righteous a life as we can with the help of the Holy Spirit. In order to be successful at this, most Christians have to develop a whole new set of friends. If they continue to hang out with the same old crowd, they’ll quickly succumb to the temptation to join in activities displeasing to their Master. Not good.
In the passage from Luke at the top of this article, it says that there were ‘great multitudes’ following Jesus. Well, heck yeah they were following Him! He was healing their sicknesses and deformities. He was casting demonic spirits out of them. He was teaching them things about YHWH they’d never heard before and taking the arrogant religious leaders of the day to task. He was even cool enough to feed well over 5000 of them a great meal of bread and fish, in the middle of nowhere! What’s not to follow?!
But then He turned around and told them what the catch was: He expected them to love Him to such a degree that, in comparison, their love for their very own family would resemble hate! HUH?? He even told them that they weren’t ‘worthy’ of following Him if they weren’t willing to die for Him.
Now, most people are willing to die to protect a loved one or maybe a close friend, but who was this guy to demand such devotion? I imagine that once the people received healing or deliverance from Jesus, they were content to go back to their normal lives and give Him little thought. After all, once you’ve seen a few miracles, the thrill wears off, you know?
Yeah, most folks were willing to participate in the prescribed Feasts, purifications and sacrifices expected of a good Jew, but to accept that this carpenter from Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah? Uh, no. That was just too much to swallow, especially once the Pharisees started in with their accusations.
Jesus even alienated His more ardent followers with some of His teachings. John 6 records this. Verses 53-54 say “Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’”
Verses 60-61 says “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, ‘This is an hard saying; who can hear it?’ When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, ‘Doth this offend you?’” He knew they’d be freaked out by a statement like that; after all, there were so many pagan religions in that day that featured child sacrifice and temple prostitution, for all they knew he was espousing cannibalism.
He was well aware they weren’t even devoted enough to ask Him to explain what He meant by such a strange statement. They wanted His teaching and expectations to be easy to swallow. Because they weren’t serious enough about their relationship with Him to investigate what He was talking about, verse 66 tells what happened: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.”
If it was difficult for the average person to be a sold-out disciple of Jesus back when they could literally see Him, talk with Him, hear His teachings and watch His miracles, how much more difficult is it in this day? Since Jesus returned to heaven, we are expected to walk by blind faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 states this clearly. “For we walk by faith; not by sight.”
This faith thing is one reason the Father has such incredible blessings in store for the Bride. He REALLY loves when we humans simply believe that He says what He means, and He means what He says. He goes positively goo-goo when we step out in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, relying on nothing more than His word.
God jealously guards His reputation, and nothing pleases Him more than our acceptance and belief in what He has said. The Bible tells us God values His own word to us even more than His holy name! Psalm 138:2says “I will worship towards thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Blind faith in God’s word and obedience to His statutes, is the key to pleasing the Father as well as Jesus. How many professing Christians do you know who live their lives this way? HAHAHA! Yep, that’s what I thought. I don’t know too many either. Apparently, it’s rather rare. Jesus even asked in Luke 18:8 “…nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Romans 10:17 declares “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” But if you’re not taking the time to read the Word, how will your faith have the fuel to grow enough to believe what God says? How will you know what conduct He expects of you? Hebrews 11:6 warns “But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
So here’s the deal: If your Bible is collecting dust and you fail to spend time seeking a relationship with God, you won’t have the faith you need to be obedient in these increasingly evil days. You won’t be able to resist the temptations of this world. You cannot muster faith within yourself without the nourishment of the Bible, therefore you will not be pleasing to God.
There is a price to pay for being a disciple of Jesus. It requires your time. It requires some dedication to reading the Bible and talking to your heavenly Father. Believe me, there is NOTHING more important on your calendar than this! Mark off an appointment with the Lord every day if you have to. Shut yourself off from your family in a quiet, private place and spend time with Him.
If you’ll make this a daily habit, I promise it will change your life! You won’t fear the future. You’ll be given the peace that passes understanding in these perilous days. You’ll begin to disengage from the things of this wicked world, living with one foot on this earth and the other inside heaven’s gate. You’ll be obeying what Jesus repeatedly told this generation to be doing: watching and waiting for His return, so we aren’t taken by surprise.
You’ll be ready to fly home when that trumpet sounds! You’ll be able to face the increasing sorrows that are coming upon this earth. Economic collapse? Chem trails? Martial law? Natural disasters? Famine? Pestilence? War? Encroaching filth and threat of islam? Who cares! You’ll be standing in the palm of the Father’s hand with perfect confidence in His provision, protection and ability to guide you home while the world around you crumbles to hell.
Let me encourage you to completely surrender everything to Jesus. Time is almost up, and the days of playing church and pew warming are over. Count the cost and become the bondservant He wants you to be. Cultivate a REAL relationship with the Almighty God who is soon to pour out His wrath on this country, and do it now! His plans for you far exceed your wildest imagination, so like the old song says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way…”
May the Bride go home in 2015!