To Be, or Not To Be? pt10

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To Be, or Not To Be  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  53:40
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Lee and Smith share this poem:

“I would not angered be but grieved

When I do find myself deceived;

I would be kind to ignorance,

Rememb’ring Thy long sufferance;

I would Thy gentleness approach,

On Thy Name never bring reproach.”

Would you agree that we are not called to simply “sit” in Church?
Would you agree that we are not called to simply “fill” a pew?
Would you agree that we are not called to simply “attend” a church?
…to simply “give” a little money to a cause?
… to “pray” for someone in need “every now and then” when the topic arises?
No! We are called to “BE” the Church! To “Live” lives that bring Glory and Honor to Christ! To present the Gospel to the World through the lives that we Live!!!!
Can I tell you that ANY gospel that allows you to simply “sit” and be a “spectator,” is deceiving you?
Colossians 3:23 NIV
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
Our very lives are meant to be lives of action… that Glorify the Lord!

To Be, or Not To Be!

To be bearers of His Glory, or not to be!
To be kingdom men and women, or not to be!
God, show me the way to the cross.
It is still hard to understand why the Son of God would let mortal men condemn Him to such a horrible death.
But what love you demonstrated in that act!
Lord, Show me how to demonstrate that same love to the world’s needy.
Give me your power…to do your work…as I set out on your mission.
Help me to understand who you are.
Help me to be and do what you want me to do.
Father, Give me eyes to see the world…to see people…as you see them.
I commit myself totally to you.
I will take up my cross and follow you…even into death. Amen.
“A straw may indicate which way the wind blows or in what direction a river runs; a trifling event may have a tremendous significance” — Lee and Smith
The Disciples attempted to stop a man who was healing people — casting out demons — in the name of Jesus.... They tried to stop the man’s actions simply because he was not one of them....
Then in Samaria, when Jesus is confronted with prejudice, racism, and rejection, the disciples want to call down vengeance on them, but Jesus didn’t judge them.... He didn’t respond out of anger.... He responded out of love.
He told the disciples, “Leave him alone, He brings glory to God.” He rebuked their anger in Samaria, then simple moved on to another village.
You see, Jesus would not allow the actions and attitudes of the world to keep Him from completing His mission, so He continued that mission in “another village.”
“The opportunity lost by one village became opportunity offered to another.” — Ken Heer
You do realize that when you “pass up” an opportunity offered by God, that He will give that opportunity to someone else, right?
Christ asks us to change the direction of our lives, to experience new and exciting things, to join Him in a new lifestyle — one that leads into the greatest journey…the most exciting adventure… we will ever know…
That is what He was doing here, but the disciples, like the Samaritans, didn’t get it! Racism and prejudice (which can come from ANYONE, regardless of POWER, by the way) had gotten in the way! It had misled their lives.
The disciples were headed in the wrong direction.... Their lives were failing to reveal Christ’s glory, they needed a lesson… they needed an example… They needed to understand that their commitment to Him is a commitment to action… to living in such a way as to bring glory to His name… so Jesus gives them one, amen? Jesus gives them Himself as an example.
Jesus was committed to His mission… to His work… He was focused, He had “set His eyes on Jerusalem,” and nothing was going to stop Him from getting there!
BUT… He did not fail in His work along the way...
In fact, 10:1 tells us that He took time to send out 70 of His disciples ahead of Him to “prepare the way.”
And Christ continues to send His disciples ahead of Him “to the places He intends to go.”
The question is: “Are we willing to go?”
Let me ask you this — “Who is God sending you to? Who is He asking you to “prepare the way” for Him?
Are you willing to go? or, Are you avoiding it?
Luke 10:2 NRSV
He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Look around the world today.... The Harvest is plentiful!!!! People need Christ! And He expects us to be the workers!!!!
Our prayer, today, and EVERYDAY, should be that God will — not only send us — but send out people around the world… to reap the harvest!!!
And I am not talking about pastors and missionaries… I’m talking about normal everyday people, who choose to live their lives in total submission to God’s will — to being and doing whatever He tells them to do!
MP — A commitment to the Cross — to Christ, is a commitment to ACTION! There can be no looking back. We must “set our eyes on Heaven!”
Christ’s eyes were set on the Kingdom… on Jerusalem… on returning to Heaven, and His route? Our Route? The Cross!
Are we committed to taking the route to Heaven that He has laid before us?
Matthew 16:24 NRSV
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Christ has provided the way… He has laid out the route… He gave us the GPS, and here… He reveals to us the COST of following that route through the examples of three men.
Luke 9:57–58 NRSV
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
I want to call this man the “impulsive enthusiast.”
He is excited! He has seen Jesus, he has heard the message, he has seen the miracles performed, and he is ready to commit — or so he thinks...
Have you ever know anyone like that?!
“His peril lies in relying on his feelings at a moment of enthusiasm” — Plummer
You see — Enthusiasm almost always lacks commitment!
It is easy to become excited about a cause, to support it for a while, but not to commit to it for better or for worse. Amen?
Following Jesus can seem glamorous and exciting. After all, you might get to see a miracle! You might get a “front row seat” to see Jesus in action, How awesome would that be?!
But here’s the problem, in that mindset, it is the journey that is exciting, not Jesus. It becomes all about the experience, not the commitment, and as soon as it isn’t “fun” anymore, you will drift away.
Jesus knew that a “balanced” commitment is what mattered, so He tells this man:
Luke 9:58 NRSV
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Jesus is asking: “Have you counted the cost?” Do you realize what you are committing to?
Are you ready to cut all past ties and depend absolutely on God?
Are you following to see miracles, to gain glory for yourself, and receive blessings from your proximity to me?
Or, Are you following because you are devoted to the mission of the Kingdom, and are ready for the Cross?
To Be, or Not To Be?
Jesus knew the cost. He had nothing… not even the assurance of a place to rest. And so, He asks this man: “Is that what you are ready for?”
Are you ready to commit to God’s mission, to preaching the Kingdom, to healing the sick, even if that does not guarantee you any physical comfort?
You see — There is a cost to following Christ!
There is a cost to salvation — salvation requires that we “give up” the world in order to receive the Kingdom!
But let me tell you, there is reward in the Kingdom!
I have never met anyone who regrets committing to the Kingdom.
But it can be scary.... but the reward is greater than we can imagine...
Jesus turns immediately from telling the Impulsive Enthusiast the “cost” of following Him, and invites another man to “follow Him”.
Luke 9:59–60 NRSV
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
This is not an unreasonable request.... In the culture then, it was the son’s responsibility to care for his parents. So, that is an honorable thought, right?
“Lord, let me honor my parents by fulfilling my obligation to see them buried.”
But here’s the issue:
Either he is saying, let me care for my parents first, and after they die, I will follow you.
Or, He is saying that his father has died, and he needs to complete the burial duties first.
The problem is, that could take up to a year! A part of the burial responsibilities was to move the decomposing bones from the tomb to the ossuary, which was done about a year after the burial.
You see, this man felt like he had to take care of his worldly responsibilities first.
It is easy for us to think: “I need to take care of ______ first, then I’ll come to church…commit to God…follow Christ…serve.” (you fill in the blank!)
The problem is, that time never comes! There will always be more worldly responsibilities that need our attention.
Look at Jesus’s response:
Luke 9:60 NRSV
But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Seems harsh, right?
Why would Jesus tell him to ignore his cultural responsibilities?
If we are going to commit to the Kingdom, then Kingdom concerns MUST take priority over everything else!
Jesus tells him, “Those who refuse the Kingdom can take care of “worldly” concerns, you are not responsible for the dead, but the living!”
We need to hear that: “You are not responsible for the dead, but for the living!”
The committed follower has a bigger mission. His, or Her, responsibility is not for those who deny Christ, but for those who might accept Him!
Kingdom business must take priority over worldly business.
Luke 14:26 NRSV
“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
Are you for the Kingdom, or not?!
To Be, or Not To Be?
This man could commit future uncertainty, but he could not commit the present reality!
Church, It is the present reality that matters!!!
Revelation 22:12 NRSV
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 NRSV
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
Matthew 24:42 NIV
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Luke 12:35–36 NRSV
“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.
Christ does not want us later! He wants us now!
Sometimes I think we need to hear the same thing this man did — You are not the only one who can take care of the things of this world!
When Jesus calls, we must answer now… right now… and follow immediately wherever He leads, regardless of what we leave behind.
Kingdom matters are more important than family matters!
Sounds crazy doesn’t it?! But remember:
Matthew 6:33 NIV
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
If we are willing to set Kingdom matters above our own personal and family needs, (now hear this) God will take care of our families! We do not need to worry about that.
The third man hears His words, and says to Him:
Luke 9:61 NRSV
Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
This is the “in a minute” follower....
This guy declares: “I will follow! But…give me a minute!”
“I will not be long. I just need to run back and take care of something first.”
“I’ll just be a minute.”
You ever met someone like that?
There is always something “back there” they need to take care of before they can serve.....
Let me tell you — “The Time Is Now!!!”
The harvest is ripe!!! Workers are needed!
Don’t start to work, and then turn to something else.
God calls us to follow NOW!
That is our permanent job. Are we willing to accept it?
To Be, or Not To Be?
Jesus said to these men, “Follow me.” They heard His invitation, but unlike Peter, James, John,…even Levi, they didn’t immediately “leave everything and follow.”
They had the desire, but only with conditions.
How often do we do that?
How often do we hear God’s voice, inviting us to something, but the requirements are too much?
How often do the requirements of the Kingdom get pushed back in favor of our own agendas, not through outright denial, but because we delay our commitment?
How often does God say to us: “Come”, and we say, “Wait!”
To Be, or Not To Be?
Let me tell you — To delay our response to God’s call is to choose NOT to respond at all.
“I will follow you, but first.....” is a choice not to follow.
Christ calls us to follow… to serve… not to come and sit in a pew. To be committed to the Cross is a call to action… without looking back…without reservation… without fail!
It is a call to follow Him into His ministry… to Jerusalem… to the Cross… through the Cross… and into the Kingdom of God!
Jesus did not come down to earth to spread out a “roadmap” that shows us exactly what the journey He is going to lead us in is.
He is not going to make us comfortable with the journey first! He is not going to show us the whole plan…
He doesn’t do that!
Just like with Abraham, Jesus calls us to “go”… to trust Him… to follow Him wherever He leads.
Each of our journeys are different… they are unique… because each of us has a different purpose in the Kingdom… BUT, that purpose is a huge part!
Christ is calling us to follow Him into that purpose. Will we go?
The Harvest is ripe!
Are we willing to be the workers?
To Be, or Not To Be?
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