Proper 18

Pentecost--Hard Truth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:57
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I went in the Navy SEALS website and it says right in the beginning of their website: this is how you can assess and ponder whether you want to be a Navy SEAL. Then they lay out exactly what it's going cost you, and what they describe is intense.
In the first phase of training, just in black and white, they say you're going to be doing four mile runs timed OPS of courses. And on it goes. But then it's going to culminate in something known as “hell week”, a grueling 5 1/2 days stretch. You'll sleep about four hours in total over five days. They'll run 200 miles, train 20 hours a day. You won’t eat much. You will break down physically. And they put all this right out there. And you think, “who in the world would ever want to be associated with this group of people.” But, thank God, many do.
You see, it is about being part of something so much bigger than yourself. People sign-up and voluntarily accept these hazards, because of the mission that they're doing, and the identity they have as Navy SEALS.
In the gospel reading this morning Jesus lays-out these things. Yes, sin living in me says, well I would ever want to do that. But if I am a Christian I am connected to Jesu forever. What an identity and then while I carry this cross He's using me too, Lord willing, maybe to save one more soul from death forever; so there's blessings from Jesus.

Count the Tremendous Cost

Luke 14:25-27 “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “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.”

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Luke 14:28-32 “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.”
These two illustrations intends to show that the commitment to Christ is to be real and earnest. A major project, the building of a “tower”, is being undertaken.
The disciple’s whole life is to be a grand, lofty monument to God’s glory. How tragic when it remains unfinished, a monument to the sinner’s folly and a stumbling block on the way to heaven.
A firm decision and a complete devotion are necessary on the part of the builder. Similarly, half-hearted or compromising discipleship will fail to glorify God as it should. Where is all the money coming from for this building project? It is clear from verse 33 that man’s resources and might cannot avail. But he to whom the disciple comes, namely Christ, is the One who gives all things graciously.
2—Being a Christian means war against three great enemies: the devil, the unbelieving world, and our own sinful nature. These are pictured by the 20,000 men. The 10,000 men point to our inability to meet and defeat the foes while relying on own power and resources.
The point is not that we must surrender to the enemy or that we try to escape the fight from the beginning. That is impossible for the person who wants to follow Jesus. The point is that we fight the good fight of faith as Paul did by putting on the armor of God (Eph 6:10–17).
Jesus will supply all that is needed to build the tower of life and to win the crown of victory—as we battle sin, death, and the devil.
Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Appreciate the Valuable Gift

Luke 14:33-35 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!””
If a person knows the cost of the building, if he realizes the strength of the foe, and if he recognizes his own poverty and weakness as a sinner, there are just two things for him to do—to despair of his own strength and to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith. Jesus can supply wealth and strength to the follower who has emptied himself of all trust in his own merit or ability. The emphasis is on renouncing “everything” (πα̂σιν) for Jesus’ sake.
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