Morning Bible Study
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Baptism – coming up on September 18.
We will have a big celebration - potluck, party, bounce houses, water slide. If you’ve never been baptized since you’ve
become a believer, then plan on coming.
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just
at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
14:25-35 Effective Disciples
:25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,
:25 great multitudes went with Him
Crowd or disciple?
At this point in Jesus’ ministry, He has been drawing increasingly larger
Yet Jesus’ goal was not to have bigger crowds.
His goal was to make disciples.
This is one of the problems that a large church can face.
I’m not against big churches. Big
churches can be used by God in some pretty amazing ways.
The problem is, there will be people who are attending who just want to be
“one of the crowd”.
Some churches will in fact tailor their services just for the purpose of
drawing a crowd.
Jesus isn’t looking for crowds, He’s looking for disciples. He’s looking for people who will stand out
from the crowd.
The things He’s about to say are not “crowd-friendly”.
:26 “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
:26 he cannot be My disciple
cannot be – dunamai – to be able, have power whether by
virtue of one’s own ability and resources, to be able to do something; to be
disciple – mathetes – a learner, pupil, disciple
Don’t think of a “disciple” as some sort of “super saint”.
This is a very simple word. This is simply describing the person who is
serious about wanting to learn more about Jesus, a person who considers Jesus
to be their teacher and model.
Like Daniel-son learning from Mr. Miyagi.
Jesus is going to teach on what it takes to be a successful disciple, and
it’s not what you’re going to like hearing…
He say … we do …
You are not going to be able to be a disciple of Jesus if…
:26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate …
If this verse was the only verse in the New Testament that defines what a
Christian looks like, then the church would be filled with hateful, mean
It’s actually the world that teaches us to hate.
The story of Ben-Hur is a story about a man who
is wrestling with hatred and revenge.
Life takes a cruel turn for Judah Ben-Hur and he
goes from being a prince among his people to a lowly rower on a slave ship.
Life is meant to be much more than hating and rowing.
Just like Ben-Hur, it’s finding Jesus
that lifts us out of a life of hatred.
In our passage, we need to keep the rest of the New Testament in mind when
we look at what Jesus is saying.
Scripture isn’t going to contradict scripture.
The Bible says that we are love one another.
(John 13:34–35 NKJV)
—34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I
have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are
My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Bible makes it clear that we are to love and honor our families. (Mark
7:9-13; 1Tim. 5:8; Eph. 5:25)
Jesus told us to even love our enemies (Mat. 5:43-44)
NKJV) —43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor
and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do
good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and
So what is Jesus talking about?
We must love Jesus and respect Jesus and His leading above that of any
If we love or respect any other person above Jesus, then we are vulnerable
because that other person can direct us in ways that are contrary to Jesus.
Keep in mind that Jesus had just told a parable about a man who had invited
people to a great feast and the excuses he began to receive from his invited
guests. One of the excuses was that of family –
(Luke 14:20 NKJV) Still
another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
Jesus is now saying that if you love your wife more than
you love Jesus, then you are not going to have the ability to be His disciple.
As a disciple, my relationship with Jesus needs to be the greatest priority
of my life.
:27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My
:27 cannot be My disciple
This is the exact same phrase in Greek as in verse 26.
If you do not do this, you will not be successful or effective in being His
:27 come after Me
It’s one thing to say you are a follower of Jesus, but the thing that
defines if you are truly a follower is whether or not you are willing to “bear
your cross” and come after Him.
:27 bear his cross
bear – bastazo – to take up with the hands; to bear
what is burdensome
cross – stauros – a cross
The cross was a well-known instrument of punishment that was invented by
the Persians, picked up by the Greeks, and perfected by the Romans.
It was used to punish the worst of criminals.
On the way to the place of execution, the criminal was forced to carry his
own cross, showing that the Roman sentence was right and he was wrong.
It was done in a public place where everyone could pass by and see what
would happen if they committed the crime that the accused had committed.
Jesus is not talking about wearing a pretty piece of jewelry around your
The cross was an instrument of pain and shame.
It would be closer to our “electric chair”.
Our society works hard to avoid any type of pain.
In 2014, the global pain management market for pharmaceuticals and medical
devices was worth 36.6 billion dollars.
Some churches will give you the impression that if you will follow Jesus,
that He will heal every disease, take away every pain, and make you wealthy to
Jesus said that true disciples would “bear their cross”.
They would be willing to take up with their hands the thing that causes
pain or shame.
Some of the pain comes as a direct result of taking a stand for God.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were given the
choice of either bowing down and worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, or being
thrown into a fiery furnace.
3:17–18 NKJV) —17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to
deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from
your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve
your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
They took a stand whether God delivered them or not.
I think it also speaks to the kinds of pain that God allows into our lives.
Sometimes it’s through being hard-pressed that others see Jesus in us.
Corinthians 4:7–12 NKJV) —7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are
hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not
in despair; 9 persecuted,
but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—10 always carrying about in the body
the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in
our body. 11 For we who
live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also
may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
Paul saw the pain in his life as being useful to God for
the sake of others.
We’re like clay pots that have light in them, and unless
the pots are broken, people don’t see the light.
If you love your “soul” more than Jesus, you are not going to be very
effective, because you will run from every hint of pain.
But if you’re a person willing to take up things that cause
you pain, then you’re a person who will reach out to people that others might
not want to touch.
We see Jesus doing this all the time.
– Meeting Jesus
Jesus is looking for people who will endure pain to be His
hands in reaching out to this world.
We are all going to experience pain and unpleasantness in our lives. The issue to Jesus is, are you going to quit?
It’s important when we are facing difficult times, that we don’t quit.
NKJV) —1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of
witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto
Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was
set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the
right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against
Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
If Jesus is first place in your life, your eyes will be on
Him, and you will find you can endure the pain and the shame.
:28 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—
:28 intending to build a tower
Jesus is now going to give an example of what the commitment of
discipleship is all about by comparing it to someone who is deciding whether or
not to start a building project.
:28 sit down first and count the cost
Following Jesus successfully requires that you examine what the cost will
be to follow Him, and be willing to do whatever it takes.
Some of us struggle with following Jesus because we are unwilling to love
Jesus more than our “selves” and our own comfort.
I am more concerned about making sure my own “needs” are met and then I
will give Jesus just a bit of the leftovers.
:29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all
who see it begin to mock him,
:30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
:29 all who see it begin to mock him
People are watching
There are people that are observing you, knowing that you are a
Christian. They are watching to see if
it’s just “another phase” you’re going through.
:30 was not able to finish
It’s a sad thing to see a building project that has started but sits
This kind of thing will happen when the things discussed in verses 26 &
27 aren’t followed. (“Jesus first”, “Enduring pain”)
When you aren’t willing to love Jesus more than any other person or your
own life, you will find that you will run out of resources and want to quit.
Every once in a while, I hear someone say, “Well I tried that Christian
thing, and it didn’t work for me.”
This is the person who was “not able to finish”.
This is the person who did not do what Jesus asked, and be willing to make
Him first in their life.
:31 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?
Just like the builder, the king also “sits down” and makes his calculations
before he makes his declaration of war.
:32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a
delegation and asks conditions of peace.
:32 he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace
A wise king will be willing to sacrifice his vision of battle victory if it
means saving his kingdom.
Following Jesus requires learning to sacrifice our hopes and desires for
the sake of His kingdom.
:33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be
:33 So likewise
Go back to vs. 26-27.
The person who is unwilling to make Jesus a priority over his loved ones or
who is unwilling to bear the pain of the cross, is the one who will fail to
complete the tower or who will not survive the war ahead.
On the other hand, the person who IS willing to make Jesus first and endure
pain is the one who will be effective.
This is what will make you “stand out from the crowd”.
:34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it
:34 if the salt has lost its flavor
Our modern salt is completely pure salt and it does not lose its flavor.
Salt in Jesus’ day was impure, and if it got mixed with too much dirt, it
had no flavor at all.
:35 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!”
:34 Salt is good
While my cardiologist doesn’t want me to think that any salt is “good”,
today we’re going to ignore my doctor.
Salt is a flavor enhancer – it makes things taste good.
As Christians, we ought to make the things of God “taste good”.
Kind of like those videos that some of you keep posting on FaceBook…
Video: Chicken Parmesan-stuffed
You and I ought to be making the Kingdom of God “tasty”.
Salt is a preservative.
The world around us stinks, but as Christians we add a preserving quality
in the world. We are what is keeping the
world from totally spoiling.
Salt makes you thirsty
As Christians, we ought to make people thirsty for the things of God,
thirsty for the Living Water.
Howard Hendricks writes,
I dare you to eat one pretzel. All I have to do is to pick
up one of those things, and I’m hooked. The salt in that pretzel creates a
desire for more.
He goes on to write,
A number of years ago, when I was a student at the
seminary, I was invited to preach in west Texas. You’ve all heard of Nowhere?
Well, this was twenty-five miles beyond that. The teeming crowds were
gathering—all seventeen of them. (I think it was Rally Day!) I preached with
all of the fervor and passion of my heart. When I got through, this tall Texan
came up and said, “You were wrong.”
“Well, sir,” I said, “I’ve been wrong on many occasions.
Give me the information.”
He said, “In your sermon you made a moronic statement. You
said you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. And that ain’t true, ‘cause
you can feed him salt.”
-- Howard Hendricks,
"Beyond the Bottom Line," Preaching Today, Tape No. 101.
Keep in mind our context of what it takes to be a disciple.
If we are to be useful salt in this world, it will never come unless Jesus
is first in our life and you are willing to endure the pain.
If you want those you know to taste and see that God is
good, Jesus must be first in your life.
If you want to be a preservative in the world around you, you
need to be willing to endure pain.
If you want those around you to become thirsty for Jesus, you
need to be an effective disciple.