Our Desire and Devotion to Christ

Bible Book: Luke  9 : 23
Subject: Devotion; Commitment
Introduction

The context of this passage gives us the heart of the true gospel and sets forth the major principle of true discipleship, which is absolutely contrary to self-centeredness. Today, we hear much about what one gets who lives by the principles of God’s Word, yet Jesus had so much to say about what one gives to be a true disciples of His. The New Testament teaches that there must be a cross before the crown, suffering before glory, sacrifice before reward. The heart of Christian discipleship is giving before gaining, losing before winning, etc.

In this text, Jesus spoke of the high cost of discipleship, not only here, but in every gospel book account, and more than one time in each.

Matthew 10:39, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

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.’”

John MacArthur, “Christ’s aim was not to gather appreciative crowds, but to make true disciples. He never adapted His message to majority preferences, but always plainly declared the high cost of discipleship. Here, He made several bold demands that would discourage the half-hearted. Verse 26 seems to be a rather difficult command. The “hatred” called for here is actually a lesser love. Jesus was calling the disciples to cultivate such a devotion to Him that their attachment to everything else, including their own lives, would seem like hatred by comparison.”

Luke 16:13, "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

Now, with that being said, let’s consider the text before us:

I. THE DESIRE OF THE PERSON SEEKING. .23

“if anyone desires”

“God satisfies the desire He creates” (The gospel satisfies the desire God creates.) Oswald Chambers

It calls for full surrender and total commitment

To withhold our lives from Christ in an effort to save them for ourselves is to settle for a meager existence based on the life that man can manufacture. To surrender our lives to Christ is to enter into a life filled to overflowing with the amazing blessings from a God who comes to live in us and live His life through us. This is not a life free from challenges or struggles, but a life filled with the power to overcome any challenges or struggles life brings in a way that grows us, honors God, and impacts others for all eternity.

“If anyone desires to come after me” – applied to the initial surrender of the new birth, when a person comes to Christ for salvation and the old life of sin is exchanged for a new life of righteousness.

To the saved it reiterated the call to the life of daily obedience to Christ.

Never forget, it is possible for believers to lose their first love when they first surrendered all they were and had to Him. It is a constant temptation to want to take back what was given up and to reclaim what was forsaken. It is not impossible to again place one’s own will above God’s and to take back rights that were relinquished to Him. The bottom line: the character of a true disciple is manifested in obedience.

David Jeremiah, “When we try to live our lives in our own strength, we ultimately fail. And if we don’t fail, we fall very short of God’s purposes for us. When we operate in the flesh, three things are always true:

(1) we will always lack the power of the Spirit, and we’ll suffer from fatigue;

(2) we will always lack the vision of the Spirit so we’ll suffer from frustration and

(3) we will always lack the sustaining ministry of the Spirit so

we’ll suffer from failure.

Do these consequences sound familiar? You will always suffer these results when you tackle life in your own strength. But when tragedy strikes – an illness, financial hardship, rebellious children – you turn to God. When you feel helpless, inadequate and weak, the Spirit of God gives you strength. All of a sudden you realize something dynamic is going on that you have never experienced before. It’s not your power, it’s God power. The apostle Paul admits that if it takes weakness to get God’s power in his life, he’s better off weak than strong. Because when you are weak, then you are strong.”

“It takes a crisis to get many Christians to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Oswald Chambers, “Where the Battle’s Lost and Won”

(For control)

“The battle is lost or won in the secret places of the will before God, never first in the external world. The Spirit of God apprehends me and I am obliged to get alone with God and fight the battle out before Him. Until this is done, I lose every time. The battle may take one minute or a year, that will depend on me, not on God; but it must be wrestled out alone before God, and I must resolutely go through the hell of a renunciation before God. Nothing has any power over the man who has fought out the battle before God and won there.”

Many people want a “no cost” discipleship, but Christ offers no such option.

II. THE DEVOTION TO THE PERSON SOUGHT.

“come after me” – a call to loyal obedience. True discipleship is submission to the lordship of Christ that becomes a pattern of life.

Testimony: “I know that God answers prayer. We need them now more than ever before. I am having to learn to ask for help and be dependent on him. All that I know to do is continue to be obedient. If I need to fast than I can do that as well. I'll take your guidance on that. As you know when I was growing up we had to be dependent on food stamps and the free lunch program at school. As embarrassing as that was to me I promised God that if He ever got me out of that situation I would never be dependent on ANYBODY again. And it's worked pretty well until now. Little did I know that He brought me out of that situation so that I would be dependent on Him some day. I'm learning. I love your prayers and I truly see how important that you are in my life. I love you, friend.”

Oswald Chambers, Dec. 30th, “The life Christ plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam, but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience!

It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity.

No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life which God has put in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.”

You will find Christ initially at the cross.

“To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for

all; it consists in the continued practice of small duties which

are distasteful to us.”

John Henry Newman

Coming after Christ commenced with our salvation and continues with my sanctification. The Person of Christ in me, since the day I “came after Him” (came after me), continues to confront me. Greatest challenge presently in my heart is that of social justice (poor, homeless, orphans, foster care).

“Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours.”

Conclusion

Christ takes seriously the commitments of His children. Indeed, faith is not a flippant force that fluctuates based on feelings. Rather, it is a righteous resolve that is the result of a devoted disciple of Jesus. A promise made to God is an exclamation mark of a sold out life. It is at this crossroad of commitment that disciples are exposed as authentic or imposters. This lofty vow of loyalty to the Lord believes in the Cross and takes up a cross.

1. Will we really follow Jesus wherever He goes?

2. What if He asks us to go with Him into vocational ministry, will you follow Him there?

3. What if He asks us to go with Him and die to our dreams, will we follow Him there?

4. What if He asks us to go with Him to use our relationships, our finances, and our resources for His King purposes, will we follow Him there?

5. Our “yes” to our new life in Him, means “no” to our old life.

Are you a convenient or inconvenient follower of Jesus? He will ask you to go places with Him that are not easy or fun. But the beauty of fulfilling your promise to Jesus is He is always with you, regardless of the circumstance. Your salvation is a promise from the God of life and a promise from you of death. You committed to Christ a funeral of your former life and fidelity to your new resurrected life.