(Luke 14) Christ's Invitation to Discipleship

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"...Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:23)

Introduction

What a contrast between the Pharisee's invitation to dinner and Christ's invitation to discipleship. The invitation from the Pharisee to Jesus was very scheming with a wicked motive, whereas Christ's invitation to the masses was right up front, out in the open, speaking straight and truthfully.

1 Goings on at the dinner table (Luke 14:1-24)

A The Pharisee's pretended friendship with Jesus "to watch Him closely" to accuse Him and kill Him. (Luke 14:1)

Luke 14:2 The man with dropsy was very obviously sick. (Dropsy is an abnormal swelling of water in the body - swollen legs, arms and face.) It is very probable that this Pharisee brought this sick man to his place, to watch what Jesus would do on the Sabbath; knowing that Jesus would see him and cure him, and therefore be able to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath.

What a deceitful hypocrite! To invite Jesus and the man with dropsy for dinner - was only a wicked scheme - while pretending friendship. Don't you think Jesus knew this? John 2:23-25 says: "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man."

Matthew 23:27-28 says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

Jesus told the invited guests a parable in response to them choosing the best places for themselves: (verses 7-11)

B Humility is the mark of a true disciple of Christ.

Accept the lowest place available to you, and be happy with it.

Pride will block and hinder you from truly serving the Lord.

Pride will ruin your usefulness.

Humility lets the beauty of Jesus shine through your life.

The Lord Jesus practiced what He preached, when He washed the disciples' feet, and when He slept outdoors on the ground at times, and when He touched the lepers.

Therefore, humble yourself before the Lord.

Jesus then addressed the man who invited him. (Luke 14:12-14)

C Invite the handicapped to a dinner.

This "repay business" is dangerous

Don't stop showing hospitality to each other! BUT, 1) make sure you show hospitality for the right motive. and 2) Do not leave out or exclude the poor and handicapped from your hospitality. "Because you have done it for God's sake only ... therefore God will consider Himself your Debtor, and will recompense you in the resurrection of the righteous." (Adam Clarke)

Then, Jesus tells the dinner guests The Great Supper Story. (Luke 14:15-24)

D Many were invited. They all made excuses. Beware of making excuses to God.

Three excuses mentioned: a) I've bought land and must go to see it. b) I've bought oxen and must test them c) I've gotten married and can't come.

The Master was angry with their rejection and made 3 commands: a) Invite them to go into the city streets and lanes, b) bring in the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and c) Compel them to come in. Prevail on them by earnest persuasion and appeal (Do not easily give up).

God wants a full house! The Lord is saying I want Heaven full of people who accept My invitation to salvation. The Lord's apostle, Peter, wrote (2 Peter 3:9): "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Those who reject Christ's invitation shall not taste salvation. "None of those men who were invited shall taste my supper."

2 Straight Talk to the Great Multitude (Luke 14:25-35)

After the dinner, Jesus talked straight to the great multitude about the cost of following Him.

A You must love Christ more than all your family members. (verse 26)

In Matthew 10:37, Jesus stated this another way: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."

In the Old Testament this requirement of discipleship is stated as "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5)

I have an old rubber stamp that says, "You must love God supremely." (Luke 10:27)

B You must love Christ more than your own life. (Verse 26)

After the resurrection Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love Me more than these?" (John 21:15)

C You must carry your own cross and follow Christ. (verse 27)

The full meaning of verse 27 is "Whoever is not taking up and carrying his own cross and coming after Me, is not able to be My disciple." (New Testament Expanded Translation by K. Wuest)

This is present continuous tense. It means we must be doing these things and keep on doing these things for Jesus daily.

D You must count the cost of following Christ. (verse 28) and you must count the cost of not following Christ.

E You must forsake all to follow Christ. (verse 33)

A lot of people who call themselves Christian, have not yet awakened to the fact that you cannot successfully be a half-hearted ho-hum Christian. We are in a spiritual battle - and battles cannot be won by half-hearted soldiers. If you claim to be a fair dinkum Christian, and are not interested in coming to study your Bible and to pray together once during the week, how do you expect to win any spiritual victories? You will continue to be weak spiritually until you start using these means of grace.

F You must continue in your discipleship (verses 34-35)

Just as salt can lose saltiness, so you can lose your salvation.

Conclusion

Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, and to the great multitude outside, about the same thing - about being a disciple of Christ. This same truth alway applies. It will cost you to be a disciple of Christ, both in this life, and in hell for eternity. But, in the words of a beautiful hymn written by Esther Rusthor ("When We See Christ"):

"It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ; One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase. So, bravely run the race till we see Christ."

In the mean time "You have need of endurance." (Hebrews 10:36)

Note:

Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

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