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The Difference Between Admiring and Following

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Cross Radio
September 20, 2022 12:00 am

The Difference Between Admiring and Following

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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September 20, 2022 12:00 am

God ordained several divine encounters for Jesus as He walked along the road with His disciples. These encounters come in the form of three men, who either volunteer or are invited by Jesus to follow Him. Their three different responses illuminate three of the primary excuses the Israelites had for not following Jesus. These excuses haven’t changed thousands of years later. We need to be aware of them in our lives today.

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So here in this conversation. Jesus is just pointing out this man really treasures what you really want is your inheritance what you really want is financial prosperity. What you really treasure it is everything related. What I'm asking you to leave until he says the Lord. I am willing to follow you, but not just too many things going on in life today encountered three men who either volunteered or were invited by Jesus to follow him there three different responses illustrate three of the primary excuses the people had for not following Jesus.

And you know what these excuses haven't changed thousands of years later, people still make excuses for why they don't follow Jesus as they should. We need to be aware of them in our lives today. Stephen called this lesson the difference between admiring and following. If you're new to our discussion and exposition. Let me invite you to turn in your copy of the New Testament to a conversation that Jesus is going to have with three individuals, three different men and watch the largest shortcut right to the to the hearts of the issue and in his response to each each one of them now today we we arrive at the last paragraph here in chapter 9 I'm going to outline these conversations. By the way by putting them into what I would call the three most common excuses to following Jesus and before he died, and I want to tell you on a personal note that I've talked to many people over the years about what it means to follow Jesus not I know going into those conversations that it is up to me to do a great job to change their minds infected green what Paul wrote in verse 20 chapter 4 that their minds and eyes are blinded by the god of this world that is safe, and unless God moves in the spirit got an opening their eyes of the truth. They can remain blinded to the light of the glorious gospel. That's the way Paul put it will shine upon was that new birth of spiritual life occurs and unless that happens I can tell you I'm going to probably hear one of these three excuses in some way shape or form. So what sort of outline these conversations with that in mind. Put it this way. The first excuse sounds like this. I will follow the Lord but not for nothing, follow the Lord as long as he makes it worth it now want you to go to verse 57 pick up her study as they were going along the road.

Someone said to him I will follow you wherever you go. When the original language you can expand that is paraphrasing to understand that that man is literally promising the Lord here I will follow you wherever you're at any time at any distance you go with sounds like you be willing go to the planet Mars back when the early church is given he created a few months from now this guy with sale through the application process talked about dedication to the vocabulary of commitment. I will follow you wherever you go.

I would eyes in the early church in Jerusalem either eat the deleting DQ that are leading elder. Not so fast to help us understand what Jesus is going to say to him I will have you turn for the sake of time at Matthew's gospel parallel account here tells us that this man was a scribe. Scribes were the enemies of the Lord. The doctors heels from the beginning of his ministry to the cross. They were the experts of the law.

They were the experts of the Old Testament Scripture, much of it would've been memorized by these scribes.

Matthew tells us that this scribe approaches Jesus and the first word out of his mouth is teacher teacher that I still and you need another five times that will occur with men approaching Jesus whenever they use that term teacher, none of them will follow. None of them are interested. In fact, all they want to see of him is that he's a teacher teacher it's customary during the days of Jesus were followers of a rabbi teacher or a prophet to literally live with him. Travel with them sit at their feet. We've already discussed that that that phrase where they would wear the dust of their teacher following so closely behind the sandals of the one in front of. But this man, this is a scribe already.

He isn't really showing up to learn anything.

He's an expert.

He's already got a graduate degree hanging on the wall of this study at home. He's already anticipating much of the prophetic fulfillment of of the Messiah. I even called Jesus Messiah, Lord, you know, maybe Jesus is as a great teacher. Perhaps he is and so I'll follow you and and I'll assume that you'll see row fairly soon you will. As they expected an economic boom and incredible prosperity.

You will bring the kingdom in and you will more than likely give your favorite students top positions in the coming kingdom, and for that teacher. I will follow you there strike up the band. Let's fire up the rockets. Let's go. Sounds like a wonderful decision to become a follower of Christ is really an offer that is hiding his pride and self-centered desire and is wonderful commentary on Matthew's gospel this parallel account Sean O'Donnell does really a terrific job paraphrasing this man's offer that strikes at the core of his motive directed this way the scribe came to Jesus and said teacher as one Bible expert to another, I've noticed is on your team. Some fishermen converted tax collector. Some political zealots.

Perhaps you could use someone with a theological head on his shoulders some religious respectability. Say someone like I will follow you wherever you go.

You and I will bring in the kingdom talking teacher. This is your lucky day.

It's interesting that Jesus does not turn him down. The word of that here, but he does tell them the truth and he strikes then at the true motive of this man. Notice first verse 58 and Jesus said to him, foxes have holes, layers, and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.

In other words, if you're looking forward to the kingdom and that palace you need to understand. I don't have any real estate I don't I don't have a street address. If that were told that whatever is Jesus was as though it were actually never told that he stayed with his mother Mary.

I don't have a place to call my own.

The word in fact he uses for nests here, the birds have nests from the word family that can refer to everything from pitching a tent to having a dwelling to even having the covering of shade. So Jesus is essentially saying here that to follow me means that you won't even have the benefit of the shade tree. He sees through this scribe describe happens to be a proponent of an early proponent of what we call today. Prosperity theology. God always pays off his servants while they're alive, he always makes it worth in some way, whether it's health or wealth or whatever life smooths out. Once you decide to get on the path with Jesus.

Now Jesus says look you follow me and and animals have it better than you you that the prospect of a shade tree in the backyard where you can prop up your feet on the back deck and enjoy little rats. That's not what it's like to follow the Lord number not told with this man's response was if he continued on or turn back. I think Luke leaves it open ended because God's spirit. Once us to answer the question for so what would you have done it. Jesus just told you following me will not pay off. I'll follow you, Lord, but not for nothing. Now that the Lord encounters another man. This man will deliver the second common excuse will put it this way. I will follow the Lord but not right now. Not now.

Verse 59 to another. He said follow me. But he said Lord, let me first go and bury my father and Jesus said to leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God to get at first glance, this man seems sincere even calls him Lord teacher and at first glance, the Lord seems rather severe. Sounds like you selling this young man to skip his father's funeral don't show preaching the kingdom of the gospel. So what's going on here.

Well first of all, it was the duty of the firstborn son to take care of the burial of his father to be the executor of his father's estate to be the heir to his father's business and homestead, but more importantly the text. If you notice doesn't actually tell us his father died if it had he died, there would be a seven day period of ceremonial uncleanness killed his father just died. Got to go to the funeral. He's actually ceremonially unclean. He would be out on the road, having conversation with the Lord when he says that Jesus can be understood to mean I will follow you. After my father. I will follow you. After my father is. Or you can put it this way after my father dies following. Let me bury my father was a near Eastern expression we use expressions all the time that means something else will talk about raining cats and dogs will talk about giving someone a piece of our mind. We probably can afford to lose. We use expressions like that that let me bury my father is simply an expression for taking care of the family business. In this case it's his excuse to stall for time. It also reveals his priority in life, like, let me first take care of business. Let me first get my inheritance. Let me first get some financial security. I will follow you, Lord, but not now. For those of you are believers of everyone at the Lord the whole of his return for just a little while longer, maybe you wanted to reach some kind of milestone maybe have some kind of experience you maybe get your drivers license at 16, and feel the freedom of racing down the Interstate 64 you know I just pulled off Lord into like get the thrill of driving preps are getting close to graduation here in a few weeks and be great Lord if you come back to hang on a couple of weeks and let me finish that marched down the aisle and get that diploma. I'll admit that I had that thought when I was getting married. I remember hoping that if the Lord was in the rapture the church you wait till after the honeymoon, at least. I remember wanting to see her twin sons born you now how much of a milestone is that what a great experience unwanted and old often until then, a few months after they were born were both praying for the rapture quickly. Lord, please. Now, now, here in his response in verse 60 Jesus says let the dead bury the dead. This is again an expression not intended to be taken literally. And we know that because dead people can't bury dead people so you mean something else most conservative New Testament authors believe that the first reference to the dead is spiritual those who were dead spiritually, we would expect them with no spiritual interest to focus only on what happens during their lifetime, with no thought of the life to come. Jesus is exaggerating his response to Gettys's try to get to the point to the heart to the motive and so he gives this rather exaggerated demand for did that often.

You may remember when the rich young ruler later on will encounter him in woods gospel comes the Lord's as they want to follow you will have to do. Jesus says to go sell all your stuff. Give all your money away. When did being poor become a prerequisite to following Christ will Jesus is just getting at the heart of what this man would never want to do it unless it was genuine. Give your stuff away and exaggerated demand to find out what the man treasured so here in this conversation. Jesus is just pointing out this man really treasures what you really want is your inheritance what you really want is financial prosperity. What you really treasure is everything related to what I'm asking you to leave until he says will Lord, I am willing to follow you, but not just yet too many things going on in life is another common excuse that appears in this third and final conversation it sounds like this. I will follow the Lord just not entirely.

I'd like to work out a percentage system maybe 6040, maybe 7030 may be Monday through Friday I get the weekends or whatever. That's what he's saying here looking for 61 get another set. I will follow you, Lord.

Paul uses the word Lord you can Lord Bott you never want to say I will follow you, Lord, by let me first say farewell to those at my home now.

Again, don't get hung up on Jesus suggesting you can go tell mom and dad goodbye before you sail off of the mission field or whatever it is it wrong to tell your family farewell is not the point of this conversation, Jesus makes it clear in his response for 62 Jesus said to him, no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit to be translated better usable for the kingdom of God. Jesus is using a farming analogy to deliver a warning to this man and by the way, a warning to you and me down the days of Christ.

The plow was pretty simple rather primitive nothing more than a piece of wood with a handle at one end metal tip share at the other end and that rocky soil and you're trying to keep those oxen going in the right direction to get the primitive little plow. It demanded your attention and your and your focus. Jesus exaggerates his response in this illustration. He says something here that no one in his audience that they know you would never attempt to to do this if you're serious about plowing the ground.

He says this farmer is attempting to plow the ground while looking back you might think that from this text that every once in a while is combined.

The present participle that means he's he's doing what no one would do is plowing and all the while he is looking back, no farmer would do that no follower of Jesus would do that.

That's his point is getting to the heart of this man's excuse. He doesn't want to tell his old life goodbye really go back and say farewell, but I really want to be there. I'll follow you, Lord, but I want some of that to come along on the gonna follow you entirely.

My heart is back there were used to live, how many would say today. Lord, I want to fall you the truth be told, or something holding me back that I really prefer. That's the point I like to buy a one-way ticket as it were, to heaven. I love her for too much that many people say that to me. Essentially, over the years Jesus makes no room for that. I find it interesting that Luke does not provide us with any decision made by these three men following the Lord's challenge to them were not told that they said you know you're right. Lord, I'll leave that following your right Lord, I'll sign on today. Your right, Lord, give up that real estate and follow you, even if the animals seem to have a better home that will have a following. I don't think were given the responses again because the Lord wants us to make our you don't know their decision but you know I you know yours.

You know yours effect are the only person in this auditorium that really know your answer. I was struck again by remembering the biography of William Borden in 1904 he was the heir to the Borden enterprise parents extremely wealthy developing that enterprise for his high school graduation present. He was given a trip around the world. His mother had Artie had a profound influence in his life. In fact she come to faith in Christ with no record that his father did at the age of eight she began taking William with her to a downtown church in Chicago that we know as Moody Memorial Church.

By the time he graduated from high school, he had given his life to Christ like these two teenage guys have done is a 16-year-old traveling through the Far East. He was overwhelmed with the burden for these people who were lost in the road home and said this, I have decided to give my life to return here and give them the gospel at the time he he he wrote that he wrote in the flyleaf of his Bible to words, no reserves know most people thought that his burden would dissipate over time is only 16 years old. He's off to college with the Yale and as a freshman. He decided to look publicly for Christ to begin a prayer meeting and and very small group of of students met.

By the time he was a senior, 85% of the student body at Yale was attending his Bible's prayer created a movement they still talk about today. After graduating from Yale's business prospects to serve in a started pouring in. As you can imagine that he kept his commitment to reach those people that he had seen overseas and Henny wrote after graduation two more words in his Bible next to the words no reserves. He wrote no retreats.

Borden returned at every lucrative position, including the air to the family estate and enterprise, and instead, he enrolled in seminary.

Following his studies, he traveled to Egypt to learn Arabic. He was preparing for a lifetime ministry among the Muslims in China, but he would never make it to the shock of the Western world. It is been covering his life for several years.

His decision was chronicled to leave his inheritance became ill while in Egypt studying Arabic. He contracted spinal meningitis and soon passed away at the age of 25 newspapers. As you can imagine just what headlined the story of Yale's most famous graduate reporters, business pendants, they all weighed in on the tragic waste of life can imagine what they had to say almost as if William anticipated the response. He knew that he was seriously ill probably wouldn't live just prior to his death.

He opened his Bible and where he had earlier written those statements of commitment.

He wrote two more words that would be discovered after his death underneath the words no reserves and no retreats he had written no regrets, no regrets. We admire that kind of person who says I will follow Jesus question will we join the kind of decisiveness to follow Christ as a way of reordering all the priorities of life. So let me put it in simple terminology for us. Where will your Bible be this coming week. How we respond when someone asks you at work or at school are those Christian, how would you handle temptation. Your perspective be on the issues of integrity.

Honest humility.

What part of the Lord in the coming days have decisions you about life. This message is called the difference between hiring and following its lesson nine in Stephen series through Luke nine called into the spotlight.

Do you find the Bible intimidating. Maybe you've read parts of it but struggled to understand what it means. If so, you're not alone, but it is possible to understand the Bible.

There are a few key principles that you can keep in mind as you read it that will help you understand God's word. Stephen is a resource called a quick and easy guide to understanding the Bible will get answers to the biggest questions people have about the Bible and get a framework for reading it with confidence. Please visit wisdom online.org/guide you can request a copy of this free resource and will send it to you right away do that right now that wisdom online.org/guide then join us back here next time. Wisdom