Sermon Notes for Second Sunday after Trinity, 14 June 2015 Anno Domini
“57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:57-62)
We have examples in today’s text of three different types of disciples – 1) those who are overly impulsive in words, 2) those who defer in doing, and 3) those that are indecisive to act. How many disciples in the modern church rush hastily into commitments that they neither can, nor will, fulfill? Some church authorities also expose their members to sin by expecting them to vow to pay certain future expenses, such as building fund, landscaping, etc., which they may not be able to pay for various reasons. “When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.” (Deut 23:21-22) But a disciple, if he will be a faithful one, must count the cost of his discipleship ere he vows to follow. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28)“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” The inference from the text suggests that this man acts with impetuosity by speaking boldly and finally acting with reserve. If we are going state bold intentions, we must be ready to back them up with actions to match. Only minimal effort is required to tell a friend, “If you need anything at all to recover from the loss of your home, just let me know” and later, when the man has no place to sleep, we declare with moral impugnity, “Sorry, my rooms are all full with out-of-town guests.” “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” I do wonder if the name-it-and-claim-it prophets have ever bothered to seriously read that verse! Jesus only owned Himself, but He owned the world as well. We all belong to someone. To whom do you belong? Do you belong to the banks that hold a mortgage on all you have, the gambling house, the bar, and to the dark Angel who owns these all; or do you belong to God who is the legitimate title holder of your soul? It seems that Christ conveys the message that this disciple made a hasty committal which he would not honor. This is one who acts rashly.“And he said unto another, Follow me!” There is no command more imperative than that issued by God. Since He holds all power, we cannot dally in obeying such an immediate command of God…. “Follow me!” Do we really need to hesitate to obey when the command is so direct, and it is? As you read these words, the command is a Standing Order to all who belong to Christ. Are you in the very act of obedience to this command as you read today? How did this man respond? “But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” Ah, yes, the old, old, excuse! “I want to obey Lord, but right at the moment, I have more pressing business with which to deal.” Really, now? This man has heard the command from Christ Himself, yet he desires to delay until he has buried his father. Would his family allow a dead body to lie aroundunburied if he does not come? Is burying a dead body more important than following the One who gives life to every BODY? “Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” There is much greater gravity here than meets the eye. Who are the dead, really? The dead are all who know not Christ. Let the unbelievers bury the unbelievers. The believers must be about the Lord’s business. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).” (Eph 2:1-5) This is the disciple who defers to act.“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.” Though some may consider the burial of a father to be of some significant importance, bidding farewell to friends is less so. The friends will have opportunity to know of your discipleship and may seek you out if they have any conviction of your Master or His message. This is simply an excuse to avoid following. The man’s mind is neither resolute nor determined. He is one who wavers in serious decisions. But this is one decision over which one simply cannot waver, delay, nor postpone. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Actually, there are many who do, indeed, put their hands to the plough and look back on all they presume to miss in following a righteous Savior. But their plough lines are not straight. These who present themselves as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim 3:5) have fallen short of their calling and are unworthy of the Kingdom of God. Do you speak insincerely in committing yourself to follow, and do you procrastinate in fulfilling your commitment to the Lord, or simply defer to act on your claims to follow? Beware, lest you find yourself locked out of the Gates.