September 4, 2022 The Kingdom Is Not K-Mart Luke 14:25-35

Think about these words: dedication, devotion, discipleship, commitment, consecration, surrender, sacrifice. There are no blue-light specials on these virtues in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not k-mart. (By the way I first started working on this sermon on April 12, 2022 when it was announced that there were only 3 K-Marts still open throughout the country Westwood, New Jersey; Bridgehampton, on New York’s Long Island, and Miami.) I want you to get these two statements into your heart.

Salvation is free, but discipleship is not cheap.

Luke 14:25 tells us that Jesus was speaking to "great multitudes." What He is about to say was not just to His core followers. He was talking to a huge crowd. We would call this crowd today "groupies."

Three times Jesus says, "He cannot be my disciple." (vv. 26,27,33)  Jesus was not looking for a crowd. He was looking for commitment. He was looking for disciples. One thing you have to say about Jesus, He puts no fine print in the contract. He is totally above-board. He pulls no punches.  In fact, it almost seems as if the Lord Jesus instead of trying to build up a crowd is trying to thin one out.  If you intend to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, if you intend to be one of His disciples you are going to have to answer three questions.   1. What Priority Will I Place On Following Jesus?  2. What Price Will I Pay In Following Jesus? 3. What Passion Will I Present In Following Jesus?

"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." (v. 26)   This same Jesus who also tells us to love our enemies would certainly not turn around and tell us to hate our families. The word "hate" here really has the meaning "to love less." Matt. 10:37 helps to explain what Jesus meant when He said, "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."  One of the reasons why Jesus said this to this crowd was this. Two thousand years ago, if you gave your life to Jesus, more than likely you had to give up your family especially if you were Jewish.

Jesus makes this demand because He is dealing with the whole question of priority. If you are going to be a follower of Jesus Christ, He must be your first love. He will not take second place to any one or to any thing. The point Jesus was making was there is a sacrifice you have to make if you are going to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. He must come first. He must come ahead of family. He must come ahead of friends. He must come ahead of finances.  The question of priority is, what priority will you place on following Jesus?

"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (v. 27)

Now I want to emphasize again that although salvation is free, it is not cheap. Just as Jesus paid a price in order to save you, you have to pay a price in order to serve Him.   Jesus said, "You have to take up the Cross."

The cross was the symbol of one thing in that day death. The only reason a man would take up the cross was because he was going to die. Jesus makes it plain that he not only expects us to live for Him. He expects us to die with Him. That is why he said back up in verse 26 you've got to love him "more than your own life."

If you are not willing to die to self and surrender your life totally to Jesus Christ you cannot be His disciple. This demand answers the question of pride. Who is going to rule and reign over your life? Jesus or you?

That is the kind of surrender and sacrifice that Jesus is asking for. One thing you have to say about  terrorists, they are willing to die for what they believe. The tragedy is that terrorists are more willing to pay a price and are more willing to die for a lie than Christians are to live for the truth.

The reason why the Lord makes this demand is because He wants anyone who wants to follow Him to understand there is a price to be paid. There is a cost to be counted. That is the point Jesus makes in the first of too many parables He tells. "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." (v.28) The Christian life is like a strong tower. It is to be a tower of work, a tower of worship, a tower of witness and a tower of warfare, but there is a tremendous cost in building this tower.   Do you know why so many so called "Christians" drop out of church? It is because they were not willing to pay the price. They didn't count the cost.

The number one problem we have with a lot of our church members on the roll who never show up is they are half finished towers. They ran one lap of the Christian life and they quit. They fought one round of the Christian life and they quit. They played one quarter of the Christian contest and they quit.

Jesus then goes on to give another parable. "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? (v.31)

The Christian life is not a frolic, it is a fight. In this army there can be no cowards for the odds are too great. Christianity is not for the faint of heart. You had better be ready to do battle with the world, the flesh and the devil everyday.

You cannot be a coward and you cannot be a compromiser. "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace." (v.32)  We have been called to be soldiers, not diplomats. You know what is wrong with the average Christian? He wants to be just godly enough to be accepted by the Lord and just worldly enough to be accepted by the world. So you must ask yourself the question, what price will I pay in following Jesus?

"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."(v. 33) This pretty much sums it all up of exactly what Jesus expects. Now notice Jesus does not say that we are to give away everything. Jesus says we are to give up everything.  

Sacrifice is a positive. The football team that sacrifices on the practice field and in the weight room wears the championship ring. The athlete that sacrifices on the practice field and on the track wins the gold medal. But, in order to win that gold metal or that championship ring there has to be passion. A passion to pay the price. A passion to have the proper priorities. That translates into a passion that other people can see that will make them want to play on your team.

That is why Jesus finishes by saying, "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 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!" (vv. 34-35)

Now why does Jesus end up talking about salt? Salt was a very valuable item in the days of Jesus. As a matter of fact, part of a soldier's pay was given in salt. The words salt and salary are very closely related. That is where we get the saying, "He is not worth his salt." Salt has very many wonderful qualities: salt purifies, salt preserves, penetrates. As salt, we are to give every lost sinner a taste of Jesus and a desire to come to Him. Just as salt makes you thirsty for water, the salt of the disciple ought to make someone else thirsty for Jesus. The world will never be willing to do business with Jesus until they see that His followers mean business with Him.

David Livingston was one of the greatest missionaries the world has ever known. He labored many years in some of the deepest, darkest jungles of South Africa. Because of his sacrifice, today there are over three hundred million Christians in Africa.

One time Livingston received a letter from a certain society that said, "Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you." David Livingston wrote back and said, "If you have men that will come only if they know there is a good road, i don't want them. I want men who will come even if there is no road at all".

That is the only kind of followers that Jesus desires. That is the only kind of followers that Jesus deserves. That is the only kind of followers that Jesus demands. Because the Kingdom is not K-mart.