Or, “Why You Cannot be the Lord’s Disciple”
Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #157
TEXT: Luke 14:25-33
Last week we began this series titled, “Are You a True Disciple?” or “Why You Cannot be the Lord’s Disciple.” We started out in this passage by looking at the crowd that followed Jesus and the reasons why many people in the crowd are not really true disciples of Jesus Christ — they are just fans. There is a difference between being in the crowd and being committed to Christ. And I want to encourage you not to let the crowd hold you back from being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
I had prepared to share with you two more points from this passage last week, but because we had so much to deal with in the first point alone, I felt led of the Lord to end the message right there. So, today, I want to continue with part 2 of that message.
Don’t let family ties hold you back. Jesus turns around to address the crowd, and the first thing He says is: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Can you imagine the shocked looks on the faces of many in the crowd? If a preacher dared to say such a thing from the pulpit today, many in the congregation would be shocked as well. The Greek word for “hate” is a strong term. It literally means “to detest.” Why would Jesus use such strong language when speaking of our family ties? What did He mean when He said, if we are to be true disciples of Him, we are to “hate” our fathers, mothers, spouses, children, brothers, and sisters?
First, we must understand that Jesus is using extreme language to paint a clear picture in the minds of the people about what it means to be a true disciple of Him. William Barclay said, “We must not take Jesus’ words with cold and unimaginative literalness. Eastern language is always as vivid as the human mind can make it. When Jesus tells us to hate our nearest and dearest, he does not mean that literally. He means that no love in life can compare with the love we must bear to him.” In other words, your love for Christ and commitment to Christ must be so far above the love you have for your family, that if you tried to compare the two, your love for your family would look like hatred in comparison to your love for Christ.
Jesus Christ demonstrated this principle in His own life. Matthew 12 tells us that early on in His ministry, when Jesus was teaching in a house packed full of people, someone came to Him and told Him that His mother and brothers were waiting outside wanting to speak with Him. The Bible tells us, “But Jesus answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Notice that word, “disciples.” Jesus pointed to His disciples and said, “these are My family — those who obey My word.” He didn’t point to the crowd or to His flesh-and-blood family, but to His disciples who were obedient to Him.
Now, did Jesus hate His mother and His brothers? Of course not. As He hung dying on the cross, Jesus made sure His mother Mary would be taken care of. Later, after His resurrection, Jesus’ half-brother, James, became a true believer and eventually became the Bishop of Jerusalem.
Jesus didn’t hate His family. He doesn’t want you to “hate” your family in the normal sense of the word. But, He does want us to get a hold of the fact that family ties don’t matter that much in the Kingdom of God. What matters is how closely we are tied to Jesus Christ.
If you are going to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, you may have to let some family members know that you can’t do the things that you used to do with them, you can’t go to the places you used to go to with them, you can’t spend your time the way you used to spend it. You have to let them know that you are a disciple of Christ now, that you are truly committed to Him, and that if it comes down to choosing between them and Jesus, you will choose Jesus every time.
First, don’t let the crowd hold you back. Second, don’t let your family hold you back.
MUSICAL SELECTION: “Precious Lord” by Selah and “Pass Me Not” by Ann Nesby