Sunday School 4/5/2020

April 5, 2020

As we are still “social distancing”….Good Morning (or whenever you are reading this).  Sure hope this stuff ends soon.  I would much rather be in our classroom with all of you. I feel we are doing the right thing by not meeting, but I do miss the interaction, discussion, and laughter with you.  I really appreciate your input so much more now!  As I was telling Bro. Charlie, I have a NEW appreciation for him putting his notes on line for us each week!  Thank you Bro. Charlie and those who help him with this! 

On with the lesson…

So, Jesus leaves the Pharisee’s house and continues on his way to Jerusalem.  Scripture says great multitudes were with him. 

Luke 14: 25-35

  • And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
  • 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.
  • And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  • For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  • Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it all that behold it begin to mock him,
  • Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
  • Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
  • Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  • So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  • Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  • It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

There is more to following Jesus than just accepting an invitation.  Discipleship costs.  It is not for “sissies” as we have heard many times.

Verse 25-26 says as he was walking along with the multitudes following him, all of a sudden he stops, and turns to them and says:  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.

Wow, that would be enough right there to make you say, no thanks Jesus, I love you but…..

If you have been involved with the “Not A Fan” lifegroup that Robert has been teaching on Sunday nights, you already know quite a bit about what it takes to truly be a follower and not a fan.  Really enjoying this class, hope we can get back to it soon even though it has been an “ouch” book. 

Hate is a pretty strong word.  Dictionary says:  feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).  Hard to imagine that Jesus wants us to dislike our family.  Scripture says we are to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), husbands are to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25), wives are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and parents love their children (Titus 2:4). John 13:34-35 says:  A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (vs 35 is one of Mrs. Judy Ann’s favorite verses). 

So, how do you hate your family and love them at the same time? 

John MacArthur’s commentary gives this explanation…Anyone who comes to Jesus for salvation must prefer God over his family…To hate one’s family is to prefer God over them by disregarding what they desire if that conflicts with what God requires; it is to love God more and them less. 

David Guzik says:  Jesus used the word hate to show how great the difference must be between our allegiance to Jesus and our allegiance to everyone and everything else. 

The greatest danger of idolatry comes not from what is bad, but from what is good – such as love in family relationships. The greatest threat to the best often comes from second best.

Wow, did you read that last line from David Guzik…The greatest threat to the best often comes from the second best. 

We have to also take into consideration what it meant to the crowds that Jesus was literally talking to.  Following Jesus (being his disciple) would more than likely mean that their family would disown them!  So, Jesus was trying to tell them, hey, this is not an easy road that you will be taking.  Consider the cost.  (more on this later).

And then, Jesus says…and his own life also.   What does he mean, hate your own life also?   Die, flesh, Die (to quote Lynette).  We have to daily die to our flesh and allow Jesus to have full control.  I don’t think we do a very good job of this (or is it just me?)  We must allow Christ to be first in our life, not the top priority on our list of top 10 priorities, He should be the only priority.  Once again, Jesus is making sure that the people know that this is not going to be a bed of roses, no peaches and cream, no cherry on top, no cream in their twinkie (Bro. Charlie), not an easy road.  Remember a few weeks ago we talked about the narrow road.  Unfortunately, at this point, a lot of the multitude probably said, hey, this is not what we signed up for, see ya.

MacArthur says…The call to salvation is a call to self-denial; it marks the end of sinners being the reigning authorities in their lives and calls for them instead to submit as slaves to Jesus’ authority as Lord, King, and Master.  That selflessness extends to the point of death, as Jesus’ next statement, Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple, makes clear.  The heavenly treasure is so valuable (Matt 13:44) the pearl of salvation so precious (vs 46), that true disciples are willing to give up their lives, if God so wills, to gain eternal life.  Jesus calls for complete self-abandonment.

David Guzik says…. Bear his cross and come after Me: Here Jesus said to the great multitudes something very similar to what He said privately to all His disciples in Luke 9:23 – that being a follower of Jesus is something like bearing a cross.

This probably horrified His listeners.  As Jesus spoke these words, everybody knew what He meant. In the Roman world, before a man died on a cross, he had to carry his cross (or at least the horizontal beam of the cross) to the place of execution. When the Romans crucified a criminal, they didn’t just hang them on a cross. They first hung a cross on him.  Carrying a cross always led to death on a cross. No one carried a cross for fun. The first hearers of Jesus didn’t need an explanation of the cross; they knew it was an unrelenting instrument of torture, death, and humiliation. If someone took up his cross, he never came back. It was a one-way journey.

Sure hope you were able to watch/listen to Bro. Charlie’s message this past Sunday morning.  His visual of carrying a cross (during the invitation) really brought it home.  I would encourage you to go back and watch (or rewatch) at least that portion of the sermon.  “In order to live, we must die” – daily.

Jesus goes on to give a couple of examples of counting the cost – Building and Battles. They both cost more than you ever imagined.   Ever start a building project and your cost exceeds much more than you had originally planned (usually the case!!).  Battles always costs more than planned (lives included).

Jesus was making sure the disciples and multitude of people with him, knew what they were getting into and were prepared to go all the way.  No going half-way and then quitting.  No saying….I didn’t know it involved this!  I’ll have to rethink this.   We must carefully consider the commitment level that it takes to follow Jesus.  Too many people don’t mind signing their name to a commitment card as long as they don’t really have to be committed!  We are so good at starting something and not finishing it… we are like those represented by the rocky and thorny soils in the parable of the sower (Matt 13:20-22). 

Chuck Smith says…Now, you count the cost. Unless you are willing to forsake everything you can’t be My disciple. Unless you are willing to take up your cross, you can’t be My disciple. Unless you love Me supremely, you cannot be My disciple. The terms of discipleship are harsh. They are severe. And it is wrong when people tell you just accept Jesus and you are not going to have any more problems. Listen, many times when you accept Jesus your problems are just beginning. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. The Lord doesn’t say it is going to be easy. He said it is going to be tough and you better sit down first and count the cost. You better not get started in it if you can’t finish it, or are not willing to finish it. You need to make an accounting here and determine whether or not you are really willing to pay the price to go all the way through, because unless you are willing to forsake everything, really, you can’t be My disciple. These are heavy, hard words.

John Stott writes……The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers – the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.  For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.  The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called ‘nominal Christianity’.  In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity.  They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable.  Their religion is a great, soft cushion.  It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience.  No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.

Verse 33 says, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 

Forsake all that he has – Greek phrase had the idea “to say goodbye to”.

So, does this mean I have to sell everything I have and live in poverty if I am to be a disciple of Jesus.  Probably not, but who knows.  Your willingness to do so says it all.  It says who your priority is.  As Bro. Charlie has said many times, your checking account says a lot about you.  Now, don’t go saying that I said you have to sell everything in order to be a disciple.  That is certainly not the case, but you better be willing to if Jesus were to ask you to.  You can’t take it with you.  All that we have is His anyway. We are stewards of everything and owners of nothing (MacArthur).  If your money, or “things” are more important to you than being a follower of Jesus, then, Houston, we have a problem.  You may be a fan instead of a follower.

The lesson is plain.  Jesus does not want followers who rush into discipleship without thinking of what is involved.  And He is clear about the price.  The man who comes to Him must renounce all that he has…These words condemn all half-heartedness.  Jesus is not of course, discouraging discipleship.  He is warning against an ill-considered, faint-hearted attachment in order that men may know the real thing.  He wants men to count the cost and reckon all lost for His sake so that they can enter the exhilaration of full-blooded discipleship. (The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries).

I think that when we are witnessing to people, so many times we make the mistake of not warning them of the costs of discipleship. Salvation is free. But it costs to be a follower.  We are so anxious to get them to commit that we mistakenly mislead them into thinking that their life would be so much easier with Jesus in it. (it actually is easier with Jesus, just not the way they thought it would be).  And then when they do accept Him, immediately they begin to be tested and so many times, they say, no one told me this would happen.  And off they go – off into the wild blue yonder or wherever it is that people disappear to when things get a little rough.   Commitment, it hurts to see such a lack of this vital component of Discipleship.  I can’t imagine how it feels to the LORD.

Verse 34-35

Salt is only useful when it has the nature of salt.  A Christian is only useful when he or she has the nature of Christ. (David Guzik). 

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

  • Listen up
  • Pay attention
  • Embrace the message
  • Listen to me
  • This is important

Sunday School 3/29/2020

Luke 14:15-24

Who would have thought that we would be having Sunday School online.  I’m not sure how this all works (Holly is taking care of the logistics) but am hoping that we will be able to have a little discussion on the lesson. I count heavily on class discussion!  I will try my best to give credit to the different commentaries that I use in our lessons.  It’s one thing to lead a class discussion, but having to put it all in writing…..OH MY GOODNESS!  Please pray!!!  I usually scribble and draw and cut and paste so this is going to be….not sure of the words.  Also, please do not pay attention to my grammar or punctuation. I usually use my hands a lot in class…oh my, getting nervous just thinking about it!  Okay, here we go…

Last week we were in Luke 14:1-14 and we concentrated mostly on verse 11…For whosoever exalted himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  Spurgeon said “Humility is the proper estimate of oneself”.

Ouch!  Need to ponder on that for a while. Praise God that his mercies are new every morning! 

This week we continue on with Jesus, still at the home of a chief Pharisee’s, eating dinner. (by the way, I don’t think the Pharisees were enjoying the company too much!)

Luke 14:15

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

 The Lord’s reference to the resurrection of the righteous as a banquet was not lost on the guests, who thought of that great future heavenly gathering.  That connection prompted one of those who were reclining at the table with Him to say in response, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  This was a beatitude; a toast directed at himself and his fellow Pharisees, affirming that they will be among the blessed at the heavenly banquet in the kingdom of God…..Not only did they fully expect to be at that heavenly feast, but also to be in the seats of honor. (MacArthur).

We talked about those seats of honor in last week’s class. I am sitting here trying to visualize the man’s face as he made this toast.  I don’t think he really got the part about the humility that Jesus was just teaching about!  I’m thinking he was pretty smug with his toast.  I’m afraid that many of us look and sound just like him some days!

Luke 14:16-17

Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

So, Jesus begins another story to try to drive his point home.  In most of the commentaries that I have read, it is my understanding that when a banquet (feast, supper, wedding, etc) was planned and you were invited, you were not given the exact time and possibly not even the exact date of the event.  But you RSVP’d anyway saying you would come, Cause who would turn down an invitation to such a big event!  Anyway, when all the preparations and the food was ready, a second invitation came saying….Come; for all things are now ready.  (hmmm this sounds familiar – I wonder where I have read this before). And of course, usually everyone would come.

John 14:18-20

And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

And so the excuses begin. 

Gonna camp here for a minute.  Anyone good at making excuses? 

Working at the school for 30 years, I could probably write a book on excuses (from students, parents and teachers!).  Anyway, we are all pretty good at excuses.   I asked Google for some quotes on excuses.  Here are a few

  1.  Excuses will always be there for you, opportunity won’t.
  2. In back of an excuse is a lack of desire (Morgan)
  3. He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else (Ben Franklin)
  4. Never make excuses.  Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them (John Wooden)
  5. To rush into explanations is always a sign of weakness (Agatha Christie)
  6. If it is important to you, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse (Daniel Decker)
  7. Excuses are lies we tell ourselves so that it doesn’t have to be our fault.
  8. Sorry, I can’t today.  My sister’s friend’s, grandson’s uncle’s fish died.  And yes it was tragic.

Any funny stories of excuses that you have heard? To quote Bro. Charlie…”My hair hurts!”

During this Corona Virus, I read a news article about a man that actually lied that he had tested positive for the virus so he wouldn’t have to go to work.  Wow, what an excuse!  He probably won’t have a job to go back to now.

Back to the story, Can you imagine what the servants were thinking…How are we gonna tell him that no one is coming! 

Luke 14:21

So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

Ever have a dinner or party or some kind of event and hardly no one shows up?  You’ve planned for weeks for this special event, put in lots of hours prepping and cooking and cleaning….only then the excuses begin coming in….We can all probably relate to the Master of the House becoming angry!  Especially if the event we planned was for one of our children and no one showed!  (actually, this story is about the Master’s only Son and how the Jews rejected Him! – I will let John MacArthur explain this to you later in this lesson.  I am so thankful for the men and women whom God has blessed with the insight and ability to expound on the Word)

Luke 14:22-24

And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Before I turn to John MacArthur to explain all this, I want us to look at the word compel. 

I can’t remember where I read this (maybe David Guzik)…..Jesus said “compel” to indicate God’s great desire to fill His House, and because these wanderers and outcasts needed to be convinced that they were welcome, compelled by love.

In the culture of that day, only the rich and famous (so to speak) were invited to the banquets and such.  And only those that could return the favor of an invitation to their next event. The people that were compelled to come in from the street didn’t have such.  I’m sure it took some convincing that they were actually invited!   Can you image their faces?  Me? You want me to come? I can’t come, I’m not good enough to be at that banquet.  Besides, I can’t pay back the favor…People will look at me strangely… I don’t have anything to wear…I could go on and on with the excuses that were probably given. 

So what does that mean for us today?  Compel.  Are we taking on that challenge to compel people to come into the Kingdom.  Compel by love. Think about it. Yes there will be excuses, our feelings will probably get hurt, but we still need to compel them to come in with love.  This should be an everyday occurrence in our life, compelling, telling others about Jesus and His love.  Are we doing this?  When we hear the words, Come, for all things are now ready! Will we be ready? Will our family be ready? Will our friends be ready? Will our neighbors be ready? Will that person we meet at the grocery store (6 ft distancing please) be ready? 

I’m now going to leave you with John MacArthur’s comments on this section.

John MacArthur says…The head of the household represents God, who issued the invitation; the banquet represents salvation in His eternal kingdom; the pre-invited guests are Israel (and Gentile proselytes); the first invitation was delivered by the Old Testament prophets. The guests initially said yes to God’s invitation; they accepted the Old Testament revelation that they were God’s chosen people and would therefore enter the kingdom (even though they rejected and murdered the prophets (Luke 13:34).

At the dinner hour which Jesus called the “favorable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19), the second invitation was delivered by John (Matt 3:2) and Jesus (Matt 4:17) .  Everything was ready. But like the fictional guests in Jesus’ illustration, those invited refused to attend.  They had no interest in the banquet of God if Jesus Christ was the door to the banquet hall.  They were not interested in Him, or His message.  When He presented the true gospel of salvation, they sought to kill Him (Matt 26:59; Mark 14:1; John 11:53).  And like the guests in the illustration, they offered foolish excuses.  Two of those excuses had involved material possessions, the third a relationship.  Both of those types of excuses have been offered throughout history by those who are more interested in the things of the world than God’s invitation to salvation.  For that reason Jesus warned “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple….So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:26,33).

Like the guests in the illustration, Israel said yes to God’s original invitation, and no to the second invitation; they said yes to God’s promises, but no to His Son. Uninterested, indifferent, and self-satisfied, they clung tightly to the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world (Luke 8:14; Matt 13:22; Mark 4:18-19) and missed God’s heavenly banquet.  As a result, God was angry with them and abandoned them to judgment, leaving their house to them desolate (Luke 13:35).  Spiritual judgment comes on all unbelievers at death.  Physical judgment fell on that generation in AD 70 when the Romans massacred tens of thousands of Jews and destroyed the temple.  Judgement continues to fall on all who reject God’s invitation to salvation in Jesus and thus dishonor His Son.  In John 3:36 John the Baptist warned, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”. 

Instead of experiencing God as gracious host, those who reject His invitation to the heavenly banquet will one day face Him as sovereign judge and forever be shut out of His heaven (Rev. 20:10-15).

But the spiritually bankrupt, destitute, and humble, symbolized by the town (the believing Jewish remnant) and highway (believing Gentiles) dwellers, will be included in the banquet.  These are repentant sinners, who acknowledge that they have the attitude of the publican, who “was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13).  They are so acutely aware of their unworthiness that the gospel messengers will have to compel them to come; that is persuade strongly, urge, and constrain them to respond to God’s invitation to salvation.

Everyone who refuses God’s invitation to salvation will be excluded from the kingdom.,  Like the foolish virgins, they will be left outside in the dark when night falls on the day of opportunity and the door to the kingdom is shut. (Matt 25:1-12)