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Sermon24-23 Luke14 Guide

Luke 14:25-35, theme verse Luke 14:33

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the sixth Sunday of the Easter season, I pray that His vitality and joy and power of the resurrection may be with you all. During last several weeks, while meditating on the Gospel of Luke, we saw that Luke proclaimed that the Gospel is good news for all nations, in which the lost humanity, I mean, the Image of God, which all human beings were lost, could be healed and recovered, toward the restoration of relationship with God and others. And Jesus was sent for this mission and when He ascended to heaven, He empowered this mission to His disciples after training so we would like to learn few lessons, while investigating what the discipleship He required for them.

1)    As we looked at during past several weeks, around AD 80-90, when the Gentiles increased a lot in the church, Luke who was a Gentile too from Syria Antioch, wrote this Gospel to a Roman Gentile Theophilus, saying, “Gospel is good news for all nations which brought the salvation from the sin and healing of its corruption to recover the relationship with God and also with the people.” And Jesus was sent to this world as a Savior and Healer, who was the Son of God and also a perfect Man and the Messiah of God for this Gospel. And then He commanded to His disciples to continue this mission to proclaim this good news to the world, while ascending to the heaven after the resurrection, after He trained his disciples to fulfill his great commission.

2)    Luke wrote about Jesus’ training in his Gospel 9:51-19:27 during the long journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, and also, as shown in Acts 1:3, he wrote that Jesus, who was resurrected gave special teachings on the kingdom of God for 40 days before His ascension to heaven.

3)    By the way, when we read the Synoptic Gospels carefully, we can find that the use of the term disciple is somewhat different. I mean, while Mark used the word disciple only in reference to the Lord's twelve disciples, that is, the twelve apostles, Matthew uses the word disciple in reference not only to the twelve disciples of the Lord, but also to Joseph of Arimathea, who laid Jesus in the tomb. On other hands, Luke says that all Christians who believe in the Lord are disciples.

4)    The reason why the usage of the word disciple is different is because each Gospel has a different view of discipleship. In other words, those who emphasize that discipleship is thorough dedication, like Mark, call those who have thoroughly devoted themselves to Jesus' calling, that is, those who have abandoned everything and followed Jesus, as disciples. On the other hands, Luke, who is focusing more on the Lord's Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, is saying that all Christians are disciples.

5)    However, if we expand discipleship like this, we may meet other problem. I mean, as you can see in today’s text, Jesus said that in order to become His disciple, he has to hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life. And also he give up all that he has, and then he must take up his own cross and follow the Lord, as in all the Gospel, we can see all His disciples gave up their jobs, property, and family in response to Jesus' call to be His disciples and followed Him. So, if becoming a believer is synonymous with being a disciple, then logically all believers must give up their jobs and property. But this is too unrealistic or too idealistic to be applied in the actual church.

6)    Therefore, in the Gospel of Luke, while expanding disciples to all believers, Luke tried to expand the definition of disciples also. What I mean is, Luke defines disciples as not only those who gave up all their possessions and followed Jesus, but also those who served Jesus with what they owned, instead giving up them all. And those were called Stewards who also were His disciples who follow Jesus by using their wealth well even if they did not give up all their wealth or their jobs.

7)    Disciples like this are the stewards whom we can find in chapters 12 and 16 of the Gospel of Luke. I mean, in the parable of faithful and wise steward of chapter 12, Luke says they are those whom his master, God, will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time. And also, in the parable of dishonest steward, Luke says that those who are faithful even in the smallest things, faithful even when entrusted with unrighteous wealth, and faithful even when entrusted with other people's things can be chosen as the stewards of God. By the way, since this is the secret in which we can find how to be rich in His kingdom, being a God’s steward, I hope you could have a chance to think about carefully the meaning of these words.

8)    Anyway, this example of Luke’s unique discipleship concept can be found also in the illustration in Luke 19 that Zacchaeus, after repenting, offered to give half of his wealth to the poor and also, in the parable in Luke 18, in which a rich ruler who was challenged by Jesus to “sell all you have and give to the poor and come follow me” is written to have left in sorrow in the Gospel of Mark and Matthew, whereas in the Gospel of Luke he is said just only to be distressful, yet omitting his leaving.

9)    However, even with that, we have to pay attention and keep in mind that Luke still emphasizes the disciple’s thorough dedication. For instance, although in the Gospel of Matthew, even after Peter, Andrew, James, and John left the net, the boat, and their father behind to follow Jesus in chapter 4, in chapter 8 it is written that Jesus entered the house of Peter's mother-in-law and healed the mother-in-law, who was suffering from a serious fever so that we can know that the disciples' devotion was not yet thorough. But in the Gospel of Luke, Luke changed the order, I mean, in chapter 4, after Peter's mother-in-law was first healed from a serious fever, then in chapter 5, Luke says Peter followed Jesus after abandoning everything behind and repenting to follow the Lord, in order that Luke emphasizes thorough dedication to discipleship.

10) And also in Today’s text, our Lord said that, in order to become His disciple,

a)     not only he had to hate his own parents, wife and children, brothers and sisters, but also even his own life,

b)    while giving up all that he had

c)     then he had to take up his own cross and follow Jesus.

And even He exhorted to calculate the cost of disciples.

11) By the way, why do you think our Lord exhorted to calculate the cost of discipleship? Yes. Because He wanted His disciples can enjoy the joy in the discipleship since half-heartedness cannot enjoy it.

12) Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, it was written that before God assigns His stewards, He will check whether he will be faithful in a very little, or faithful in the unrighteous wealth, or faithful in that which is another’s. So I hope those who want to be His stewards in the Kingdom of God, may be faithful in even a little things, and in the money and in the others’.  Secondly, I hope we could think about what it meant to calculate the cost of discipleship. This does not mean that he should calculate how much he has to give up in order to become a disciple of the Lord. The Lord's words are not about such formal or external qualification. Rather our Lord is talking about a heart of loyalty and wholehearted devotion, since becoming a disciple of Jesus is nothing more or less than our wholehearted devotion to Christ. In other words, rather than asking how much we give up our wealth or family, the Lord asks us how much we devote ourself to the Lord with all our heart. That’s why R.J Karris said in an excerpt from “Reading Luke,” Talbert’s commentary on the Gospel of Luke, that “discipleship does not mean periodic service at one’s own convenience.” Therefore on this sixth Sunday of the Easter season, I pray that all of us here will devote ourself wholeheartedly to the Lord, to accept Him as the Messiah, and show our obedience and commitment to His call so that we may all enjoy true joy in the discipleship.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 As the number of believers increased, Luke expanded the concept of discipleship that not only those who left all his possession and family and followed Him, but also those who even did not abandon his possession, yet served Jesus and His kingdom with his possession was His disciples, naming them as His stewards. Everyone has his or her own calling so that we can serve our Lord and His kingdom in that calling. So after reviewing our calling and thinking how we will serve, I hope you could share your thoughts with your team members together.

Q2 And also, it is said that all this devotion comes out from His grace and also this discipleship results in hidden joy. So, after reviewing your life and checking whether you have those grace and enjoy hidden joy in discipleship, I hope you could share your thoughts and experience with your team members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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