Who Cannot Be A Disciple

Posted: July 9, 2017 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 14:25-35, “Who Cannot Be A Disciple”

Sometimes we learn more of what something is, by looking at what something is not.  How do we describe “dryness”?  In terms of water, or lack thereof.  How do we generally describe world peace?  With the lack of war.  Even if we already know the concept (ex: cut and polished diamonds are incredibly beautiful gemstones), the comparison with opposites generally helps us learn more (ex: the black velvet setting upon which the gems are placed).

In Luke 14, Jesus used this teaching method with the concept of discipleship.  He described what discipleship is, in terms of what it is not.  Many people might say they want to be a disciple of Jesus; not everyone really wants to do it.  At least, not when they see what it actually involved.  People hear the news of heaven & say, “Awesome…sign me up!”  But when they hear that they need to forsake sin and surrender their lives to Christ, quite a few people change their minds. 

Part of the problem we have with false converts in the Bible Belt is probably due to this.  People are told that to go to heaven, all they need to do is repeat a prayer & ask Jesus to “come into their heart,” without knowing what the phrase even means.  They’re promised a wonderful life, and they’re thrilled…all up to the point that their life doesn’t turn out so wonderful.  They find they still have problems, that their lives haven’t really changed, and they end up deciding that church doesn’t really do anything for them & Jesus doesn’t matter.  They might still claim to be Christian, because they “prayed the prayer,” but they don’t really give Jesus a second thought.  In the end, that’s our fault.  As the church, we sold them a false bill of goods by not telling them what was involved.  We asked them to convert for the promise of heaven, but we didn’t tell them anything about being a disciple.  They were told of a guaranteed assurance of eternal life, without being told of what it cost.

That’s not a mistake Jesus made, and it is crystal-clear in passages such as this.  Can eternal life be assured?  Yes, absolutely!  Do true born-again Christians have a guaranteed promise of heaven?  Yes, 100%.  But there is a massive difference between cultural Christians and born-again disciples of Jesus.  Jesus never once told someone to simple “pray a prayer;” He told them to surrender their lives.  He told them to sincerely believe.  He told them to count the cost.

Jesus never once restricted the offer of His salvation from any group of people.  The Pharisees who (falsely) believed they were automatically saved were still invited to come to faith in Jesus, as was any of the people that might be more unexpected: the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and the Gentiles.  Even so, there were still some who would never be able to be saved: those unwilling to surrender all – those unwilling to count the cost.

Don’t be among them!  The choice is yours.

Luke 14:25–35

  • The conditions of discipleship (25-27)

25 Now great multitudes went with Him. …  

  • The first thing we see is that the setting has changed.  To this point in Chapter 14 (not that Luke numbered his chapter divisions, or even made chapter divisions), the setting has been a Sabbath day supper.  A ruler among the Pharisees in a town through which Jesus was travelling had invited Jesus and many others to his home for a meal/feast on the Sabbath day.  Just as a group of people might go out together after church for a meal together (or even invite them home), so did this group gather after their synagogue meeting on the Sabbath day.  Yet this was no ordinary meal; this was a set-up.  Luke tells us that the Pharisees and religious lawyers watched Jesus closely, looking to see what His reaction would be when a man with a physical disease (dropsy/edema/swelling) entered the room.  This man had been brought as a test.  Jesus was known to perform healings on the Sabbath, and due to the escalating tensions between Jesus and the Pharisees, they wanted a reason to accuse Him.  Of course, Jesus never once broke the Sabbath law, even with His healings, and did it again here, knowing that the heart of God (even on the Sabbath) was to have compassion on those who needed it.
  • It was compassion & humility that the Pharisees lacked, and Jesus pointed it out as He began to teach at the supper.  The religious elite had tried to exalt themselves at the expense of others, and Jesus told a parable of how they were to humble themselves & wait to be exalted by God.  In addition, they weren’t to try to make themselves look good in front of their friends & family, but they were to have compassion and generosity towards the kinds of people who would never be able to repay them.
  • All of this teaching was lost upon some who attended, who still assumed themselves to be included in the kingdom of God.  That’s when Jesus told the final parable recorded at that supper, describing a future supper of the kingdom.  The people who were originally invited refused to come, and in response the Master invited others – the same sorts of people that the original invitees would have despised.  Because the original guests didn’t come, other guests were urgently persuaded (compelled) to come in.  The Master had plenty of room, even if the original guests never saw the need.
  • It was quite a supper!  One might imagine the conversation dropping off quite a bit after Jesus was done teaching. J (Awkward!)  At some point the dinner ended, and Jesus was once again among the crowds – “the great multitudes.”  It’s to them that Jesus continued teaching, and it’s telling that the first subject that is recorded by Luke is who cannot be a disciple.  There were many religious people in that banquet hall with Jesus, but few (if any) of them were willing to count the cost of discipleship.  The Pharisees and religious lawyers had refused to answer the invitation of Jesus to follow Him in sincerity.  Would the crowds?  The masses might physically follow Jesus through the countryside, but would they follow Him in terms that really mattered?  Would they be willing to do what the Pharisees were not, in terms of true discipleship?
  • Jesus starts out by giving them two conditions of discipleship…

… And He turned and said to them, 26 “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.

  • First things first: what is a disciple?  If we’re going to understand what Jesus means with His conditions of discipleship, we ought to know what a disciple is.  The Greek word is uniformly translated this way.  Out of the 269 times it’s used in the NT, the NKJV always translates it as “disciple,” so we know that it’s pretty consistent…we just need to know what it means.  A disciple is a learner or pupil, but this is far more than simply being a student in a classroom.  Students listen to their teachers, but they aren’t particularly attached to them.  They might not even care about the subject matter, being required to take a class.  That’s not a disciple.  One dictionary says of the classical Greek use of the word: “A man is called [a disciple] when he binds himself to someone else in order to acquire his practical and theoretical knowledge.” (NIDNTT)  In other words, a disciple is best thought of as an apprentice.  A student might listen to his/her teacher for an hour at a time; an apprentice follows his/her master teacher all through the day.  Disciples learn to duplicate the ways of the one who instruct them.  Jesus’ use of the word in the NT takes things up a notch.  Christian disciples are not just learning a trade; they’re learning a life.  Christians don’t bind themselves to just anyone; they completely attach themselves to Christ Jesus.  We are to follow every aspect of the Lord Jesus, in total devotion to Him.
    • If we’re being honest, that doesn’t sound like much of the church today, does it?  Many people have an idea of a part-time Christianity.  Sure, they might go to church, but the stuff they do there stays there.  It doesn’t come into their workplace or recreational time.  They might pray at the dinner table, but the rest of their faith doesn’t bleed over into the rest of their lives. – There might be all kinds of ways of describing that sort of behavior, but it isn’t “discipleship.”  Can you imagine Peter or John or Andrew doing that with Jesus?  Of course not.  They lived with Him, ate with Him, walked next to Him, spent every waking moment next to Him.  Granted, that was easy to do while Jesus physically walked the earth, but it’s not like that kind of devotion to Jesus stopped after Jesus ascended to heaven.  The New Testament shows people like Peter, John, and Paul still totally dedicated to Jesus, devoted & bound to Him.  They had a full-time (not part-time) Christianity.
    • Objection: “But of course they did.  They were called by God into full-time ministry; that’s not for the rest of us.”  Not so!  Yes, they (mostly) had a full-time occupation of ministry (though sometimes Paul made tents to financially support himself), but even Christians who didn’t still had total dedication to Jesus.  Before Barnabas ever started travelling on missions with Paul, he was first had a ministry of encouragement among the church & donated the proceeds from his land sale to the apostles. (Acts 4:36-37)  In Philippi, a woman named Lydia was a seller of purple dye, and she insisted that Paul & those who travelled with him stay at her house within the city as he did the work of church-planting there. (Acts 16:14-16)  These were men & women willing to do anything for Jesus, whatever their vocation/career might have been.
    • Keep in mind that this is what we are called to do & to be.  When the Bible speaks of making Christians, it speaks of making disciples.  Matthew 28:19–20, "(19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  It would have very easy for Jesus to command the disciples to go out and just get a lot of people to pray a prayer of conversion.  He could have told the apostles just to convince people to believe in Jesus for salvation, and left it at that.  But that’s not what He did.  He told them to “make disciples.”  In fact, that’s the primary verb in His command, with the rest of it simply being the description of how to go about it.  Disciples make other disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching.  Is conversion important?  Absolutely!  It’s foundational.  Without conversion, no one gets baptized – no one receives teaching.  But conversion isn’t the equivalent to discipleship; it’s only the beginning of it.  Conversion takes a moment; discipleship takes a lifetime.  Jesus called us to make disciples…that is who we are to be.
  • Condition #1: Hate your life.  Given the book titles that fill the “Christian” section at many bookstores, one can imagine what the reaction of some publishers might have been to Jesus, if they had heard Him at the time.  Jesus purposefully used shocking language to speak of discipleship.  It’s shocking today, and it was shocking then.  Just look at the list: Jesus basically tells people to think of every family relationship they have & then “hate” them. “You want to follow Me?  Great!  Hate everyone else first.”  Does it sound extreme?  It is!  Of course, it’s meant to be, as Jesus was speaking in hyperbole and comparison.  Does Jesus want His followers to literally hate “father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters”?  Of course not.  The 5th Commandment is to honor our parents, and Jesus isn’t commanding law-breaking.  Jesus summarized the entire law by the two commands to love God and to love our neighbors.  On the night of His arrest, He commanded His disciples to love one another.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus even commanded people to love their enemies. (Mt 5:44)  Surely our families are included somewhere in all of that!  Thus, what Jesus says here in Luke 14:26 has to be understood in light of what He said elsewhere.  He speaks figuratively, in hyperbole – speaking extremely about one concept in order to highlight something else.  If a person want to follow Jesus as a disciple, then something else needs to happen: other relationships needs to pale in comparison.  Next to Jesus, our love for our families need to seem like hate.  Next to Jesus, our love even for our own lives need to seem like hate.  As His disciples, we are to place every other priority in our lives under Jesus.  He is first – He is foremost – He is supreme.  Do you love your husband or wife?  Good!  But in comparison with Jesus, your love for your spouse needs to seem like you barely know them at all.  For a disciple of Jesus, all of life is to center on Him – everything else proceeds outward.
    • “But that still sounds extreme!”  It is.  Where in the Bible did Jesus ask for anything less than extreme devotion?  Where did the idea of an easy, cheap Christianity originate?  Not in the pages of the Bible!  The Bible speaks of a God who went through great extremes for us, so we respond in great extremes for Him.  Think of it: what could be more extreme than God clothing Himself in flesh, walking among us as a Man, allowing Himself to be rejected, humiliated, tortured, crucified, and made into a sin-sacrifice for people who hated Him and committed treason against Him?  That is extreme!  Yet that is what Jesus did for us.  In response, the Bible calls us to believe & have faith, yes – but it also calls us to something more.  It calls us to walk worthy of the calling with which we were called. (Eph 4:1)  It calls us to become living sacrifices for Him (Rom 12:1).  It calls us to be disciples.  We are called to whole-hearted, full-on, total devotion to the Lord Jesus, being both His slaves (bond-servants) and friends.  He deserves nothing less.
    • And if you thought that was extreme, just wait for what Jesus says next…

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

  • Condition #2: Embrace your death.  First was to let everything beloved in your life be like it is hated, in comparison with Jesus.  If Jesus takes first place, everything else takes a far distant second.  This second condition takes it a step further.  Don’t just ‘hate’ your life; embrace death.  Again, is this extreme?  Without question.  But so were Jesus’ actions for us.  This is what He personally did on our behalf, and disciples follow in the footsteps of their Master.  Disciples duplicate the things their Master does.  Jesus bore His cross for us; we bear our cross for Him.
  • Keep in mind that to “bear our cross” is far more than what is often thought today.  People use the phrase to refer to any sort of inconvenience.  Whatever our complaints may be, that is assuredly not what Jesus meant when He spoke of bearing His cross.  For Jesus, His cross was literal.  It was a giant piece of wood digging splinters into His back, which was already thrashed from a brutal scourging, and lugging the timber to the place where He would be crucified upon it.  For Jesus, bearing His cross was to load on His shoulders the very thing upon which He would be killed.  That’s what it meant for Jesus, so we can be sure that He meant something similar for us when He instructed us to do the same.
  • Question: Does this mean He wants us to literally die?  No.  Literal death was something Jesus came to abolish.  He is the resurrection and the life; those who die in Him will yet live, and the person who believes in Him will never die. (Jn 11:25-26)  We all face physical death, but as believing Christians we will never face eternal death.  That is something completely removed by Jesus.  Even so, in the here & now, Jesus still does not call us to literally die.  After all, we’re to be living sacrifices (Rom 12:1); dead people cannot do good works for Jesus.  Dead disciples cannot make more disciples.  So yes, we are to literally live, but we are to live for a different purpose.  Most people live for themselves; we are to live for Jesus.  Most people want to glorify themselves; we are to glorify Christ.  We are to so much put ourselves aside that it is as if we have truly died to ourselves & we live with a new identity: that of a true disciple.
  • Note that this is not the first time Jesus gave such a command.  Luke 9:23–24, "(23) Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (24) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it."  At first, this might seem foolish, as a trip bearing one’s cross is a one-way ticket.  It’s not something that can be done on a daily basis.  But that’s the point of the hyperbole.  We don’t literally physically die, but we do put our own desires and priorities to death.  We certainly put the lusts of our flesh to death in order that we might serve Christ Jesus wholeheartedly. We reckon ourselves dead to sin & alive to Christ. (Rom 6:11)  As disciples, our lives are to be wholly spent on Jesus.
    • Objection: “But won’t that mean I have nothing?”  Yes…and no.  Sometimes we fear that if we wholeheartedly surrender everything in life to Jesus that we will lose our identity in Him.  There won’t be anything left of ourselves in us.  But consider for a moment if that’s really a bad thing.  If you surrender all of yourself to Jesus, what will remain at the end?  A life transformed by Jesus.  That’s what we claim to want, is it not?  The Bible promises that disciples of Jesus are new creations – we have new lives, and hearts completely cleansed by Him.  If that means it requires that the “old us” go away, then praise God!  That’s what we want!
    • To be totally surrendered to Jesus doesn’t mean we all become robots, zombies, or Stepford wives (depending on your cultural frame of reference).  It doesn’t mean that we have no desires or dreams.  It means that His desires for us become our desires.  It means the things we used to want for ourselves, we no longer want.  Instead, our hearts are transformed by Him to desire the things He wants for us.  Considering that He’s the God who created us, we can trust Him to know what is best!
  • So this sort of discipleship is what Jesus calls us to.  That’s something that ought to be carefully considered, which Jesus goes on to illustrate…
  • Counting the cost (28-32)

28 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—29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

  • Example #1: Building budget.  Someone doesn’t start a construction project without proper funding.  The last thing a person wants to do is have a half-built building sitting around, never able to be used.  As a church, we have first-hand experience with this.  We’ve got land, but no building as of yet.  We simply don’t have funding to get started.  That’s not a complaint; just a reality.  Any person, organization, or church body goes through the same thing in any project they undertake.  Do they have the budget to proceed?  If so, great!  If not, then it’s time to wait.
  • In regards to discipleship, have you counted the cost?  Not everyone is willing to surrender his/her entire life to Jesus.  Again, many people want to pray a prayer to be assured of eternity, but not nearly as many want to give what is required to be a disciple of Jesus.  Question: Is Jesus trying to talk people out of discipleship?  Yes & no.  Jesus certainly wants to cut down on the number of false converts.  Far better for someone never to make an insincere commitment to Christ, than for that person to have a false assurance of salvation.  Probably the worst words a person could ever hear from Jesus are “Depart from Me; I never knew you.” (Mt 7:23)  That said, Jesus does want people to believe & to follow Him as His disciples.  He never puts a legalistic burden upon anyone, giving a list of rules & rituals for us to follow.  He never demands slavish service, holding out the false carrot that salvation must somehow be earned.  But He does show that discipleship is true commitment.  And that’s not something that everyone is willing to give.

31 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? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.

  • Example #2: Battle budget.  We don’t have to be great military strategists to know that armies never willingly enter battles they don’t believe they can win.  Situations like the Battle of the Alamo were forced, and undesired by the Texans who were there.  If nations can avoid losing battles by entering diplomatic negotiations, then that’s in their best interest to do.  Better to end up with a bad trade deal, than to lose 10,000 soldiers in battle.  The idea with this example is little different than that of the tower construction (though the stakes are higher!).  Count the cost.  Be sure you’re willing and able to see something through to completion before you begin.
  • Bottom line: this is basic wisdom!  If these things are considered for physical things, how much more should the cost be considered regarding eternal things?  It’s interesting that more people give more thought to their choice of career than to how they want to spend their eternity.  People will carefully consider trade school, college, the military, etc., spending many hours figuring out what they want to do with their lives.  Yet when it comes to eternity, it’s often decided on a whim.  “Do I want to give my heart to Jesus? I guess so.”  Don’t misunderstand: people can decide in a single moment that yes, they want to surrender their lives to Christ.  But however your discipleship begins, it’s more than just a moment.  A commitment to Christ is life-change.  Jesus calls us to nothing less.
    • Know this: it’s worth it!  If you haven’t yet surrendered your life to Jesus – if you’re still counting the cost – know that it is all worth it.  What you lose is nothing compared to what you gain.  What you lose is your sin, your shame, your selfish desires; what you gain is the love of God, life in the Spirit, and the knowledge of your Creator.  It is most certainly worth it to surrender everything to Jesus!
  • Summary: Surrender everything (33)

33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

  • This gets back to the first two conditions: hate your life – embrace your death – leave everything behind.  To “forsake” is to renounce, to take leave of everything that was once ordered & appointed to you.  Turn away from it & leave it all behind.  We might say it another way: burn your bridges.  Burning your bridges is a bad thing, until it isn’t.  In business, you rarely want to burn bridges with customers, because you never know when you might encounter them again.  Likewise with how you generally treat people in a public setting.  But in other contexts, burning bridges is downright necessary.  Sinful lifestyles of the past need to have all ties severed – every bridge burned.  Some personal relationships need to be totally cut off, in order to ensure we don’t fall into the same traps of past sin.  This is the idea in regards to discipleship.  We are to burn our bridges with the past.  We don’t simply give up the way we used to live; we cut off all ways of returning to it.  When we surrender our lives to Jesus as His disciples, we leave ourselves no escape hatch.  There’s no turning back.
    • What’s the difference between a disciple of Jesus & a surface-level convert with an escape hatch?  Two people go up in a plane for skydiving.  Both put on parachutes, but only one jumps.  The person who jumped renounced everything of the past, being wholeheartedly committed to the dive.  In conversion, we might put on the parachute, but it is in discipleship that we jump.  Jesus calls us to jump.
    • Have you taken the jump?  Maybe you’re one who has believed upon Jesus, but you’ve hesitated truly committing to Him.  You’ve tried to live with one foot in Christianity and one foot in the world…and you’ve found that it hasn’t worked out so well.  Your priorities are always torn – you struggle often with temptations and guilt – you don’t really experience freedom & the abundant life that the Bible speaks of.  What do you do?  Count the cost, and truly commit yourself to Jesus.  Take the leap of faith, and jump into wholehearted discipleship.  Surrender everything to Him, totally entrusting yourself to Jesus.
  • Notice something about the two conditions & summary of discipleship: everything is in the present tense.  14:26, “hate” – 14:27, “bear…come” – 14:33, “forsake” – all of these verbs are present tense.  They describe an ongoing state of things.  In other words, it’s not something you do once & then forget.  These are things we do constantly.  Life ebbs & flows.  Some days this comes easy & sometimes it doesn’t.  Even the apostle Paul struggled with his own walk of discipleship with Jesus from time to time.  Did he forsake his life of the past?  Absolutely!  He went from being a Pharisee persecuting Christians, to being a missionary church planter.  But even for Paul there were days he found himself doing things he hated to do, and not doing the things he wanted to do. (Rom 7:15)  By external standards, it might have seemed as if some days he was a “better” disciple than other days.  Thankfully, that’s not the standard by which we are judged.  God sees us through eyes of grace!  God sees us clothed in the righteousness of His Son!  Even so, we need to be mindful & not become complacent in how we follow Christ.  An initial commitment to follow Him is necessary, but it’s not the end; it’s only the beginning.  Every day is a new day to walk as a disciple (and to be reminded of the grace of Jesus!).
  • Worthwhile disciples (34-35)

34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 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!”

  • All of the previous discussion perhaps made sense in terms of discipleship, but what about all of this talk about salt?  What does salt have to do with anything?  Actually, it has quite a bit.  Jesus taught the need to count the cost – to forsake everything in order to follow Him as His disciple.  What does it look like when a person does not?  What happens with the person who outwardly looks like he/she is following Christ, but inwardly is not His disciple at all?  That person is like savorless salt.
  • To understand the illustration, we need to understand how salt was used in that particular culture.  We hear “salt” and think of cooking (table salt).  Or perhaps we think of warfare, where lands might be overly salted, in order to prevent future farm growth (which historically speaking, was a far rarer practice than we might imagine).  Yet in this case, we need to think not as cooks, nor as historians, but as ancient farmers.  In the right doses, salt was actually used as ancient fertilizer.  The Roman historians Cato, Virgil, and Pliny all write of how salt was used to improve farmland, rather than destroying it.  All life requires at least some salt to survive (which is why wars have been fought over it), and that includes plant life.  Sea salt has a variety of minerals within it, beyond pure sodium chloride, which makes it beneficial for certain crops & soils.  Thus it can be good for land, and for manure piles (“dunghills”), increasing the efficiency of each.  With that in mind, Jesus’ statement goes from making little-to-no sense in terms of discipleship, to being extremely relevant!  Disciples of Jesus are supposed to be salt of the earth, in terms of our influence within the world.  Actually, that phrase could be translated “salt for the earth,” which perhaps makes Jesus’ teaching within the Sermon on the Mount make a bit more sense.  Matthew 5:13–15, "(13) “You are the salt of/for the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (14) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house."  Jesus has a purpose for us as His disciples, as we impact our world around us for His glory & gospel.  We are to fertilize the world with the gospel of Christ, taking His message and love with us everywhere we go.  We are the vessels through which God spreads His message, helping His kingdom grow.
  • So what happens when we don’t do it? Nothing…and that’s the problem.  When we aren’t salt, then we don’t fulfill our purpose.  When disciples aren’t acting as disciples, then other disciples aren’t made.  The kingdom does not expand – the love of Christ is not experienced – the gospel is not proclaimed.  Nothing happens, and it’s not a good thing.  Salt is supposed to be salty.  When it’s not, it’s worthless.
    • Does that mean that we are worthless?  God still loves us – Jesus still died for us – He still showers us with grace.  Someone doesn’t lose his/her salvation depending on their failure as salt within the world.  Our worth is always found in Christ; never in our actions.
    • That said, if salt has absolutely no characteristics of being salt, is it right to identify it as salt in the first place?  If someone claims to be a Christian, but has no characteristics identifying himself/herself with Jesus, can he/she truly be called a disciple?  Failure doesn’t determine our worth, but a complete absence of salty discipleship is a worthwhile wake-up call! 
  • BTW – how might salt lose its flavor?  As a mineral, it has the properties of that mineral, no matter what.  Again, think of sea salt rather than table salt.  This wasn’t a “pure” mineral, and it could disintegrate or sometimes be mixed with gypsum dust.  How might a disciple lost his/her saltiness?  Impurity – getting mixed with stuff of the world.  There’s a reason Jesus calls us to wholehearted discipleship.  Anything else makes us less fit for use.

Conclusion:
What does it take to be a disciple?  Everything.  The person who cannot be a disciple is the person who loves his/her life more than Jesus.  The person who cannot be a disciple is the person seeking to promote himself.  The person who cannot be a disciple is the person unwilling to leave everything else behind.

Jesus calls us to something different.  He calls us to jump.  He calls us to profound dedication, where everything else gets left behind as we follow Him in His footsteps to the cross.  It is a commitment, so count the cost!  Half-hearted decisions to follow Jesus leave us wholly worthless in the Great Commission.  So consider it carefully – but follow through!  Jesus may give us an extreme invitation, but it’s worth it!  We may surrender our current desires, but He gives us better ones in return.  We may forsake some temporary pleasures, but He gives us eternal joy.  There are many who hesitate to follow Jesus in full-throated discipleship, but not a single person who does regrets it.  Do you want to experience abundance of life?  This is the way.  This is how you will know your Creator in the relationship He has always intended for you.

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