Luke 9:57-62 ESV
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Not an Easy Ride
Following Jesus Christ with our lives is not an easy ticket into heaven as many are preaching these days. There is a cost to us, but not the price that Jesus paid, but there are terms, there are conditions to following Jesus Christ with our lives and to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God. It is not an easy life. Jesus said it would be a life of self-sacrifice and suffering; a life of dying daily to sin and walking in obedience to Him.
Many want their Resurrection Sunday without their Friday Cross. They want to be delivered from the punishment of sin and to have the hope of eternal life with God without first dying with Christ to sin daily and without walking with him daily in obedience to his commands, i.e. without taking up their cross daily and following Jesus (Lu 9:23-26). For they want to hold on to their sins and to continue living in them and to even increase in them.
They don’t want to let go of their past life. They want forgiveness for their sins (past, present, and future) but only as security that they will not be punished for their sins and that they will have the hope of eternal life with God even though they remain living among the dead, still deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord, engaging in sexual immorality, lying, cheating, slandering, and pretending one thing while living another.
But Jesus’ message to them then and to us now is the same. We are to leave our lives of being dead in our sins and to holding on to those sins, and we are to forsake those sins to follow Jesus with our lives in obedience to his commands. And when this has taken place, then we are to be sharing the true message of the gospel of our salvation with others so that they can also die with Christ to their sins and live to him and to his righteousness.
Their Own Conditions
Yet, many are wanting to believe in Jesus Christ on their own conditions. So, they create their own conditions for their salvation from sin and for eternal life with God. They will believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives provided he expects nothing of them in return; provided that they do nothing and that God does it all, and all their sins are forgiven, and heaven is secured them, even though they continue in deliberate and habitual sin.
But Jesus Christ does not accept those conditions, for we don’t dictate to God. He dictates to us. He is the one who sets the criteria and who establishes the conditions for our salvation from sin and for our eternal life with God. So, he lets us know clearly that if we don’t accept his conditions, and if we choose to go back to living like we did before, still living in deliberate and habitual sin, that we are not fit for his eternal kingdom.
He lets us know that heaven is not our eternal destiny but hell is if we return to living in sin after we profess faith in Jesus Christ. He lets us know that if we refuse to die with him to sin and to follow him in obedience that we will lose our lives for eternity, not gain eternal life with God. And he lets us know, too, that this denying of self, and dying daily to sin, and this following him in obedience is to be continuous until we die or until he returns.
And he lets us know, too, that a mere profession or a mere confession of faith in Jesus Christ, if it is not followed by forsaking our sins and following him in obedience from now until the end, it will end up with him saying to us one day, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness,” because the profession of faith was lip service only and it did not bear good fruit in keeping with repentance, but only the fruit of the flesh.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11]
Ignoring Truth, Following Lies
Yet, many are ignoring these biblical truths and they are following after the teachings of men in their deceitful scheming which are supplanting the true gospel of our salvation, and which are giving their adherents permission to keep on in their deliberate and habitual sins of immorality, impurity, idolatry, lying, cheating, abusing, and manipulating, without guilt, without remorse, but with the false hope of heaven when they die.
And these teachings of men of the flesh have infiltrated the teachings of the gospel and they have inserted their lies inside the gospel message in order to convince people that their lies are the truth. And people are buying into these lies by the masses. And they are leading them to believe that repentance (forsaking their sins), submission to Christ as Lord, and walks of obedience to our Lord and to his commands are not required by God.
And so the vast majority of those who are professing faith in Jesus Christ have joined forces with the ungodly and the wicked in their adulterous and idolatrous ways, and they are not forsaking their sins, and they are continuing in them, and they are not walking in obedience to the Lord, for they have believed the lies which are telling them that the Christian life is just one big party where everyone gathers together to have a good time.
And so we now have a massive spiritual and moral decline which is taking place within the gatherings of what is being called “church.” And most who are professing to be Christians are joining in with this false religion, of a false god of a false faith, and they are playing right along with those who are addicted to sin and who are wicked and immoral. They are mixing in together so that it is barely distinguishable now between the church and the world.
And so the Lord Jesus is sending out his messengers (those who are listening to him and who are obeying him) with the true message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to debunk (discredit, expose) the lies for what they are so that blinded eyes will be opened to the truth and so that many people will turn away from their sins and they will follow Jesus in obedience to his ways, so that they will have eternal life with God.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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