Don’t Just Say it! Do it!

Matthew 8:18-22 ESV

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, ‘Teacher, 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.’ Another of the disciples said to him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.’”

So, what’s the central message here? I believe it has to do with people making professions with their lips which they are truly not ready in their hearts to make the full commitment to. Jesus could see inside the hearts of both of these men, and he could see that they were not fully committed to doing what their lips were saying. They were giving lip service only to the Lord but they were not really ready to go the distance and to do what it would involve for them to truly do what their lips professed.

With the first man Jesus was definitely letting him know that there is a cost to following him with our lives. There will be sacrifices to make and comfort to give up. And he knew the man was not ready to do that, at least that is the impression I get from what this says. And the way the gospel is being taught here in America today, for the most part, they are not teaching that there is a cost to following Jesus, and that following him requires full surrender and leaving our former lives of comfort and sin behind us.

But Jesus made it very clear over and again that following him involves us denying self and dying to sin and walking in obedience to his commands daily. For, in essence, he said that if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self that we will lose them for eternity. But if we forsake our old lives of sin and follow Jesus in obedience, then we have eternal life in him. And he also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one obeying the will of God the Father.

[Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 7:21-23; Romans 6:1-23; 1 John 3:4-10]

And the second man showed his lack of commitment by saying that he wanted to first go and bury his father. And this doesn’t mean his father was already dead and that this would just take a day or two. From what I have read, the sense is that he wasn’t ready to make that full commitment to follow Jesus in obedience and in surrender of his life to him, but he just wanted to sound as though he was, and his father may have had many years yet to live before he died and was buried.

But the point here is that many people are giving lip service to the Lord but they are not truly sincere in what they are professing with their lips, for their actions do not follow what their lips confess. Some people always have an excuse for why they are still living in sin, and for why they are not yet free from their addiction to sin, although some of them have known the truth for a while, and some of them for a very long time. But there is always some delay, some reason they give for why they have not surrendered to Christ.

But, according to Romans 1, there are not any acceptable excuses for why we can’t forsake our lives of sin and follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant), and for why we can’t live morally pure, honest, upright, godly, and faithful lives to our Lord. For Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. In his death he put our sin to death with him so that we can die with him to sin and now walk with him in obedience.

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:28-30,33 ESV)

So, it is not good to make promises we know we are likely not going to be able to keep, especially if based on a bad track record and the condition of one’s heart, if that condition is spiritually not good. And it is good if we do not make verbal commitments to anything without first praying about it, and without first considering what it is going to cost us. And it is definitely not good to give lip service to God and then not to follow it up with action. And it is good if we understand that following Jesus does come with a cost.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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