The Weekly PowerBreak – “Did Jesus really mean it?”

Jesus seemed very serious about being “all in” when it comes to following Him or serving Him. Take a look at the following and see what you think:

Luke 9:23 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:62 (ESV) — 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:25–33 (ESV) — 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a 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.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

What does a true follower of Jesus Christ look like?

He or she looks like someone who is totally sold out to Him. After all, to be saved is to look to Him as “Lord,” which means sovereign ruler or the one who has complete charge over you as in He is the Master and you are the servant.

Romans 10:8–10 (ESV) — 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

OK, then what does Jesus say about following Him?

First, it’s costly – you are to deny yourself. That means as you are planning your schedule and managing your time, you deny what you want on His behalf.

Secondly, there is the taking up your cross, whatever it is in your life that is difficult, you use to honor Him by dying to self and living to Him.

Thirdly, you are not to keep looking back or around for that matter and thinking about what you are missing in life. When Lot’s wife looked back at what she had left in Sodom, she turned to a pillar of salt. Jesus makes it known you can’t move forward in serving Him by looking back.

Fourthly, Jesus made it clear you are to count the cost before following Him. Too many don’t count the cost and they quit when things get rough. When you go to countries where Christians are persecuted, you’ll find that people who follow Christ know exactly the cost. They know that following Jesus will likely mean prison, beating, and probably death BUT they are glad to do it because they have counted the cost.

Fifthly, Jesus said unless you are willing to renounce all that you have you haven’t really stepped out to follow Him.

He’s not asking you to follow Him out of convenience but follow Him sacrificially. Can you truly say your life demonstrates one who is following Christ in that manner or are you holding back, serving Him when it’s convenient? He is calling for a life of continual sacrifice.

Speaking of sacrifice, notice how the apostle Paul calls followers of Christ to make a sacrifice:

Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The passage above is a call to offer yourself to be consumed by the Lord Jesus Christ because it’s only reasonable when you consider all that has gone into your salvation. Otherwise if you are not consumed by Christ as a totally sold out follower, you’ll be consumed by the world and you don’t want that.

So, what is it going to be? Half-hearted service or an “all in” follower of Christ.

Consider these examples:

Mark 1:16–20 (ESV) — 16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Simon, Andrew, James, and John were successful professional fisherman. Jesus called and immediately they left what they were doing and followed Jesus. That is what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, “all in.”

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker