On A Mission From God
By Bobby Blakey on January 15, 2023
On A Mission From God
By Bobby Blakey on January 15, 2023
I remember one time I had a friend, and he was driving me to one of our men's retreats. Any men here have been to one of those retreats that we love to go on. And so, I got a friend, he's driving me to the retreat. And I don't remember exactly what happened, but I think we thought we might run out of gas, and we had to get some gas, or he became concerned suddenly, what if we didn't make it to the retreat, and he looked at me, and he's like, we can't not make it to the retreat. You're the guy speaking at the retreat. We have to make it, and he said, we're on a mission from God. And then he started driving really fast, right? And that phrase stuck in my head, we are on a mission from God. Like, are you living your life like you've been sent by God to go and do something, a lot of people think that God just wants you to go to church. That's not what Jesus actually said, Jesus actually said, he wants you to go and make disciples. And so, we're going to have a special weekend right now, this is a special service.
This is not our next sermon from the book of Romans. We'll get back to that next week. But I want to invite everybody to turn in your Bible to Luke chapter 9. And I want to make sure that we are really on a mission from God, not just as a church, not just some kind of corporate statement that Compass Bible Church, Huntington Beach exists to make disciples, I want to make sure that you, as a disciple of Jesus, are on a mission from God to go and make disciples. And we're going to start here in Luke 9:51. Now, Luke, just to get you into the context here of the Gospel of Luke, Luke 9 is the turning point in this gospel. This is the moment where Jesus asked them, who am I and Peter says, you are the Christ. They know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One all the prophecies are about, the one coming to save us. They know it's Jesus. And that's when Jesus here in Luke 9, he starts to say, yes, I am the Christ, and I'm going to go to Jerusalem, and I'm going to suffer, and they're going to kill me; on the third day, I will rise from the dead. Go back to Luke 9:23. And after he says that on the third day he'll be raised, he says, “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” So, this is a really important part in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, when they say who Jesus really is – the Christ. That's when he begins to tell them what he's going to do, the gospel, he's going to die for our sins, he's going to rise again to give us a new life, and we should follow him. That means we’ve got to deny ourselves, take up our own cross, and follow Jesus. Now, here, what we want to get into is all the way down in verse 51. So, it's a long chapter here, Luke 9, and then it says this, Luke 9:51, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Now Jesus is eventually going to die in Jerusalem. And why does Jesus die there in that city, he dies there for you, to pay for your sin. But all the way back, I mean, Luke is 24 chapters long. Jesus doesn't die until chapter 23. But here in chapter 9:51, Jesus sets himself to go to Jerusalem. And so, this is a very important moment. And who here is glad that Jesus decided to go to Jerusalem. Anybody here glad? He went all the way, he was on a mission from God. And he went, and he took it all the way to the end, when he shed his blood and sacrificed his body for you. So, Jesus is our example. He went before us, and then he's calling us, you’ve got to follow me. Now, before we even get to our text. I want everybody to turn to Isaiah chapter 50. Because this is just too good not to show you. Isaiah 50 actually tells us what Jesus was thinking when he set his face to go to Jerusalem. This is actually a prophecy here in Isaiah 50, and it's one of the Suffering Servant Songs in Isaiah. Maybe you're familiar with Isaiah 53, that Jesus was going to be pierced for our transgressions, he was going to be crushed for our iniquities; Jesus was going to die on the cross for our sins. Isaiah prophesied that hundreds of years beforehand. Well, he also… this isn't as famous, but look what he says here in Isaiah 50:5. It says, “The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious.” This is like Jesus talking here. “I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who strike,” like I gave my back to be whipped. “And I gave my cheeks to those who pull out the beard,” which would be more painful for some of us than for others, right? But you can see, Jesus is saying, I know I'm going to suffer and I'm going to it. “I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. But the Lord God helps me,” therefore I have not been disgraced. “Therefore, I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” So, this is the thought of in Jesus' mind, I'm going to go to Jerusalem, they're going to strike me, they're going to kill me. But I know the Lord is going to help me. And so, I've set myself to go, that's what he's saying. Isaiah 50:8, “He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. “Behold,” look, who I've got on my side, “the Lord God helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment, the moth will eat them up.”
Even though he's going to Jerusalem to die, he's saying he's going to last longer than his enemies. In the end, he knows God is going to help him and he's going to win. So, Jesus sets himself to go to Jerusalem. And then go back to Luke 9. Now that we've got that backdrop, turn with me to Luke 9:57-62. And as soon as it says that Jesus is going to Jerusalem, now there’s the question, well, what does it look like to follow Jesus, if Jesus is willing to do what God sends him to do? If Jesus is on a mission, even if it means he's going to suffer and die, what does it look like to follow Jesus? And that's what we want to study together here in Luke 9:57-62. So out of respect for God's Word, I'm going to ask if we would all stand up for the public reading of Scripture. If you're in the overflow room, if you're watching online, I'm asking everybody. And these are three things that Jesus says that you really need to think about here today. This is worth your full and undivided attention, because this is the Word of God. Please follow along as I read Luke 9:57-62.
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ 58 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.’”
That's the reading of God's Word. Please go ahead and have your seat. So, we want to look at these three sayings here of Jesus. And the point of this passage is not to figure out what happens with these three people that are maybe going to follow Jesus or not. The point, and the way it's presented here is that you would see Jesus setting his face to go to Jerusalem. And you would hear these statements of Jesus and ask yourself, am I REALLY following Jesus or not?
So, if you pull out your bullets, and there is a handout there, where you can take some notes as we go through this passage together, and you can just start out by writing down, we're going to look at three sayings of Jesus to know how to go. Three sayings of Jesus to know how to go. And maybe many of you here today in this service have said what is said here in Luke 9:57, I’ll follow Jesus, I’ll deny myself, I’ll take up my cross stay, I’ll follow you, I’ll follow you wherever you go, well, what does that really mean? We're going to look at these three sayings of Jesus, to know how to go. And the guy who says, I’ll follow you wherever you go, Jesus's response to that is in verse 58. So, this is our first of three sayings here. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man,” and that's the way Jesus would refer to himself. So, a lot of times, if you're reading through the Gospels, Jesus will say the Son of Man, that's a title from Daniel, 7:13-14. And it's a way that Jesus would refer to himself to show that he's the one fulfilling the prophecy. He's the Son of Man. So, he's saying foxes, they've got holes in the ground, birds have nests, “but the Son of Man he's got nowhere to lay his head.” So, as I was studying this, I tried to look it up in the Greek, could that word for foxes there be translated coyotes, because that's what we've got around here. You know what I mean? We’ve got a coyote takeover going on. And you see them and you're like, where do those guys come from all the time? Well, apparently, they've got some holes somewhere that they live in. And we’ve got a lot of crows around here. We’ve got a lot of birds around here. They've got places, they've got nests, they've got somewhere to go. So, this is something we've talked about before here at our church. Jesus, he uses the analogy of the birds of the air, or the flowers of the field. And if God's taking care of the sparrows, and if God's helping the flowers bloom, and they're here today, and gone tomorrow, if God's over the flowers, and the birds, does God care about you? And the answer to that is, yes, God cares about us more than the birds and more than the flowers. But see, this is kind of like the opposite of that. This is saying, like, even those coyotes that you're like troubled by, they've got a place to go, even the crows, the scavengers that are coming around trying to get things, they've got a place to go. But if you're going to follow Jesus wherever he goes, Jesus doesn't have somewhere to go, not here in this world. Jesus, he doesn't have a home here. So, if you decide to follow Jesus wherever he goes, then you're not going to have a home here, either. That's what he's implying. Are you really ready to follow me? Because where I'm going, I've got nowhere to lay my head. I don't have a home here in this world. Jesus is establishing a kingdom that is not of this world. Jesus says, follow me and your citizenship will be in heaven, hell prepare a place for you, but it won't be in the here and now. It'll be in the presence of God there. And then...
So point number one, let's get it down like this: You’ve got to go like your home is not here. Go like your home is not here. Now, we’ve got to be really careful as we do this study together here today. I don't want to add anything to what Jesus is saying. And I also want to be careful, we don't take away anything from what Jesus is saying. So, I'm going to be careful about what I say. And I want to encourage you, don't try to fit what Jesus says in these three sayings that we're looking at. Don't try to fit what Jesus says in your life; make sure that your life fits into what Jesus says. Does that make sense to everybody? Like they wrote these things down because they were provocative. In fact, as I was reading and studying for this sermon, a lot of the scholars, the commentators that I was reading, they said that even liberal scholars don't challenge whether Jesus said some of these things, because they're so harsh and intense. Who, besides Jesus would even dare to say them? So, when Jesus is saying these things, it's meant to provoke thoughts and a response in your heart. You're saying, I’ll follow Jesus? Well, Jesus is going to death, Jesus is going to take his cross, Jesus is going to suffer. I’ll follow him wherever he goes, okay? But Jesus wants you to know that means you're not of this world. So, I'm not going to try to tell you what I think this means. I want to turn you to other things that Jesus says that help us understand what he means here.
Go to John 17 with me. And Jesus will say something here that I think will help us understand what he means when he says he has nowhere to lay his head; he doesn't have a home on this earth, in this world. Well, here, John 17 is a prayer that Jesus prayed to the Father in heaven at the last supper, and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, he records this prayer of Jesus. So, you want to study what eternal life is? What it really means to have a relationship with God. John 17 is one of the best things you could ever study in your life. Look at John 17:14, “I have given them your word.” Jesus is praying for his disciples. Later on, he prays for all who will believe. And he's saying, “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world just as I am not of the world.” Okay, so Jesus clearly came from heaven, sent by God. Jesus was on a mission and we're so thankful he was because the mission was to die for your sin and save your soul. And when Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem, what did the crowd think about Jesus? They were shouting, crucify him. Crucify Him. So if you're saying, well, I want to follow Jesus, I want to go where he goes, Jesus is just making clear, don't expect the world to like you very much that if the world is hating Jesus, if they're shouting kill him, then what is this is what a lot of Christians think, I'm going to follow Jesus that the world hated and killed. But when I follow Jesus, everybody in the world, they'll all really like me and want to be my friend. That's no; you're not going to belong here; you're not going to fit in here. The Bible could not be more clear about this. The Bible actually says, you've got to pick your side, you've got to choose your team, you've got a big choice to make. Do you want to be a friend of God? Or do you want to be a friend of the world? Because, according to James 4, you can only be a friend of one or the other. The world is opposed to God. So, if you want to be a friend of God, then you can't be a friend of the world. Do you want to love the Father in Heaven in your heart? Or do you want to love the world in your heart, because according to James 4:15-17, if you love the world, and all that is in it, the pride of possessions, and the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, if you're into the love of the world, then you don't have the love of the Father. So, if you're going to follow Jesus, then you're not going to be at home here in this life; you're going to be not of this world. And there's even going to be opposition and persecution, where the world is going to come against you because you're not going to fit in following Jesus. In fact, look what he goes on to say here, when he's praying for us. In John 17:15-18, he says, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
So, we're going to have a complicated relationship with the rest of the world around us. Because we're going to need to be set apart from the world, not doing what everybody else in the world is doing. We're set apart, but it's not like we just get away from everybody. No, we've actually been sent into the world, not have it, but to go into it to make disciples. You want to follow Jesus? That's where Jesus is going. And he's saying, then, just like he's got nowhere to lay his head, you are going to end up being not of this world. And you'll be living for a home, but you won't be able to find it here in the United States of America, because your home will be in the New Jerusalem. Can I get an Amen from anybody on this? So, he's just Jesus in these three statements. He’s saying, you want to sign up, you want to follow, let's make sure you know what you're signing up for. Number one, you're going to be not of this world, your home is not going to be here.
Let's go back to Luke nine. That's just the first thing that he said. And then to another it says here and Luke 9:59. And this person, Jesus actually invites to follow me to another, he said, the invitation, follow me, I'm going to Jerusalem, I'm going on a mission from God, follow me. And look, the response here, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. Now, when I was growing up, reading the Bible, going to church, I thought that meant that his dad had already died, his body was decomposing somewhere. And he needed to get him buried; like there was going to be a funeral tomorrow. That's always how I read this, okay? And then look at Luke 9:60. Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” I was like, wow, that's intense. That's harsh. Your dad died. And Jesus is like, leave the dead to bury their own dead. So, when you actually think through what's being said here, the man's dad is probably not dead yet. If his dad was dead, and he was mourning him before he had even been buried, he wouldn't be walking around following Jesus. So, when he says, Let me go and bury my father. What that means is he's got a dad who's getting advanced in years, right? And maybe he's even thinking something good, like, I need to honor my father, I need to take care of my aging father, and show him the value that I have for him with all that he's done for me in my life. This is one of the commands that God gave. It's a command with a promise to honor your father and mother. And that was a command given to adults, that we would show our parents the value and respect that they should always have in our lives whenever we think of them or speak of them. So, maybe he's thinking his dad's old, and he needs to take care of his dad to the end of his life. Another thing that he could be referring to, if you know how the culture of the Bible works, if you know how it worked among the Jewish people, when the father dies, he passes what down to his son? The inheritance. That was a big deal, that was what life was really all about there. So, what he could be even referring to is, hey, let me bury my father, because then I'll be financially secure, then I'll be set when it comes to money. In fact, Jesus, if you just let me bury my father, I can come and bankroll your entire operation, because by then I'll be doing pretty good. So, it's not clear exactly what he means by this. It's not likely that his dad was already dead. So, either he's thinking, and these are both may be good things to think, I want to take care of my family. And that sounds like a great thing to think, or I want to be in a financially secure position, so I can be ready to do things. So that sounds like a good thing to think. But here's the problem. Look back at what he says here in Luke 9:59. He says, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” See, what he's saying is I got something to do before I follow you, Jesus. And Jesus, he's either going to be first place in your life, or he's going to be no place in your life. Jesus is suffering no rivals; he's not competing with idols. He doesn't want there to be some kind thing in your heart, who do I love more? Jesus or my family? Who do I love more? Jesus or money? Jesus is not having anything to do with that.
So, let's get this down for number two: You’ve got to go like Jesus comes first, you’ve got to go like Jesus comes first. And this statement that Jesus makes in response to this guy wanting to go and bury his father, the statement that he makes here, leave the dead to bury their own dead, wow, that's something that's meant to be a mind-blowing statements for the union to really think about that. And one thing we can understand is that it's not just talking about being physically dead, because physically dead people aren't doing anything, right, physically dead people are not burying other physically dead people. So, he's not referring to people who are physically dead. He's referring to some kind of people who are alive, but not really alive. Some kind of people who maybe he says, are even missing the point of life, because what you need to do is not go and bury your father. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God. That's what you should be doing first. So, this is a strong response to somebody who seems to be giving a good answer to go and bury his father. That seems like a good answer. But because he wants to do something else FIRST, before he goes and proclaims the kingdom of God, he gets a strongly worded response from Jesus.
And so, turn with me to Matthew chapter 12. Let's see what else Jesus says that can help us understand why Jesus would respond in such a strong way. And Matthew chapter 12, if everybody could turn there with me, Matthew 12:46. Now, one of the things I want to make very clear, as we come to this part of the sermon is we do not in any way want to devalue our families. That's not the point of what we're teaching here today. In fact, if you have a mother or a father, who are advanced in years, should you take it very seriously to honor your father and mother, right? I was at a meeting, talking about this the other day, and my dad was there. And all of a sudden, he was like, Amen really loud at that point of the meeting. All right. So yes, I mean, this is one of the 10 commandments. In fact, there was a passage in Matthew, where a bunch of hypocrites, instead of taking care of their parents, they were like, oh, we'll just give that money to God instead. And Jesus says, like, you hypocrites, don't you know you're supposed to honor your father and mother, so anybody that I've ever seen take seriously taking care of their dad or mom, I have seen that person blessed by God. God wants you to value your parents. If you're a husband, God commands you love your wife; if you're a wife, God has created you to be the helper of your husband. If God has blessed you with kids, then God has you as a parent, to teach them in the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says that our families are a gift from God, they're a blessing in our lives. Our families are very important. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Okay, so we're not trying to say anything negative about the family. But I do want you to see what Jesus says right here in Matthew 12:46, “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.” So, you’ve got to see Jesus is in some room, and it's so crowded, people can't even fit in there anymore. And so, like his family and his own mom, and his own brothers can't fit into this meeting that Jesus is having. And so, a man comes in and says, hey, your mom and your brothers are outside, Jesus. And we're talking about Jesus, his mom, Mary; we know who she is. We know two of his brothers pretty good, James and Jude, they're outside. Hey, Jesus, your family’s outside. Look what Jesus says to the man who comes and brings him that message, verse 48, “But he replied to the man who told him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’” Now, can you imagine that? If you came up to me after the service, I’ve got a mom who goes to this church, I’ve got a brother who goes to this church, you came up and you said, look, Pastor, there's your mom, and your bro over there, and I look at you, and I'm just like, who is my mom? Right? Who is my brother, right? I just started getting all, you would probably think that was not very polite of me for me to talk like that. You got it. You’ve got to hear what Jesus is saying. Because Jesus is saying things to get you thinking about what he's saying. And he's saying, who are my mother and my brothers? And then Jesus starts pointing to all the disciples right there in the room. And he says, here, here are my mother and my brothers. Look at what it says, verse 49, “stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, here are my mother and my brothers, for whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Wow. Jesus is saying that the family that we get adopted into where God is our Father, and we're all on the mission, that Jesus was on the mission to go and make disciples, everybody who's doing what God sends them to do what God wills for them to do, what God reveals for them to do, everybody who's on the mission from God, they're the mother and the brothers.
See, Jesus, he's saying that he has to come first over your own family. In fact, in Luke 14, he goes so far as to say that you have to hate your father and mother, your wife, or you have to hate your spouse, you have to hate your own son or daughter. And you're thinking, Jesus, how could you say that because you teach us to love our enemies, you teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves, you say that we should take the love that God has given us, and we should love him with all our heart. And we should love everybody else, as more important than ourselves. How could we go and hate somebody? What Jesus means is that there's going to come a point in everybody's life, where you're going to have a choice between Jesus and your family. And in that moment, you're going to put Jesus in the first place, and your family is going to feel like you're rejecting them, because you chose Jesus over them. And Jesus is making it clear. He's expecting us to choose him over our own families. So, you can't first go do and your family and then follow Jesus. Jesus says, no, you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. Now, let's say he wasn't talking about taking care of his dad, let's say he wasn't talking about honoring the family relationships that are so important. Let's say he was just thinking about that inheritance and being financially set up for the rest of his life.
Go over to Matthew chapter 6. What does Jesus think about people putting money first? Well, he says here in Matthew 6:19. And before we read this, I’ve just got to tell you, I've worked at a church now for over 20 years, if you can believe it, I've been working at churches, and at the amount of people that I have heard say, what I'm doing right now for the kingdom is I'm working in my career as hard as I can, so that some day later on, I'll be able to give a bunch of money to the Lord's work. I've heard a lot of people say that. Let's see what Jesus thinks about that in Matthew 6:19-21. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Okay, now, again, we do not want to devalue money. Money, a pretty important thing in all of our lives, especially at this time in all of our lives, right? There's a movie I don't know if you've ever seen it. It's on every holiday season. It's called, It's a Wonderful Life and there's a line in that movie where the guys talking to an angel and he says about money, it comes in pretty handy down here, Bob, right? I can't tell you how many times I heard my dad say that growing up about money at my house, right next to the, you think money grows on trees line I heard a lot of times; it comes in pretty handy down here, Bob, right? So, we don't want to devalue, we all need money. Money is important in all of our lives. But see, here's the thing, where's your treasure? Are you trying to find a home here? Or you're trying to build a kingdom right here right now? Because if you're storing up treasures on earth, it's all going to disappear. But are you storing up treasures in heaven? And see what people might even want to do when they hear a sermon like this, well, how much money is too much money, and what's wrong with making all the money if I'm going to give it away? See, that's not how it works. It's not about the amount; it's about your heart. What's going on in your heart, where is your treasure? I mean, what really comes first? Look at what he says in verse 24, he says, this is Jesus, the Son Jesus really feels he's letting you know, no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. And remember, when Jesus says here that moth and rust are going to destroy it, that reminds me of what it said in Isaiah 50, that he's going to go and he's going to get struck down and he's going to get killed. But yet, he's still going to outlast those who moth will be eaten up someday, right? He's saying, Yeah, you leave it all, you go. You're not trying to get rich in this life or pursue the love of money in this life. You're trying to store up treasure in heaven. It might feel like you're losing right now, but you're going to have something way after everybody who's got treasure on earth has long gone. Do you see? Do you see that Jesus is not okay. Like, Jesus is not going to settle for a participation trophy in your life. Jesus is not going to hear you say when you meet Jesus, and let me just tell you, someday you are going to meet Jesus. And you're going to talk to him about your life. And Jesus, he said, go and make disciples, and he's going to actually have expected you to do that. And when you tell Jesus, Jesus, I wanted to make disciples, but first, I had to spend time with my family, and first I had to make money, Jesus is telling you what he's going to say to you on that day. He said, you can't serve me and money. You’ve got to take your pick, one of those. So, we use this word “priorities”. I don't really know how priorities works. It seems like, ultimately, you're going to come down to “priority,” one thing is going to take the first place. One is going to be in the top spot. And Jesus is saying, even if it's something good, like your family, or money, Christ comes first. In fact, look at how he says it here later on in Matthew 6. He knows we need money; he knows we might be worried if we have enough money. And he says here in verse 31, Matthew 6:31-33, “Therefore do not be anxious Do not worry, saying What shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what shall we wear? For the Gentiles, the people who don't know God, they're seeking after money and all the things that can buy your heavenly Father, he knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” I'm asking you as we begin 2023. Can you say what Matthew 6:33 says? Can you say that the first thing you're seeking is the kingdom? Because some of us might be saying, I'm ready to follow you, Jesus this year. But first, I've got to... And Jesus is saying, but as for you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. Keep the first things first in your heart. Seek first Jesus and his kingdom.
Now go back to Luke nine because that's not the end of our passage. That's just the first two statements and the first two statements are also in Matthew chapter 8 starting in verse 18. So apparently, these statements became examples of how to evaluate if you're REALLY following Jesus, if you're really going and making disciples in the same way Jesus did or not. But this last statement here in Luke 9:61-62, this is only in the Gospel of Luke. And another one says, maybe even now, after you just saw that guy who said first let me go and bury my father, after he got that response from Jesus, somebody else wants to try now here in verse 61. Yet another said, “I will follow You, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those in my home.” That seems reasonable. Just want to go kiss my family goodbye, right? Just want to go say goodbye to some people. And then maybe you've heard Jesus’ response and you didn't really understand it. Verse 62, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Why do we all of a sudden start talking about plows after the guy says he wants to go kiss his family goodbye, right? Well, because what the guy is referring to here is a previous scripture that we're expected to already know. And it's in 1 Kings 19:19. So you can't really understand these verses without going back to 1 Kings 19:19. And what's happening here in First Kings is there's a famous prophet of Israel, Elijah, and he's going to disciple another guy named Elisha to be the prophet after him. So, we actually have here in First Kings 19, an example of making a disciple. Making a disciple is when you invest your life into somebody else's life, you take what you've learned specifically about following Jesus, and now you're going to pass it on to somebody else. You're going to spend quality time with them, you're going to be an example to them, you're going to teach them what you've learned by showing and telling. You're going to teach them the way to live. So, Elijah, the famous prophet of Israel is now going to pass on being the prophet to Elisha. So, this is an example of a disciple following teacher. Look what happens in 1 Kings 19:19. So Elijah departed from there, and he found Elisha, the son of Shafat, and he was plowing. This is why Jesus talks about plowing. He was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen in front of him. And he was with the 12. Now I have spent zero days of my life plowing with any oxen, but 12 yoke of oxen, this sounds like a serious operation we're running here. And Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, here it is, let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you. And Elijah said, back to Elisha, go back again for what have I done to you. And so, Elijah returned from following him. And he took the 12 yokes of oxen, and sacrifice them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen, and he gave it to the people and they ate, then heroes, and when after Elijah, and assisted him. So, do you see how the guys quoting Elisha when he got called to follow? He said, let me go kiss my family. Let me go say goodbye to the family. So, the guys like all follow you. Let me just do what Elisha did and go say goodbye to the family. And Jesus then responds, are you really going to do what Elisha did? Because Elisha, he took those oxen and he seemed like a big operation. 12 yokes of oxen, and he killed them all. And he gave the meat to all of his friends. And then he went after Elijah. And guess what, he was never going back to farming after that. See what Alicia was saying when he killed those animals. And he gave them to everybody else to eat. It's I'm following Elijah, and there's no turning back for me. See, this is what Jesus really wants. Jesus wants you to go, like there is no going back.
Let's get that down for number three: Go like there is no going back. Jesus doesn't want you to set out to go and then be looking over your shoulder to see if you've got Plan B or a better option. Or some other thing comes along this idea of Elisha here, sacrificing the 12 yokes of oxen. Maybe you've heard the phrase before burn the ships. When Cortes came to the new world. They burned up the ships and nobody would want to sail back to their homeland. Maybe you've heard the phrase cross the Rubicon that when Julius Caesar if he went across that river, if he crossed that line, once you've crossed that line, there is no going back from that point forward. See, that's what Jesus is saying to this guy. Once you decide you're putting your hand to the plow, there is no going back. You're either all in for the kingdom or you are not at all in for the kingdom. That's what Jesus is saying. You know, what do you think Jesus thinks about the average Christian in America who comes to church on a Sunday and does nothing for him the rest of the week? What do you think Jesus thinks about people who I hear what you're saying, and I definitely want Jesus to bless me, I definitely want to know I'm going to heaven when I die. I definitely want one foot in with Jesus. But I also do kind of want some of the things the world has to offer. So how about I keep one foot in with the world? How about we just get the best of both of it? How about we're halfway in for Jesus halfway and for the world, we can be happy now. We'll be saved later; it'll all work out. What do you think Jesus really thinks about that? That has become normal Christianity in America? Do you think Jesus is okay with the halfway approach that many people say they're following him?
Turn to Revelation 3 and you can read for yourself exactly what Jesus thinks about the half in half out American church that you and I are a part of today. We have many people who will say I'm following Jesus, but then they're not doing all in following Jesus. They’ve got a lot of other things going on, sometimes even things that Jesus explicitly commanded them not to be doing that they're still doing. So, Jesus, he says this to this church in Revelation 3:15, Jesus says, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!” So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. What does Jesus think about this? I’ll follow up Jesus, and then you don't really follow Jesus. It makes Jesus sick to his stomach. That's what he said. It makes him feel like he wants to throw up. He's got a gag reflex to this half in half out kind of Christianity that's become common where you and I live. See Jesus, He wants you to be all in. If you're double minded, if you're duplicitous in your heart, if you're not offering Jesus your whole heart, don't think Jesus is okay with half your heart, or 80% of your heart, or 99% of your heart. Jesus is saying, hey, if we're going to go for the kingdom, you can't be looking back because those who set their hand to the plow and keep looking back, they're not fit for the kingdom of God. So, this is a church. Can you imagine, hey, Jesus. Special guest. Jesus is here at church in Huntington Beach today. Hey, Jesus, what do you think about our church? You guys make me sick. That's what he says here. You guys make me sick because of the way you're trying to be one foot in, one foot out. So, I understand that maybe that's what we've grown up in. Maybe that's what we've seen around us. Maybe that's what we've gotten used to. Let's just make it very clear. That's not what Jesus is saying. In fact, look at Revelation 3:19. You're like, wow, Jesus is saying some intense things today. That's right, things he wants us to think about. And look what he says in Revelation 3:19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”
That's what Jesus has to say. Yeah, Jesus has come in today to step on some toes, and you know why he's stepping on your toes, because he loves you. And he wants you to stop being either cold or hot. He wants you to get a zeal that is real this year. And then he says this, look at this, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” And a lot of people think that's Jesus knocking on the door of the heart. Now that this is a letter written to the church, Jesus is saying, hey, while you guys are in there, I'm out in the parking lot. And when you guys get serious, when you guys get all in, when you guys are really ready to go and make disciples and follow me, then I'll come in and eat with you. That's what Jesus is saying. See, Jesus gave a mission. And he didn't just give it to us as a whole. He gave it to us, as in he gave it to me, and he gave it to you as individuals who make up the whole, and Jesus really told everybody in this room, go and make disciples, and when you meet him with his eyes, like a flame of fire, and his face shining brighter than you've ever seen the sun and when he speaks to you, like a sword is coming out of his mouth, Jesus is going to expect that you actually did go and make disciples. And what are you going to say to Jesus in that moment?
Go to Luke chapter 6, verse 46. See before Jesus says, go and make disciples of all nations, he says, all in heaven and on earth have been given to me. So, I'm the boss, I'm the master. I'm the Lord. I call the shots. Jesus is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Jesus upholds the universe by the word of his power. Jesus is the Savior of all mankind. And Jesus promised us he is coming soon. And when he comes, he will judge the living and the dead. Life is literally his story. It's all about Jesus. And he says here in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you?” If you know that Jesus is the boss, your boss is saying to you go and make disciples. How does it make sense to you to hear what the Lord is telling you to do and think I don't need to do it. See, the great commission that Jesus gave his disciples to go and invest their lives in making more disciples, that great commission has become the great old mission for many people who say they believe in Jesus. Many people think Jesus told them to go to church, but Jesus told them to go and make disciples to make the church. And so, I'm here to ask you, are you on a mission from God? And we've got a lot of people here at this church, thankfully, who are on a mission from God. In fact, we have people, they moved to Huntington Beach, not because they thought this would be a great community to live in, although I think it is a great place to live, they moved here because they saw there was a need for a church, because people were driving from here all the way down to where we were at in Aliso Viejo. And that showed us people were up here looking for a church like what we were doing down there, and a team of people, they went here, they came here for one purpose, to make disciples, and now we can barely fit everybody in our building anymore. So, we started with just a few people on a mission from God, to make disciples, and God has done something. What if everybody at our church was on the mission? What if it wasn't just a few people at church? What if it was the whole church, that's what we want to talk about?
To start the year, our fellowship groups are back this week. And so, the goal is you're going to think about what Jesus said, you're going to go to your fellowship group and talk about what Jesus said, with your brothers and sisters. And then you're going to think about what are you going to do this year about it. Go back with me to Luke chapter 9. One more thing I've got to point out here. Well, Luke, chapter 9, we have these three sayings. So, you could know how to go. These three sayings of Jesus, he's got nowhere to lay his head, let the dead bury their own head dead, you go and proclaim the kingdom, no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. Then, see, this is a very unfortunate chapter break we put in these chapters and verses, so we can all know where to turn to in our Bibles. But this thought continues into chapter 10. Here it says after this, so after Jesus set his face to go, then we have a conversation about what it means to follow Jesus wherever he goes. And then, “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.” So after this, there's this conversation about what does it mean to go. He sent seventy-two of his disciples out, and look what Jesus said to them as he's getting them ready to go out, “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are” what? This is the problem Jesus says, do you realize that just this city that we're in right now, Huntington Beach has over 200,000 Souls? Okay, raise your hand if you drove here today from a city different than Huntington Beach. Okay. I mean, if you add up the entire population of Northern Orange County that some of you drove from, or if you add up the entire population of Long Beach and Lakewood and South LA County that summer, we are literally in a harvest field that is millions of souls. So, if I tell you we got like seventy deacons at our church to millions of souls, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. See, it wasn't supposed to be a few people at church making disciples. The church was supposed to think there were too few people making disciples. That's how he taught us. Look at what it says here, “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Therefore, we got to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest, send out laborers into His harvest. While there's so many souls around here, so many disciples that need to be made. There's so much work of the Lord to do. Wow, look at how much needs be plowed in this field that we're living in. Look how many souls need to be built up in Jesus Christ. Oh, Lord, we need more people who want to go and make disciples. Please, Lord, send them out. That's what we're supposed to pray. And then he says in verse Luke 10:3, “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” Jesus, he called people to follow, so he would make them fishers of men. He called people to follow because he wanted to send them to go. Jesus called you to be a disciple, so you could mature and make disciples.
Are you on a mission from God? So, we're making this a focus of our church here in 2023. And if you flip your handout over, I want to personally invite you to our On a Mission class. You can see there, okay, if you're like, I don't know if I am making disciples. First of all, can we take a moment all together to praise the Lord for the people here at the church who are making disciples? We’ve got some laborers in the field here. And I hope that we have people at our church that are doing this. And I hope this sermon encourages you that you're doing what God wants you to do. And you should keep doing it. Because we need everybody who has been doing this, we're so thankful for. And maybe some of you are recently saved, and you're just learning how to grow. Maybe some of you have been growing. And this is the path you're on. You want to learn how to make disciples, you want to get equipped for the work of the ministry. If you want to go and make disciples, please come to this class. Okay. And some of you right away, you're like, that sounds great. I'd love to learn how to be a disciple, who makes disciples, maybe some of you are realizing I'm not really on this mission to make more disciples; I'm just kind of doing this myself; I'm not on a goal to invest my life and pour myself out for other people to be disciples. Well, then I'm pleading with you. I'm saying, hey, can you look around and see that we don't have enough laborers here. And we would love for you to not sit on the bench and watch us in the field. We'd love for you to come and get on the field with us. And so, I'm asking you, I'm asking you, will you please come to the Mission class? That's going to start on Sunday at one o'clock, and you can see there? It's February 19th. Now, some of you guys are thinking, well, Sunday, one o'clock, that's lunchtime. Notice what it says there: Lunch provided. All right, and, and I promise you, it will be a decent to good lunch. It may not be the best lunch you've ever had, but it will be a good lunch. All right. Lunch will be provided some of you guys, like not after church, I’ve got to get my kids somewhere. Do you see what it says there? Kids ministry included. Okay. Is everybody paying careful attention to this? Okay. Well, some of you guys are like, I don't know, when's the Superbowl, man? This could be a conflict. It's after the Superbowl; we've got you covered. All right? We've got you covered on this one. Okay. We've taken all the excuses away, okay. Like, seriously, can you imagine if we could just come here a few years ago, with just a few of us who wanted to, a few of us who were like, we're going to go and make disciples, and there were just a few of us on a mission. And so many people could get saved. And we could have, legitimately, we have to build another auditorium. If God could do that with just a few of us on a mission, what could God do if we were really all on a mission? What if it wasn't just a few people at church who made disciples, but what if the church actually lived like they were on a mission to go and make disciples, like, every single one of us wasn't half in half out, wasn't trying to put our family first or our money first, or set up our own kingdom here and now in this world, but what if everybody here was just passing through, just ready to see what Jesus is going to do to build his church? Just looking for who's next? Who's the next soul that's going to get saved? And how can I pour my life into them, so they can be a disciple of Jesus. What if you lived your life like you were on a mission from God? See, that's what we're here to do. So, we’ve got to think about what Jesus is saying. Let's go to our fellowship groups and talk about what Jesus is saying. And then you're invited to the On a Mission class. Let me pray for us.
Father in heaven. We just want to take what Jesus says and take it to heart. Father, please don't let us add to it. Don't let us take away from it. I pray that the words of Jesus would do their work in our souls here today. And Father, I pray that none of us would put anything first before Jesus, that all of us would hear that we're being called to follow. And Jesus is telling every one of us that that he set his face to go to Jerusalem and now he's calling us to follow him and we should set our face to go and make disciples. And I pray that you would show us whether we're really doing that or not. And Father, I want to thank you for the brothers and sisters, that I have the people here at this church that do your will, they are my family, and I thank you so much for them. And Father, I pray for the people who have been working hard for over eight years to make disciples here at this church, I pray that they will not grow weary, that they will not lose heart; I pray that their best days of making disciples would be yet to come. But father, I come to you right now on behalf of those who are not laborers in the field, I come on behalf of those who are just going to church, and they're not going to make disciples. And Father, I pray that they would be able to hear what Jesus is saying today. That Jesus gave us a mission. And he called us to go and if he's the Lord, who are we to not do what he tells us? If he's really first, who are we to put something before him. So, I pray that we would take it to heart. I pray that there would be people who would get off of the bench, or get out of just the church seats, and they would get out into the field. And they would be on your mission. Father, I pray that today you would change people's hearts, that today, people would realize their lives need to change, that today, people would come before you now in prayer, they would come before you now as we worship you, they would come into your presence, and they would say maybe for the first time in their life, here I am God, send me. If Jesus is going to Jerusalem, and he's going to get struck on the back and he's going to get slapped in the face, and he's going to get mocked and mistreated, and they are going to shout crucify him and nail him to a cross. If I'm going to follow Jesus, I’ve got to go. And so here I am, God. Send me. I pray that you will put that prayer on our hearts today, Father. The harvest is so plentiful, and the laborers are so few. So, we come to you as the Lord of the harvest. And we ask that you would send us out into the harvest field, and that there would be many disciples made. In the name of our Lord Jesus, we pray. Amen.
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