Your Accent Can and Will Identify You

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew 26:69-75

Different groups of people have distinct ways of speaking.  Englishmen, Scots, the Irish, Australians, Canadians, and Americans.  All claim English as their native language yet they speak differently.

When I first met my wife’s parents, I had difficulty understanding complete sentences when around her dad.  He was native Puerto Rican with a heavy Spanish accent.  I also learned that he never spoke Spanish around the house–ENGLISH was his adopted speech.

I also have family who lives in the State of Texas and though none have acquired a ‘Texas accent’, one of my nieces’ husband has a definite Texas drawl.  You know where he’s from.

Now we know the story of how Christ told Peter at the Passover that he would deny Him.  “Not a chance,” said Peter.  “I would die before I’d deny you!”  “Oh yes you will,” replied Jesus, “and you will do it before the rooster crows this morning.”

The flames cast eerie shadows over the mixed group crowding for warmth.  The talk was about a man from Galilee who had been arrested for blasphemy, who had seen him, what did they think.  Was he God or was he the devil?  And as they chatted, someone pointed to the burly young stranger in the corner.

“You, you were with the one called Jesus.’

“No, you’re wrong,”  he said.  “I don’t know the carpenter.”

But somebody else piped up and said “Sure you do, I’m positive about it” and this time Peter the fisherman ignoring the fact he was in mixed company answered with a string of oaths.  The group turned away from him and started talking amongst themselves when one broke away from the others and approached the scowling Simon Peter.

Matthew 26:73

“Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

Now one of two things happened.

The first is that we are told that Peter denied that he knew Christ with an oath, maybe this gave him away as a fisherman because after binge-watching the television series “The Deadliest Catch” about crabbing in Alaska, with all the conversational ‘bleeps’, fishermen can cuss the bark off a tree.  This is kind of backed up in Matthew 26:74 ~

“Then he [Peter] began to call down curses, and he swore to them, I don’t know the man.”

More likely though the man was responding to Peter’s Galilean ACCENT.

And so the literal meaning of the passage of Peter’s Galilean ACCENT gave away his true identity away.

Let’s for a moment disregard everything we know about interpreting the Bible.  I’m going to take a passage of Scripture out of context and venture into the area of conjecture that won’t relate in any way to what Matthew was trying to convey.  A message for this blog was given to me by Holy Spirit and a message I feel cannot be ignored:

“Your speech betrays you.”

The way we speak and what we say reveals a great deal about who we are in Christ Jesus–our character or lack thereof.

The TONGUE is the most powerful influence in the Church; able to build people up or tear them down.  I’ve heard people say “You know Mel, those ‘unknown tongues’ can destroy the church.”  I don’t know, there sure have been a lot of churches destroyed by the known tongue.

James 3:9-12 ~

The vast majority of the world doesn’t know what James says and yet almost everybody recognizes and acknowledges this TRUTH of the Scripture and that is  “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?…Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear gigs?  Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Whether you want to accept it or not is up to you but the FACT is that many of the JUDGMENTS made both inside and outside the church is based on the depth of our spiritual walk and may be based on what we say or how we say it.

Galatians 5:19-21 READS 

[19]  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; [20] idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions [21] and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…

Notice how many of these that are listed in the verses are manifested through SPEECH.  That is they are all ACTIONS expressed, enlarged or revealed through our words.  And by the way, if you think the apostle Paul is finished here look at the next two verses.

Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP)

[22] But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, [23] Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).  Against such things, there is no law [that can and bring a charge].

And so on a day to day basis, we are JUDGED not just by our ACTIONS but on our words, and our tone of voice.  And you’re not just JUDGED by the person you are talking to or about but you are JUDGED by everyone within earshot.

So does your speech betray spiritual flaws, or does your speech reveal spiritual strength?

YOUR SPEECH CAN REVEAL YOUR FAITH (Numbers 14:7-8) –

Not only did Caleb & Joshua BELIEVE God was able to deliver them to the promised land but they were willing to put their FAITH out there by verbalizing their BELIEF.

Funny how FAITH often doesn’t become real until it’s spoken aloud.

Now to be truthful, I don’t know if it’s accountability or if God just wants us to verbalize our BELIEF AND FAITH in Him.  But I do know this, that we have to get beyond “No I can’t” and get to “Yes God can!”

  • “I CAN’T kick that habit’
  • “I CAN’T overcome that sin”
  • “I CAN’T love that person”
  • “I CAN’T tithe”
  • “I CAN’T, I CAN’T, I CAN’T!”

But remember Philippians 4:13 ~ “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]”  (Amplified)

Your SPEECH reveals YOUR CONTENTMENT ~

In writing to the Christians in Phillipi, the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:1 “I am not complaining about having too little.  I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have.”

I need to say here, CONTENTMENT isn’t complacency.

Discontentment tends to raid against things and people, while CONTENTMENT moves consistently toward Godliness.  It’s never willing to stand still and be stagnate.

We can be CONTENT to live in 2018 without becoming complacent with the evils which surround us, and instead, we will seek to change them.  The CONTENT person is the person who says “I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL AND WILL SEEK TO SERVE HIM REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION.”

Does your SPEECH betray your lack of LOVE?

Over the years as a believer in Christ Jesus, I can think of no other thing that does as much damage to the BODY OF CHRIST as the TONGUE of Christians.

“But I was just sharing so and so’s problem so we could pray about it.”

Yah right.  If you got a problem, it doesn’t go to the person down the street, it doesn’t go to the Pastor or the board.  The Scripture is very plain.  If you personally have a problem with someone in the church then go to that person privately and get it straight.

Gossip isn’t the only problem with the TONGUE.

Another one is FRANKNESS or Candor.

A woman once told the English cleric and theologian John Wesley,  “I have a talent for always speaking my mind.”  His response, “That’s one talent that would be best buried.”

It’s sometimes too easy to point out a person’s shortcomings and sometimes the damage is devastating.  It’s been wisely said that we need to apply a three-fold test to what we say:  1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary?  As my mother use to say “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”

In Philippians 4:8 Paul presents some guidelines for what we should be thinking.

[8] “Summing it all up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse”  (The Message Bible).

I don’t think it would do an injustice to the Scripture to add to what Paul is saying, to SPEAK ABOUT SUCH THINGS.  If we SPEAK on those things listed in verse 8 then we won’t have time to be malicious, nasty and hurtful.

PARENTS must realize the damage we can do to our children with harsh and critical words.  And as evidence, the words spoken by my parents in growing up was perpetuated in my life and thoughts that the Holy Spirit within me is still working out.

CHRISTIANS realize the damage you can do to your brothers and sister in Christ.

And LAYMEN, realize the damage that can be done to PASTORS.

And PARENTS, if you are going to discuss your church’s problems and shortcomings (all churches have ‘problems and shortcomings’!), PLEASE do it out of earshot of your children.  Don’t let your SPEECH betray your lack of love.

Your SPEECH REVEALS YOUR love (Romans 1:8)

As difficult as it might be for some folks, it is imperative when we talk to and about people to be positive.

It is so important to hold up people’s achievements and give PRAISE where PRAISE is due.  As PARENTS we need to verbalize our LOVE for our children and tell them how proud we are of them daily.  Our WORDS mold our children and become self-fulfilling prophecies, and not just your children, but our spouses as well.

Billy Sunday said, “Praise your wife, even if it does surprise her at first.”  Take time to say “I LOVE YOU!”  My wife and I have re-emphasized this godly practice during the day and every day.  No phoniness, please!  Do it with sincerity!!

The old farmer’s wife said, “You never tell me that you love me anymore.”  And he replied, “I told you I loved yo 40 years ago, and if I change my mind I’ll let you know.”

How about telling your friends how you feel about them or your brothers and sisters in the Lord, or the workers in the church.  I’m not talking about flattery, I’m talking about sincere PRAISE.

Let’s make a conscious effort to be POSITIVE in our comments to one another; to speak up more in PRAISE & ENCOURAGEMENT.  Everyone needs a BARNABAS in their lives.

If your children get more attention when they do something wrong than when they do something right, what do you think they’re going to do?  And it’s the same with church members.  

LET YOUR SPEECH REVEAL YOUR LOVE.

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CREDITS –

Photos:  Google Image Search, Advance settings.

Bible Study Online Tools.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) except where noted in the text.

 

 

No Room At The Table Unless You’ve Been Invited

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  Matthew 22:1-14

CRAZY THINGS can happen at a wedding:

“How did the wedding go?” asked the pastor’s wife.  “Fine, dear, until I asked the bride whether she would ‘Love, honor, and OBEY her husband.’  “She looked at me and said, ‘Do you think I’m crazy?’  Then she looked at the Groom, who awakening from a dream, said, “I DO!”  Then things really started to happen!”

In the culture of this biblical setting in Matthew, TWO invitations were expected, the FIRST to inform the guest there was going to be a wedding.  The SECOND was to let everyone know that everything was ready!

Jesus used PARABLES for comparisons, stories used to illustrate and explain and emphasize His point.

Who Are the “THEMS” Jesus is speaking to?

They are the Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees, and Sadducees.  The ‘finger pointers’ of the day.

In Matthew 13, the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in PARABLES.  Jesus answered that those who love the TRUTH will understand the PARABLES and those who don’t love the TRUTH will not understand His PARABLES.  It wasn’t because God was hiding the TRUTH from them, it was because they didn’t want to hear the TRUTH.

THE STORY BEGINS.

We see that the king has sent out THREE invites.

Number ONE isn’t written down but the people of the time would have known that the GUESTS had already been informed of the WEDDING.

Number TWO was when he sent the servants out to tell everyone the BANQUET was ready, and afterward, everyone refused to come.

The THIRD invitation went out and some had other things to do and ignored the invitation while others grabbed the messengers and insulted them and killed them.

This is about the rejection of the Jews.  The prophets were rejected by the Jewish people, most of the Jews ignored John the Baptist, and they killed Jesus.  So this PARABLE in Matthew 22 must have hit home with the Jewish leaders.

Then the king opens up the invitation to everyone, the good, the bad and the ugly to use a cliché.

He told the servants to go out on the streets–are you ready for this all you “servants for the Lord”–you followers of Christ?– open the invitation to all!

The BANQUET HALL had been readied and it was filled with guests but one wasn’t dressed for the occasion.  Athletic gear perhaps? (just a reference).  So the king asked him why and he didn’t have an answer, so the king had him tied up and thrown out.

And Jesus ended the PARABLE with this statement:  “for many are called but few are chosen.”

So you may be asking why the King was so harsh on this man, after all, he did come on short notice.

What I’ve come to understand is that the King would have provided the wedding clothes for unsuspecting guests, and for whatever reason, arrogance or just plain, “you’re not gonna tell me what to wear,” kind of attitude.  So he threw him out where there were great weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Have you ever heard people in their sleep grinding their teeth?  It sounds really annoying I’ve been told.

It’s plain to see that this parable is about the rejection of Jesus by the Jews and the invitation to the Kingdom of heaven being opened to the Gentiles.

It’s a great thing that you and I have been invited to the banquet but something in the parable when you think about it bothers some.

The “something” is that the GUEST got tossed out.

It bothers people not everyone is going to make it to the right side of ETERNITY–it troubles us when we realize that not everyone will make it to heaven.

There’s a current societal mindset out there in the world that all roads lead to God and that any religion will get you to heaven.  Don’t be fooled by this misconception.  JESUS said that He was the way, The Truth & the Life and no one came to the Father except through Him.

Scripture is clear that not everyone will make it to heaven.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

[13] “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  [14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:21 (AMP)

[21] Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.

Matthew 25:32 (NIV)

[32] All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

We have ALL BEEN INVITED.

Yes, we’ve ALL been invited, the passage of scripture makes it clear as well as other scripture in the Bible.

Isaiah 55:1 (AMP)

[1]  WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty!  Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].

Revelation 22:17 (NIV)

[17]  The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

You see we have ALL BEEN INVITED, we have all been given an opportunity to put on the wedding clothes of righteousness.  

The but is…each person must choose to put it on!

But some are just too busy, some reject the invitation outright and some think they can sit at the table going unnoticed.  That’s not how it works.

WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!

We don’t get into the BANQUET unless we have JESUS as our Savior.

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CREDITS

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

BLOG Reference:  https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/consider-this-an-invitation/

 

No One Is Guaranteed One Minute Beyond Now

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 16:26-28

[26] “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  [27] For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. [28] “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming to his kingdom”  (NIV Bible).

Let’s face it; we live in a world that bases our success on how much stuff we’ve accumulated.

And Jesus, on the other hand, told us that our success won’t be based on stuff.

Matthew 6:24 (AMP)

[24] “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon” (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).

So I guess what we really need to be asking ourselves each and every morning before getting our day started is “What’s really important to us?”

Are we more concerned with our bank account that the account we have with Christ Jesus?  Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:10,

[10] “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

And it isn’t always money.

For a lot of us, we put the stuff that money can buy ahead of our RELATIONSHIP with the Lord.  And for a lot of us, it comes down to not so much how much we’ve got but what we do hang on to what we’ve got.

For some of us, even if we don’t have much, we put our relationship with the Lord on the back burner in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.  We live in a material world that shoves it down our throats by having the latest and greatest.

We want more, more, more!!!

Yet we fail to hear the Lord’s words of wisdom on how we handle our STUFF.

Read what He says…,  Matthew 16:26 (a)

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

What we need to remember, and I don’t want to ever take things from Scripture out of context if I can help it, that this particular sentence was spoken AFTER Jesus encouraged us to deny ourselves of worldly pleasures, take up our crosses and follow Him.

He was asking us what would it matter if we had everything of earthly value in our possession; what if we had everything we ever wanted?  What if we never wanted for anything because we already had everything there was to have?

And we were still locked out of Heaven.

If we could have it all and do nothing but seek the pleasures of this world we would still be waiting in the end.

Because if our SOUL was lost, we couldn’t and wouldn’t find anything to replace it.

You lose it, it’s gone forever!

You lose it to Hell and it’s lost forever!!!!

Even so, we as the Body of Christ seem to not see the importance of a person’s SOUL.

Yet Jesus wanted us to understand that we gain nothing from the world if we turn our backs on God.

YOU CAN’T PUT A PRICE ON A SOUL –

If you die with the most toys, you still die.

You can work hard all your days and have everything money can buy.

You can hold all kinds of powerful positions, awards hanging on the wall, trophies on your desk…and your portfolio will never stack up to the condition of your SOUL.

THE HUMAN SOUL will either go to HEAVEN or HELL.  It will either be SAVED or LOST.  There isn’t a middle ground, no exchanges, and no do-overs once we close our eyes for the last time.

Your family can’t buy your way or pray for your way out of Hell.

You can’t bargain your way out either.

You may be wondering right now as you read my words why I’m writing a blog on a subject like our souls. 

You may be sitting there thinking “I’m saved, what difference does it make?”

What about those that you know who haven’t made that decision?

I wonder at times if any of you give two cents about the lost people who you know?

DOES HELL EVEN KNOW THAT YOU EXIST?

I remember the story from Acts in the Bible about the demon-possessed man who told some Christian wannabes  “Jesus I know, Paul I’ve heard of.  Who are you?”

When you fail to tell them about the life-changing, life-saving POWER of Jesus Christ, you’re basically telling them that it’s okay that they go to Hell!

Is that a harsh statement to make?

 Matthew 16:26b – “Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Jesus asked this follow-up question regarding our service or lack of it to Him.

What will you give to SAVE your soul?

What are you willing to  SACRIFICE, give up?

What’s ironic here about life is this:  The more we live for our own selfish needs, the more miserable we become.  But the more we do for the Lord, and the more we do in His name, the happier and more satisfied we become.

Can we really put up enough for our souls?

Jesus seems to be telling us that there are many people who would rather spend their entire life pursuing gold, silver and “stuff” in this world of ours than to hear about your Jesus.

Is there anything in this world that you possess right now that can or will be a suitable payment in exchange for your SOUL?

Jesus knew ahead of time that people would wait until the last-minute and get in by the “skin of their teeth.”  Who in their right mind would ever believe that this world gives us the best we can get and that’s all there is to it?

If we were to correctly answer this question, we would have to say we would give EVERYTHING in exchange for our soul!

And we should be willing to do it right now!!

And we should want to tell everyone we come in contact with!!!

And why is that?

No one is guaranteed one minute beyond now.

We could leave here this very minute and step into ETERNITY.  And the truth is that so could any of your friends, neighbors, or relatives who think they’ll skate by because they’re nice and don’t bother anybody.

And a lot of those ‘nice people’ aren’t gonna make it because they’re embarrassed that someone will find out they’ve become “religious”.

Mark 8:38 says:  “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

I sometimes find myself wondering how much of my church family, and when I say “church,” I mean the greater Church, is ashamed of their relationship with Jesus Christ.  A lot of self-professing Christians talk a good game on Sunday, but when it’s time to put up, they clam up!

What will you give in exchange for your soul?

Better yet, what will you give in exchange for your SAVED SOUL?

If you are SAVED, you were SAVED with time to spare.

What about that person who isn’t SAVED yet?

If living for your own selfish desires does nothing but make you miserable and unsatisfied, why not SURRENDER ALL of that and turn it all over to Christ?

EVERYTHING I do, say and experience can attribute to what He is doing in me.

I’M HIS!

HE BOUGHT ME with His blood on the Cross!

So what would I give up in exchange for my SOUL that belongs to Jesus?

EVERYTHING OF ANY VALUE!!!!

We have something much better to look forward to ~ Matthew 16:27 (AMP)

[27] For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done.

The same JESUS of Genesis 1 is the same JESUS of John 1 and Acts 1.

It was JESUS who originally said “I’ll be back,” not The Terminator.

None of us know the date and time that He shall come but the bottom line is that everyone is going to know when He gets here.

Acts 1 says:  [11] “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you to heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

It will be unlike any event in human history.  And those who have intentionally lived to fill their pockets and fatten their bank accounts will find themselves in a world of trouble.  For all that they have won’t be enough to pay the COST for their SOUL.

On that day there will be TWO kinds of people in the world.  Those who have a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ and those who don’t!

The SAVED and the LOST.

There’s GOOD NEWS for you if you feel that you’re missing the mark.

We can prepare for ETERNITY now.  We still have time to turn it around right now.

You may not be guaranteed one more minute but you can make a commitment to Christ for the next minute of your life right now.

It’s impossible to live a perfect life.  No one can.  But if I have learned nothing else in this long life of mine, over those years I’ve learned the difference between living for Jesus and living for me.

Jesus came to SEEK AND SAVE the LOST.

He commanded us to go into the world to SHARE the Good News, to witness for Christ, to disciple, baptize and teach.

A few years ago my wife gave me for Christmas one of my favorite Bible verses framed and hung on the wall over my desk as a reminder of my commitment to spreading the good news–to teach and disciple others around the world for Christ.

He will come back soon I hope.  But in the meantime, what will He find us doing?

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CREDITS –

Source:  Bible Study Tools, Matthew 16:26-27

Bible Translations:  NIV Bible, except where noted.

IMAGES:  Google Image Search, setting advanced; 

Romans 10:15 “How beautiful are the feet…” image unknown source.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Great Expectations” of Discipleship

After reading my Bible this morning and given inspiration by the Holy Spirit for my next blog, I decided to borrow the title from a 13th century novel by Charles Dickens.  The book depicts the personal growth and personal development of an orphan nicknamed Pip and I thought there must be some parallels between Christ’s followers and Dickens’ character published in 1861.  I don’t think Mr. Dickens will mind too much.

TEXT:  Matthew 10:32-39

In this passage, Jesus tells us what He expects of His DISCIPLES.

The Dictionary defines a “disciple” as “one who accepts and follows a teacher or a doctrine.”  

We could use that definition to define what a DISCIPLE of Christ is:  A person who follows Jesus Christ and His teaching.

Every Christian is a DISCIPLE.

We read in Acts 11:26 that “the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”  Frankly, I don’t see a distinction between a Christian and a disciple.  Every Christian is a DISCIPLE; every Christian is a follower of Christ.

The Big Idea:  Christ EXPECTS complete commitment from His followers.

In this passage of God’s Word, Jesus tells us what complete commitment looks like in the lives of His followers’

Matthew 10:32-33 (AMP)

[32]  Therefore, everyone who acknowledges Me before men and confesses Me [out of a state of oneness with Me]. I will also acknowledge him before My Father Who is in heaven and confess [that I am abiding in] him.

[33]  But whoever denies and disowns Me before men, I also will deny and disown him before My Father Who is in heaven.

#1.  CHRIST EXPECTS HIS FOLLOWERS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM BEFORE OTHERS.

The phrase “whoever denies or disowns me” (v. 33) doesn’t refer to a moment of DENIAL of Jesus.  Peter denied Christ three times one night, but he never denied Him again.  That’s a comfort to me.  As a follower of Christ since 1972, I’ve had moments of denial, but I’ve repented my sin and proudly announce today that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour.

A DISCIPLE of Jesus is NOT ASHAMED of the One he or she follows.

#2.  CHRIST EXPECTS HIS FOLLOWERS TO LOVE HIM MORE THAN ANYTHING OR ANYONE ELSE.

A college student once walked into a photo studio with a framed picture held closely against his chest.  It was a picture of his girlfriend and he wanted it duplicated which involved removing it from the frame.  In doing this, the owner of the studio noticed the inscription on the back of the picture which said, “Dear Tom, I love you with all my heart.  I love you more and more each day.  I will love you forever and ever.  I am yours for all eternity!”  It was signed “Mary,” and it contained a P.S.:  “If we ever break up, I want this picture back.”

There can be no P.S. in a life given to Christ.  We can never break up with Him.  His amazing LOVE for jus demands that we LOVE Him more than others.

CHOICES will have to be made –

SOMETIMES when a person becomes a Christian and his enthusiasm overflows from his/her decision, his or her family turns against them.

Therefore, a CHOICE must be made between Christ and family.  Family ties cannot be allowed to pull a DISCIPLE from complete allegiance to his LORD.

#3.  CHRIST EXPECTS HIS FOLLOWERS TO GIVE UP EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW HIM.

IN THE 1ST CENTURY, if anyone was seen carrying his CROSS, it was clear that he was on his way to die.

Jesus uses this word picture to describe dying in our own personal pursuits and follow Him completely.  Don’t get me wrong here.  It’s a good thing to have personal pursuits–goals for yourself and family.  But when they take precedence over following Jesus completely…

In Luke’s account, we are told that before Jesus spoke these words, “Large crowds were following Him” (Luke 14:25).

BUT the crowds gradually disappeared.

And we know the reason why.

It was because Jesus DEMANDED TOTAL COMMITMENT from His followers.  He made sure that people knew the cost of DISCIPLESHIP was high.

Luke 14:27-33

Christ has already counted the cost of DISCIPLESHIP for us.  The COST is…EVERYTHING we have!

Jesus once declared, “The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy, he goes and sells all he has and buys that field.”  (AMP)

What the man received was so much more valuable than what he gave up–though it was everything he had.

The cost of DISCIPLESHIP is high; but compared to what we receive from Christ Jesus, the price is a bargain!

“MANY DISCIPLES TURNED BACK AND NO LONGER FOLLOWED HIM”  (John 6:66-68)

The TWELVE DISCIPLES had given up everything to follow Jesus, BUT, with the exception of Judas, they never regretted it because, as Peter declared, Christ has “the word of eternal life.”

The apostle Paul wrote,

He said, “Know this: DISCIPLESHIP is going to cost you whatever you have.  Don’t expect comfort and ease.”

Let’s READ what Jesus said to His DISCIPLES in Mark 8:34-35:

Mark 8:36 (AMP) Continues…

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?”

The WHOLE WORLD refers to all the things that could possibly be achieved or acquired in this lifetime.

GAINING the WHOLE WORLD looks more appealing than losing everything for Christ.

BUT… the REWARD for following Christ is ETERNAL LIFE, while the RESULT of gaining the whole world is the loss of one’s soul.

Under Obedience As True Followers Of Christ Jesus –

A. W. Tozer said, [Years ago] no one would ever dare to rise in a church meeting and say, “I am a Christian” if he had not surrendered his whole being to God and taken Jesus Christ as his Lord as well as his Saviour, and had brought himself under obedience to the will of the Lord.  It was only then that he could say, “I am saved!”

Today, we let them say they are “SAVED” no matter how imperfect and incomplete the action, with the stipulation that the deeper Christian life can be ‘tacked on’ at any time in the future.

Do we really think we don’t owe Jesus Christ our OBEDIENCE?

We have owed Him our OBEDIENCE ever since the second we cried out to Him for our SALVATION, and if we didn’t give Him that OBEDIENCE, I reason to wonder if we are really converted!

I see and hear of things that Christian people are doing, and as I watch and listen to the profession of Christianity, I do raise the question whether they have been truly SAVED.  I believe it is the result of faulty teaching, to begin with.  They act as though the Lord is a hospital and Jesus is the chief of staff to fix up poor sinners that have got into trouble!

“Fix me up, Lord, so I can go my own way!”

The person who says, “Save me, Jesus, but stay out of my life!” is NOT a Christian.

To that person, Christ says,

“Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you?  These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living.  They are foundation words, words to build a life on”  (Luke 6:46-47, The MESSAGE Bible).

If your commitment to Christ has faltered you can RENEW your commitment to Christ in 2018.

THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP IS HIGH–

Complete Commitment–but it’s benefits are eternal!

BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for your sin and rose from the grave.

COMMIT YOUR LIFE TO HIM!

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CREDITS –

Dictionaries:  Merriam-Webster.

Great Expectations – Wikipedia.com

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  NIV and Amplified Bibles, except where noted.