THE LIFE OF CHRIST
last lesson, we examined Luke 13:22 through Luke 14:24. We examined several
parables within those verses. In this lesson, we will continue right where we
left off. So, let’s begin in:
Luke 14:25 Now great
multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and
does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters,
yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 "And whoever does not bear
his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
just read this passage based on the way we use the word ‘hate’ without
considering the context, I can easily see how some could read this and think is
teaching that we must hate everyone including ourselves to be a disciple of
Christ. Then it can become very confusing, when we read in other places that we
are to love all people including our enemies. So, is the contradiction? No. I
mentioned this before, but Matthew’s account gives us a better picture of what
Jesus is talking about here.
Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not
worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of
Jesus is not
saying we must hate these other people and ourselves to be His disciples, but
that we are to love them and ourselves less than we love Him. So, he is talking
about priorities. In other words, He is saying that we must not put others or
ourselves above God. There are people in the world who quickly put their mates
and children before God, but you cannot do that and be a true disciple of
Christ. Again, there is nothing wrong with loving your family and doing
everything you can for them, but when it comes to God and His way, He must be
first in our lives even if that means dividing a household against itself. Is
this easy, no, but is what it takes to follow after Jesus all the way. We all
have a cross to bear. While it can hard at times, we must endure and always do
our best to make God first in all things.
why some who become Christians without considering the high cost of
discipleship will fall away because it is too much for them to bear because
they did not consider the cost of discipleship. Jesus makes this perfectly
clear from what He says next:
Luke 14:28 "For
which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the
cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- 29 "lest, after he has laid
the 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 to make war against another king, does not sit down
first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes
against him with twenty thousand? 32
"Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation
and asks conditions of peace. 33
"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My
The message from these two examples are clear. Before you give your life
over to God, consider the changes you will have to make and the possibility of
losing friends and even family. If more
people would really think about what it means to become a disciple of Christ
and be ready to face those challenges as they come, then I think number of
Christians who fall away would be much less. The fact that Jesus gives these
examples in the first place and stresses the need of making God your number 1
priority, once again, stresses the idea that living the Christian life as God
wants you to live can be challenging, so you have to be committed to following
the way of God if you ever hope to endure to the end.
Luke 14:34 " Salt is
good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 "It is neither fit for the
land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to
hear, let him hear!"
This concluding remark reflects what Jesus has just said. It is saying that
a Christian must continue to be salty, which mean to continue to be committed
to living for God because if a Christian loses his saltiness, which could be
caused by apathy or even a complete rejection of God, then he will be of no use
for the kingdom of God. Jesus even says he will not be fit for the dunghill or
manure pile. That is pretty useless, when really think about it.
Our next chapter is one of my favorites. It contains three wonderful
parables. So, let’s get to it.
Luke 15:1 Then all the
tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes
complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with
them." 3 So He spoke
this parable to them, saying: 4
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does
not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost
until he finds it? 5
"And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders,
rejoicing. 6 "And when he
comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them,
'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 7 "I say to you that likewise
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over
ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
note that Jesus had tax collectors and
other sinners coming to hear Him, but the Pharisees and scribes did not like
this and they complained about it because they would go out if their way to
avoid people like this. So, Jesus speaks a parable to these opposing Jews that
they could relate to.
points out how the opposing Jews would have no problem leaving 99 sheep behind
to seek out this one lost sheep. In other words, they had more compassion for
an animal than these sinners. Jesus is trying to get them to see how important
is to find these sinners and bring them back to the fold because if they remain
where they are, they will be lost forever. If they are able to find one of these
sinners and bring him back home, he is worth rejoicing over because the sinner
has turned from his ways.
parable also speaks to us today because it also shows how much concern God has
for every Christian who has ever strayed away from the flock. He wants that
lost Christian to be found and brought back home. Jesus tells how much love and
compassion the shepherd had for the lost sheep because when he finds him, he
does not scold him or beat him. No, instead, he picks him up and puts him on
his shoulder, and he rejoices that the sheep has been found, and God does the
same thing for us.
He is not
going to yell at us when we are found. Instead, He will put us on His shoulders
and carry us home. Our text tells us that the whole host of heaven is filled
with joy when the lost sinner finds their way back home to the fold of God. Certainly
this kind of rejoicing also includes when nonChristians escape the grip of the
world and become Christians as well.
the sinner represented by the lost sheep is one who was part of the fold, but
got distracted by the world or we could say found the grass being greener on
the other side. Christians who find
themselves in this category and sometimes so distracted that they do not
realize they are lost until someone like the shepherd comes to them and shows
them they are indeed lost. Of course, this could also represent a sinner who
finally opens his eyes and realizes he is lost, but he has strayed so far from
the church, that he does not know how to get back there on his own, which is
why he needs the shepherd to find him and carry him back home.
at our second parable starting in:
Luke 15:8" Or what
woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp,
sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 "And when she has found it,
she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with
me, for I have found the piece which I lost!'
10 "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence
of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
In the first century, one coin could take a full day’s worth of work to
earn, so each coin would be very precious to this woman. We also need to
understand that the common house back then was dark because they did not
usually have windows, but just an open door, and the floors were usually dirt.
So, it would be necessary to light a lamp to be able to see well in the house
even during the day time.
The message of this parable is the same as before, which shows how much
concern God has for the lost and how much He wants them to be found and
restored back to Him. Again, we see it stated that when that which is lost is
found, not only did the woman rejoice with friends and neighbors, the whole host of heaven rejoices. Of course,
this also teaching these opposing Jews that these tax collectors and sinners,
they try to avoid are valuable and worth the effort of finding and saving. This
should be our same mentality when it comes to those who have fallen away from
the church and for those who have never obeyed the gospel.
I see this coin representing a Christian who has become lost by the
mishandling of other Christians. In other words, a Christian or Christians
neglected or treated poorly this child of God, which caused them to become
lost. I wish this kind of thing did not happen, but it does sometimes. So, we
need to be careful about how we treat each other and always do our best to
build each other up instead of tear each other down. Now this does not mean
that we cannot correct the behavior of a fellow saint, but we do need to pay
close attention to how we deal with others.
I can also see this referring to those Christians who slip through the
cracks and disappear without other Christians really noticing until it is too
late. Just like the lost coin, when we finally pay attention enough to notice
that Christian has slipped away, we need to do all we can to find him.
I believe Jesus saves the best parable for last. Let us begin in verse 11:
Luke 15:11 Then He said:
"A certain man had two sons. 12
"And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the
portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 "And not many days after,
the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there
wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
14 "But when he had spent all, there arose a severe
famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 "Then he went and joined
himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed
swine. 16 "And he would
gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one
gave him anything.
parable, we have a son who was living in the house of his father, and he had
everything that he needed, but one day, he decides he wants to go out on his
own. So, he asked his father for his inheritance.
father does not argue with him or try to force him to stay. Instead, he gives
his son what he wants, and his son leaves. Well, it does not take long for the
son to blow all his money on prodigal living, and he finds himself broke in the
middle of a famine. However, he did manage to find himself a job feeding pigs,
but he was so hungry that he wished he could eat some of the pigs’ food. We
need to remember that the Jews would normally have nothing to do with this
unclean animal. So, this shows this prodigal son’s desperation.
parable shows what can happen to a Christian. A Christians can be in the house
of God in His fold and can have all the spiritual blessings that come from
being a faithful Christian. However, God will not force you to stay with Him,
and He will allow you to leave and do your own thing. Regarding this, I always
think about about what Joshua said:
Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves
this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were
on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land
you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
the prodigal son, when we try and do things on our own without God, we will end
up spiritually bankrupt.
like what Cox says concerning the prodigal’s departure:
Growing weary of home restraint, he
desired to depart for a place where his passions could have free reign.
request. His mistakes were obvious: (a) He wanted the father’s goods, but not
his presence. (b) He thought liberty was
a license. He had the highest type of liberty- that of a son; yet he did not
appreciate it. (c) He thought all the good things were in a “far country.” He
was blind to the blessings at hand. “Acres of Diamonds.”
father’s response. He gave the son his portion. God gives us our portion and
tells us how to use it; but he will not hinder freedom of will.
journey. Only one sentence is used to tell of the journey. The downgrades of
life are steep. Once we set our heart on the “far country” of sin we at once
arrive. (a) He left unhindered. The father with the servants could have held
him by force; but that would have been treating him as a slave, not as a son.
Compulsion would not have changed his heart. (b) He left unattended. Though the
father loved him, he did not follow. All who depart for the “far country” must
go alone – without God (Isa. 59:2). (Frank L. Cox, “The Prodical Son” p.493).
that none of us develop this attitude toward God and take Him for granted
because it will not bode well for us. Now let’s look at verse 17:
Luke 15:17 "But
when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have
bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 'I will arise and go to my
father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and
before you, 19 "and I am
no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired
Here we see that the prodigal son had a wake up call. He had to hit rock
bottom before this happened. He realized how great his father really was and
how his father’s servants were eating better than he was right now. So, he made
the decision to go back home to admit to his father that he had sinned. He was
hoping that his father would take him back and make him one of his hired
A hired servant was the lowest position because a hired servant could be
let go for any reason, but the son did not care what position he received as
long as he could get back in his father’s house.
This parable represents the Christian who has fallen away and realizes that
he needs to go back to God and is willing confess to God that he has sinned.
Many times a Christian who has fallen away feels just like this son in that he
does not feel worthy to be a child of God again, but notice what happens as we
Luke 15:20 "And he
arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father
saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 "And the son said to him,
'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer
worthy to be called your son.' 22
"But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it
on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 'And bring the fatted calf here
and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 'for this my son was dead and
is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.
This is truly amazing. Here we have this son coming back home hoping for
the lowly position of a hired servant, not knowing if his father would even
take him back, yet we find out from our parable that the father had been
watching and waiting for his son to return. We can know this because his father
saw him coming from a great distance, and he ran out to meet him and threw his
arms around him and had compassion on him.
Even though the son did not feel worthy to be called his son anymore, the
father shows how much love and grace he has for his son. He has his best robe
brought out for him and puts a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet, but
he does not stop there. He kills a calf
and has a big celebration for his son’s return.
It does not get any better than this. When a lost Christian is willing to
repent and come back home, God is watching and patiently waiting for you. He
will see you coming back to Him in the distance, and He is ready to run to you,
throw His arms around you, and forgive you for whatever you have done. He will
not consider you as a hired servant. No, he will consider you as a son or daughter
of God, and He will give you the best He has to offer, and the whole host of
heaven will celebrate and rejoice because you have chosen to come back home.
prodigal son represents a Christian who knew full well what it meant to be in
the Father’s care, but by his own desire, he chose to leave God and His church
because He thought it be better out in the world. Many Christians have done
this very thing, especially those who grew up in the church and that is all
they knew. Of course, the good news is that these Christians who left are
allowed to come back, and we see that the church and the whole host of heaven
are to rejoice when it happens because this Christian who was spiritually dead
is now spiritually alive because he has come back home. Now you would think
that all God fearing people would be happy when a sinner repents and comes back
home, but some do not. Jesus is going to point His finger at these opposing
Jews, and I also believe this points a finger at any Christian today who is is
not happy when a sinner comes back home. Notice what Jesus says:
Luke 15:25 "Now his
older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard
music and dancing. 26
"So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 "And he said to him, 'Your
brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father
has killed the fatted calf.' 28
"But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and
pleaded with him. 29 "So
he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been
serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you
never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 'But as soon as this son of
yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the
fatted calf for him.'
This older son, who represents the Pharisees and all those who are like him
today was not a bad son because he did not leave home, and he was not lazy. He
had no problems with keeping his Father’s commandments. However, his attitude
was all wrong because he was self-righteous and considered himself better than
his brother. He was very judgmental and did not think his brother should be forgiven,
and he certainly did not think his family should be rejoicing over his return. He
was full of envy, which caused him to be angry and to question his Father’s
This is exactly what the Pharisees problem was. They were not concerned
about the lost, all they cared about was themselves. They thought they deserved
all the praise and the blessings of God. After all, they knew that law and felt
like they kept it well. Even if they kept the commandments God and worshipped
as they were supposed to, they could still be lost because their attitude was
all wrong. Remember Jesus said we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. It
is not enough to be a law keeper, you must also have your heart into it and
have love for your fellow man. Paul makes the point very clear.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not
love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of
prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have
all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am
nothing. 3 And though I
bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be
burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
You will also notice that the older son would not even call his flesh and
blood his brother. Instead, he said “this son of yours.” These opposing Jews
were the same. They would not accept any of these sinners as their brother even
if they were fellow Jews.
This mentality did not end with the opposing Jews because, sometimes you
have Christians like this in the church. Some Christian will leave the church
and go out and do all kinds of sinful things including sinful things against
their brothers and sisters in Christ. Like the Prodigal Son, some of these
Christians will hit rock bottom and realize the error of their ways and they
will try and come back home, but since they did many cruel sinful things
against that church, most in that church act like older son and refuse to call
them brother. Their attitude is all wrong. While they should be rejoicing with
the host of heaven, they are bitter and simply wish that child of God would go
somewhere else because they do not feel that they deserve to come back after
what they did. These would be the kind of Christians who would not have
accepted the apostle Paul into the assembly because we all know the horrible
things he did against the church, but we do not read of a single church rejecting
him because of his past. We really need to think about that because I do not
know of any man or woman who did more harm to the church than Paul and then
became a Christian later. We all know what good he did for the church after He
turned from his wicked ways.
Jesus concludes the parable with what the Father said and it should inspire
and teach these Pharisees and all who are like them a great lesson about the
lost and their return back home.
Luke 15:31 "And he
said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 'It was right that we should
make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was
lost and is found.' "
While we may not like what a person has done to the church while they were
off in the far country, if they come back home, which means they have repented,
then we should be happy for them because the Father has forgiven them and so
should we. The hosts of heaven rejoice for them and so should we. I know
forgiveness is hard at times, but we certainly want our Father in heaven to
forgive us when repent of our sins no matter how ugly those sins were. So, we
should be willing to do the same when it comes to forgiving those who repent.
In conclusion, we have learned that it takes a serious commitment to be a
disciple of Christ and that we should count of the cost of discipleship because
it will not be an easy life. We also
learned a great lesson from these three parables about the value of the
lost sinner and how we should be diligent in seeking them out. We also learned
that we must have the right attitude when it comes to living for God. You can
obey the commands of God, and assembly with saints every time the doors are
open, but if your heart is not in it and all you think about is yourself, then
you are just as lost as the older son. Finally, we learned that when a sinner
comes back by repenting, we should not only forgive them, but also rejoice with
all the host heaven that they have come back home.