Temple Baptist Church - 12-30-2018
A. In our text, we find three men who had a desire to follow Christ. I believe that every born-again believer has a desire to come to Christ and be where He is but, to be His follower, one must count the cost.
B. The first said, ““Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”
1. He was a man with a right desire. I have no doubt that he was serious when he made that statement.
2. Many people, when asked if they are willing to follow Christ, will say the same thing but stop when it cost them something. They intend to follow Christ as long as it costs them nothing. Great intentions do not get the work done!
C. But, when our Lord said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head,” we hear no more from this man. You see, it will cost you something to follow Christ. That is why so many begin with a right intention but never really follow Christ.
D. Then, our Lord said to another man, “Follow me.”
1. Then, this individual said, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” He had something that he wanted to do first. I do not think that his father had died yet because he was here listening to Jesus instead of at the “funeral home” with family.
2. I believe that what he was saying was this: allow me to stay at home until my father dies and I bury him, then I will follow you. (A.M.)
E. Now, a third man says, “Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.”
1. This man makes sure that he gives his excuse for not following immediately before the Lord could say anything to him.
2. There are many people who want to follow Christ as long as they can do it on their time or stay at home to follow Him.
F. Our Lord answered him with my text for this morning: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
G. You see, following Christ requires cost, obedience, and continuance. Many start well, but because of the cost, quit. Their intentions were good, but somewhere along the way, their heart began to turn back to the place and people that they had to leave behind.
Hebrews 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
H. God does not call everyone to leave home and family though, but I believe that every child of God should be willing to do so if the Lord called!
1. The servant is not greater than his Master so, as He left all for us, we should be willing to leave all for Him.
2. When God called me into the ministry, I and my family had to be willing to leave home, family, friends, job, and everything else to follow Christ. Could we have done less?
I. You see, all three of these men came to where Christ was but were not willing to follow Him where ever He wanted them to go.
1. Last year is almost gone. It will be history in a couple of days and a New Year lies before us. the new Year is “history that has not yet been written.” A “tale that has not been told.” We cannot change history but we can re-write it well.
a. There is nothing wrong with remembering last year. It was a good year. Some things could have been better but we are here this morning and not sitting at home.
b. There is value in reflecting upon last year and changing what needs to be changed.
c. There is need for repentance. Sorrow for our failures last year.
d. There is need for resolve. A determination to not make the save mistakes.
2. This year, we need to keep our hand on the plough! Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (We cannot follow Christ until we put our hand to the plough! Following Christ is a life of self-denial and cross bearing.)
1 John 2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. (13) I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. (14) I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
a. You young families need to “step up to the plate.” As the older generation goes on to be with the Lord, this is, for the younger generation, becoming more “your church.” Get involved! What you leave behind will be all that your children will have.
b. You middle aged families need to bear the burden of the work of Christ in spiritual maturity.
c. Some of us are getting older but that is not a time for quitting. We need to make some adjustments because of age but each of us are still needed to get the job done. We cannot look back! We cannot quit, we cannot retire.
3. This year, we need to keep our eyes on the Point, Jesus Christ.
a. Keep our eyes on Christ and “plow to the Point!” When you plow a field, looking to the side or looking back causes you to become distracted and plow a crooked furrow.
b. Keep our eyes on the Bible. May it ever be our guide! The Truth shall make you free and, if you be free, you will be free indeed.
c. Keep our eyes on the Old Paths wherein is the good way. If we ever let up, then the Old Paths will be gone. Just look around at the direction and condition of churches in our day. They are not even a shadow of what they used to be.
Conclusion: I preach this often and I always will because following Christ is of the utmost importance. We cannot follow Christ:
a. If we lose sight of Him.
b. If we forget the Word of God.
c. If we leave the Old Paths.