Yesterday, I preached from Luke Chapter 14. Below you can find my sermon outline. We are off to a New Year. Let’s keep building for the cause of Christ. Please feel free to share or use.
- He had the privilege of working with the apostle Paul. His name was Demas, Philemon 24; Colossians 4:14. But by the end of Paul’s ministry, we find Demas had left him, 2 Timothy 4:10. He was a disciple of Jesus. He was involved in the work of the kingdom.
- Yet something happened to impede his progress in his discipleship. His story is like the illustration Jesus used as He spoke about discipleship in Luke 14:26-30. He was like the man who began to build a tower but did not finish.
- The illustration of the man who began to build is a lot like you and me.
- He’s like us because he did what most of us have done. At some point we’ve started something with good intentions but didn’t FINISH.
- The man in the story ran out of money. That’s what hindered him. When we fail to finish it’s because we run out of something – money, time, conviction, energy, or patience.
- As we begin a New Year, it’s a great time to see where we are in our walk with Christ. Are we growing? Are we moving forward? Or have we begun to build, but now have stopped like Demas?
More examples from the Bible of people who didn’t finish.
There are other examples of people in scripture who began to build but didn’t finish.
Let’s consider a few examples.
Consider Peter, Matthew 26:31-35: Peter told Jesus what he would do. But he didn’t finish, Matthew 26:69-75. He began to build but ran out of courage, conviction, and determination.
Consider Solomon, 1 Kings 3:7-14: Solomon began to build. He continued to build the kingdom, the Temple, his house, but he failed when it came to his faith, 1 Kings 11:4.
What about us?
You and me! Did we begin to build something for the Lord, our faith, this church in 2021?
Did we finish it? What might this have looked like for some of us?
“I’m going to read the Bible in one year.”
“I’m going to teach someone the gospel.”
“I’m going to be a better parent and spouse.”
“I’m going to spend more time with my brethren.”
There are many things we could add to this list. In some areas I’m sure we made progress. But for some, things went nowhere.
And this isn’t merely for 2021. Think about the last decade or two decades. The church in Sardis didn’t die overnight. Slowly there was a lack of building, until it stopped. Demas returned to the world because of daily choices he made. Are we like the man who began to build? Are we like Demas?
“What Happened?” Those are two sad words, aren’t they?
They are often said when someone receives news about a tragedy.
Far greater tragedies are…
Christians who have fallen away from the Lord.
Families whose foundations continued to crumble in 2021, instead of being solidified.
A brother in Christ once said, “The saddest things are not the things we would do for ourselves that we never accomplished, but the things we would do for others or for God.” Do you agree?
What really happens when we don’t finish?
The words of Jesus help answer this question in Luke 14:26-35.
Why do some begin to build but never finish?
- “We didn’t really mean it?” Talk is cheap. Action is required. Take up your cross. Being Christianish is not taking up our cross, Luke 14:26-27. “Roman prisoners bound for crucifixion were forced to carry the horizontal cross beam to the place of execution, Luke 23:36. This image reflects not just self-denial, but humiliation and sacrificial death. Jesus is speaking of a life of total commitment to Him, even to the point of suffering and death. See Revelation 2:10; 12:11
- “We didn’t have a plan to do it.” We may have wanted to do it, but never planned how; people who don’t plan don’t do. Jesus gives us our marching orders. He says, “Come after me.” His words and teaching give us the plan, the model to follow. It’s one thing to say we love Jesus, it’s another to follow His words. If we’re not listening to Jesus, we’re not going to finish what we’ve started. The Sermon on the Mount is a great place to begin.
- “We didn’t count the cost.” We may have planned to a degree, but we didn’t truly count the cost. Jesus puts high demands on His disciples. Some might fear, “Can one really meet these demands?” The answer is YES! Paul did, Philippians 3:7. But how? Because he was serious in his discipleship. Because he became an imitator of Jesus. Because he counted the cost and knew the direction he was headed, Philippians 3:13-14. We can imitate Paul as he imitated Christ, Philippians 4:9.
There’s good news and bad news!
Let’s start with the good news.
We have opportunity to repent and return to Jesus if we have left Him as disciples.
We have opportunity to heal broken relationships, give mercy to others, and to forgive so we can arise and build even more in this church and in our families.
We’ve been given another year to share the gospel with one person.
We can follow through with your Bible reading plan (there does need to be a plan, Acts 17:11), hospitality, and service for God.
- Now for the bad news. Jesus paints an ugly picture of the disciple not committed, Verse 33: To be a disciple of Jesus, we must sell all our possessions. What does that mean? I think it’s the idea of being willing to give up all. Paul had possessions and so did other Christians and they weren’t condemned.
- Therefore, He seems to be driving home ultimate trust and devotion to Him.
- Verse 34: Salt has a purpose, Matthew 5:13-16. Salt that has lost its flavor is useless. He’s painting the picture of the disciple who is no longer useful. A disciple can’t be half hearted.
- Verse 35: Salt that doesn’t serve or accomplish its purpose is useless.
- It’s thrown out! That’s really bad news. It doesn’t have to be us. It’s interesting in Luke 15, we see the value of one soul. Your soul is valuable! Jesus loves us. Let’s be His disciples. Jesus ends by saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He said this in Luke 8:8 after talking about the sower and the seed. The prophet Ezekiel in 12:2 spoke about the rebellious people. We find similar language. Will we be rebellious?
- If you are not a disciple, you need to count the cost. Jesus doesn’t hide anything. The good news is your sins (your biggest problem) will be forgiven!
- This year, let’s build even more! Let’s grow and become even more devoted to Christ!