Text: Luke 14:25-33
I. A Christian came to me and handed me a note one which was written “Luke 14:33 cannot be a disciple unless give up possessions. Why? 2 Cor. 8:14 for equality”
A. I immediately told him he was wrong.
B. His reply was how can he be wrong, he just quoted what the Bible said.
C. This particular brother believes that Christians should give up their personal possessions to the poor. That such a gift is required to become a Christian.
1. It is not unique. A person who claims that Jesus was not divine, does say this: “If you are a Jesus worshiper and believe all that he said is truth, then according to Luke 14:33 you must give away everything you own. Otherwise, you cannot be one of Jesus' disciple. How many so-called Christians actually follow Jesus all the way? How many wealthy (and not so wealthy) so-called Christians really believe in Jesus when they don't give all their possessions to the poor, needy, street people, welfare people, etc.? The answer is that they are not true followers of Jesus -- and we know what Jesus says happens to them after death.”
2. He uses this point to say that Jesus wasn’t being reasonable, and hence not divine.
3. Catholic orders which give up all possessions
D. The problem is that his conclusion is wrong.
1. Pulling out a passage does not necessarily prove a point unless it is consistent in the context
2. Jesus demonstrated this in Matthew 5:21-48
a. Most of the quotes in whole or part come from the Old Testament
b. Jesus uses them to show why the Jews were wrong in their thinking
c. It is not that the statements in their original context were wrong - Romans 7:12
d. The wrong occurred in the usage
II. Does Luke 14:33 teach that you must give up your possessions to the poor to become a disciple of Christ?
A. Move back to verse 26.
1. Is Jesus speaking of a literal hatred?
2. No, we understand that it is hyperbole to make the point that unless God comes absolutely first in our lives and everything else comes a distant second, we will not have what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus.
3. Example: Did not love their own lives - Revelation 12:11; Mark 8:35
4. But it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy life - I Peter 3:10
5. It would make fulfilling this commandment difficult - Matthew 19:19
a. Unless you understood the point you would think that honoring mother and father and hating mother and father would be contradictory commands
b. Unless you understood the point you would think loving others as you love yourself and hating your own life were contradictory commands
c. Oh, and don’t forget Ephesians 5:28 and Titus 2:4
B. Verse 27
1. Is Jesus speaking of carrying a physical cross?
2. No, we understand that it is a metaphor to make the point that unless we are willing to bear up under the load of trials and persecutions that comes to Christians, we do not have what it takes to be disciple of Jesus. - II Timothy 3:12
3. It was the point in the parable of the seed - Matthew 13:21
C. Verses 28-32 are illustrations about counting the costs.
1. Understanding the level of commitment to being a Christian in advance of becoming a disciple
2. Too many make an impulsive leap into Christianity and then don’t have the strength to bear up under its load.
D. Verse 33
1. “Give up” means to renounce, to separate oneself from
2. The verse does not say to give up ones possessions to the poor. The point is the releasing of their importance in your life, just as he was talking earlier about relationships.
3. Paul makes the same point - Philippians 3:7-8
E. It is illustrated in the apostles - Luke 5:11
1. They left everything behind - Luke 18:28-30
2. Does this mean that they sold their boats and nets and gave the proceeds to the poor?
3. Simon still had his house, where Jesus sometimes stayed - Luke 4:38
4. Even after Jesus died, the disciples still had their own homes - John 20:10
5. Peter still had his fishing equipment - John 21:3
6. Peter remained married, and he did not leave her behind - I Corinthians 9:5
7. The point was that what they had and owned was not a priority to them.
a. Sure, Peter had a family to support and a fishing business to run, but he willingly left it behind to follow Jesus and learn at his feet.
b. “Giving up” didn’t mean they were gone, but they become far less important in his life.
III. What about the rich young ruler? - Mark 10:21
A. The young man desired to serve God. He showed his desire by keeping the law.
B. But Jesus pointed out that he still lack something. He brought it to the surface by asking him to sell all that he had.
C. What did he lack? He didn’t love the Lord God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength.
D. Does that remain a problem for some?
1. Most definitely - Matthew 13:22
E. Luke 12:33 - Sell your possessions and give to the poor
1. Does this mean everything? Or of what a person has to spare?
2. Remember I Timothy 5:8, we all have obligations
3. Ephesians 4:28 - Gain extra so you will have something to share
4. Seen in John’s teaching - Luke 1:11
5. Acts 2:45 shows an attitude, but it doesn’t say everything was sold. The very next verse shows they still met house to house.
6. Acts 4:34-37 again shows the same attitude, but it doesn’t say that everything was sold, but also note that even the possessions they did have to sell were not all sold at once. It was sold as there was need, but meanwhile the owners retained possession.
7. If it was all
a. How did Lydia still have a house after becoming a Christian? - Acts 16:15
b. How did Christians have property seized? - Hebrews 10:34
c. How could there have been rich Christians? - I Timothy 6:17-19
F. The point is where is your heart? What is it that you love? - I Corinthians 13:3
1. Again, it is an attitude of what is important to you - Luke 12:22-23, 29-34
IV. What about equality? II Corinthians 8:12-15
A. The encouragement was based on excess - II Corinthians 8:12
B. It is the same principle taught in II Timothy 6:17-19
C. The equality was between brethren and not all the world
1. II Corinthians 9:1 - a ministry to the saints
2. II Corinthians 9:12 - supplying the needs of the saints
3. II Corinthians 9:13-14 - Notice the “they” who pray as a result. This is referring back to the them and all in verse 13.
4. The unrighteous would not be praying to God, so the “them” in verse there are the saints in Judea and the “all” is all Christians in the world.
5. It doesn’t mean that the worldly poor are not to be aided. These verses are not the ones to be used to prove it.
D. The example was taken from the gathering of manna - Exodus 16:18
1. Each person was only to have a omer (five pints) per day
2. Some would be able to easily gather more. Others with difficulty, such as the ill or infirm.
3. The Israelites were distributing the gathering so all had equal amounts, since the excess could not be kept. God did not command them to do this, but once they found they could not keep an excess, they voluntarily did it of there own accord.
4. Paul applies the principle to Christians, where they should voluntarily help those less fortunate.
E. The request was not a command - II Corinthians 8:8
1. It was important, but to make it a requirement would nullify its purpose
2. It was to be voluntarily done - II Corinthians 9:7
F. Nor was absolute equality required
1. There were still rich Christians - Matthew 27:57; I Timothy 6:17; James 1:9-10
2. The equality was more in the flow, the rich would aid the poor, but since wealth is fleeting, those who are wealthy may one day be aided by those who once had received aid - Ecclesiastes 11:1-3
V. God wants His people to be generous, to have concern for those less fortunate.
A. But He also wants that generosity to be sincere; hence, He asks us to voluntarily aid the poor among us. It cannot be by compulsion, but by a willing desire to help our fellow man.
B. Some have altered the message by pulling a few verses out, making it appear to be a command to be unilaterally done. Worse is to make it appear as a requirement for salvation when such was not stated.
C. Let us remain faithful to what God has taught