by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Matthew 13:18-23
I. When teaching someone about the gospel, it is hard not to invest a bit of yourself into the one you are trying to reach.
A. You know the importance of being a Christian, and you care about the one you are teaching. If not, why spend the time?
B. It is a great joy to see that person respond to the message.
C. Yet it is equally hard to see that same person leave.
D. Even the Master Teacher experienced loss - John 6:66-71
1. One of his own chosen disciples would betray him, and he knew it.
2. But many disciples – students of Jesus – left to no longer follow him
II. Some leave because they never fully give themselves to God
A. They are the stone ground in which the word makes no impact - Matthew 13:20-21
1. Trouble times: adversity or persecution, causes them to revert to old ways.
B. They are Christians, but only in name. It does not reflect itself in their life - Titus 1:16
C. In John 6, Jesus picked up a number of followers after feeding the 5,000 - John 6:14
1. But they only followed for the food - John 6:26
2. When Jesus did not continue to give food, they left
D. The true problem is that many only want to receive; they don’t give of themselves
1. Jesus taught that giving was better than receiving - Acts 20:35
2. Remember the children’s story of the little red hen
a. They were willing to participate in the results, but they did not want to put in effort; they did not want to help.
3. Jesus gave of himself - II Corinthians 8:9
a. He gave to the point of death - Philippians 2:8
4. Jesus asks the same of us - Matthew 20:26-28
a. Deny ourselves - Matthew 16:24-26
b. No longer living for themselves - II Corinthians 5:15
c. Like our Lord, after this, we will be honored - John 12:26
5. Song: There is a Sea (654)
III. Some leave because the novelty wears off
A. Among the Greeks were people interested in Christianity - Acts 17:19-21
1. It wasn’t what was being said that appealed to them, but the difference from what they have heard before
2. But when the teaching reached areas they couldn’t accept - Acts 17:32
B. You see among denominations a constant search for some new novelty to attract people.
1. Doctrines are continually updated to keep up with the times
2. Like teens who think that anything their parents like mustn’t be that good, so the denominations think that anything surviving 2000 must have worn out.
C. But there is fresh experiences in following God - Lamentations 3:22-26
1. We stumble, we fail, but God extends His mercy toward us.
2. The wonder of God’s salvation becomes all the greater
3. Isaiah 40:31 - Following God is not tiresome for those committed to Him.
IV. Some leave because the teaching is too hard
A. Jesus sometimes offered deep teaching that required effort to understand - John 6:53-58
B. The result was complaints that it was too hard - John 6:60, 66
C. The rich young ruler found the requirements too hard - Matthew 19:16-22
D. Matthew 7:13-14 - Notice that the narrow way is difficult
E. Too many are religious only if it is convenient
V. Some leave because of they are unwilling to change, to leave the world behind
A. Put off the former conduct - Ephesians 4:22-24
B. Walk in a new life - Romans 6:3-4
C. Old has passed away - II Corinthians 5:17
D. Life’s pleasures distract - Matthew 13:22
1. Chasing after wealth - I Timothy 6:6-10
2. Moses was willing to give up passing pleasures - Hebrews 11:25-26
3. Not just money - I Peter 4:1-3
VI. Jesus asked his disciples would they also leave?
A. Peter had the right answer - John 6:68-69
B. Being a Christian requires a full-hearted, sincere commitment
C. Is your heart leaving or are you staying? - Hebrews 3:13-14