The But Chapter: Immaturity and Independence

November 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Luke | 2 Comments
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In the last lesson we looked at Luke Chapter 9 and considered the “buts” of incomprehension, indecision, and ignorance. Now we will see:

4. The But of Immaturity

But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying. Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Luke 9:46

Rather than marveling at the greatness of their Master’s mission, the Disciples were asking what a distressing number of us often find ourselves asking: What’s in it for me? Instead of looking back at what God has done, and looking forward to what He will do, or looking up to Him, we’re looking around – and not to find a need to serve – but to compare ourselves to those around us. “Why can’t I have what he has?” “How do I measure up to her?” “I attend Sunday School AND I have family devotions – the Lord MUST like me more than so-and-so…”

Jesus responded by calling a child into their midst.

And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

Luke 9:47

Notice that the children were right there with the grown-ups when Jesus was teaching. He didn’t have to send someone to fetch a child from children’s church. The point of summoning this child was not to illustrate CHILDISHNESS. That was the Disciples’ problem: they wanted to follow Jesus, BUT they were exhibiting the “But of Immaturity.” “I’m greater than you.” “No, Jesus likes me more than you.” The child that Jesus took from the crowd wasn’t CHILDISH – He was CHILD-LIKE.

And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

Luke 9:48

This child was child-like in the sense of being un-self-conscious. One of the paradoxes of the Kingdom of Christ is that child-likeness is a sign of maturity – because it seeks to please others, not self. Childishness is a sign of immaturity because it looks out for number one.

5. The But of Independence

And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

Luke 9:57

Note the play on the word “certain.” Here it means that a particular man is being referenced, but we also use the word “certain” to describe someone who is absolutely sure about something. This man was certainly gung ho about following Jesus. He didn’t just say, “I’ll go where You go.” He said “WHITHERSOEVER thou goest.” That’s the kind of followers Jesus wants, right? Hold on a second.

And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Luke 9:58

Just did not respond with, “Ha! I gotcha now – you made a commitment and that’s all we’re looking for. You’re on the right team now – just do what you can. Serve when you feel like it, and get your bucket ready. My Father’s going to pour out blessings so that you won’t be able to receive them all.” No, instead, Jesus told Him to count the cost – to make a sober assessment of his commitment to follow Christ. Following Jesus means following in discomfort as well as comfort. Jesus never preached a gimmicky gospel. He would have never raised enough funds to keep His TBN show on the air. He never promised a bed of roses as much as a crown of thorns.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Luke 9:59 (emphasis added)

Notice the command: “Follow Me.” This man wanted to go, but he still wanted some independence. He wanted to go in HIS time.

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:60

Christians preach to dead people – spiritually dead, not physically dead, people.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:1-5

Christians are not “independent.” We were and are completely dependent upon God for everything good we’ve ever known.

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

Luke 9:61 (emphasis added)

The But of Independence puts conditions on our service to Christ. We think that we will decide what’s important for ourselves, then serve within that framework, but Jesus says:

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62

The Lord can’t use you if you’re always looking back at your “but.” Jesus sets the priorities and the agenda. We depend upon Him to let us know where to work, what to wear, what our schedule is, who our friends are. You can’t play follow the leader if you’re looking back, and you can’t keep up if your “but” is too big.

The Humble King

March 21, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Matthew | 5 Comments
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Matthew began showing us the humility of the King in Chapter 17 with the account of the King Who paid tribute. Jesus helped Peter to understand the practicality of glory. God’s glory, if it is to reflected in a way onto men, must be a disciplined glory which always points back to God. As Christ’s disciples we must be loyal to the One Who loves us enough and is gracious enough to shine His glory on us.

Did you know the word “shed” is used in 50 different verses in the King James Version of the Bible? Every single time up until Romans 5:5 it is used in reference to blood (except II Samuel 20:10 where it’s talking about guts). Guess what it refers to in Romans 5:5.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 5:5

After this experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the coin in the fish’s mouth, they must have really “got it,” right? After the Disciples saw their King transfigured in their midst, you would think their question would be, “Lord – King Jesus – what would You have us to do?” But that was NOT their question. Their question was, “Which one of us will get more than the others in this Kingdom?”

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

Matthew 18:1

This was not a very humble question. In fact, it appears to have been evidence of pride. Pride is thinking too much of ourselves. Humility is not thinking too little of ourselves. It’s not really even thinking realistically about ourselves. A better definition of humility would be not thinking of ourselves AT ALL. We can’t be trusted to have an opinion about how great or how little we are (Jeremiah 17:9). Our hearts are wicked and we are too biased and prejudiced to conduct a fair examination of ourselves – to see if we are humble or not.

The humblest person is the happiest person because he only sees opportunities for God’s glory. He’s not tired, not frustrated, not boastful, not depressed, not discouraged, not ashamed – because it hasn’t occurred to him to be those things – because he hasn’t thought about himself at all.

Pop psychology says that we should start exhorting people to be happy with themselves just the way they are, and it sounds good. It mixes a little truth with a little leaven – contentment mixed with self-esteem – so it even sounds kind of spiritual. “Be all that you can be.” “Get everything that God wants you to have.” “Have your best life now.” Saul of Tarsus had prestige, wealth, friends, a great career, a job he loved, room for advancement, respect. Then he met Christ – and he took his “best life now” and he threw it away to live like the scum of the earth for Christ’s sake, and for God’s glory.

Jesus wanted to show the Disciples what He thought about their argument over who would be “greatest” in the Kingdom, so He called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said:

… Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3

This child was not spoiled. I cringe when I think what would have happened if He called one of my children to sit on His lap! Would she be laughing at her friends, sticking her tongue out? This child apparently exhibited the virtue of childlikeness, rather than the vice of childishness.

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

Mark 10:15

The quality of childlikeness that Jesus was pointing out was not playfulness, nor embarrassment, nor shyness, nor boldness. The quality that He wanted to illustrate was unselfconsciousness, which is another word for humility. Unspoiled children have a desire to please. They want to please their fathers, and others. Many times, as parents, we are guilty of causing them to lose this quality. We must not cause them to stumble.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:7-9

We should be stepping-stones, not stumbling-blocks. We should be blessings, not burdens.


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