Participants: Ronny Shelton
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000220
00:31 Hello brothers and sisters, my name is Ronny Shelton.
00:34 I hope you've got your Bibles with you today.
00:37 You know, we're fighting a spiritual battle, and we have to
00:41 use a spiritual tool; the word of God.
00:44 I'm hoping you'll open your Bibles with me to Luke 14.
00:48 In Luke 14 Jesus sets up a test of discipleship.
00:54 I want to start reading at about verse 16 of chapter 14.
01:05 There it says:
01:29 As I'm analyzing this parable the first thing I'm thinking
01:32 about is: How many of you have bought a piece of property
01:36 and you've never seen it?
01:37 I recently moved, just a couple of months ago,
01:40 from one place to another.
01:41 I saw this piece of property, and I went out and I began to
01:44 walk across this property.
01:46 Then I stepped it off.
01:48 I wanted to make sure that it was what it was supposed to be.
01:51 Then I wasn't satisfied with that.
01:53 I walked every square foot of it that I could get on.
01:56 I took my tape measure and I measured across the frontage.
01:58 You know, I'm glad that I did.
02:00 It was twenty feet short!
02:02 I brought that to the attention of the realtor, and he grabbed
02:05 up the stake and he moved it twenty feet,
02:07 and he sat it back down.
02:08 You see, so I'm thinking, what an excuse for not going to
02:12 the great supper.
02:13 A man's bought a piece of property without seeing it.
02:15 I'm just not buying that!
02:16 Let's read on.
02:17 Verse 19:
02:26 Now, once again, usually when I give this sermon I'll ask,
02:30 Has anyone bought any oxen lately?
02:33 Well, you know, I never get any hands going up on that one.
02:35 Nobody seems to be buying oxen these days.
02:37 But in Jesus' day it was very prevalent.
02:40 The oxen then did all the work.
02:42 There were no tractors and things that we use now;
02:45 no garden tillers.
02:46 The oxen did all of the work.
02:48 I was in India this past February, and I saw oxen,
02:52 just row, after row, after row of oxen, going down the road
02:55 pulling plows, pulling big wagons, covered wagons,
02:58 doing all of the work.
02:59 I can't imagine in Jesus' day that someone had bought
03:03 five yoke of oxen, and they hadn't proved them yet.
03:07 So, to me again, another flimsy excuse for not attending
03:11 the great supper.
03:12 Let's look on to verse 20.
03:19 As I looked at this I thought, You know, this has got to be
03:22 the worst excuse of them all!
03:24 It's got to be the worst excuse of them all!
03:27 Back to the way I am, and a lot of men are, at our home
03:30 if there's a big supper being planned, or a party,
03:33 or something, and we get an invitation, it will be my wife
03:37 who wants to go to the party, you see.
03:40 Myself, I'll be saying, Ah, honey,
03:42 are you sure that we have to go?
03:43 Do I have to go, or can I stay?
03:45 So this man said, I have just married a wife,
03:48 and therefore I cannot come.
03:49 That's probably the flimsiest excuse of them all.
03:52 Let's read on then in verse 21.
04:16 You see, Jesus had made an exclusive invitation.
04:20 He bid certain people that He wanted there, and He said,
04:24 I want you to come to my great feast.
04:26 I'm preparing something special for you.
04:28 I want you to come to the great feast.
04:30 When they began to make excuses he broadens the spectrum.
04:35 He says, Okay, if My people won't come, let's take it
04:39 a little farther out.
04:40 So then in that verse He said, Let's take it now into the
04:44 streets and the lanes of the city.
04:46 So now we're leaving this certain place, and we're going
04:49 out, and we're bringing the invitation
04:51 to the rest of the city.
04:53 Then in verse 22 and 23:
05:11 You see, once again He has extended the territory.
05:15 So I like to put it this way: He invites us, and we find excuses
05:20 for why we can't go.
05:21 We find excuses for why we can't be in His service.
05:24 We find excuses, just in the day to day humdrum, the rut that
05:28 we live in, our day to day duties.
05:31 We find excuses for why we can't be a participant in this; why we
05:36 can't work for God.
05:37 So the invitation goes farther out.
05:40 Now it goes out of this house, and it goes out to the streets.
05:44 So some people respond, some do not.
05:47 Then the invitation goes out even farther, beyond the streets
05:52 of this town, of your town.
05:53 It now goes out to the rest of the territory; to the county,
05:57 to the state, to North America, to South America, and finally to
06:02 encompass the entire globe.
06:03 The invitation goes out, and still people will find excuses.
06:10 Many will respond, but many will not.
06:13 Let's look at verse 24.
06:14 Verse 24 says:
06:23 Very serious!
06:26 None of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper,
06:29 Jesus says.
06:31 You see, He calls us to action.
06:32 He calls us out of our pews, out of our chairs,
06:36 and out of our homes.
06:37 He calls us to action.
06:39 When we refuse; when we begin to make excuses for why we can't
06:44 go, we can't do, and we can't serve, pretty soon the
06:49 invitation has left us; left us desolate.
06:53 Verse 24 is a very serious thing.
06:56 You see, to refuse God's call on our lives is a very
07:00 serious matter.
07:01 Jesus then lays out a test of discipleship, starting in
07:06 verse 26.
07:07 Let's read about that.
07:38 You know, I began to look at this.
07:41 I began to look at this text, and I thought, What?
07:45 Does Jesus actually want me to hate my father and my mother,
07:48 my brother and my sister?
07:49 I can't believe that!
07:51 God is a God of love, and I can't believe that He's
07:53 expecting me to hate my father and my brother,
07:57 my mother and my sister.
07:58 So I began to dig a little deeper.
08:00 As I dug deeper it took me to Genesis 29.
08:04 Go with me there to Genesis 29.
08:07 There in Genesis 29; I want to read verse 30 and 31.
08:31 Do you see this right here?
08:33 Now this kind of helped a little bit.
08:35 I thought God is making a comparison.
08:38 Jacob did not say that he hated Leah.
08:42 He said he loved Rachel more.
08:44 He loved Rachel more than Leah.
08:47 So Jesus is making the comparison that anything less
08:54 than 100% is no good at all.
08:57 You see, He's either God of all, or He's not God at all.
09:01 He's either God of all, or not God at all.
09:06 Anything less than 100% is insufficient and will not do.
09:13 So Jesus is not asking us to hate our father and our mother,
09:16 but He's putting a comparison on them.
09:18 Compare your feelings with your close family,
09:20 and your comparison of your feelings with Him.
09:23 So that helped.
09:25 I wanted more, so I turned in the Bible to Matthew 10.
09:30 Turn with me to Matthew 10:34-36.
09:39 There it says:
09:59 See, again Jesus is drawing a picture.
10:02 Will you serve Me?
10:05 Will you put Me first?
10:06 Will I be the only one in your life?
10:08 Here He says, I'm bringing a sword; a sword that will cut
10:13 right down the middle.
10:16 The sheep will be on one side, and the goats
10:18 will be on the other.
10:19 He says that test is coming to you.
10:22 He said, I didn't come to bring peace.
10:24 I didn't come to bring you peace, but a sword, to make you
10:29 make a decision for Christ or against Him.
10:33 For Christ or against Him.
10:35 Let's read on in verses 37 and 38.
10:56 Now see, that helps.
10:58 That helps.
10:59 Once again, Jesus is saying, Not that I want you to hate your
11:02 father and your mother, your brother and your sister,
11:04 your family, your closely associated people.
11:07 He's saying, I must come first.
11:10 I must be first, He said.
11:13 If you love father or mother more than Me, He says,
11:17 if you love brother or sister, or family, or spouse,
11:21 or your job, or your friends, or your bank account,
11:24 or the cares of this world more than Me, He says, You are not
11:28 worthy of Me.
11:30 You are not worthy of Me.
11:34 Verse 39:
11:48 Young people used to say, Let's get a life!
11:51 Get a life! they would say.
11:52 I must find out who I am.
11:54 Who am I?
11:55 I need to find out who I am before I can do
11:57 anything for God.
11:58 I want to get a life!
12:00 That's what they said.
12:02 What does God say about being friends with the world?
12:11 There he says:
12:37 You see, anyone that wants to find their life; any man,
12:41 any woman, any child that wants to find their life, and says,
12:44 I must find out who I am, Jesus says that in the end
12:47 you will lose your life.
12:49 You may find it now.
12:50 You may find out who you are here and now, but in the end
12:54 you forfeit eternal life.
12:56 In the end you will forfeit eternal life.
13:02 Jesus says if we find our life we will lose it.
13:07 But he that loses his life...
13:09 In other words, if I am not going to find myself,
13:12 if I'm not going to be my own person, I'm going to allow God
13:14 to take over my life, then in the end I shall find it,
13:19 and shall find eternal life.
13:21 We must count the cost brothers and sisters.
13:26 Count the cost of living the Christian way.
13:29 County the cost of living the Christian way.
13:33 But I can hear someone say, now wait just a minute!
13:36 Isn't heaven free?
13:38 The Bible says it's a gift of God.
13:41 Yes, it does.
13:43 The Bible does say it's a gift of God, not of works,
13:46 lest any should boast, you see.
13:48 But let's look at that text then in Ephesians 2:8.
14:01 You see, it is a gift of God, and a gift is something that
14:05 comes totally unattached; no strings attached.
14:07 It is a gift of God with nothing further required.
14:12 That sounds free!
14:14 That sounds free enough.
14:15 No strings attached.
14:17 But I'm going to surprise you today and say it is not
14:22 entirely free.
14:23 It comes with a cost.
14:26 You see, salvation has a cost to it.
14:30 It comes with a cost.
14:32 Jesus gives us a tremendous illustration of
14:36 the cost of heaven.
14:38 Let's look at that in Matthew 13:44.
15:05 A very simple illustration.
15:07 A very simple illustration where Jesus is comparing
15:11 the cost of heaven.
15:12 I'd like to use my imagination a little bit, if I could, on that.
15:18 You know people back then took their gold, silver,
15:23 their valuables, and their jewels, and they went out and
15:26 they dug a hole in the ground and buried their valuables.
15:30 You see there was no 1st Bank, 2nd Bank, and 1st 3rd Bank,
15:33 and all of that.
15:35 So a man went out and he dug a little hole, and he put in his
15:38 valuables, and he covered them over.
15:39 Well, often the man would die; forgot where he put them.
15:44 So the man in this illustration, this parable that
15:49 Jesus has laid out, says that this man finds one in a field.
15:52 I can imagine him one day going out into a field.
15:55 He's walking across, and maybe he stubs his toe
15:58 on some little something.
15:59 He reaches down, and he picks it up, and he brushes off the top.
16:04 He says, Wow, what is this I found here?
16:07 What have I found?
16:08 He opens up the lid, and looks inside. and he says, Oh my,
16:13 there is a treasure there; inestimable treasure.
16:20 Being an honest man he puts the lid back on it and puts it
16:23 back down in the ground.
16:26 He puts it back down in the ground and covers it over.
16:29 I can imagine, if it were me, I'd probably grab a little extra
16:32 dirt and throw it in, and make sure that it is covered,
16:35 and maybe drag up a few branches and cover this treasure over.
16:39 Then I make my way into the realtor's office.
16:42 In the realtors office, I go to the realtor and I say,
16:49 You know, there's a piece of property out on the
16:51 north side of town.
16:52 I describe it to him, and I say, I want to buy that property.
16:55 You see, knowing that I know there's a hidden treasure there.
16:58 The realtor doesn't know it.
17:00 The people of the world don't know it.
17:02 But I have found a valuable treasure, and I'm going to do
17:06 all I can to obtain that treasure.
17:08 So I go out and I ask the realtor, How much is it?
17:16 He goes to the back and he brings out the contract,
17:19 and the deed.
17:20 It has the price tag on it like I've never seen before.
17:23 Wow, I think, that's a lot!
17:27 I don't know if I can raise that much money.
17:28 So I go back to my house, and I go out into the yard.
17:33 I take my shovel and I dig up my treasures, and I bring them
17:38 in the house, and I put them on the table.
17:40 On the table I count them, and I say, Oh, that's way short!
17:43 That won't do!
17:44 That won't do at all!
17:46 So I make a for sale sign and I go out and stick it
17:50 in front of the house.
17:52 It says, Live Stock for Sale, Clearance,
17:55 Everything has got to go!
17:56 I sell all of my sheep, my goats, my cattle, my horses,
18:01 my stock, and my camels.
18:03 I sell it all.
18:04 I bring that money and I put it on the table with the other.
18:08 I count it, and I say, That's still short!
18:10 That won't be enough.
18:12 That's not enough.
18:14 What am I going to do?
18:15 Then I take that sign, and I turn it around.
18:17 Now I write on it: House for Sale.
18:21 I'm going to sell the whole place.
18:22 So I sell my house, my cars, my trucks,
18:26 and everything that I have.
18:29 I cashed in my bonds, and I bring it all together.
18:33 Now I put it in one place, and I say, That's everything I have.
18:37 I have nothing else.
18:40 So I go into the realtors office, and I bring all of my
18:47 valuables, everything that I have, and I put it
18:50 up on his desk.
18:51 I say, Is that enough right there?
18:53 Is that enough?
18:55 He begins to count it out.
18:58 He counts it out, and finally we get to the bottom line.
19:04 The bottom line is, Yes!
19:05 That is exactly the price of this piece of property.
19:12 You see, I want to ask you today, What did it cost?
19:17 How much was it?
19:19 The kingdom of God is free.
19:21 But how much did it cost this man?
19:24 How much did it cost him?
19:27 The text says that he sold all that he could; all that he had.
19:32 He brought it all together and bought that property.
19:36 You see, the bottom line is it will cost us all that we
19:40 have ever been.
19:41 And Praise God, what I have been, I want to give to Him.
19:46 How about you?
19:47 I want to give Him my past.
19:50 I willingly turn that over to Him.
19:53 I say, Lord, take it!
19:54 I'll give this for heaven.
19:56 But you see, it doesn't stop there.
19:59 God accepts our past, but now He wants our present.
20:05 He wants our present.
20:07 Our day to day will has to be submitted to Him.
20:10 He says, I want your present, but I also want your tomorrow,
20:15 and the next day.
20:17 Finally, I want all of your life, for the rest of your life,
20:22 as long as you live.
20:23 You see, the price of that Kingdom is everything that I
20:30 used to be.
20:32 It's everything that I am today, and it's everything that I ever
20:37 hope to be.
20:38 Everything that I aspire to be must be surrendered to Him.
20:42 Nothing else will work.
20:47 Let's look again at chapter 13 of Matthew and verse 45.
21:08 You see, once again, brothers and sisters,
21:10 The price was the same.
21:11 The price is the same for all of us.
21:13 We all pay the same price for the Kingdom, and that price is
21:18 everything that we have.
21:21 Everything that we are, everything that we ever aspire
21:25 to be must be turned over to Him.
21:27 I like the way that Ellen White quotes.
21:29 I'm going to quote Ellen White in her book,
21:31 Christ's Object Lessons, page 116.
21:35 And there it says:
21:56 I want to ask you, brothers and sisters, How much did it cost
22:00 for that pearl of great price?
22:02 You see, it cost this man also everything that he ever was.
22:07 We want to give Him our past, Amen?
22:09 We want to give Him our past, but yet we get hesitant about
22:14 giving Him our today.
22:16 He requires our day, today, and tomorrow, and the next.
22:22 He requires service every day for the rest of our lives.
22:26 You see, all that we possess belongs to Him anyway.
22:31 Our talents; that's where we got them!
22:33 We must consecrate them to His service.
22:37 You see, there is a cost of heaven.
22:41 There's a cost.
22:42 That cost is a total, unreserved, consecrated
22:47 surrender to Jesus Christ.
22:48 In short, we are called to live a holy life.
22:53 We are called to live a holy life.
22:58 We are a peculiar people; a royal priesthood, you see.
23:03 We are to be set aside from the rest of the world
23:06 and consecrate our lives to Him, totally and completely,
23:10 living a holy life, and not clinging on to the things
23:14 of this world.
23:15 You may say, but that sounds like a great price to pay.
23:19 That's a lot: my father, my mother,
23:23 whatever stands in the way.
23:25 For our final verse let's look at Matthew 19.
23:29 In Matthew chapter 19, verse 29:
23:53 You see, Jesus says there's a time that's coming when
23:57 He brings that sword to you and to your household.
24:00 That sword is going to cause you to make a decision for Him,
24:05 or against Him.
24:07 Will I stick with my husband, or my wife, or my children?
24:10 Some have said, well, you know, I can't be a Christian.
24:13 I can't join your faith; your denomination.
24:16 Why my son or daughter would just disown me.
24:18 My parents will just have a fit!
24:21 Jesus says that that sword is going to come and divide,
24:26 and you will make a decision.
24:28 Will you be with His sheep, or will you go with the goats?
24:32 You see, it's coming decision time.
24:35 We all must count the cost of living the Christian way.
24:41 Yes, salvation is free, but it will cost you everything,
24:45 everything that you could put together.
24:48 It will cost everything in your life to follow Him,
24:54 because He will not be second to anything.
24:57 He will not be second to our bank accounts, to our jobs.
25:01 You know, some may say, but I can't give up that.
25:04 Does He know that I must eat?
25:06 I must keep my job.
25:07 Doesn't He realize that?
25:09 I must work on the Sabbath.
25:10 Doesn't He know I've got car payments, and house payments?
25:13 He said, I know about all of that stuff.
25:15 It comes down to the text of, Seek ye first the kingdom of God
25:20 and his righteousness, and all these other things, He said,
25:24 will be added unto you.
25:26 All of these others things will be added to you,
25:29 because He knows.
25:30 You put Him first, and you'll not go without food,
25:32 you'll not go without raiment, you'll not go without a
25:36 place to stay.
25:37 If we've had to give up houses, brothers or sisters,
25:43 for the kingdom, He said, they shall be restored unto us
25:47 one hundred fold.
25:48 It shall be restored a hundred fold, He says, and then in the
25:52 end eternal life.
25:53 As I always like to say, that's kind of the icing on the cake,
25:57 you see, eternal life as well!
25:59 You see, we serve a loving God, but a God that
26:04 calls for obedience, and a God that calls us to be
26:08 separated from the world.
26:10 So the cost involved today, brothers and sisters,
26:14 is, Will you put Him first?
26:16 Will you put Him number one? because He will not take second
26:21 to anyone or anything.
26:22 It will be Jesus, and Jesus, and Jesus.
26:27 That's all there is.
26:28 He calls us to that occasion today.
26:32 Put Me first, He says.
26:33 All of these other things will be added unto you.
26:37 So we have to be consecrated, surrendered totally
26:43 to Jesus Christ.
26:45 Nothing else will do, nothing else.
26:51 There's a time coming, brothers and sisters, when you will make
26:55 that decision.
26:56 If you haven't already, and some have.
26:59 Praise God He's been there for you.
27:01 It may look dark right now.
27:03 You may have stepped out in faith and said, Lord,
27:06 I'm going to follow You.
27:08 I'm going to follow Your commandments.
27:09 I'm going to keep them all.
27:10 You may have suffered some persecution, but know that in
27:14 the end you have made the right decision.
27:18 You shall be rewarded a hundred fold, Jesus said,
27:21 and eternal life in the end.
27:24 You see, God is just calling us all away from this world.
27:28 Choose you this day whom you will serve.
27:31 Will you serve God, or will you serve this world?
27:35 You know, I want to pray that each of us will drawn closer
27:39 to His side every day.
27:40 May He give us strength.
27:42 Heavenly Father, again Lord we ask You: Give us strength
27:46 today to follow Your will and Your way.
27:48 We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.