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Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2022 12:01 am


Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 28, 2022 12:01 am

True disciples of Christ may stumble, they may lose resolve from time to time, but their face is set in one direction: to finish the course of following Him. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his sermon series in the gospel of Luke to address the high calling of discipleship.

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I'm going to follow you with all of my heart and all of my soul, and where you lead me, I will follow you tomorrow.

Do you relate to this? Following Jesus with all of my heart and soul is something I would like to do, but at the moment it is not my top priority. I think that's familiar to many of us because it so often describes our walk with Christ. We have great intentions. We set out to accomplish great things for the kingdom until other things get in the way. Today on Renewing Your Mind, we continue Dr.

R.C. 's role series through the Gospel of Luke. We'll concentrate today on what it means to truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

We're continuing our study of the Gospel according to St. Luke. This morning's text is Luke 9, verses 49 to 62. Now John answered and said, Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us. But Jesus said to him, Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side. Now it came to pass, when the time had come for him to be received up, that he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem and sent messengers before his face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans to prepare for him, but they did not receive him because his face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did. But he turned and rebuked them and said, You do not know what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village, and it has happened as they journeyed on the road that someone said to him, Lord, I will follow you wherever you go.

And Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. And Jesus said, Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house. But Jesus said to him, No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. You've just heard the Word of God in its unvarnished truth.

Please receive it as such. Let's pray. Father, some of the words that we've just heard from the lips of Jesus are hard for us to digest in their fullness. And so we ask that you would temper our hearts and help our minds in understanding these things. For we ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen. Luke tells us that immediately following the debate as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God, that John replied, as we're changing the subject, said, Master, we saw someone calling out demons in your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us. Now, what's going on here? Some say that John is just offering this comment as a diversion to reflect the words of Jesus of rebuke that he had just given to them. Others say that, no, it's an earnest concern that John had seen somebody actually casting out demons using the name of Jesus. But he wasn't one of the twelve and presumably not one of the seventy-two in the broader company of Jesus' disciples. And he was miffed at this and wanted Jesus to rebuke the fellow and stop him from carrying out this ministry that he was doing in the name of Jesus. Now, what does Jesus see here in John? He sees a spirit that is contrary to authentic discipleship to Christ. He sees a narrow exclusiveness, a parochial attitude that said if he's not part of our group in its purest form, then he has nothing whatsoever to do with us.

Does that sound familiar? Do we not commit this same offense again and again? Well, he may claim to be a Christian, but he's not really Reformed, so we can't trust him. Or he's not an Episcopalian or a Lutheran like we are, so we can't trust him. I don't know of anybody who's a greater fan of Martin Luther than I am. But one of the low points of the Reformation took place in the decade of the twenties, the sixteenth century, when the attempt was made to create a unified front between the reformers of Switzerland and the followers of Luther in Germany. And so at Marburg, this important historic colloquy was held with representatives of both sides, including Ulrich Zwingli from Switzerland, trying to hammer out a position of unity so that they could stand together for the Reformation. But they couldn't agree on some of the points of understanding of the Lord's Supper and the manner in which Christ was present.

Both sides believed that he was present, but the mode of that presence was a matter of dispute. And Luther, of course, insisted on the physical, corporeal presence of Christ in the sacrament. And like Nikita Khrushchev years ago at the United Nations when he slammed his shoe on the table, Luther pounded the table, saying, Hoke, ask, corpus, mayhem, this is my body. And the only way we can take these words of Jesus are in the fullest corporeal sense. Zwingli and the others will say, well, wait a minute, Jesus said, I am the vine, I am the door.

Can't the word is be used in a way that it represents something without this insistence on literalism? They couldn't get together. That was sad enough. But the saddest thing was when Luther turned to Zwingli and said, you are an Andarengeist, a different spirit, questioned his Christianity altogether. Shame on you, Martin Luther. You were just like John.

If you don't agree with us at every point, then you're really not of Christ. And we should learn not only from that tragedy at Marburg, but also from this encounter here in the Scriptures. But the Spirit gets worse, for the narrative continues that Jesus set His face steadfastly toward Jerusalem, but had to pass through Samaria on the way, and so He sent some of His disciples to the village of the Samaritans to prepare for Him, but they did not receive Him. Where did they receive Jesus? He was thrown out of Galilee. They wouldn't accept Him in Judea. The Samaritans rejected Him. The Gadarenes expelled Him.

Everywhere He went, He was treated as being unwelcome. But when James and John saw this rejection of the Samaritans, they said, Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them just as Elijah did? Remember, Lord, when the contest at Mount Carmel between the prophets of Baal and Elijah, and Elijah called down that fire and consumed the altar and the priests of Baal. Would you like that now, Jesus, these Samaritans that haven't been nice to us, these Samaritans who have insulted us? Let's give them a taste of the wrath of God that they so richly deserve. Have you ever wanted God to pour down fire from heaven on somebody that you knew who offended you?

Is this not our nature even as Christians to flee from God's wrath for ourselves, but push our neighbor into the direct path of it? Well, Jesus turned and again rebuked them. And He said, you don't know what manner of spirit you are. Here's our Lord almost anticipating the words of Martin Luther.

You're an on that in Geist. You're a different spirit. What's wrong with this spirit? Don't you know that the Son of Man didn't come to destroy people, but to save them? I am not come to be Jesus Christ, the destroyer, but Jesus Christ, the Savior. And James and John, the message I want you to preach is to point people to me as their Savior. There's time enough for wrath to come. But before that hour, we come to seek and to save those who are lost. Now what happened is they journeyed on the road. Someone came up to Jesus and said, Lord, I will follow you wherever you go.

Do you hear what this fellow said? Lord, Lord, my sovereign one, the one who has absolute authority over me, whatever you say for me to do, I'll do it. Wherever you tell me to go, I'll go. I'll never forget the first year of my Christian experience. Right after my conversion, I was welcomed into a small group of college men who met regularly on one night during the week for prayer and Bible reading.

And we used to sing hymns, and we sang hymns that I had never heard of before in my life, hymns from Fanny Crosby, hymns from the roaring Methodists of the past that I had never experienced in my high Presbyterian background. And one of my favorites was, where He leads me, I will follow. Where He leads me, I will follow. And I remember as a young Christian singing those words over again, and how my soul would be thrilled, but I would always have this question in the back of my mind.

Do I really mean this? Will I follow Him wherever that path takes me? I wanted so much to be sincere. I wanted so much to say, Lord, You know me that wherever You send me, I'll go.

I hope. Because I really didn't know where He would lead me and where He would call me to follow Him. And this man had that kind of enthusiasm, and he said, Lord, I'll follow You wherever You go. And Jesus didn't say to him, Oh, yes, really? Are you sure?

Don't be impetuous now. Instead, He spoke to him in figures. He said, Foxes have holes. The birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.

Go out and look in the fields. You can see the fox, the fox who raids the vineyards during the day. And when he wants rest, when he seeks refuge, he returns to that hole. He crawls down into that hole. He hides in that hole, and he sleeps in that place until he's refreshed and strengthened once more to go out on the prey. Well, look at the birds of the air. How marvelous it is to watch them coast, as it were, on the currents of the air without any labor, and other times flying into the breeze, flapping their wings, and working so hard to make progress against the wind. They get tired. And when they get tired, they just fly back to their nests.

And they land in the nests, and there they receive rest and refreshment until the morrow, and they take flight again. The Son of Man doesn't have a nest. He doesn't have a den. He doesn't have a house. He has nowhere to lay His head. If you want to follow Me, don't count on plush reservations at the next stop, because I don't have any.

Are you sure you want a life like that? What Jesus is saying to this man is that there's not a lot of glamour in following after Me. And then He said to another person, Follow Me. And that person said, Lord, of course I'll follow you. I can't wait to follow you. It's my life's ambition to follow you.

But wait a minute. First, let me go and bury my father. I can't start a ministry with you today.

I have to postpone it, but ever so briefly, because of a family emergency. And the family emergency is that my father died, and I have to go bury him before I can follow you. Now, in Jewish categories, if there ever was a legitimate excuse for avoiding service, it was to make certain that one of your loved ones, your father, receive a proper burial among the rabbis. The need to give a burial for your father, which burials took place very shortly after death, was reason to be excused from religious services and any other service requirement. This was seen as one of the highest priorities that a Jewish person could have is to make sure that their loved one received a proper burial. And surely Jesus did not despise that tradition. For Jesus to call somebody not to go home and bury their father would require a calling so high, so holy, so important, that it would make the burial of your own father pale into insignificance. And so He said, let the dead bury their own dead.

Did you come? There's something more important, and that is to preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I'll follow you, but first let me go home and bid farewell to those who were at my house. I'm going to follow you with all of my heart and all of my soul, and where you lead me, I will follow you tomorrow, but not now.

Do you relate to this? Someday I will devote myself unequivocally to following Jesus, but first I have other matters to attend to. I have other things to take care of. Following Jesus with all of my heart and soul is something I would like to do, but at the moment it is not my top priority.

Now let me just say it like it is. If you don't want to follow Jesus as a top priority in your life, He doesn't want you as a disciple. Elsewhere our Lord said, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added to you. Jonathan Edwards said this, the seeking after the kingdom of God is the chief business of the Christian life.

It's not a secondary endeavor. It's not a concluding unscientific postscript to your devotion. And I have to say it, the overwhelming majority of people who claim to be Christian follow Him with no more than half of their hearts.

It's a religious thing, an add-on, but it is not that which defines their lives. And to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to have the following of Jesus Christ, that which defines who you are as a person. And then He said finally, no one having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. Now He draws an illustration from the agrarian culture of the day. And what He's saying is that what could be more absurd than a man going out to plow his field, and as he starts to plow the rose that he will soon plant, in the middle of this process of steering the plow forward, he looks back over his shoulder to see how straight the furrows are.

You can't plow fields like that. If you're trying to plow straight ahead while your eyes are straight behind you, can you imagine where that plow is going to go? And so Jesus says, once you start, you don't turn your eyes backwards. Remember this passage had told us where the eyes of Jesus were, where His face was. His face was set like a flint, steadfastly pointing to Jerusalem. He didn't say, let's go to Jerusalem.

No, wait a minute, let's go back to the Mount of Transfiguration. Once He realized His vocation was to go to Jerusalem, He set out to go to Jerusalem, and there was no turning back. This raises the theological question of the perseverance of the saints.

Is it possible for a person to begin in grace and lose their salvation? I don't think so. There were those who joined the disciples' group of Jesus who then turned away, and John said those who went out from us were never really with us.

No. Once you sign up, you're in for the duration. You don't get a diploma from the school of Jesus until you're in heaven. Once you set your hand to the plow, if you look back like Lot's wife looked at Sodom, you're liable to turn into a pillar of salt. But those who have been born of the Spirit of God, whose lives have been changed, and are now walking with Jesus Christ, they may stumble, they may lose resolve from time to time, but their faith is set in one direction, to finish the course of following Him.

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ means to follow Him with great resolve. No regrets, no turning back. We're glad you joined us today for Renewing Your Mind. Dr. R.C. Sproul's sermon series from the Gospel of Luke is our focus each Sunday here on the program, and through nine chapters so far, we have seen the amazing life and ministry of Jesus through the pen of Luke.

We'll return to the series every week in the coming months, so I hope you'll make plans to be with us. You can also request our resource offer today. It's Dr. Sproul's commentary on Luke's Gospel. This digital resource has nearly 600 pages of helpful insight. You can request the digital download today with your donation of any amount to Ligonier Ministries.

Our offices are closed every Sunday, but you can give your gift and make your request online at I think a subscription to Table Talk magazine is also a great resource for you to have. Dr. Sproul said Table Talk magazine exists to help establish us in the Word to deepen our understanding of God and apply this knowledge to our daily living. You'll also find daily Bible studies and other helpful articles. You can learn more and subscribe at This is Lee Webb, and on behalf of all of my colleagues here at Ligonier Ministries, thank you for joining us. We hope you'll make plans to be with us again next Sunday for Renewing Your Mind. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 00:30:42 / 2023-03-05 00:38:42 / 8

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