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The Great Discipleship Puzzle

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Understanding our place as followers of Christ in the Great Discipleship Puzzle.

Text: Luke 9:57-62
Date: 04/23/2023, the Combined service.
Series: "Luke: Thy Kingdom Come" Part 102

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After being rejected by a Samaritan village Jesus and His entourage hit the road-- His face resolutely turned towards Jerusalem. "Discipleship" is His central focus as He addresses three men who profess their intent to be disciples but have mitigating circumstances that impede them. We will carefully analyze the validity of their excuses and the sometimes harsh way Jesus exposes the real reasons they hesitate to follow Him. Using several well-known analogies from Jesus' other discussions of radical discipleship, we will recognize that discipleship is like a great puzzle with many pieces, scattered throughout Scripture. In this message we will begin to identify and arrange those pieces, to grasp how central radical discipleship is to the establishment and growth of the Kingdom of God, and ultimately to understand our place as followers of Christ in the Great Discipleship Puzzle.

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I. Introduction
A. Pieces of the Puzzle.
1. The narrow gate, Matt. 7:13-14.
2. Bearing our own crosses. Luke 9:23,27.
3. The Vine, the branches, and the Vinedresser, John 15:1-2.
II. Exposition of the text, Luke 9:57-62.
A. Context
1. Lessons in discipleship.
2. Preparing for lessons in radical discipleship.
B. How NOT to be a disciple.
1. Setting the scene, vs. 57a.
a. Another arbitrary time and place.
b. Harmonizing with Matthew's Gospel, Matt. 8:18.
c. An anonymous speaker.
2. The "over-zealous" disciple wanna-be, vs. 57b-58.
a. The enthusiastic proclamation, vs. 57b.
b. Christ's response, vs. 58.
i. The graphic analogy of "comfort".
1) Foxes have holes.
2) Birds have nests.
3) Emphasis on "comfort".
ii. The spiritual meaning.
1) The Son of Man.
2) A profound paradox.
iii. Hurdles to discipleship.
1) The shallow soil.
2) A common problem.
a) Misdirected zeal.
b) The corrupted version.
3. The "under-zealous" disciple wanna-be, vs. 59-60.
a. The refused invitation, vs. 59.
i. The invitation, Matt. 8:21, Luke 5:27, 9:23.
ii. The lame excuse.
1) A valid excuse in another context.
2) A lame excuse in this context.
3) What the man is really saying.
iii. Choked by the thorns.
b. Jesus' harsh answer, vs. 60a.
i. Determining the context.
ii. "Scandalous hyperbole".
c. The Kingdom commission, vs. 60b.
i. The scope of the commission, Matt. 29:19.
ii. The focus of the commission, Matt. 6:33.
4. The danger of looking back, vs. 61-62.
a. The entanglements of relationships, 61.
i. The impossible juxtaposition.
1) Essential knowledge for a disciple.
2) A major problem then and now.
ii. The entanglements of the world.
1) The example of Elisha, 1Kings 19:20-21.
2) Discerning the difference, Luke 9:23.
b. No looking back, vs. 62.
i. A Greek proverb.
ii. How it relates to the man, Luke 14:26-27.
III. Application
A. Revisiting the three discipleship analogies.
B. Applying the analogies.
1. The two ditches.
2. The third ditch.
3. The object of the exercise.
C. The worst possible solution.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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