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Inconvenient Discipleship

Inconvenient Discipleship

I’ve been posting about Jesus’ experience at a banquet with some Pharisees. The Lord is trying to explain some kingdom principles to them. But, because of their superior attitudes, most of them are not receiving this teaching. You may want to read Luke 14:15-26 before continuing.

Jesus has just talked about not throwing parties simply to get invited to better ones. Suddenly, one of the Pharisees excitedly interrupts.

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:15 NIV

He’s talking about what we know as the Second Coming of Christ. He’s anticipating a good time in the presence of God. Unfortunately, there’s only one way to get there, and these religious leaders are in the process of rejecting Him.

The Lord answers by giving them a parable. He wants to get across to them that just because you’re invited, doesn’t mean you’ll attend. You have to answer the call of the Messiah to be a part of the kingdom.

The parable is about a rich man who invited many people to a great feast. They all replied that they were coming. On the day of the banquet, he sent his servant to call them all to come.

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’”

Luke 14:18-20 NIV

Hmmm. It sounds a lot like God’s people today. Everyone is busy with their own petty concerns. No one has any time to do anything for the Lord.

We have to be very careful not to allow the distractions of life to squeeze out the things of the spirit. How long can we ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit before it starts to negatively affect our life?

In the parable, the rich man made it a point to fill up his house with everyone he could find. He made sure there was no room for the foolish friends who refused his call.

Jesus makes it clear that He has to be the priority in the lives of His disciples. At the end of this parable, the Lord turns to the crowds, and begins to make this point.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26

Most people get tripped up by this verse because they don’t understand the usage of the word hate in the Scripture. This word has no emotional attachment to it. It’s just like the word agape, used to convey the idea of love. Hate is a choice rather than an emotion.

This word hate means a choice to not participate with. There are times when being a disciple of Christ means that you choose not to participate in every family event or social invitation. Maybe it’s a baby shower or a graduation party that’s held on a Sunday morning.

Christ is saying that if you choose to participate with your family or friends over the Lord, then it shows that you’re not truly a disciple. You might be a believer who loves God. But, you have yet to choose the high road of discipleship.

A disciple is more than just a student. You can miss a few classes and still graduate with an “A”. Discipleship is totally different.

Here’s why. A student wants to learn what the teacher knows. A disciple wants to become what the teacher is. That only happens as you walk the same road as Christ.

Following the Lord can be very inconvenient at times. However, if you want the same results as Christ, you must live as He does.

Question: How would you describe your discipleship toward Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Looking for Convenience?

Looking for Convenience?

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, today’s post finds us starting chapter 5. You may want to review Luke 5:1-11 before reading this post.

Jesus has now started His public ministry. He’s traveling around Israel, teaching as He goes. This section of Scripture finds Him at the Sea of Galilee.

As the Lord begins speaking, a large crowd forms around Him to listen to the Word of God. Seeing some fishermen nearby, Jesus asks them if they could take Him out on the water a little way. This is because the lake acts like a natural sound amplifier, so the people could hear Him better.

There’s some background that you need to understand about this encounter. This is not the first time Simon (Peter) has met with Jesus.

Andrew, Simon’s brother, was a disciple of John the Baptist. After hearing the testimony of John, Andrew met with Jesus. Realizing that He was the Messiah, Andrew took his brother, Simon, to meet with the Lord. It was at that meeting that Jesus began calling Simon by the name Peter. (John 1:35-41)

Now, getting back to the present events, we find Peter and his business partners washing their nets. They had just spent the whole night fishing, with no results. Peter were tired, frustrated, and probably not in the best mood when Jesus came to him with this request.

One more thing. Here’s a spiritual nugget for you. When you read the Gospels, you have to realize that Jesus had the same ministry to the disciples that the Holy Spirit has to the church right now. We can gain a lot of insight as we read it this way.

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is instructing us to do something when we don’t feel like it. We need to learn to get over our attitudes and simply obey Him. We must think like Peter and agree with the Spirit.

I don’t know how long Jesus taught the people. The Scripture doesn’t say. However long it was, I’m sure Peter was anxious to get home to rest.

Finally, Jesus finishes His teaching to the crowds. Peter is ready to return home. But that doesn’t happen.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Luke 5:4

Jesus has another request. Isn’t that just like the Holy Spirit. There are times the Spirit wants you to do things when it seems most inconvenient.

There have been times I was tired, frustrated, or just in a bad mood. It seems like that’s the time the Lord picks for me to minister to someone to help meet their needs. I have to pick up Peter’s attitude in these instances.

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:5

“Lord, I really don’t feel like helping anyone right now. But, because You say so…I’ll do it.”

The results of obedience are amazing. In Peter’s case, they got a haul of fishes beyond anything they could have imagined.

It cut Peter to the heart. He saw that Jesus was operating in the power of Almighty God. As he reflected on all of his bad attitudes and internal complaints, he fell to his knees. He realized his need for a life-change.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

Luke 5:10b

It always strikes me that true repentance brings a confirmation of God’s love. Peter was truly changed that day. And not just him, but his whole fishing company.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John all laid down their nets that day. They left all to follow Christ and obey His words. We need to walk that same road, and we’ll see the same results.

Question: How have you obeyed the Holy Spirit’s call when it was inconvenient?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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How do You View Jesus?

JesusDo you know that how you view your relationship with Christ determines your walk? As I was reading Paul’s introduction in his letter to the Romans, it stood out to me. It made me stop and assess how I view the Lord.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:1-4

There’s so much here that caught my attention. The first thing I noticed was that Paul talked about Christ’s human nature as being descended form David. I wondered about that. As a Jew; why not a descendant of Abraham?

I started to look deeper into it and found that this was a big part of Paul’s message.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…
2 Timothy 2:8

The fact that Jesus was in King David’s family was a big part of Paul’s message. It seems to me that Paul placed this on even par with Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The two go hand in hand in the Apostle’s preaching.

This truth is the key to Paul’s attitude toward the Lord. It’s something that we need to return to in our generation. Jesus Christ is King, Lord, and Sovereign. There’s no authority higher than Him in the entire universe.

We like to refer to the Lord in a number of different ways. We call Him Savior, Redeemer, and Friend of sinners. These titles are all true of Christ and speak to us of what He’s done for us. But I refer to them as “safe” titles. They carry with them no inconvenience to us.

Notice how Paul introduces himself in relation to Christ in that first verse. He doesn’t call himself a follower of Christ. He doesn’t say he’s a believer, a minister, or even a disciple. He refers to himself as a servant of Christ Jesus.

This means that above all, Paul’s mission in life was to please his Master. It wasn’t about doing something for the Lord “when he finds the time.” His life was devoted to serving Jesus.

This is the attitude we need to return to in this generation of the church. We need to once again discover the place of servanthood to Christ. Yes, He is our Redeemer, our Savior, our best Friend, and a whole lot more. But we live to please Him.

As we live the life of a servant of Christ, this is one of the fastest ways to receive His power and authority in our lives. We must pick up this attitude – “Lord, not my will, but yours be done in my life.”

Question: What role does servanthood play in your walk with the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Inconvenient Truth about Obedience

MeditationIn my last post I talked about the connection between faith and obedience. It’s one of the toughest choices we need to make as believers.

This goes beyond what we usually think about obedience.

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Romans 1:5

Contrary to popular belief, obedience is by faith, not fear. It’s easier to obey if I trust the one I’m submitted to. This is especially true in my relationship with God.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.
1 Peter 1:14-15

According to Peter, this obedience comes as a result of calling. If that’s the case, then we need to look at the calling of God. Let’s review the verse we first read in my last post.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

It all starts by being called to go out of where we’re currently living. Then we’re called to move into a place that God expects us to inherit. The callings to go out and to move in are the two sides of God’s work in our lives. Both require our obedience.

It’s as if God is saying to us, “Let’s get you to the inheritance.” We then have to trust God enough to want the destiny that He’s prepared for us.

Bible talks a lot about obedience. Children and parents, employees and bosses, governments, church leaders, etc. This is how God gets you to the place He sees for you.

However, the biggest problem with God’s way of calling is that Abraham did not know where he was going. The verse literally says that he did not stand upon where he was going to.

Jesus understood this in His time on earth.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
Hebrews 5:8

This verse is talking about Christ but it’s the same for us. The word suffer is talking about a feeling. The truth is that we only learn obedience by what we feel. Unfortunately, it’s usually a painful experience.

If I’m hungry and someone says, “Come to dinner,” that’s not obedience for me to come and eat. Obedience is when I’m watching TV and my parents tell me to put out the trash.

We need to understand that obedience is a learning process. It teaches me that to enjoy the best life, will require some discomfort now, for a greater return later. The inheritance is the fun part. It’s the calling that’s usually inconvenient.

Question: How does faith help us to obey God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Faith, Revival

 

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