Will You Hate Your Family?
Jesus turns to the great crowd that is following him and makes a shocking statement.
Transcript: Welcome to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Light of Christ Anglican churches located in Georgetown, Texas at MLK and University Avenue. We are a modern expression of the ancient faith. You can learn more about us at lightofchristgeorgetown.org.
Our sermon soundbite today comes from Luke chapter 14 beginning at verse 25. Jesus turns to a great crowd that's following him and makes a startling statement. How should our love for family compare to our love for Jesus Christ?
Starting at verse 25. “Now great crowds accompanied him and he turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you desiring to build a tower does not first sit down and count the cost whether he has enough to complete it. Otherwise when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish all who see it begin to mock him saying, this man began to build and was not able to finish or what King going out to encounter another King in war will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with 10,000 to meet him who comes against him with 20,000 and if not while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
So therefore any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. This word for renounce means to say goodbye. To say goodbye. It has a continuous sense. He's saying the life of following me is one of continuously saying goodbye to those other loves that are trying to take God from the number one place. It's a life of saying no. Goodbye. I have Jesus as my first love. I love how it's put in The Message, “Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people and kiss it goodbye. You can't be my disciple.” That's the cross.
But this way, as difficult as it is, is the path to life. When we renounce trying to find our peace, our joy, and our happiness and all of these created things and instead find it in Christ, who has given himself for us, that's actually when we begin to enjoy the created things that God has made because they're in their proper place now. That's the paradox of it, that this hatred for our family, this renouncing of them as the number one love in our life, actually allows us to truly love them because we're not making them idols anymore. We're not destroying them with our idolatry. We're not throwing them under the bus for our own lusts, but we're loving them because God has loved them.
I think about this during Lent. Isn't it amazing how good chocolate tastes in Lent, right? If you're eating chocolate all the time and you're just fulfilling your lust for chocolate, it loses its taste, doesn't it? You lose the enjoyment of the good creative thing that is chocolate because you've made an idol out of it. So all it does is make you fat. When we put God first, when we say no to chocolate, it's amazing how good chocolate tastes.
That's what it is like with life. When we renounce these other things, God gives us the gift of enjoyment again. This death, this cross paradoxically is the path to life.
So in conclusion, we all are in a great crowd and we're following Jesus and Jesus turns to us and he's asking you, where does your loyalty lie? Where is your heart? Is it with me or is it with your ex? Is it with someone or something else? Will you take up your cross to follow me? Will you say goodbye to those things that are competing with me as your first love? Or will you choose the easy way? Consider the cost I have set before you life and death. Choose life.
Why? Why choose life? Why do this? Because you are following Christ, the one who “said goodbye” and renounced all because of his love for you.
Thank you for listening to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Let us end our time together with a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. You can find this prayer, Proper 26, on page 622.
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, as we live among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those things that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.