Today is the Fifth Essentials.
It always excites me to be able to do this week to week because I love teaching so, and even more the teaching of the Word of God. No other accomplishment or task lives up to this.
I want to dive right in today, so grab your copy of God’s Word and turn to Luke Chapter 9. In all of the Gospels, this might just be my favorite.
Here’s a sampling of this chapter:
- Jesus send out the Twelve, officially kicking off His ministry
- Jesus feeds the 5,000.
- Luke 9:23 – “If anyone wishes to be my disciple, he must take up his cross, die to himself daily, and follow me.”
- The Transfiguration.
It is pretty action packed. In fact, the following chapter is just as good, so go ahead, I’ll wait for you to read these two chapters before we begin.
I’m serious, I’ll wait.
We will focus on verses 61 and 62, but more specifically the final verse, the bookend to the chapter:
“Another also said: ‘I will follow You, Lord, but first permit me ti say good-bye to those at home.’ But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is not fit for the kingdom of God.”
No one, after starting the good work, who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
Think if Nehemiah started the wall, turned around, and headed back to Babylon, for good.
Think if David started to fight Goliath and turned around mid-fight.
Imagine if Jesus took up His cross and started up the hill to Golgotha, stopped, and called the angels down to save Him.
Now, think about us, when we come into a relationship with Jesus, and turn back to the old-us, to our lives controlled by sin, we are not worthy of the kingdom of God.
I hope you’ll allow me to look at the passage in this way, today, in a different light.
1 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Our relationship with Christ is as good a before and after picture as any I know. Before, Romans 8 says, we were slaves to the flesh, controlled by its desires – inclined to sin. however, after Jesus, we are predisposed to life by the Spirit, setting our minds on Him and who He is. Darkness illuminated by the Light that is Christ Himself, indwelling in us.
I am not saying in any of this that Christians do not, cannot, or will not sin. Trust me, I know, as Paul himself did, that Christians will sin. We are still men and women of flesh, and Christ’s transforming us happens not overnight; however, when we trust in and believe on Christ as Savior, He takes out our heart of stone and sets in a heart of flesh, transforming us in an instant in that respect. We desire to know Jesus in that moment.
I believe this scripture, Luke 9:62, also applies to our desires, those desires that we would do anything to achieve. if those are sinful, not inclined to God and His perfect desires for us, then we are not fit for the kingdom of God. Sinners, before Jesus, want what they want without one consideration of Jesus, and they are enemies of God (Romans 5:10). We submit to Jesus when we enter into a covenant relationship with Him, and we are enemies of God if we fail to actually put all of our belief and trust in Jesus, for that is false conversion.
Those unsure of your faith, there is hope, and what a marvelous hope that is! Christ was brutally killed (willingly, by the way), buried, and risen to BE that hope for you! What an incredible, awe-inspiring truth that is.
Jesus is calling out to you, will you give Him all of you?
Will you set your sights on Him and strive after and pursue Him, not looking back to the old you that Jesus died to destroy so you could be a new creation?
God created us to be a holy people for His own possession. When we join that group and look back, we are not worthy of the Kingdom of God. I am thankful God shows me mercy and imparts upon me grace, because I don’t deserve it, and I think that is what grace is.
Be about the tilling, farming, sowing, reaping work of God, namely obedience, and focus on Him alone, doing all things for His glory and edification.