From the Desk of the Pastor
In person worship Services continue to be temporarily cancelled as we abide by the policies of the State and local authorities. The county order has been extended and we will need to monitor for updates. Please continue to listen to the health officials that are providing information.
On Friday the president stated that the church was essential and in person worship should begin on this Sunday. I appreciate the President declaring correctly that the church is essential but unfortunately his declaration was based on a political agenda. I look forward to our beginning to return to in person worship. However Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 26:41 as he knew the time was coming for his assignment at Calvary. Jesus told his disciples “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation, the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak”. Pastors and leaders must make decisions after watching and then praying, The scripture does not say watch or pray.
As we watch we see the pandemic is a serious health situation and specifically in our community the percentages of cases and deaths are greater in our community. We watch to see that those who have current health conditions are most vulnerable and those over 65 are most vulnerable. We watch and listen to the health care professionals and consider strongly their advice. After watching then we as Christians pray. We pray because in Luke 18:1, Men ought always to pray and not faint. I Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
The President doesn’t realize that the church is not a building. Yes we shouldn’t forsake the assembling of ourselves, Hebrews 10:25 but we the ecclesia (the called out ones) can still lift him up in our homes, in our cars and in our families.
We look forward to meeting again but until we will continue to watch and see what our Governor and mayor lay out for churches this week and we as a local house of worship will make our plans accordingly
Please note that on theHoly Light MBC Facebook account there is a recording of the services and we plan to record services and have facebook live services at approximately 9:00am each Sunday in May and June. Video weekly Messages are available on the church website.
The message from Shiloh in March 2020 for Pastor Armstrong’s anniversary is also on the website.
Please keep Catherine Byrdsong and family up in prayer. Her husband Deacon Martin Byrdsong was funeralized this week. They were faithful members of our church for many years. Also keep our own Deacon Alex Spears, Green & Sister Geneva and Sister Bertha Roper in your prayers.
Finally what can we do as a body of Christ during this time that we are experiencing this physical distancing from each other.
Continue Reaching Out to One Another – Calls, Emails, texting messages
Continue praying for one another
Certainly an Opportune Time to Read Scripture and Christian literature
Feel free to reach out to me: (323) 493-2066 or at email@example.com
MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU!! BE SAFE! BE WELL!
Watch This Week's Sermon
(Recorded on 05/24/2020)
Counting the Cost of Discipleship Luke 9:57-62
So far in the ministry of Jesus on earth things have gone pretty well. He has travelled and healed, worked miracles, and been able to teach and preach the message of the Kingdom of God. The Bible tells us that He was limited in where He could go because the crowd was always there, always wanting more. The crowd and His disciples followed Him wherever He went.
Jesus also knows that the tide is about to turn. From here on out being a follower is going to require an unprecedented amount of loyalty and sacrifice. Being a disciple will have an extreme amount of cost for the would-be follower. Jesus has never painted a rosy picture for His disciples but has told them the truth about their commitment to Him. He continues, in this text, to share with them what they are about to get into. He’s not trying to discourage them from following, but He does want them to know up front what the cost will be. He wants everyone on the same page as far as requirements of discipleship. He isn’t trying to make following Him sound like a walk in the park. Do you know what the cost is? Have you considered the cost? We live in a day when Christianity is often viewed as something that will make you feel better about yourself. It’s as if its some sort of therapy for your self-esteem. Many people want to go to church so they feel better about themselves. We also live in a day when the church is to open its doors to any and everybody. In today’s world we are to be seeker friendly and water down the gospel so as not to be offensive. Pastors and church leaders will come up with various schemes to try and make the church more appealing to lost people so that the lost will want to come and enjoy themselves with everyone else…is this loving? Is it loving to manipulate and sell someone something? Is it loving to sugar coat sin and the requirements of Christ so that they will be easier to swallow? Jesus didn’t. I think it’s time the church started acting like the Lord in terms of being the true church and not some social club. It’s time we start examining the Scriptures to see even what we are to be about and to do. It’s time pastors and church leaders stop trying to sell people a bill of goods simply to stroke their own egos. It’s time we start looking at Christianity not as the title to a social group but the name of followers of Christ. Jesus gives us a reality check here in this passage. Here again are His terms of discipleship. In our text today, we are going to see some misunderstandings concerning following Christ.
1. Being a Christian Requires Switching Kingdoms (9:57-58)
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 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.”
Our text begins with a man who approaches Jesus with a statement about being one of His followers…I will follow you wherever you go.
This man’s desire is admiral. This desire exceeds the trivial ideas of being a follower of Christ today. This man had some level of commitment and interest in being a disciple.
Jesus does not want anyone to come to Him and be a disciple under false pretenses. Jesus is truthful and wants everyone to understand what they’re getting into before they sign up.
So He tells this man that following Him will require significant commitment and struggle. Jesus says that the wild animals in the woods have dens and nests. He on the other hand doesn’t have a home or even a place to lay His head. Jesus’ point to this man is that if you want to follow Me, don’t think your physical life is going to improve. Don’t think comfort is awaiting you.
He wasn’t discouraging this man, but telling him the truth. Jesus was causing this man to consider the fact that following Him would require commitment and cost.
Lk 18:18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Lk 18:19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Lk 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'”
Lk 18:21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”
Lk 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack.
Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Lk 18:23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
This ruler’s stuff was more important to him. The rulers stuff and possessions had him. than Jesus having him, so he was denied permission to inherit eternal life.
Understand that following Christ as a disciple will cost you some of your material goods. Jesus probably will not ask us to sell our homes, or give all our possessions away. He will ask us to give away some. Are you willing to be a Christian under these circumstances?
2. Being a Christian Requires Switching Loyalties (9:59-62)
59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Next, we read about two individuals that were asked by Jesus to follow Him. Remember when Jesus called His original disciples? He looked and Peter, James, John and the others and said, come follow Me. The Bible tells us that immediately they dropped everything and became followers. Their loyalties were different. Their loyalties were still being conformed to Christ along the way.
Here we see two people who have conditions on following Christ. They are not going to chase hard after Jesus but are going to on their timetables and in their way…so they think.
Both would-be followers on the surface seem to have a good reason to delay their discipleship. Jesus shows them and us that He must take priority over all things…even things that are good.
Now to bury one’s father seems like a legitimate reason to delay following Jesus. scholars say, his father wasn’t dead but elderly and what his request really was about was to go home and care for his father until he died and was buried and then he would follow Jesus.
As far as the second person is concerned, it was a seemingly understandable request to desire to go home and say your goodbyes
Why did Jesus deny these requests?
I believe these were real requests. I believe the man desired to go and care for his father and the other desired to go and say goodbye.
I think we’re told why their discipleship could not be delayed…
Lk 9:51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Notice, the days were drawing near for the crucifixion. This would be after the resurrection when Jesus would go back to heaven. Jesus had a divine schedule to keep. He had to be in Jerusalem at a certain time because in God’s plan the events were decreed from before the foundation of the earth. When the Bible says, he set his face to go to Jerusalem, there was nothing even Satan and his army could not stop the him from keeping His promise to be the Savior.
The reason that Jesus denied these requests was because He had to leave and leave immediately to keep His destiny with the cross.
His call was to follow immediately, just as He had required of His original followers.
The other part of the call was to follow, not only immediately but without conditions.
The call today for us is the same. Jesus may not call us to leave family and friends behind but He very well could. Would we follow?
3. Our Cost of Discipleship
The disciple of Jesus is a person who is being continually conformed to the image of his Master (Rom. 8:29). He is the one who is constantly changing, growing, knowing. He has not yet “arrived,” but he is continually striving for the goals set by the Master (Phil. 3:13). He is a serious and responsible person in his relation to others. The disciple has a mission to the world. He knows who he is, what he is to do, and how he is to do it
We don’t know what became of the three in our text today. Once the first man heard that Jesus had no home and if he was to follow, he wouldn’t either, did he turn back or did he drop everything and follow. Did the second man let the responsibility of burial fall on those who were not followers of Christ? Did the third person realize the cost of following Jesus and like Christ, set his face to go to Jerusalem? We’re not told. Luke leaves this open-ended. Perhaps he does so because we are those in the story. Perhaps he doesn’t tell us what they did because we are to hear and obey the same call.
Is Jesus calling us to follow Him? I believe He is. We are called to be Christians, We are called to model our lives after His. Sometimes there is a huge cost, sometimes the cost isn’t as big, but there is always a cost.
The call to follow Christ is ringing out, will you follow unconditionally or is there something else you feel you need to do first?
Mt 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.