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March 8, 2020

To Follow Jesus Requires a Loyal Commitment

Luke 9:61-62 a man came to Jesus and said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Do you know what it means to put your hand on the plow and then look back? How we answer this question is vital because it can affect Our Salvation.

Christ gives a very stern warning to those people who put their hands on the plow and after doing so…looks back.  He said that if we are guilty of looking back after putting our hands on the plow, we will not be fit for the kingdom of God.

  • Putting your hands on the plow is an expression that signifies undertaking a new Direction.
  • In this case, putting our hands on the plow means that we have decided that we are going to Commit Our Life to God…And Follow Him Completely!

Jesus’ audience was very familiar with what Christ meant. For a plowman to be successful in His work, he must concentrate on the job he started. He knows that the only way is forward and not being distracted by the things left behind. If the plowman would look back, his plow line would become crooked.

If he Would Look Back…Jesus said He would become unfit for the kingdom of God?

  • We’re commanded to bear much fruit. When we keep looking back, we won’t be able to plow our field properly and because of that, we will not have plenty of harvests.  God called us out of this world and once we responded to that call, we must never try to go back to the world.

Because of the many pleasures this world could offer – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – we tend to look back and be regretful of our calling.

When God calls us, we’re expected to give our whole heart. We’re called to love God with all our hearts, soul, and mind. Looking back prevents us from doing this. Worse, we might let go of the plow and go back to our old sinful ways.

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The story of Elijah and Elisha: I Kings 19:19-21 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah…21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

Elisha’s response was incredible. He “took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and cooked their flesh, using the plowing equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate.

  • This demonstrated Elisha’s complete commitment to following Elijah. He destroyed the tools of his trade in a going-away party for his family and friends.
  • Clarke says, “Elisha must have had a considerable estate, when he kept twelve yoke of oxen to till the ground. If, therefore, he obeyed the prophetic call, he did it to considerable secular loss.”
  • Poole remarks, “Hereby he showed how willingly and joyfully he forsook all his friends, that he might serve God in that high and honorable employment.”

Think about this…In an agricultural society, it is unthinkable to kill your only source of income. But Elisha does, He is ready to forsake everything just to Answer the Call of God!

  • He made it clear to everyone that he doesn’t intend to go back to his “old life.”

How do You Respond to Elisha’s Response to Elijah and Gods Call? This is the type of commitment God expects from Us, and Every Christian! We must be ready to let go of everything if we are to obey God’s will for us.

The good news is when we put our complete trust in God, He will never forsake us nor leave us. We can have the assurance that God Will Supply All Our Needs.

KEY: If we’re still looking back at our old ways, we need to reconsider our priorities in life.

If we regret answering God’s call, we might be in danger of being counted as unfit for the kingdom of God.

To Successfully Follow Jesus…We Must be Completely CONVINCED that the Best Way to Live this Life is to Follow Gods Purpose and Do God’s Will!!

  • This world may entertain or give us pleasure, but these pleasures are only temporary.
  • God is the only Source of TRUE blessings – Blessings that Will Last Forever.

The Christian life is a journey of understanding and grasping that we really can trust our lives to God after allI’ve seen this change and these benefits in so many of my friends and family. As they entrust their lives to Jesus, and begin to turn and follow Him, they experience countless benefits…

Here are Five of the Benefits:

  1. You Feel the Weight of Sin and Shame Lifted.  There is an immediate effect of believing and receiving Christ. The sensation of the weight of sin and shame being lifted and completely removed from your heart and mind is Transforming and fills Us with Gratitude.
  2. As you put your trust in Jesus and His gospel, and ask Him to forgive you for your sins, you actually and literally feel His forgiveness.
  • You Sense the Power of Sin is Broken Sin and destructive patterns lose a great part of their luster once we believe in Jesus and receive Him into our lives.
  • Sin is still there, and Christians are not perfect, but ultimately, we don’t crave it like we used to.  As the old song goes, When we Turn Our Eyes on Jesus “The things of this world grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
  • God is With You…This is the Game Changer! God promises us in the gospel that He will not only forgive and cleanse us, but also be with us. 
  • Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Matthew 28:20 b “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  • As we worship, pray, read the Scripture, walk in Christian community, we sense that we are not alone. And never will be again. 
  • Restored Family and Relationships One of the powerful effects of the gospel is that it saves us from allowing our life to revolve around ourselves…Like Jesus, We begin to Focus on Others.
  • God shows-empowers us “in his cross” how to pick up our own cross and live like Jesus did.
  • You See God’s Activity in Your Life.  As our eyes open to the greatness of Jesus in the gospel, we begin to see and take notice of God’s grace and activity in our lives in profound ways.
  • We no longer relate and question a “God out there somewhere,” but instead He is here, He is near, and He is at work in my life in mind boggling ways.