Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday Morning Worship And Potluck Dinners

submitted by LARRY WESTFALL


This is the first message in a series of three titled

Counting the Cost (part 1): Sunday Morning Worship and Potluck Dinners



1)  If you are not a Christian I want to help you give careful consideration to what it means to follow Christ.

2)  If you are a professing Christian, I want to disturb you or provoke you in such a way that you will ask the question, “Am I following Christ or just showing up for church?”


Scripture Text

Luke 9:57-62…As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  He said to another man, “Follow me.”  But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good‑by to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (NIV)



We give people permission to be passive about their walk with Christ if we are not honest about what it will cost them to make that choice, but if we help them make an informed decision, those persons are more likely to be passionate about their faith.


Sometimes in our eagerness to get someone to make a choice to accept Christ we emphasize all the things that God wants to do and will do for them and we neglect to share what it means on their part to make that decision.  If we follow Jesus example we will help them see the depth of what it means to say yes to God.

I dare say that none of us would sit across the table from a family member that had lost someone in one of the many wars that have been fought to protect our country that the freedom that we experience is “free.”  The same is true of the spiritual freedom that is available to us. 

  • That freedom cost Jesus his life.
  • If you say yes to Jesus it will cost you something as well.  Perhaps even your life.


Today’s Context

Luke 9:57-58…As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (NIV)


1)  Following Christ is not a life of comfort.

In Luke 9:51-56 we see that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and he was going through Samaria to get there.  It says that “the people of the village did not welcome Jesus.”  This is because there was no love loss between the two groups of people.

Samaritans were particularly hostile to Jews who were on their way to observe religious festivals in Jerusalem.  It was at least a three day journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, through Samaria, and Samaritans regularly refused overnight shelter for the pilgrims.  Because of this antipathy, Jews traveling between Galilee and Jerusalem frequently chose to remain on the east side of the Jordan River. (ref. 9:52 NIV Archaeological Study Bible Copyright © 2005 by the Zondervan Corporation)

As Jesus responded to the man that expressed a willingness to follow him, Jesus cautioned him to count the cost.  “The Son of Man (literally) had no place to lay his head” as he was turned away in Samaria.  If one is going to follow Christ he/she can expect the same.

  • Jesus was also persecuted by the religious elite.
  • Jesus was also betrayed by one of his closest companions (Judas).


2)  God will ask us to be uncomfortable

Matthew 10:38-39…and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25…Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

  • When Jesus asked the disciples to follow him he asked them to walk away from the comfortable living that they were making
  • Jesus asked the rich young ruler to go and sell everything.
  • I wonder what Jesus will ask me to do?  (This is a question that is provoked in all of us as we begin to ponder what it means to follow Jesus.  However, we mistakenly encourage people not to dwell there too long for fear it will turn them away from God.  But in doing so we push them towards a passive approach to God)


3)  Love motivates us to be uncomfortable

Love is the factor that will not allow us to be passive in our walk with Christ.  It is what pushes our experience to go beyond Sunday morning worship services and potluck dinners.  It is what drives us to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations and to have uncomfortable relationships.

If I were to ask you what the opposite of love is, you would probably answer with “hate.”  That is an accurate antonym if we define love as an emotion, but the bible does not define love as an emotion.  Love is always defined in words that reflect and require willful action.

Galatians 5:22-26…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self‑control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.   Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The opposite of biblical love is apathy.  If I choose to follow Jesus it will change my life.  Jesus intentionally chose put himself in uncomfortable situations and I will too.


Revelation 3:14-20… “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:  These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.   I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.


  • Apathy is the opposite of biblical love in that love requires action and apathy allows us to be indifferent to the voice of God. 
  • Apathy gives us permission to have a lack of concern for the things that are important to God, which is a natural response if one has not considered such things. 
  • Apathy breeds laziness if we haven’t considered the weight of what it means to live a changed life.


1)  Are you someone that shows up week after week and have become comfortable with not responding to God’s call to follow him?  Perhaps it is because you have not considered what it really means to follow Christ.

2)  Is your Christian experience defined by Sunday morning worship and potluck dinners?  If so, perhaps it is because you have not considered what it really means to follow Christ.

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