Summary: Live for Jesus and expect a life of impact.
I’d like to welcome those who are visiting. It’s been a while since we saw Liz and Jamie. Well, we saw you not too long ago, but it’s been a while since we saw Joey. So welcome you in the name of the Lord. Can’t believe all our kids are graduating and becoming working adults. It’s amazing how time flies.
So today, we’ll do a little something different. If you could just open up your Bibles and read a little bit on your own, and then maybe I’ll have somebody come up and read Luke chapter 14. So read the whole section, the whole chapter, and then I’ll have someone read just a portion of it. But let’s just spend a few minutes just reading and asking the Lord to speak to you during the reading of his word. Okay, let’s pray.
Instead of having someone come up and read, I’ll just read a section, starting in verse 20, 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 at war, 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.
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. (Luke 14:25-32, ESV)
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste how shall its saltiness be restored it is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile it is thrown away he who has ears let him hear.”
33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:33-35, ESV)
Okay let’s pray.
Father give us ears to hear give us ears to hear we want to hear directly from you Lord you who know the exact state of our heart we pray that you would speak give us ears to hear want to hear your voice and your voice alone thank you Lord meet us during this prayer time during this service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and this was not what I thought I would be preaching after Thanksgiving. We had family over, it was a wonderful time and some of you came over on Friday but last night I was I was preparing and around I was so groggy from too much turkey and I was wondering what am I gonna what am I gonna preach today because I kind of didn’t have my normal schedule this week and suddenly I read this text at around 3 this morning and and Jesus met me and so I want to share with you how he how he met me.
The first thing I was looking at was salt that has lost its taste is worthless and I don’t know you can do your research I don’t know exactly what exact point that Jesus is trying to make but I think salt in its pure form never loses its saltiness but I’ve had experience I’ve had some salt after a few years something got mixed in humidity some additive something happened that that salt degraded and it actually lost its taste.
I’m not sure exactly what Jesus is saying, but salt that is not salty is worthless. It is a pile of white powder that you might as well throw in the trash. But if you’re eating food, soup, anything, if it lacks salt, it is bland, it is almost inedible. But if it has just a sprinkling of salt, it brings out the flavor, the taste, and it’s a wonderful meal.
And that is the life of a Christian. If you meet Jesus, if you live for Jesus, you can expect to have a life of tremendous impact. Tremendous impact. That, I think, is the point that Jesus is making. If you learn from me, if you live for me, you will have tremendous impact, just a little sprinkling of you in this world. Tremendous impact. You’ll have impact in your marriage. You’ll have impact in your kids. You’ll have impact in your church. You’ll have impact in your workplace. Just a little sprinkling.
Like, there’s death everywhere, but just you showing up, it’s just life has come in. Because it’s not you, it’s not me. It’s Jesus in us. We don’t live the same way we used to. We live by faith in the one who died for us and who lives in us.
And so, you know, back when I was younger in my, when I was some, there’s some college students here, I thought I was gonna change the world after I met Jesus. And there was so much ray mixed into that zeal. And it’s taking the Lord many decades to take ray out of the mixture, because salt, if it’s mixed with something, it’s eventually gonna lose its saltiness. But if a salt is pure, it will never lose its saltiness. And just a simple question.
Just any circumstance, the fact that you’re there, does it make a difference? Does it make a difference? Are you a blessing? Do you lift the mood? Does the atmosphere change just because a little sprinkling of you showed up? It’s not you. It’s not me. It’s Jesus in us. If you live for Jesus, we can expect, we should expect a life of impact.
Of course, if we’re not deeply connecting with Jesus, then it’s like step one hasn’t occurred. We have not become the kind of person who can walk into a room and just change everything. And so that’s first. And I think churches tend to focus on the impact. Let’s just make impact. Whether we’re changed or not, whether we met Jesus or not, whether we love him or not, let’s just do this. Let’s grow and let’s do missions. And the focus is the impact.
I want to put the focus on let’s live for Jesus. Let’s meet Jesus. And of course, as a byproduct, there’s going to be tremendous impact. There are some cases in scripture where Jesus cannot do his work when there’s no faith there. But as long as there’s faith, as long as he’s not in his hometown, wherever he goes, there’s impact because Jesus is there. There’s some faith in that area.
So I don’t know about you, but I believe Hill Community or whatever form this church takes going into the future, it’s not going to stay like this. It’s not going to stay like this. If Jesus is there. If we meet Jesus, we live for Jesus, with emphasis on Jesus, if we have faith in Jesus, there’s faith in the area, then there’s going to be impact. We don’t have to try to make impact, just the salt being present, the impact is there, the taste comes out.
We don’t have to strive to be clever with marketing or do any of that, just the fact that Jesus is in us and we’re meeting him, a little sprinkling of you wherever we are, there’s impact. Could it be that there’s no faith in Culver City? Well, that’s another story. If there’s no faith in Culver City, then we try our best and then we shake the dust off our feet and we go to the next city.
I think that’s how we should do church. We should go and go where people are hungry and thirsty. And so first, are we hungry and thirsty for Jesus? Because that for us is the priority, not the impact. Let the impact come in God’s time, God’s way. But as long as we are changing and connecting and meeting Jesus, for sure we should be making impact.
If not, could it be that we have ourselves have become a salt that has lost its taste? There are two groups of people in this scripture that I’m sure you’re able to locate.
The first half of this chapter is Jesus dining at the ruler of the Pharisees and then middle, starting in verse 25, is now great crowds. So the first are religious professionals, pastors, elders, clergy, priests, experts. They know Scripture backwards and forwards. You could say these are veteran churchgoers. And maybe it includes us to some extent.
And then there’s a crowd, and these crowds are interested in Jesus. That’s why they’re there. And so the rulers of the Pharisees, the ruler of the Pharisees and the other lawyers and the religious leaders there, they’re mildly curious about Jesus. They’re not really interested in finding out, is He true? Is He the Son of God? Is He the Messiah? But the crowds, they’re a little bit different. They actually are there because they have some need. They want food. They want teaching. There’s more than a mild curiosity.
And so locate yourself. Where are we? Sometimes are we like the ruler of the Pharisees? Just from a distance, just kind of mildly curious about Jesus. But most of your life, you’re actually interested in other things. Just maybe on a Sunday, mildly curious about Jesus from a distance. You’ll ask Him some questions once in a while. You’ll pray to Him once in a while. So sometime maybe we can locate ourselves in the ruler of the Pharisees’ household.
Other times we are a little bit more desperate, a little bit more needy. And it’s the crowds. How do we become a salt that is salty again? That’s what the Lord showed me last night or this morning. How do we become salt that is salty again?
The first two parables, He’s talking to churchgoers. He’s talking about people who grew up in the church. He’s talking to people who think they know the Bible. You probably have some people in your family that just read the Bible from cover to cover. And they say, well, this year I read the Bible this many times. People like that, so diligent, so diligent when it comes to scripture. And they’re just mildly curious about Jesus.
And Jesus says, if you want to become a salt that has taste, that has impact, step one, the parable of the wedding feast. And the whole message of this parable is humility. Humility, you think you know it. And that could be any of us. We think we know life. We think we know Christian life. We’ve been to church our whole life. If you’ve lost your taste, if you’re not making impact, could it be that you think you know but you don’t actually know?
Could it be that we think we’re going the right path but somewhere along the way we veered into religiosity? Jesus is saying, if you want to become a salt that has taste, first step, just admit where you are. Humble yourself, humble yourself. That’s step one. Just admit there’s a problem here. Where’s my impact?
Where’s our impact? This place should be full. Where’s the impact? We should be asking these questions as we look in the mirror. And it’s not just numbers. Just are people around you, do they hunger for Jesus because they’re around you? Do they thirst for Jesus because they’re around you? That’s impact.
It doesn’t matter the scale. It matters is it genuine. Is there genuine impact? If you live for Jesus, there will be a life of impact. So first step, if there’s no impact, could it be that we’re just religious? Could it be that we’re off track?
First step, when you go to a wedding, when you go to a wedding, feast. sit in the VIP rows, sit in the back, humble yourself, let somebody exalt you and move you forward. That if there’s a problem, he’s speaking to the ruler of the Pharisees. You think you know. You think you’re making impact because people praise you, because people respect you. You think you’re making impact.
Jesus is saying, you’re not making the right kind of impact. It’s not right. You think you’re right. You’re not right. You’re totally wrong. You’re totally off. You’re just a powder of white stuff. It doesn’t add any flavor. You’re not changing. Everybody around you is not changing.
And so Jesus is saying, if this is you, if this is me, first step, we humble ourself before the Lord Jesus. We humble ourself before the Lord Jesus. That is his first point to the ruler of the Pharisees and his household.
His second message is a parable of the great banquet. What Jesus is doing, he’s inviting them. You gotta see the tenderness of our Lord Jesus. He’s inviting them out of their religious system to get to know him. He’s inviting them to be married to him, to love him. He’s inviting them to a different life. Not a religious life, not a religious slash worldly life, a different life. He’s inviting them.
And there are two groups of people in this who are invited. And the first group have too much. And they have all these excuses, why they’re not interested in starting over. Think of a ruler of the Pharisee. Think of what it means for that person to start over. All their education, all their degrees, all their position, all their power saying it’s rubbish. It’s nothing, I got to start over, what is this wedding banquet, I’m not interested.
People who have too much, Jesus says, just start over with me. Let’s start over, let’s get to know one another. I’m inviting you to a relationship and there’s eternity on the other side. He’s inviting them to a different paradigm and they’re saying, too much to lose, I have too much going for me, I’m not interested.
That’s one group. The other group, there’s nothing right going for them and similarly, they’re not interested.
They’re consumed by their condition, by their poverty, by their lack of friends. They’re consumed by my life is not going the way it should. That’s also consuming in a different way. Another group, both groups, not interested in starting over.
Of course, at a higher level, this is symbolic of the nation of Israel. Jesus came to them, Jesus invited them. They said, we’re not interested, you’re not the Messiah. So now, all of us here, I don’t know if there’s a single Jewish person here, we’re all Gentiles because the gospel started with them, they rejected it, now it’s moved to the rest of the world. That’s why there’s Koreans, Chinese, all different ethnicities just in this one place.
So that’s what he says, Jesus, to the ruler of the Pharisees, religious people, professional, lifetime veteran church goers. You have to humble yourself and you have to start over. And to the rest, great crowd, they are more than curious or envious. or competitive with Jesus, like the ruler of the Pharisees. They are slightly more needy. They’re not in high positions. They’re probably a little hungry. They have something that Jesus can offer to them. So they are a different kind of a person.
And you would think, if you’re the pastor and a great crowd comes, then you wanna keep this crowd coming, right? You gotta keep the crowd coming. And so when Jesus feeds thousands of people, you would think, oh, this is a great church growth strategy. I should just show up in the same spot next week and advertise, say, I’m coming back here. So let’s keep growing from 5,000, 10,000, 15,000. Let’s just keep growing and growing and growing in number because I’ll keep feeding you. I’ll keep teaching you. This is great.
What Jesus says to a crowd is, are you for real? Are you really gonna be my disciple? Do you really know what is required of you? And these are people who are interested. They’re a little more needy. They’re a little more desperate. And Jesus says, have you counted the cost?
And what Jesus says here is not very seeker-friendly. It’s not a good strategy to grow a church. He says, you need to hate your father and mother, your wife, your children, your brothers and sisters, even your own life. That is prerequisite to becoming a disciple of Christ.
26 “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. (Luke 14:26, ESV)
That means Jesus is primary. Jesus is supreme. Your love for him is so great, so all-encompassing that all other loves in your life your parents, your wife, your spouse, your children, even things you enjoy in your own life, all of that is a prerequisite to becoming a disciple of Christ.
All of that feels like hatred compared to my love for Jesus. The gap is so immense that it’s not even, you can’t even say love and like. It’s love and hatred, like polar opposite.
That’s how wide the gap is between our supreme, total, all-encompassing, passionate, intimate love for Jesus compared to all other people in your life. If we’re not careful, over time, you might start with zeal for the Lord. I started with a lot of zeal for the Lord in my teens and 20s, a lot of zeal. I said, I’m going to give everything to Jesus. I’m all in. Because I think this is what Jesus is requiring. He’s saying, are you all in?
And I was all in as a 19-year-old, 20-year-old. I was all in in my early 20s and maybe even into my 30s. I was all in. And then along the way, it’s kind of easy, in some sense, to be all in and say, Lord, all my money I give to you because I had no money. I give you my career because I had no career. It’s kind of easy to surrender things in your imagination.
But as you live your life, you get married, you have children, you have a house, you start calculating. And your heart gets divided and say, I’ve got to give some of my heart to my wife. I’ve got to give some of my heart to my kids. I have to provide. And so my work gets some of my heart. And it’s almost like. We started all in, and then along the way, we started taking the chips back, one by one.
And so, I think I’m all in, but as I get into my 40s, 50s, now it’s like, some of my chips are on my side, because I’ve given it all in, and then it’s not panning out the way I thought. And so, somebody’s gotta pay the bill, somebody has to do this, and so I’m taking some of my chips back.
And Jesus is reminding me, and maybe all of us, we humble ourselves, and say, if I’m not making impact, maybe I need to start over. And Jesus says, yes, today is a new day. Today is a new day. It’s probably the best news you will hear every day, that today is a day of salvation, today is a new day, his mercies are new. It’s the best news I can ever give you.
And so, if you feel like, okay, I’m a little off track, I’ve taken some of my chips back, I’m not as zealous as I was before, today’s a new day. Jesus says, start today. Start today, put all your chips back in, because that is a prerequisite. You gotta be all in. You humble yourself, you get to know Jesus, there’s no half here, one foot here, one foot out. There’s none of that is, are you in? Have you counted the cost? It costs your life, everything. Every other love that you have in this life is gonna feel like hatred, because you’re all in.
We have to be madly in love with Jesus, and everybody else, we mildly tolerate, almost, it feels like. It’s like, okay, I gotta love people, but Jesus is the love of my life, he’s my best friend. It’s like, everybody else, you’re gonna have to take a back seat. Jesus is my pursuit.
Jesus is saying, are you all in? Are you all in? all in. If you’re all in, the guarantee in God’s time, in God’s way, is that you will be a salt that is actually salty. And you sprinkle you wherever you go, wherever God sends you. You’re going to make a difference.
We’re not focusing on the impact, the ministry. We’re not focusing there. The impact just comes as we go through life because we’ve been so radically transformed by the love of our life, Jesus Christ. And so we humbly say, okay, if that hasn’t happened, that impact is not happening. Okay, today I start over, Lord, with you. I humble myself. I surrender it all.
And may the zeal of the Lord get rekindled with all the self and the pride not there anymore. So that when the Lord does do His thing, you’re not going to be the kind of person, I won’t be the kind of person to steal glory from the Lord and think secretly it’s because I did it. And we’ll pat each other on the back and say, look how great of a work we did for the Lord.
May all of our pride, our arrogance, our taking credit, our seeking of respect, may all of that die as we humble ourselves, we surrender our life to Jesus. We say, I’m all in. So that God does His work, His way in and through our lives. So that we are a little pinch placed wherever God sends us. And that little pinch is all that’s needed. Jesus in us comes out. We have impact.
Okay, let’s pray. Father, we understand that it’s not always time, it’s not always the right time. Lord Jesus, you even waited 30 years before doing a thing spiritually that’s recorded for our edification. You only ministered for three years, and all the disciples who followed you, they only got sent out when you sent them out on certain days and not others.
But after you resurrected, a handful of fishermen, tax collectors, former Pharisees, they turned this world upside down. So in your time, in your way, if you take hold of even one of us, we know this world will change. We know everything around us will change, not because it’s us, because it’s you. In your time, in your way, that is a salt that is functioning properly with adding salt flavor taste.
Forgive us, Lord, if we’ve veered off. Forgive us, Lord, if we’ve taken our chips back. Forgive us, Lord, if we become religious or worldly or distracted. We humble ourselves, we surrender. Today is a new day.
We confess with our mouth, I give you my life, Lord Jesus. I’m all in for you. for you, I’ll do whatever you say. I’ll do whatever you say, I’ll go wherever you send me. I’m yours, Lord Jesus, have your way in my life.
Father, we want that testimony until the day you call us home that we are salty, we’re impactful, that we love Jesus above every other person. Pray that you meet us as we close out this service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
After you have some time with the Lord, if you’d like to, if the Lord compels you and allows you, the Lord’s Supper will be here waiting for you.