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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Cost of Discipleship Chapter 17 Part 1

Matt 6:19-24 Sermon on the Mount con’t

I want to stress here the reading of KJV “if therefore thine eye be SINGLE, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (emphasis mine)

The opening paragraph rocks! 

NOTHING is to get in the way of serving God.

 It’s not, Jesus + anything.

It’s Jesus. 


“Only by following Christ alone can he preserve a single eye.”  

The law, religion, church, family, job, world, government, works, etc, NOTHING should get in our way of following Christ. 

“The life of discipleship can only be maintained so long as NOTHING is ALLOWED to come between Christ and ourselves.” (emphasis mine).

NOTHING- not even good things. Good things can get in the way of following Christ. 

Missions, giving, teaching, providing for family, taking care of loved ones- ALL GOOD THINGS. But they must not be ALLOWED to rise above God.


ALLOWED implies it’s our choice.

Often, without realizing it, we move our priorities and Christ drops a peg or two. 

We don’t mean for it to happen. 

We even deny it has happened, but our hearts reveal the truth… and out of the abundance of the heart our mouths speak (Matt 12:34, Luke 6:45).

When our eye is not fixed solely on Christ, we begin to show signs of it.

Our feet stumble and our hands don’t operate as they should. 

“…the heart of the disciple must be set upon Christ alone. If the eye sees an object which is not there, the whole body is deceived. If the heart is devoted to the mirage of the world, to the creature instead of the Creator, the disciple is lost.” 

As a church going Christian, I know how venomously we deny loving the world over serving Christ. 

But that’s not true. We all fall prey to this temptation. If we didn’t, Jesus wouldn’t have preached on it. Remember last week, our Spirit is willing but our flesh is weak (Matt 26:41).

“The light of the body is the eye, and the light of the Christian is his heart…But the heart is dark when it clings to earthy goods, for then, however urgently Jesus may call us, his call fails to find access to our hearts.” 


This passage in Matthew says we can’t serve God and anything else. 

It’s all God or none of God. 

If our hearts are weighed down with the cares of the world- even good things like serving others- we have taken God off His throne and we serve an idol. 

Those aren’t my words, they’re Gods. 

Yes, we are to enjoy the things God gives us, but the Bible makes it very clear we are given possessions to use, not to collect and not to take the place of God.

“Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry.” 

The size of our treasure or what it consists of matters not. What matters is if it is placed above God. 

So how do we know if something is taking the place of God in our lives/hearts?

“…everything which hinders us from loving God Above all things and acts as a BARRIER between ourselves and our obedience to Jesus is our treasure, and the place where our heart is.” (emphasis mine)

We can’t serve two masters. 

The Bible says it’s “either—or”.

God and the world do not mix.

The tricky part is enjoying all God gives, yet remaining detached from it. 

For our possessions, even our good deeds, slowly move in and take root where God is supposed to reign. Satan’s sneaky. He doesn’t come out and tell you something is getting in your way of serving Christ. It’s a slow process. 

“…because the world and its goods make a bid for our hearts, and only when they have won them do they become what they really are.” 

In the end you love one master and hate the other.

None of us want to say we hate Jesus. But the Bible clearly says if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15). It also says can either love the world or God…either—or.

So if God’s not first, He’s last.

If God’s not your love, you hate Him.

If we try to combine “love for him with love for the world, we are turning our love for him into hatred.”


Bonhoeffer asks probing questions, they are my questions for you today (worded slightly different):

1.        What are you really devoted to?
2.       Is your heart set on earthy goods?
3.       Do you try to combine devotion to possessions with loyalty with Christ?
4.       How can a disciple have dealings with earthly goods and yet preserve a singleness of heart?
5.       Are you devoted exclusively to Him?

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