1. Recently we have been studying Bible subjects that relate to "the salvation of our souls." 2. Today we are concentrating on another important subject -- "commitment." 3. Jesus summed up what is involved in commitment as He began to conclude His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-14). a. The Lord wants His followers to enter in at "the 'strait' [narrow; strict, as in requirements or principles] gate." b. "The strait gate" opens to a particular way -- "the narrow way." c. "The narrow way" leads to a special destination -- "life." 4. To be among "the few" who find life, we must be committed to fulfilling the requirements that the Lord has given in His Word. 5. In our lesson we are examining 6 requirements that must be met by those who desire to be Lord's true disciples.
I. (Luke 14:26) JESUS REQUIRES HIS DISCIPLES TO "HATE" CERTAIN PEOPLE
A. To properly understand this requirement we must realize that the Bible: 1. sometimes uses "hate" in the sense of despising something (Proverbs 6:16) 2. also uses "hate" in a comparative sense (Genesis 29:30-31). B. In Matthew 10:37 Jesus explained what He requires -- we are to love Him more than anyone else, including those closest to us.
II. (Luke 14:27) JESUS REQUIRES HIS DISCIPLES TO BEAR OUR CROSSES AND COME AFTER HIM
A. "Bearing one's cross" refers to any burden that a person must endure on behalf of the cause of Christ. B. Luke 9:23 is a parallel passage -- in addition to denying self, each disciple of the Lord must bear his cross "daily." C. Let us keep in mind that the Lord's yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
III. (Luke 14:33) JESUS REQUIRES HIS DISCIPLES TO "FORSAKE" [RENOUNCE] ALL THAT WE HAVE
A. The Lord requires His disciples to give up whatever interferes with serving Him. 1. (Luke 18:18-23) The rich young ruler failed to comply with this requirement. 2. (Philippians 3:7-8) Paul succeeded in doing so. B. (Luke 18:29-30) Christ will bless those who sacrifice on His behalf. C. Before we examine 3 other requirements in the Gospel of John, let us see how Jesus illustrated the need for meeting these requirements. 1. (Luke 14:28-32) He illustrated the need for counting the cost involved in being His disciples. a. (vs.28-30) He mentioned counting the cost of a building project before beginning it. b. (vs.31-32) He mentioned a king counting the cost before going into battle. 2. (Luke 14:34-35) He illustrated the need for continuing to pay the price involved in being His disciples. a. He compared those who stop meeting His requirements to salt that has lost its saltiness. b. Neither serves any good purpose.
IV. (John 8:31-32) JESUS REQUIRES HIS DISCIPLES TO "CONTINUE" [ABIDE] IN HIS WORD
A. The Lord will bless those who abide in His Word (James 1:25). B. Rejecting His Word is a serious offense (John 12:48).
V. (John 13:34-35) JESUS REQUIRES HIS DISCIPLES TO LOVE EACH OTHER
A. The Lord's love is the pattern to follow. B. He described His love in John 15:12-13.
VI. (John 15:8) JESUS REQUIRES HIS DISCIPLES TO BEAR MUCH FRUIT
A. Bearing fruit is essential (John 15:2). B. Bearing fruit is a lifelong responsibility (Psalm 92:12-14).
1. In order for our souls to be saved we must be committed to the Lord and His Word. 2. He wants us to enter in at "the strait gate," and He wants us to travel "the narrow way." 3. The passages we have studied explain what this involves. 4. Those who demonstrate true commitment will find "life." 5. There is an alternative that must be avoided. 6. It is not possible to enter in at the wide gate and travel the broad way and find life -- Jesus said they lead to destruction. 7. Where do you stand -- with "the few" or "the many?"