Hard Teachings and Soft Hearts

In Luke 14:25-35 Jesus hits His hearers right on the mouth. As the great multitudes follow Him he tells them what is exactly expected from a true follower. If you don’t hate your family, you can’t be my disciple. If you don’t bear your your cross, you can’t be my disciple. If you don’t renounce all that you have, you cannot be my disciple.

Doesn’t Jesus know how to grow a church. If a pastor wants to grow a church he needs to remain politically correct. You don’t want to ruffle any feathers. Preach softly, pick on pet sins that no one in your church struggles with, and certainly don’t ask for repentance. After all, God is only about love and forgiveness.  Personal holiness doesn’t matter. Right?

Well as you can imagine after that message, all hope was lost. Not really. Luke 15:1 tells us that after that the tax collectors and sinners drew near to hear Him. That’s the opposite of what should have happened. That kind of preaching drives people away. To be honest, it probably did drive some away. The religious people probably left. As a pastor, that’s when you can have church, when all the religious people leave. Then it’s just us sinners left, and more importantly the Savior that has redeemed us.

The whole gospel should be preached, not just the parts that we think won’t offend. The truth is offensive but His sheep will hear His voice. You know what Jesus does next? All this has set the stage for one of the greatest stories of all time. The Parable of the Prodigal Son. In Luke 15, we learn that Jesus delights in the repentance of sinners. We learn about His love for us when we don’t deserve it. We learn that our God is a seeking God. He went and looked for us. When He finds us, He rejoices over us.

One more note. I kind of made fun of religious people earlier. Something you learn from ch 15 is that Jesus loves them too. He wants them to come to repentance as well.

Don’t be afraid to tell the whole story of Jesus. He asks for everything and somehow still manages to give us more.

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