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The Warring King


   PART IV: THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
 
           CHAPTER 20
 

                                   Introduction

             Whereas the Parable of The Tower Builder represents
         Christians on the DEFENSE, the Parable of  the  Warring  King
         represents  Christians  on  the  OFFENSE.    The Warring King
         immediately follows The Tower Builder.  It is found  only  in
         Luke 14:31-33.
 

           The Story
                       "Or suppose a king is about to go to
                   war  against  another  king.  Will he not
                   first sit down and consider whether he is
                   able with ten  thousand men to oppose the
                   one  coming  against  him   with   twenty
                   thousand?    If  he is not able,  he will
                   send a  delegation  while  the  other  is
                   still  a  long  way  off and will ask for
                   terms of peace.  In the same way, any  of
                   you  who  does  not give up everything he
                   has  cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14:31-
                   33, New International Version).
 
                    [Jesus then concludes his teaching on the
                   cost of being a disciple in the next  two
                   verses]:

                        "Salt  is  good, but if it loses its
                   saltiness,  how  can  it  be  made  salty
                   again? It is fit neither for the soil nor
                   for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

                        "He who has ears to  hear,  let  him
                   hear."  (Luke 14:34-35, New International
                   Version)

              Jesus tells another illustrative story about a king  who
         is  about  to go to war against another king.  After the king
         finds out the strength of the  other  king's  army,  he  must
         determine  the odds of his defeating the other king.   If the
         other king has  twice  the  number  of  soldiers  (20,000  to
         10,000),  he  must assume that he will be defeated in battle.
         So, rather than be defeated, he will send a negotiating  team
         to  the  other  king, hopefully to gain peace at some settled
         cost.  Just as the king carefully analyzed his situation,  so
         must  the  one  who  would  become  Jesus'  disciple.  Unless
         everything is surrendered to God, one  cannot  become  Jesus'
         disciple.
                                          
 

                              The Interpretation

              Jesus fully knew the terrible battles that his disciples
         would face in the future.  He knew that they  would  fall  in
         battle  if  they had not made a total commitment to God.  The
         battles  that  his  disciples  faced,  and  still do, are not
         physical battles.  Paul tells us plainly  the nature of these
         battles:
 
                        Finally, be strong in the  Lord  and
                   in  his  mighty  power.   Put on the full
                   armor of God so that you  can  take  your
                   stand  against  the devil's schemes.  For
                   our struggle is not   against  flesh  and
                   blood,  but  against  the rulers, against
                   the authorities, against  the  powers  of
                   this dark world and against the spiritual
                   forces of evil in  the  heavenly  realms.
                   (Ephesians   6:10-12,  New  International
                   Version).
 
              Clarke comments,
 
              He  that  will  be  a true disciple of Jesus Christ
              shall require no less than the mighty power of  God
              to  support  him, as both hell and earth will unite
              to destroy him. (Clarke,  COMMENTARY  ON  THE  HOLY
              BIBLE, p. 878).

                Less than total commitment to God indicates  a  lack  of  faith in God.
              We must trust God:
 
                   And without faith  it  is  impossible  to
                   please  God,  because anyone who comes to
                   him must believe that he exists and  that
                   he  rewards those who earnestly seek him.
                   (Hebrews 11:6, New International Version).
 
         Unbelief  hinders  God from working in our behalf and through
         us for others.  Unbelief also gives Satan a legal hold in our
         lives.

              Disobedience to God will hinder our prayers  from  being
         answered, and may give Satan a legal hold in our lives.

              God  requires  that we give up everything for him.  This
         means that we must be WILLING to give up everything  that  he
         asks  us  to  give  up.   He may require that we give up some
         things now that he may give back  to  us  when  we  are  more
         mature.

              Solomon  said  that "... the way of  the  unfaithful  is
         hard."  (Proverb 13:15, New International Version).

             On the other  hand,  Jesus  said  that  the  way  of  the
         faithful is not hard:

                        "Come to me,  all you who are  weary
                   and burdened, and I will give  you  rest.
                   Take  my yoke upon you and learn from me,
                   for I am gentle and humble in heart,  and
                   you  will  find rest for your souls.  For
                   my yoke is easy and   my  burden  light."
                   (Matthew   11:28-30,   New  International
                   Version).
 
                Jesus  has  promised never to leave us.  He will be with
              us in both the good and bad times:

                   Then  Jesus  came  to them and said, "All
                   authority in heaven and on earth has been
                   given   to  me.  Therefore  go  and  make
                   disciples of all nations, baptizing  them
                   in  the name of the Father and of the Son
                   and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them
                   to  obey everything I have commanded you.
                   And surely I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS,  to  the
                   very  end  of  the  age."  [Italics mine]
                   (Matthew  28:18-20,   New   International
                   Version).

             The cost of  discipleship  is  high,  but  the  cost  of
         rejecting  Christ is extremely high.  Satan is a deceiver and
         a manipulator.  He will bait his hook with the desires of the
         flesh,  material gain, the desires of the mind, etc.  He will
         use and abuse people  and when he is finished, he  will  cast
         them  aside like a child would a broken toy.  Then, they must
         spend an eternity with evil people.  Here are some scriptures
         describing Satan and his schemes:
 
                      As for you,  you were dead  in  your
                   transgressions  and  sins,  in  which you
                   used to live when you followed  the  ways
                   of  this  world  and  of the ruler of the
                   kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now
                   at  work  in  those who are  disobedient.
                   All of us also lived among them   at  one
                   time,  gratifying  the  cravings  of  our
                   sinful nature and following  its  desires
                   and  thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by
                   nature  objects  of  wrath.    (Ephesians
                   2:1-3, New International Version).

                     And the Lord's servant must not  quarrel;
                   instead,  he  must  be  kind to everyone,
                   able to teach, not resentful.  Those  who
                   oppose  him  he  must gently instruct, in
                   the  hope  that  God  will   grant   them
                   repentance leading them to a knowledge of
                   the truth, and that  they  will  come  to
                   their senses and escape from the trap  of
                   the devil, who has taken them captive  to
                   do  his  will.    (2 Timothy 2:24-26, New
                   International Version).

                    The great dragon  was  hurled  down--that
                   ancient  serpent  called  the  devil,  or
                   Satan, who leads the whole world  astray.
                   He  was  hurled  to  the  earth,  and his
                   angels with him.  (Revelation  12:9,  New
                   International Version).
 
 

                             Central Truth

               GOD REQUIRES THAT WE PLACE HIM FIRST IN OUR HEARTS.
 

                              Conclusion

 
              After we  have  made  the  decision  to  trust  God  and
         surrender all to him, we look back.  What did we give up?  We
         gave  up  (1)  the  lordship  of  Satan,  for the lordship of
         Christ; (2) we gave up false friends and gained true friends;
         (3) we gave up hatredand were given love;  ( 4)  we  gave  up
         bondage to sinful  habits,  for  freedom;  ( 5)  we  gave  up
         poverty, for true wealth; (6) we gave up guilt,  and God gave
         us peace of mind; (7) we gave up sickness, for health; (8) we
         gave  up  despair,  for  priceless  hope;  (9)   we  gave  up
         self-destruction, for self-preservation;  we  gave up eternal
         separation from God, for eternal joy with our Maker.  END.