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Fit for the Kingdom?

Either you are or you aren't. Luke 9.57-62

Luke 9 Part 2 (6)

Pray Psalm 106.1-3.
Praise the LORD!
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?
Who can declare all His praise?
Blessed are those who keep justice,
And he who does righteousness at all times!

Sing Psalm 106.1-3.
(Trust in Jesus: Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus)
Praise the Lord!  Give thanks and praise Him! He is good, His love endures!
More His works than can be spoken; let His praise be ever sure!
Refrain v. 48
Blessèd be our God and Savior, evermore His praise proclaim!
Let all those who know Your favor praise Your holy, glorious Name!

Read Luke 9.28-62; meditate on verse 57-62.


1. What did Jesus say about following Him?

2. Who is not fit for the Kingdom?

We note in this passage that to follow Jesus is to be fit for the Kingdom of God. Three people applied to follow Him (vv. 57, 59, 61), and in each case Jesus qualified what that meant. Followers of Jesus Christ must not be dependent on earthly comforts or conditions (v. 58). They must allow nothing to take precedence over following Him (v. 60). They must be ready to announce and explain (Greek: διαγγέλλω, diangello) the Kingdom of God (v. 60). And, once they have decided to follow Jesus, they must not veer from that path or long for their former lives (v. 62).

Such followers of Jesus are “fit” – appropriate, suitable, usable – for the Kingdom. Following Jesus is a Kingdom enterprise. God calls us to His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12). Jesus taught us to pray for and seek the Kingdom above all else (Matt. 6.10, 33). Followers of Christ have been “conveyed” by God into Jesus’ Kingdom, where they live as citizens and ambassadors of that realm (Col. 1.13; 2 Cor. 5.20). And those who follow Jesus find that their lives increasingly take on the righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit which are the hallmarks of the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17, 18).

Jesus invites us to examine ourselves according to these credentials. Have you made the Kingdom turn into this new and exciting way of life? If dragged into a court and examined by a hostile prosecutor according to these criteria, would you be convicted of being a follower of Jesus? A Kingdom ambassador? A threat to the established regime of lies and deceit? Or would you be dismissed as just another feckless “Christian”?

Fit for the Kingdom?

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Poor Mrs. Lot! She was on her way to a new place and a new life. And then, Boom! Into salt she turned. Why? Well, because she looked back. Lot and his family were told, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed” (Gen. 19.17). “But his wife looked back…and she became a pillar of salt” (Gen. 19.26). What was she looking at? What would she miss about living there?

Jesus, in a later conversation with His disciples, used her as an example of how not to think and be. “Remember Lot’s wife,” He told them (Lk.17.32).

In this passage He is saying the same thing. “No one, putting his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9.62). Why would we look back? What would we be looking at? What do we think that we would miss if we wholeheartedly turned to live completely for Jesus in His Kingdom?

Jesus told His disciples, and is telling us, “Follow Me”. Absolutely nothing of a circumstantial nature takes precedence over following Jesus. Nothing. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1.12). Thus, I will follow Him, my heart set on pilgrimage with Him. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage” (Ps. 84.5). “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage” (Ps. 119.54). He knew what direction he was headed, and he would never turn back, no matter what. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8.38, 39). Nothing would dissuade him from following the Savior of his soul. Nor should we ever let anything dissuade us from following Him.

Jesus, the Word of God, from Whom we shall never turn away. “Fit for the Kingdom.”

That Word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth:
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still;
His Kingdom is forever.
(Martin Luther, 1529)

For reflection
1. How would you explain to a new believer what it means to be fit for the Kingdom of God?

2. What are some things that can compromise that “fitness”?

3. How can believers encourage one another to improve in Kingdom fitness?

They are said to look back, who become involved in the cares of the world, so as to allow themselves to be withdrawn from the right path; particularly, when they plunge themselves into those employments which disqualify them to follow Christ. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Luke 9.62

Pray Psalm 106.44-48.
Pray for yourself and the believers in your Personal Mission Field, that you would become more Kingdom-minded and devoted to following Jesus in everything.

Sing Psalm 44-48.
(Trust in Jesus: Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus)
Look upon us, Lord, with favor, see us in our sore distress!
Hear our cries, with love surround us – turn again to heal and bless!
Refrain v. 48
Blessèd be our God and Savior, evermore His praise proclaim!
Let all those who know Your favor praise Your holy, glorious Name!

Save us, Lord, from every nation; gather us from all our ways.
And we to Your Name will offer glorious thanks and endless praise!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

Have you made the Kingdom turn to follow Jesus on His terms? Are you a citizen and ambassador of the Kingdom of God? Our book, The Kingdom Turn, explains what the Kingdom is, how we may enter it, and what that will mean for our lives. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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