Luke 9 Part 2 (7)
Pray Psalm 119.25-27.
My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
Sing Psalm 119.25-27.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
My soul clings to the dust; revive me by Your Word!
My ways I have declared to You; teach me Your statutes, Lord!
Make me to understand Your precepts and Your ways,
as on Your works I meditate with wonder and with praise!
Read Luke 9.1-62; meditate on verse 62.
1. Who is “fit” for the Kingdom of God?
2. Who is not?
Jesus has been making the case, in His teaching and by His works, that the Kingdom of God is a most desirable destination. And people were listening. Crowds followed Him everywhere. Disciples abandoned their former lives and committed themselves to Jesus and His program. Even the civil magistrate expressed a desire to meet Him.
Our text for today might have startled those who first heard it. After all, He had done nothing to discourage those who saw the Kingdom as desirable. Then, suddenly, Jesus turned three people away and announced in the hearing of all that the Kingdom wasn’t a free ride, to be taken up at one’s convenience and with all your worldly goods and pleasures in tow.
The Kingdom is work. Like plowing a field. A person must be fit to plow and work a field. Producing a crop is long, hot, hard, backbreaking, persistent work. If you give up because it’s too difficult, it proves you weren’t fit for the effort in the first place.
Americans are fitness crazy. Fitness clubs, videos, equipment, supplements, programs, and more are available anywhere you live. If Christians were as concerned about the fitness of their souls as many people are for their bodies, the state of the Church in our country would be markedly different. Kingdom fitness is, in the first instance, spiritual fitness. We must feed our soul – heart, mind, and conscience – on the Word of God daily and with the Presence of God in prayer. We will do no good work apart from these disciplines that bring fitness to our soul. If we find such disciplines tedious, or if our approach to them is merely cavalier, we’ll hanker for easier ways, thus showing that we aren’t fit for the work God has called us to do.
Kingdom fitness begins with soul fitness. And achieving and maintaining a fit soul is everyday work. Put your hand on that plow, friend, and don’t look back. You’ll bear much fruit if you do.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
To plow without keeping our focus, and our eyes trained straight ahead, can be messy and maybe even dangerous work. How can a straight furrow be plowed if one’s attention is on where we’ve been, not on where we’re going? What if a fellow farmer was up ahead and we failed to see them, and an accident occurred? Jesus wants followers who care about their work and about the people in their sphere of life.
We are not alone in our work, and we must be mindful of others as we proceed. We cannot afford to look backward, look away, or be sloppy in our Kingdom work. Too much is at stake.
God desires this focus from us: “My eyes are ever toward the LORD…” (Ps. 25.15). “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth” (Prov. 17.24).
To keep our eyes on Jesus and to gain understanding will not happen apart from hard-work worship. Daily, stretching the muscles of our mind as we seek Him in His glorious Word. And then talking it through with Him in prayer. Our eyes looking straight ahead, safely plowing the furrows of our Personal Mission Field, looking to Jesus “the author and finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12.2).
“His face was set for the journey” (Lk.9.53) and for the purpose to which He was called (Jn. 12.27). Jesus expects no less from us, therefore, we must be spiritually fit for the task to which we are called. Because “no one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9.62).
And fit is what we want to be!
1. What do you look like when you are spiritually fit? How does being spiritually fit affect your attitude toward life? Toward others?
2. What can cause you to become “out of shape” for Kingdom living?
3. What kind of “fitness” course would you advise a new believer to adopt?
… if you are not ready in this way to set out with Christ, if you either pretend to or really have such affection for your former way of life and what you have left at home, to cause you to take off even one day of his service, you are not worthy of the dignity and advantages of a Christian life, are not a competent judge of them and consequently are not fit to be a disciple of Christ. Henry Hammond (1605-1660), Paraphrase on Luke 9.9
Pray Psalm 72.9-20.
What evidence do you see that the Kingdom of God is coming on earth as it is in heaven? Spread all that evidence before the Lord, giving Him abundant thanks and praise. Ask Him to use you in furthering His Kingdom today.
Sing Psalm 119.28-32.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
My soul weighs down with woe, I need Your strength, O Lord!
Remove from me all lying ways; grant me Your holy Word!
I choose the way of truth; Your judgments I proclaim.
Your testimonies I embrace, Lord put me not to shame!
Command my course, O Lord; Your gracious truth impart.
I cling to You and know You will enlarge my seeking heart.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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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.