Sermon #     65                                                      Luke Sermons


     Title:                     A Fake Disciple


                        Two Misguided Preachers


     Text:            Luke 9:57-62

     Subject:       Following Christ

     Date:            Sunday Evening – November 4, 2001

     Tape #         W-67b

     Readings:     Ron Wood & Merle Hart



The title of my message tonight is A Fake Disciple and two Misguided Preachers. Our text will be Luke 9:57-62.


(Luke 9:57-62)  "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (58) And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (59) And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (60) Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. (61) And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. (62) And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."


     The first two of these men mentioned by Matthew as well (Matt. 8:19-21). The third is mentioned by Luke alone. The fact that Luke was inspired to give us these three men and our Lord’s conversations with them in this particular place, and the fact that the three are lumped together is not accidental. The Holy Spirit has given us these three, brief conversations, and he has given them to us in this particular context for specific reasons, to teach us specific lessons.

     If we would understand the lessons taught in this short paragraph, we must not fail to see the context in which it is given and keep it in mind.

·        The Lord Jesus has just finished instructing his disciples about serving him (Luke 9:43-50, 55).

·        He has set his face steadfastly to go up to Jerusalem, to die as our Substitute (Luke 9:51).

·        He has just announced his mission in this world (Luke 9:56 – “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”).

·        He was just about to send out seventy of his disciples to preach the gospel (Luke 10:1).

But just before he sends out the seventy to proclaim the gospel of his grace, Luke tells us about the Master’s conversation with these three men. His purpose in doing so is obvious…

Proposition: If we would follow Christ, if we would serve him, we must do so wholeheartedly, with singleness of mind and clarity of purpose.

I. Here is a man who volunteers to become one of Christ’s disciples (vv. 57-58).


(Luke 9:57-58)  "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (58) And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."


     Matthew gives us just a little bit more information about him than Luke. Matthew tells us that this man was a scribe (Matt. 8:19-20).


(Matthew 8:19-20)  "And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (20) And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."


     This was a religious man, a very religious man. He was a scribe, an man who spent his life in the Scriptures. But he was a lost man. Judging purely from the Lord’s reply to his bold, confident declaration, this man had somehow gotten the idea in his head that it would be to his advantage to be numbered among the Lord’s disciples. He seems to have thought to himself, “If this man is the Christ, if he is going to Jerusalem to establish his kingdom, I don’t want to be left out and miss the great opportunity of being a part of his royal court.”

A. He made a big promise.

And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way,” going up to Jerusalem, where it was commonly thought the Messiah would first appear in his glory, “a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

     At first glance, this would seem to be a very good thing. After all, this is what all believers must do. All who are Christ’s are people who follow the Lamb wherever he goes (Rev. 14:4). They willingly follow him, whether through rain or through fire, whether into prison or into death, they follow him. They are resolutely determined to do so.

     He had no idea what was involved in following Christ. He didn’t ask. He didn’t care. He was not concerned about what it meant to be a follower of Christ. He was only concerned about what he could gain by following him. Besides, he was quite confident that he was up to the task, whatever it might be.

     Frequently, we meet with men and women just like this scribe. They are very quick to declare, “I will.” They will make their declaration publicly, and confidently, just like this scribe. – “I will follow Christ, no matter what.” But like this scribe, the speak rashly, without consideration, and speak amiss. They stand up and say, “I now give my heart to the Lord.”

     How often we hear preachers urging people to give their hearts to Christ. Indeed, we must give our hearts to him; but salvation does not come by us giving our hearts to him. Salvation comes by him giving grace to us, by which we are constrained to give our hearts to him. Salvation comes by Christ giving you something, not by you giving him something.

     This poor scribe, like all men are naturally, was a will worshipper. He thought salvation could be his by the mere exercise of his will. He thought his decision to follow Jesus would make him part of the Kingdom of God. He thought his decision would open the door of heaven.

·        He made a big promise.

·        He was very confident that he could keep his promise.

·        But he was totally ignorant of the things of God.

·        Like Nicodemous, could neither see nor enter into the Kingdom of God, because he had not been born again.


B. The fact that this man was a fake disciple is obvious, because those things that are both essential to and vital parts of faith in Christ were missing.


The plain fact is no one can come to Christ until Christ first comes to him. Is this not the doctrine of our Lord? This man came to the Lord physically, but not spiritually. He came in word, but not in heart. He came outwardly, but not inwardly. I will make not attempt to say whether he was sincere or purely hypocritical. The fact is, he could not come and did not come to Christ in saving faith.


(John 6:44)  "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."


     1. He had no divine call.

     2. He was not taught of God.

     3. He had experienced no conviction.

·        Of Sin

·        Of Righteousness

·        Of Judgment


     4. There was no confession of sin, cry for mercy, plea for grace, or need of Christ.

     5. This scribe simply decided he would join the Jesus’ club, become a “promise keeper,” and get in on a good thing. – He did not need grace. He was very confident he could follow Christ anywhere, through anything. After all, he had made his decision! But his decision could not change his heart.


(Romans 9:16)  "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."


C. Look at our Lord’s answer to this scribe and learn the lesson taught in it. The path of faith in Christ is the costly, painful path of self-denial.


(Luke 9:58)  "And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

     Foxes have holes in which to bear their young, and birds have nests in which to lay and hatch their eggs; but the Lord Jesus had not even a place in which to lay his head. Though he is Lord of all, in order to save us, the Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed his very life, laid down everything.


(2 Corinthians 8:9)  "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."


(Philippians 2:5-8)  "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

     If we would follow Christ, we must first count the cost; and counting the cost, we must lay down our lives, lose our lives to him.


(Luke 14:25-33)  "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, (26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."


     Now, look at verses 59 and 60.

II. Here is a preacher with misguided loyalties.


(Luke 9:59-60)  "And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (60) Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God."


     If we only had Luke’s account, we could not be certain about the fact that this man was already one of the Lord’s disciples; but Matthew makes that fact perfectly clear.


(Matthew 8:21)  "And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father."


     This man had been called. He was one of those like Matthew, Peter, James, and John to whom the Lord Jesus had come, to whom he had said, “Follow Me.” Being called, he was a believer. He was a true disciple. He was, in fact, one of those whom the Lord Jesus was about to send out as a gospel preacher. It seems that he was willing to go, and wanted to go; but he desired a deferment for a while, because he had another, more pressing, more important responsibility. Before he could go out preaching, he must first take care of his family’s needs. He said, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

     Perhaps he was, as many think, saying, “Lord, let me first take care of my aging father until he dies. Then I will go.” – Perhaps, as our version suggests, he was saying, “Lord, my father has just died. Let me go home and bury him, and I will go.” – Either way, his request seems very honorable. After all, a man is responsible to honor his parents. Funerals are important. It is always proper to show respect for others. It is always proper to take care of personal responsibilities.

     Why, then, did the Lord Jesus respond to this man’s request the way he did? – “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

     The Lord was simply saying this: -- There are others who can and will take care of that matter. You have more important things to do. There are other people to bury your father. I have called you and sent you to preach the gospel.


A. Many good men, men who know, believe, and preach the gospel, spend far too much time and energy burying the dead instead of preaching the gospel.


There are many who try to build the church of Christ with wood, hay, and stubble, rather than simply and constantly building upon the Foundation God has laid, Jesus Christ and him crucified.

     You would be astonished to know how often I have had the dead around me tell me what I could and should be doing…

·        Family Matters

·        Political Concerns

·        Social Concerns

·        Counseling

·        Entertainment

·        Denominational Matters


Without question, there are lots of dead people who need burying; but there are plenty of dead people to bury them. Those who have been called of God to preach the gospel must never be turned aside from their calling. The only method God uses for the building of his church and kingdom is the preaching of the gospel. All that is built with wood, hay, and stubble will be burned.


B. Then, there are some who attempt to serve Christ with divided loyalties, like the man in our text, attempting to be part time preachers.

     They are willing to be preachers. They are willing to serve Christ. But they put off their service to Christ, dividing their time and energy between Christ and other matters of concern and responsibility. They fail to understand that those who are called of God to preach the gospel must give themselves entirely to the work of the gospel ministry: to prayer, to study, and to preaching.

(1 Timothy 4:12-16)  "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."


     The gospel of Christ alone is the power of God unto salvation!


     If the Lord God has called me to preach the gospel, if Christ has sent me to serve his kingdom, he will take care of my affairs. He is honor bound to do so.


(Exodus 34:23-24)  "Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. (24) For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year."


(Luke 22:35)  "And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing."


     Matthew Henry wrote, “The way of duty is the way of safety. If we serve God, he will preserve us; and those that venture for him shall never lose by him. While we are employed in God’s work, and are attending upon him, we are taken under special protection, as noblemen and members of parliament are privileged from arrests.”

·        If I feed God’s family, he’ll feed mine.

·        If I serve his house, he’ll serve mine.

·        If I protect his children, he’ll protect mine.

·        If I provide for his, he’ll provide for mine.


(2 Timothy 2:4)  "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."

     Let’s move on to verses 61-62.

III. Here is a preacher who put his hand to the plow and look back.


(Luke 9:61-62)  "And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. (62) And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."


A. This man’s conduct stands here as a warning to all to whom God has given the privilege of preaching the gospel.

Because of the context in which this is found, I am certain this man, like the one before him and those following in chapter 10 was a man sent out by the Lord Jesus to preach the gospel. The lesson taught in these two verses is to be applied in its strictest sense to all who are sent of God to this blessed work. The lesson is clear. – We cannot serve Christ with divided hearts!

·        This man appears to have had a divided heart. – He want both the ease and joy of other men and the nobility of preaching the gospel.

·        He seems to have looked upon the work of the ministry as a sacrifice rather than a privilege.

·        He seems to have been willing to expose himself to the strongest temptation possible to turn him aside from the work to which he had been called.

B. This man’s conduct stands as a warning to all who follow Christ.

Hear me, my brother. Hear me, my sister. Hear me well, young and old. -- We cannot serve Christ with divided hearts! Those who look back to the world, like Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom, betray something in themselves that wants to go back! Be warned. Christ will not share his throne with anyone, not even with our dearest relatives. He requires our hearts. He must be first.

·        Abraham had to leave his father and his father’s house, for Christ’s sake. When he tried to both follow Christ and stay with his father, God killed his father.

·        Moses had to forsake the woman who raised him as her own son, for Christ’s sake.

·        God forced him to choose between pleasing his wife or obeying him (Ex. 4:24-26).


(Exodus 4:24-26)  "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. (25) Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. (26) So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision."


(Proverbs 4:20-23)  "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. (21) Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. (22) For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. (23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."


(Proverbs 23:17-18)  "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. (18) For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off."


(Proverbs 23:23)  "Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."


(Proverbs 23:26)  "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways."