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(08-02-17) Discipline and Discipleship - Numbers 21.4-9, Luke 14.25-35

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Discipline and Discipleship

Numbers 21:4-9

They travelled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go round Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

6Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

8The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

·      Israel’s predicament

o  forty years of wandering, barred from their destination

o  Moses and Aaron

o  grumbling and complaining all this time

o  and yet God has not abandoned them!

·      Yet they complain… Egypt and manna!!!

·      Learning lessons

o  Blackie and the water spray

§  we see the punishment → we repent

§  still push our luck!

·      But God’s ‘punishment’ might seem harsh in our eyes

o  God’s wrath and God’s love is a big issue…

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by Don Carson, pp.79-80

·      The people repent

o  and they pray (well, Moses prays)

o  and God heals them, saves them, restores them

o  speaking profoundly to them at the same time (Egypt)

·      2 Kings 18:1-4 – even in our salvation we can rebel

·      John 3:14-15 – an act of faith: look to the cross

Luke 14:27-33 [25-35]

Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

31“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? 32If 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. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

34“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

·      ‘Cross to bear’ was not a figure of speech

o  instrument of torture, shame and death

·      ‘Family values’ make Jesus’ words difficult to hear

·      ‘Holding things lightly’

o  we can still hold them, can’t we?!

o  why hold lightly if we’re never going to give it up?

·      “In the event of an emergency…”

o  the salvation of mankind

o  Jesus ignoring his mother and brothers (Matt 12:46-50)

·      bastavzw (bearing a message or a burden)

o  not ai[rw (Luke 9:23; Mark 8:34; Matt 16:24)

o  or lambavnw (Matt 10:38)

·      Temple construction and war were live issues

o  what are our temples and wars that we are so keen to build and fight? (Tom Wright)

·      Discipline and discipleship are high callings

o  a link that isn’t just Old Testament! (vv 26, 27, 33, 35)

o  putting being a disciple of Jesus before ourselves

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