First, an apology for last week. I didn’t realize until many of you were scratching your heads, that the free podcast I had you listen to was different than the purchased sermon I listened to. Same passage, same preacher, but different sermons. You listened to “Camels and Money” and I listened to “Camels, Needles, and Money.” I’m so sorry and will be careful about that in the future.
This week is a passage that is truly important to understand. It’s titled: “How To Hate Your Parents.” (An attention getter!) It could also shockingly be titled, “How To Hate Your Country.”
With the 4th of July ahead, it is true, we have so much to be thankful for in our country. Patriotism is good, but “Christian Nationalism” is a disordered affection. Our love for God must be supreme, or we will not be good citizens. It isn’t that we should actually hate our parents or our government, but that in comparison to our passion for God, our love for His good gifts should almost seem like “hate.” It is only then, when our affections are ordered right, when God is truly first and where we put our trust, that we will love everything else well.
Jesus turned to the great crowds and said:
This is a smart group, so I know you know Jesus isn’t actually asking us to hate our parents. I laughed when Keller said, “Some of you think you don’t need to hear this sermon, for you already hate your parents.”
Keller refers to the story of Jacob and Leah, and how in comparison to his great love for Rachel, his love for Leah almost looked like hate, though I am convinced from many things, that he truly came to love Leah as well.
Indeed, also, there is so much to love about our country. Many of you, as am I, are celebrating the Supreme Court decision that our constitution never did give the right to abort babies.
We do have a great country, and one of the ways you can determine the value of a country is how many want to get in and how many want to get out.
Yet still, in comparison for our love for God our love for our country should almost look like hate. There are too many “Christian Nationalists” who go beyond patriotism to putting their faith, not in God, but in our country and its leaders, and are devastated when their man is not elected, or feel that the solution to sin is going to come through our fallen leaders.
The only hope for our countries, our families, and our lives is to put our trust in God, and to surrender to Him. In many countries flying the Christian flag about the American flag would result in martyrdom. But for now at least, we are still allowed to put God first and live.
Here’s the link to the podcast:
- God did you see God in your life this week?
Monday: Discipleship is Not Optional
From beginning to about 7:30 on the sermon.
2. Read Luke 14:25-27 and answer: To whom is Jesus speaking and what does He tell them? Comments?
3. Listen through Keller’s first point in the sermon (Discipleship is not optional.)
A. What did Keller mean when he said there are not two kinds of disciples, that there are no double standards?
B. How does this impact you and why?
C. What else, if anything, stood out to you from this section of the sermon?
Tuesday: Discipleship is Unpredictable
From about 7:30 to 12
Keller quoted Lewis, that Aslan is not a tame lion. When we follow Jesus whole-heartedly, without our own agenda, we don’t know where it will lead. Linda Strom told me that when you try to use God for your own agenda, you miss the great God adventure.
4. Listen to Keller through this point and answer:
A. What has happened in your life when you have tried to fit God into your agenda instead of following His?
B. Practically speaking, what would a day look like when you were simply following His agenda?
C. What else stood out to you from this section and why?
Wednesday: Discipleship is Emotional
From about 12 to 24
This week I’ve been listening to Ann VosKamp’s Way Maker. She tells how as a newlywed she couldn’t relax during intimacy and it troubled her husband, who asked her what he was doing wrong. She said “It isn’t you, it’s me. I don’t feel good about myself and it makes me tense.” Her counselor told her to pray for self-forgetfulness, so that she could love her husband well and find joy.
I think there is a parallel here.
5. Listen to Keller through this point and answer:
A. How does the Rachel and Leah illustration help you, if it does?
B. Think of your greatest earthly love. How does your love for God compare?
C. What might help you, do you think, to love God well — even passionately? And how has your love for God helped you to love others?
D. What did Augustine have to say about this? Comment?
E. What else stood out to you from this section and why?
Thursday: Discipleship is to Die with Christ
One of the ways I realize I must die to myself is to die to denial. I faced that in a small way a few weeks ago when, to my shock, as I’ve had 4 shots to avoid Covid, that I tested positive for Omicron. I almost didn’t want to take the test because I had so much coming up that would have to be re-arranged. I kept telling myself It’s just a cold. But I knew in my heart that could be my deceptive heart, denying that I might have Covid so that I didn’t have to be so inconvenienced. I did do what was right, but came very close to not doing it. And indeed, there have been many times I haven’t died to self, and denial is my way out, persuading myself that “this time” it’s okay to do what I want to do..
From about 24 to 29:30
6. Read Luke 14:27. What does it say? What does this mean to you practically?
7. Listen to Keller through this point and share what stands out to you and why.
Friday: Discipleship is Unconditional and Gradual
From 29:30 to the end
8. Listen to the end and answer:
A. Keller said to drop your conditions. Why is this important?
B. What point did he make about patience and why? How might you apply this?
9. What is your take-a-way and why?