Thesis:There is something very important that hinges upon whether a person takes up Jesus' challenge: the preservation of his "pseuche".
Introduction:We have been looking into Luke 9 under the thesis that this is a "discipleship" chapter where the issue is "following Jesus". I have adopted this thesis because of the issues involved from the beginning of the chapter to the end. At the beginning, Jesus sent The Twelve forth to do what He had been doing. This was not "optional" for them. It was "do it" or you cannot be My disciple. At the end, Jesus refused to accept the "excuses" put forward for resistance under the demand of 9:60 -- go do what I have been doing. So, the issues are all about whether a person is going to become a "follower of Jesus", or not.
In that setting, Jesus' words became very insistent and demanding: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up a daily cross, and actually "follow" Me.
This morning, as we break into the month of our celebration of Jesus' "discipleship" of the Father so that we would have a redeemer, we are going to look into what is at stake.
I. Jesus' Rationale For His Explanation of What is At Stake.
A. There can be no question that the demands of discipleship are not "optional".
1. The Twelve did not have the "option" of refusing to do what they were told and continuing to be members of "The Twelve".
2. Only a theological contortionist can separate the characteristics of discipleship from a disciple: what was "non-optional" for The Twelve is "non-optional" for every "follower".
B. There can be no question that the demands of discipleship are "intimidating".
1. Who can face the three requirements and feel no "intimidation"?
2. Only those who can understand, and firmly believe, the outcome of discipleship can face the three requirements without intimidation.
3. Since Jesus' words were words of "general application" (if anyone wishes...), we have to assume that they were spoken to people who had not yet decided what they were going to conclude about Jesus, so the intimidation factor was fairly large.
C. There can be no question that there is no wiggle room in the demands of discipleship.
1. There are not two "Gospels", one for the "grab and run crowd" (who want the benefits of Jesus' discipleship but want nothing to do with "discipleship" for themselves) and one for the "receive and embrace crowd" (who see Jesus as the Gracious Redeemer and "wish" to walk with Him through all of the experiences of their existence on this planet).
2. There is only one issue: if anyone "wishes" to be His disciple (9:23a).
a. 9:57 refers to one who said, "Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest".
b. 9:59 refers to one to whom Jesus said, "Follow Me".
c. 9:61 refers to one who said, "Lord, I will follow Thee, but...".
D. Thus, we are forced to conclude that these words of Jesus were sponsored by His understanding of our intimidation.
1. Jesus taught what He taught about the saving and losing of one's "life" in the face of this understanding: we were to be given no wiggle room.
2. Jesus is not "begging" here, nor is He allowing the issue to be dismissed.
II. The Nature of Jesus' Explanation of What is At Stake.
A. This explanation is "natural" Truth.
1. One must understand that "Truth" cannot be manipulated into a set of "third options".
2. Jesus did not say that those who wish to be His disciples had to face the consequences of their decisions because He was a "man" looking for "loyal followers".
a. Jesus is the Creator of the universes (no one else can call for such a kind of following with any legitimacy).
b. As the Creator, He is the Source of all "Truth" so that everything He says is "true".
c. His summons to discipleship is "natural Truth" in this sense: He would not call for it if it were not essentially a "Truth" issue (note 9:50).
B. This explanation is not a "sub-category" of relational reality.
1. There are not two "pseuche" options in "the salvation of the pseuche".
a. One must decide whether one "wishes" to "save one's pseuche", or not.
b. There are not "three" realms of "pseuche" stuff: one either wishes to "save" the pseuche or one does not.
2. The facts of life include James 4:4.
C. This explanation is all about the "pseuche" reality.
1. This means that we must understand what the "pseuche" is so that we may understand what is involved.
a. Insight from Genesis 2:7 and the metamorphosis of the meaning.
b. Insight from our context where "discipleship" is directly tied to the condition of the "pseuche".
c. Bottom line: the "pseuche" is the "person in relationship" so that "relationship" and the experiences involved are core-central.
2. This means that we must understand what the consequences of violating the "pseuche" truth are.
a. Jesus said that one could pursue a false course in the wish to "save" his/her "pseuche", but that it would prove ultimately fruitless in terms of its "objective".
b. Jesus said that a failed accomplishment of the objective means...
1) A destruction of the "self" (thus we have to have a renunciation of that self before it is destroyed).
2) A suffering of serious "loss" [note 1 Corinthians 3:15] (thus we have to have a daily uptake of our cross).
3) An experience of Jesus' "denial" of His "glory" to the one who "denied" Him before men.
D. This explanation is all about the issues of decision-making in regard to a working relationship with Christ.
1. One's "pseuche experience" with men must be expendable or one's "pseuche experience" with God will be jettisoned.
2. One must deal with the conundrum of "seeking to save" what is "willing to be lost": the bottom line is that there are two realms of "pseuche experience" and they are mutually exclusive: one must be committed to "saving" the one by sacrificing the other.