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Psalm 71:1-6 1
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. 5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. 6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.

Backgroundfortressmountain

What we have here is a psalm intended for those who are growing old, the declining years as David might have thought. David penned this psalm in his old age, an opinion gathered by the interpretation of several passages in it. Some think this might have been around the time of Absalom’s rebellion, a particular period of trouble of in David’s latter days. It also might have been written around the time of Sheba’s insurrection, or some trouble that happened to David in that part of his life of which it was foretold that the sword should not depart from his house. David, in spite of his personal troubles at the time, intended it for the general use of God’s people in their own afflictions, especially those as they grow old.

Biblical Truths and Theology

David prays that he might never be made ashamed of his dependence upon God. This is an example that every believer should follow, come boldly to the throne of grace found only in our God. David reminds us that our humility before God must begin our birth because God has been there from our birth. Our Hope for our youth should also be built upon God. David reminds us not to expect ease or comfort from the world because those who love the Lord are often hated and persecuted. This psalm assures us that faithful servants of God will not cast off in old age, or forsaken them when their strength fails. We are to trust that God is always there, our fortress, a place for rest and protection.

Items for Discussion

  • How do the qualifications, the past history of success, influence people’s choices when they are looking for help?
  • How do we learn to make good selections, good choices?
  • How does prayer influence one’s choices and opportunities for success?
  • As we grow older, does our ability to make better choices, pick help, get better?
    • Why in some does it get better?
    • Why in some does it seem to never improve?

Luke 14:25-33
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If 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. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

Background

The success of a disciple does not come easily. These passages in Luke are unique although there is some similarity in the passages of Matthew 10:37-38. It is significant that this passage is addressed to large crowds. Jesus has offered himself to all, but he also has been honest from the very beginning of his preaching as to what is involved with becoming a disciple of His. So what does Jesus want from His disciples? He wants their heart.

Jesus sets very high standards for a disciple. Hate your mother and father, your wife and children, your brothers and sisters and even your own life. Jesus must be first. To follow Him means no one, nothing can get in the way of that personal relationship with Christ. To be a disciple is to be a student where Jesus is the teacher. Loyalty counts, a disciple must always choose Christ first.

Biblical Truths and Theology 2

Verses 25-27 As Jesus travelled, crowds came to him. He taught them what it means to be his disciples.

The Bible teaches us to love each other. We must not even hate our enemies. In fact, we must love them (Luke 6:27). Here ‘hate’ means to love less. Our love for Jesus must be first and greater than our love for each other (Matthew 10:37). Our love for Jesus must be so strong that, in contrast, our love for our family is like hate.

Verses 28-33 To be a disciple of Jesus is not easy. The disciple has to give up everything to follow Jesus. This is a heavy price to pay. A person ought to think about this before he becomes a disciple. Jesus told two stories to teach this.

  1. A man who wants to build a tall building must think first. He needs to be sure that he has the money to complete the building. If not, he may start to build but he may not be able to complete it. Then people will laugh at him. He was foolish because he did not have enough money to finish the job.
  2. A king decides that he wants to fight against another king. He knows that the other king has more soldiers. So, he thinks hard about whether his 10 000 men can defeat the 20 000 men of his enemy. If his army can defeat the enemy, then let them fight. But if not, then he must arrange a peace agreement with the other king.

In the first story, the builder has a choice to build or not to build. A person must think whether he can afford to be a disciple. In the second story, the king must do something. Either he must fight or he must make a peace agreement. A person must decide whether He can choose whether he will be a disciple or not and whether we can afford to refuse the demands of Jesus.

Items for Discussion

  • Why does effective discipleship have to be so hard, have to have such high standards?
  • Is Christ’s model of discipleship a better way to teach life’s lessons? Yes, No, Why, Why Not?
  • Can you be a good Christian and not be a Disciple? Why or Why Not?
  • Can you find examples in the Christian Church where people use the lessons Christ taught in His two stories?
  • So how do we balance our love for our family with our love for Christ?
  • Or another way to ask the question, Is It Worth It? Why is it Worth It?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the church’s responsibility in building Disciples? How is this done?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/luke9-19-im-lbw.htm
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