““If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-33
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mt. 16:24-26
It didn’t take me long to realize the woman I was talking to one day was mad at me. Seething mad, in fact. Her voice wasn’t raised, she wasn’t cursing at me, wasn’t threatening me, wasn’t abusive, not nasty and mean, just plain old angry. I could tell by her countenance, by her demeanor, by the quiet, steady, coldness in her voice and tone. She was mad at me because I was telling her the truth, and she didn’t want to hear it. She was talking to me about how she believed the Lord Jesus Christ lured people, and essentially deceived them. She was trying to prove to me why false teaching and sugar-coated, watered down preaching in this day and age is perfectly fine and acceptable because after all (in her estimate) Jesus used tactics and ploys to lure people to Himself.
I was trying to tell her that Jesus preached the truth and only the truth no matter the cost, and she was trying to prove to me that it’s fine for modern day preachers to make people all sorts of false promises about prosperity and do whatever to get people in the doors of their churches and THEN tell them the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. She essentially was saying we should use any means possible to get people to come to us and then once they’re baited in like fish on a hook we have their attention and tell them the truth about Jesus. By the end of our short conversation, she had told me she was attending a church that sugar coats the truth and that she was off to enjoy some entertainment centered on a false religion and that I probably would judge her. I told her I wasn’t here to judge; I was here to share the truth.
The truth? Jesus Christ is Lord, He is the Son of God, He died on the cross to pay our sin punishment and was raised from the dead, and all who turn from a lifestyle of sin to believe in Him as LORD and SAVIOR, giving their hearts and lives to Him, dedicating themselves to follow God and His ways, are forgiven and promised a forever relationship with God. That the alternative is hell and the lake of fire in forever torment apart from God. That following Jesus Christ means a life of self-denial, a life of living and breathing to love and worship and serve and obey and glorify God forevermore. That following Jesus involves death to the self-life, that it’s no longer about us, and living by the world’s standards, but that it’s now all about Jesus no matter the cost to our wishes, ways, and wants. And that Jesus Christ NEVER used ploys, games, comedy, shows, deception, etc., to “lure” people to Himself. He was blatantly and emphatically clear that we need to FORSAKE ALL to follow Him.
You might be surprised by how many times I have seen and heard people in today’s times use tactics to try to “lure” people to Jesus. What this world needs, friend, isn’t human methods and agendas to bait people, but we need boldness, courage, and truth with the Holy Spirit empowering and leading Christ’s followers to go out into the world at large and share the Gospel and help people to find and forever follow Jesus as Lord – no matter the cost to our flesh on this earth, forsaking all for Jesus who is Lord forever and ever, Amen!