Christians love Chris Gayle for he talks about God, both in the field and at home. Unfortunately, however, he leads a questionable lifestyle that doesn’t fit the Bible-believing Christians. Then there’s Tatenda Taibu, the Zimbabwe wicketkeeper-batsman, who gave up Cricket, to work for the church. Taibu played 28 Tests and 150 ODIs for Zimbabwe and has quit aged only 29, usually a cricketer’s prime.
I do not intend to applause Taibu and condemn Gayle. My point is, lip service doesn’t make us true disciples of Christ. It’s the lifestyle that does. In Luke 14:33 Jesus said, “So, therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
What do we have in life that we must renounce lest we can’t become true disciples of Christ? In Matthew 4:1-11 we see that Jesus renounced three things common to every man.
1. Jesus renounced indulgence
A. The devil began with a reference to Jesus’ divinity and used Jesus’ need for food as a launching pad for the attack.
B. The fact that Jesus was hungry is a symbol of man’s natural needs. Turning stones into bread is a symbol of the sinful means man use to meet his needs.
C. Jesus’ reaction shows that believers cannot be true disciples unless they renounce self-indulgence.
Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. (Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine.)
2. Jesus renounced his rights
A. The devil mounted his second attack with another reference to Jesus’ identity and this time he used Jesus’ rights as the launching pad.
B. The devil has a point here. Jesus deserves to be rescued by the angels because he is the son of the almighty God.
C. Jesus’ reaction shows that believers cannot be true disciples unless they renounce their rights.
Lorraine Allard was pregnant when she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Although she was entitled to a termination of pregnancy she refused and delayed treatments because the strong nature of medicine prescribed for cancer will affect the unborn baby. Long story short she gave birth to a baby boy and died two months later. Like Lorraine, a true disciple of Christ will renounce his personal rights for the betterment of others.
3. Jesus renounced treasures
A. Finally, the devil enticed Jesus with the offer of dominion over all the kingdoms of the world, which Jesus rejected again.
B. The problem with money is the rich get distracted by greed to become wealthier while the poor often get distracted by their struggle for survival.
C. Rich or poor Jesus’ reaction shows that believers cannot be true disciples unless they renounce earthly riches that distract them from God.
Ariadna Gutierrez, best known as 2015 Miss Colombia, after her crown was taken and given to “Miss. Philippines” was approached by the co-founder of Vivid Entertainment. He offered her an enticing 1 million dollar contract and invited her to perform in his adult movies. Hirsh isn’t Satan. But Hirsh is a prime example of Satan that uses means of enticement to lure people into his snare of sin.
Call for action
Every time we read God’s Word, hear or preach it we need to remember it calls for action. This passage has three calls for action.
A. Renounce self-indulgence:
“Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice–alive, holy, and pleasing to God–which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
B. Renounce personal rights:
“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)
C. Renounce earthly Treasures:
“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19); But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
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