IF A MAN COME UNTO ME, AND HATE NOT
By John C. Carpenter
 
Luke, the beloved physician, wrote, And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold 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, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:15-33). In verse 25, the Lord appears to be encouraging those around Him to hate their fathers, mothers, sister, wives, children, and brethren, as well as their own lives. What is the context of such an unusual statement, and what was Christ really trying to tell those around Him?
 
ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD
 
Before we examine our subject verses, we should review some biblical teaching on worldliness: the teaching of the apostle John, the temptation of Adam and Eve in the garden eastward in Eden, and the temptation of Jesus Christ by the devil. These three teachings will help us more easily understand the context of our subject verses.
 
The apostle John instructs us, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust [longing, strong desire] of the flesh [carnality], and the lust of the eyes [envying and jealousy for what we see], and the pride [false confidence, boasting] of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16). According to John, worldly temptation takes one [or more] of three forms: the lust of the flesh, or fleshly desires, the lust of the eyes, which is jealousy and envy of something we see resulting in our craving the thing seen, or the pride of life, which is unjustified and false confidence and boasting [swelling, pretending to be bigger that we really are, i.e., leaven], often present in an effort to compensate for feelings of inferiority. John instructs us not to love this world, nor its' ways, neither the things that are in the world. He adds that if any man [or woman] loves these worldly things and ways, the love of the Father is not in him.
 
THE LORD GOD PLANTED A GARDEN EASTWARD IN EDEN
 
Adam and Eve also encountered all three aspects of worldliness. They were tempted to worldliness by the serpent, in the garden east in Eden, as mentioned in the book of Genesis chapters 2 and 3. Scriptures tell us, And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight [the lust of the eyes], and good for food [the lust of the flesh]; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil [and the pride of life; knowledge often leads to pride, see 1 Corinthians 8:1) (Gen 2:7-9). We know what happened next: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:15-17). We also know from the scriptures that later Eve was lied to, and tempted, by the serpent, and that she gave in to this temptation (Genesis 3:1-7). However, the point in this article is that all three aspects of the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are also clearly mentioned to Adam and Eve in the garden east in Eden.
 
TO BE TEMPTED OF THE DEVIL
 
Jesus Christ also encountered, through temptation, all three aspects of worldliness: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread [temptation to the lust of the flesh]. But he [defiantly] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread [the lust of the flesh] alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God , [temptation to the pride of life] cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt [with pride] the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth [to Christ's eyes] him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things [that you see with your eyes] will I give thee [temptation to the lust of the eyes], if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him (Mat 4:1-11). We know that Jesus successfully resisted these temptations of the devil because the scriptures immediately tell us, Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him (Mat 4:11). Jesus also tells us He overcame His temptations to worldliness when He said to His disciples, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the [temptations of the] world (John 16:33). For the purposes of our subject verses, the point is, though, that Christ was tempted by Satan with the same three aspects of worldliness encountered by Adam and Eve and mentioned by John the apostle: the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of the eyes, and successfully overcame those temptations.
 
THEY ALL WITH ONE CONSENT BEGAN TO MAKE EXCUSE
 
As we know, the three aspects of worldliness are again mentioned in our subject verses. Christ attended a meal, or banquet, in which prominent Jewish church leaders were present. After confronting the Jewish lawyers and Pharisees present about the legality and necessity of healing on the sabbath (Luke 14:1-6), their pride and arrogance (Luke 14:7-11), and their favoritism of the rich and powerful (Luke 14:12-14), the Lord had more to say to them. He wanted to talk with them about an even more important issue - their salvation. After making what he thought was a rather benign comment, a man at the feast, unknowingly set the foundation for the next parable Christ gave the Pharisees. Scriptures tell us what happened: And when one of them [a man] that sat at meat with him [Christ] heard these things, he [the man] said unto him [Christ], Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he [Christ] unto him [the man], A certain man made a great supper [chief, most important meal], and bade [bid, call, invite] many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse [avoid, decline, reject]. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it [the lust of the eyes]: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove [examine, test, approve] them [the pride of life]: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife [the lust of the flesh], and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper (Luke 14:15-24). When Christ gives the parable about the certain man who made a great supper and bid many, the Lord, in verse 16, is not only referring to the temporal, physical meal, banquet, or supper which He is attending in the house of a chief Pharisee at this time, but, unbeknownst to the Jewish leaders, Christ is also making an analogy to a more significant supper, the eternal and spiritual wedding and supper to which believers in Christ are invited and will eventually attend as the bride of Christ. This marriage of Christ and His bride, the church, is referred to as the marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19:7), or the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9), while the church of believers in Christ will, once the marriage of Christ and His church has taken place, eventually be referred to as the bride, the Lamb's wife (Rev 21:9).
 
In this parable spoken to the Jewish leaders, Christ taught that there are three possible excuses that can be given for not accepting an invitation to a supper. The first individual had bought a piece of ground, and he had to go “see it” for himself and with his own eyes to determine if it met with his approval and could serve the purposes for which he intended to use it. This first individual gave the excuse that he could not attend the supper because he was lusting after something which he saw in the world [the lust of the eyes]. The second person had bought five yoke of oxen, and claimed that he needed to “prove” [examine, test, and approve of or reject] his oxen, based on what he paid for them, to determine if he had gotten a good deal, to determine if they were good enough for him. This second person excused himself because he was lusting after the quality of his oxen, due to his pride [the pride of life]. The third individual said he could not attend the supper and gave the excuse that he was married, and needed and wanted to go be with his wife [the lust of the flesh].
 
In these verses, Christ is talking about invitations to two very different suppers: the invitation He received to the physical, temporal supper at the home of one of the Jewish leaders, which He attended, and the invitation to many which He is giving to the spiritual and eternal supper known as the marriage supper of the Lamb. However, the Jewish leaders did not undertand the connection, they did not undertand the invitation to the spiritual and eternal wedding supper of the Lamb to which Christ was inviting them. Christ said,then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden [were invited, did not understand, did not respond to My invitation, and therefore] were not worthy (Mat 22:8). Because they did not understand Christ's invitation, they were not only preventing themselves from attending the supper, but were also preventing others from attending. Jesus angrily exclaimed to the Pharisees,woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [to the wedding supper and the kingdom] yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in (Mat 23:13).
 
Not everyone is invited to the supper: A certain man made a great supper, and bade many [but not all] (Luke 14:16): Christ invites who He wishes to His spiritual and eternal wedding and supper, and if we refuse to accept His invitation, He will invite others who are truly interested in attending. As we see, the master of the house became angry with those who rejected His invitation to the wedding and supper (Luke 14:21), and instructed His servant [a type of the Holy Spirit] to go out into the streets of the city, and therefore invite the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind (Luke 14:21). So, what happened next: And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden [and unworthy through lack of understanding and unbelief] shall taste of my supper (Luke 14:22-24).
 
IF ANY MAN COME AFTER ME, AND HATE NOT
 
Since some are invited and subsequently determined unworthy to enter and attend the wedding supper of the Lamb, what does it take to be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb, actually make it through the front door, and partake of the wedding supper? Speaking to the multitudes around Him, Christ gives us a very clear answer: ...If any man come to me [loves Christ and desires eternal life], and hate [love less] not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold 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, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:25-32).
 
Christ clarifies that our love for Him and our obedience to Him must be the most important thing in our lives. He must be our first priority. He must come first. He must be more important to us than our father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even our own life, or He will not allow us to be His disciple or enter the kingdom. Christ used two more stories, the building of a tower and a king going to war against another king, to make His point that before we submit to Christ we should “counteth the cost” of loving Him, following Him, and being His disciple. He tells us what that cost is in verse 32: So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33). Christ specifically warned those who love and follow Him can expect family conflict, or even complete separation from family: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. ForI am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes [hateful, hostile adversaries or enemies] shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it (Mat 10:34-39). The apostle Paul adds, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor 6:14).
 
We must be willing to forsake our families, if necessary, and all we have, including everything that is in the world: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We can give no worldy excuses. We must give up everything. The apostle James reminds us, Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? (James 4:4-5). In His own words, Christ taught the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Mat 13:45-46). When a Jewish scribe asked the Lord “which is the first commandment of all,” Christ responded thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30). Sound familiar? Referring to Himself and His own death, Christ told some of His disciples, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal (John 12:24-25); and the principle applies equally to believers in Christ.
 
WHOSOEVER HE BE OF YOU THAT FORSAKETH NOT ALL THAT HE HATH,
HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE
 
So, how do we do that? How do we forsake all we have?I have wondered what Christ meant when He told His disciples of deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him (Luke 9:23-26). In dealing with worldliness and the three aspects of worldliness, Christ's words to His disciples may give us the answer. Consider this possible interpretation: And he [Christ] said to them all, If any man will come after me [seek Christ and salvation through faith in Him], let him deny himself [of worldly things he sees; the lust of the eyes], and take up his cross daily [to crucify the flesh; the lust of the flesh], and follow me [live the way I live and walk, in humility; the pride of life]. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world [by submitting to temptations of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life], and lose [destroy, die, perish] himself, or be cast away [suffer loss]? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels (Luke 9:23-26).
 
As Christ overcame His worldly tempation, we are to struggle to overcome worldy temptations as well. I say “struggle,” because as long as we are in these physical, earthly bodies, we can struggle against satan and the wordly temptations he tempts us with, but we shall never completely overcome those temptations. Only Christ was able to be completely victorious over the worldly temptations of satan; and it is only by our faith in Christ and His “overcoming” that we become overcomers: And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser [dragon, Devil, Satan] of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him [Satan and his temptations to worldliness] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Rev 12:9-11). Although, while in the world, we are to struggle to overcome worldliness, we can completely conquer, defeat, and overcome worldliness through three things: by faith in Christ and the blood that He shed for our sins, by our testimony about gospel salvation available only through faith in Christ, and by not loving our own lives while we are alive. In the spiritual world, we are complete overcomers because of the works of Christ. In the natural world, we shall always struggle, and the struggle is great.
 
As we all know, the struggle, the cost of denying ourselves, of taking up our cross, of following and loving Christ, and of overcoming the satanic temptations of the world, is great. Christ summarized all of His parables and points to His disciples, to the Jewish leaders, to the multitudes around Him, to the world, and to us, how great the struggle is, when He said, again, So likewise,whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33). Paul wisely instructed, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”(Rom 12:1-2). Certainly the struggle is great, but so is the reward: Then Peter began to say unto him [Christ], Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first [place themselves first] shall be last [the least important in the Kingdom]; and the last first (Mar 10:29-31).  AMEN.
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"Fear thou not;
for I am with
thee: be not dismayed; for I
am thy God: I
will strengthen thee; yea, I
will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the
right hand of my righteousness"
(Isa 41:10)




 
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