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The Parable of The King’s War Plans Made Simple

(Luke 14:31-33)

The parable was recorded in Luke 14:31-33.

31 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? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

The Christian life is a battle. We’re in a war. If you’re not having much opposition in this war, you should be careful. That’s probably because you’re floating the same way down the stream as Satan himself. I heard Andrew Wommack use that statement. He said even a dead fish can float downstream. I thought that was quite funny.

The Christian life is meant to be a swim upstream. A salmon when they’re going to give birth to their roe and the eggs develop to be little fishes, they swim upstream. Every female salmon finds the river that they were born in. They might be thousands of miles away but the GPS in their head tracks them back to the river mouth that they came out of as a baby. And they jump all the way up to the top of that stream and lay eggs. And then the mother dies.

A new salmon wouldn’t be born unless a mother did that. The babies need a place to mature out in safety where there are no predators. That is their natural way of growing and living. Just like that, the Christian life is a swim upstream. So many people in the Christian world live like the people of the world.

A survey was done in the United States by Barna Research. They found that the only discernable difference between the Christians and the non-Christians in terms of TV habits and buying habits is that Christians don’t do it during Sundays because they went to church. That’s the only difference they could find. In other words, during the week, from Monday to Saturday, Christians behave the same way as the non- Christians.

Do you know that Satan is at war with the Christian church and the body of Christ? The only enemies that Satan has are the Christians, the body of Christ. Everyone else is his. He doesn’t go to war with the others. And he doesn’t especially go into too much war with a Christian who’s not doing anything for the Kingdom. But as soon as you start to live the life of Christ, as soon as you have compassion on your neighbors and start to use your money and resources to further the kingdom of God on earth and make a difference to the injustice, the poverty and the broken hearted in this world; as soon as you step out and be different and start to swim upstream, a massive campaign gets launched against you, to stop you.

The problem is: many Christians who are in the midst of this campaign just back right off and stop everything they do; they’re just discouraged. But Jesus promises in the book of James, if we go through these tribulations, it’ll strengthen our faith. The tribulations don’t come from God. They come from Satan. But it teaches us to endure and have patience and the more tribulations we go through, the stronger our faith is and the bigger things we can do (James 1:2-4)

Okay, so, let us establish that we’ve got an enemy and let’s move in to this parable. For the sake of illustration, let’s take the example of Korea. This country has missile guidance systems that can drop nuclear devices to many American cities. The US government has not set defense mechanisms in place to stop all those missiles. Korea is able to send a hundred nuclear devices at once. But even if only one gets through, everyone within 400 to 600 kilometers of the area will be dead.

The question that bothers some of us is this: US waged war against Iraq and Afghanistan because America suspected that these countries have weapons of mass destruction. But US troops were not able to find any proof of these weapons. But why not wage war against Korea where the weapons of mass destruction exist? Instead, America sent a peace delegation to Korea. They said, “Please don’t do it again.”

If America had to take in on Korea with full forces, the American people may have suffered hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths. So they went with a peace delegation. They used a nice talk to settle the issue. They didn’t sail ships out there to attack Korea like they did to Iraq.

To get this in context, Jesus said that anyone who wants to build a tower and does not sit down first to count the cost and see whether he has enough to finish it, is foolish. Lest after you’d have laid the foundation, you are not able to finish it. All those who see it would begin to mock you. No one building a tower or a house sits down and starts to build the house without knowing he’s got enough money to complete it. Or he’s going to have a half-built house and people will think he’s stupid. ‘This man began to build and he was not able to finish?’

Jesus continued “or what king would make war against another king but does not sit down first and consider whether he’s able with ten thousand men to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand men” (Luke 14:331). America can’t win a nuclear war with Korea because even one missile getting through would be too much of a loss to the American people; so they sent in a peace delegation.

Jesus Christ further said, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (v.33).

Why does a king go to war against another? This is mainly because one wants what the other has. He wants the resources of that other king’s country. But what if you only have ten thousand men and the king coming against you has twenty thousand? Rather than go to war with that king and lose your whole country, you’ve got to make a sacrifice and a trade off. You may think of going out to that king and say, “Okay, okay, I’ll stop undercutting you on the wheat prices and I’ll stop selling my cattle cheaply in the Asian markets. Don’t fight against me. Okay? We lose. We’ll take a 30% cut in our foreign exports and we’ll suffer and our people will do it poor but please let’s not fight over this. You win.” Right?

What does Jesus mean when He said in verse 33, “If you don’t forsake all, you can’t be his disciple”? He’s saying that to follow Him is going to be a sacrifice. You will be in a real war with Satan. It might be easier to just float downstream with the rest of the people. It will be a lot harder to give of your finances, your time and your resources to do the things of God.

Now the last thing I want this to sound like is another legalistic discourse on something Jesus has said. Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient payment for us all to get into the Kingdom. But this parable was shared to make Christians aware of the cost to be a successful follower of Jesus.

Any person who wants to compete in the Olympics one day knows that he would need years and years of hard practice. Day after day, year after year he has to commit to practicing and getting fit enough to compete with the best in the world. Those who really want to become the best at their sport endure all the pain and the years of practice so that they can have a chance to race for their country. But the people in the Christian world somehow do not approach their Christian faith with the same dedication.

Warning is always a good thing. I remember a time when I was helping a friend of mine speak in prophecy. I had him ask Jesus for a message for me. He said that I was going to go through a refiner’s fire. This meant that I was going to go through some hard times that were going to make my Christian character better.

Well within a year I was having a really hard time. I was glad that I had been pre-warned that I was going through a few attacks from Satan.

If you are a Christian, Jesus is warning you with this parable. If you want to do great things for God and make a lasting difference in this world, it is going to come at a very real cost. If you are happy just to coast along, there is not going to be too much of a war for you.

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