by David Sisler
The man's name appeared on a customer list of a store selling adult books and magazines. Using that information, federal agents began sending advertisements to the man, offering to sell him child pornography.
After almost two years of constant solicitation by government officials, the man ordered the material. When he went to the post office to pick up the magazine, postal authorities promptly arrested him for purchasing child pornography.
When the case reached the Supreme Court, the man’s attorneys successfully argued that their client was enticed and entrapped into making the purchase. He would not otherwise have ordered the magazine, they contended. The justices agreed and overturned the conviction.
Right thinking, sensible governments around the world have – very, very properly – outlawed the production, selling, and viewing of child pornography. But for our government to deliberately set out to seduce a person to commit wrong was an action denounced by the Supreme Court.
Do you ever wonder, does God use the same tactics? Many people think that’s the way it is with following Jesus. In an emotional moment you come to Him and claim His name. Afterwards you decide, “I’ve bought a pig in poke. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was entrapped.” Is that what the Bible teaches?
Jesus said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? If he lays the foundation, and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’”
Can you imagine undertaking a major construction project and not estimating the cost before you start? Not the cost to start the project, but the cost to finish it. After the architect was finished with the plans, you would want to do a materials cost-out, check with all the sub-contractors, and establish a line of credit sufficient to handle even unforseen circumstances.
Jesus said following Him was like that.
Responding to a man who said, “Lord, I’ll follow you,” Jesus replied, “The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but I the Son of Man, have no place to lay my head. Understanding that, do you still want to follow Me?”
He invited another man to follow Him, but the man said, “First let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said, “You let the dead bury the dead. Put me first, or don’t follow Me.”
Does that sound like deception? Does that sound like someone who wants to entrap you for discipleship? Does that sound like a con job?
Jesus makes it very plain that following Him will be the most difficult thing you will ever do. He will give you spiritual power, resources you never dreamed of, but when you become a believer in Him, all of the world, including all of hell, turns against you. There is a risk in following Him.
God also spells it out that if anyone of us goes to hell and does not go to heaven, it will not be because He did not spell out the risk, but because we refused to believe Him.
Jesus does not want people to be conned into following Him. He does not want people taught that if they turn their lives over to Jesus, all of their troubles are over in one magic moment. He very carefully outlines the procedure. If you volunteer to follow Jesus – and He only takes volunteers – there will be a cross for you to carry. And a cross always means a crucifixion.
Jesus puts it on the level. He spells it out in advance. He does not want anyone entrapped. He wants you to know it will be difficult, but He’ll be with you every step of the way. Now that you understand, do you want to volunteer?
Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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