The Cost of Discipleship
“THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP”
Part 2 of 3 part series on discipleship
Last time we said that a disciple is one who fully submits to the authority of Christ in their life. The word literally means “a learner, or a pupil”. It has the idea of being an apprentice or journeyman. It is not about merely learning the facts, but it is living and applying what you’ve learned.
If we’re going to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to yield:
I. PERSONAL PRIORITIES Luke 14:25-27
The first thing I want you to notice is to whom Jesus is speaking--great multitudes following Him. He wasn’t talking to those who wereantagonistic or uninterested. These people considered themselves to be followers of Christ, but they were merely casual followers and not true disciples. They were willing to follow Him as long as it was the “in” thing to do.
This crowd was like spiritual window-shoppers whose curiosity was aroused when they saw His miracles and heard His
teaching but as soon as Jesus was arrested most of them disappeared. They were willing to follow Jesus as long as the cost was not too high or the demands too great. They were like many today who look to Christ to solve their problems, but who lose interest when they find out it might require a change in their priorities or behavior. They are a part of what I call “fast food Christianity” – they want it quick, cheap, and “to go”.
Illustration-- The following are actual responses from comment cards turned in at Bridger Wilderness Area, Wyoming:
Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill. Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Too many rocks on the trails. These comments & complaints indicate that the people who made them do not really understand what it means to stay in a "wilderness area." They were looking for something convenient and comfortable, not a true wilderness experience.
In a similar way, many people today do not understand what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. They want to serve Him on their terms and not His.
Jesus addresses this mistaken understanding of discipleship and He explains in very vivid terms what it means to be a disciple of his – Vs. 26: The word “hate” seems like such a strong term to us, but we have to understand how it was used in the scriptures. In Romans 9:13, love and hate are used in reference to Jacob and Esau. When God said that He loved Jacob and hated Esau, He wasn’t expressing an emotion, but was expressing His will; God meant that He had chosen Jacob.
Hate is used as a word of comparison. Jesus said that our love for Him must be superior to any other love we have. He is addressing the matter of priorities in our lives.
Our loyalty and obedience to Jesus must come before our loved ones, careers, goals in life, and even our very lives. If we stop serving God because of what someone else says or does, then our focus is on the wrong person. (people who don’t want to get involved in the church because of a bad experience—what about at a restaurant...stop eating?)
V. 27 Bearing the cross--those listening to Him were more than familiar with the idea of carrying a cross. It was a horrible way to die and a terrifying thing to watch. It was the most agonizing and tortuous means of execution.
“That’s the cross I have to bear” (“My friends laugh at me when I talk about God, but I guess that’s the cross I have to bear for being a Christian”). Jesus wasn’t talking about an inconvenience…He was talking about going all the way to our death, if necessary, in order to remain obedient and true to His name! (Many can’t give Him more than 1 hr. a week, let alone their life)
II. PERSONAL PLANS (ambitions) Luke 14:28-32
In these 2 illustrations, Jesus is expressing 1 simple but pertinent point--just as it is prudent to consider the cost involved in building a tower or before going to war, so it is necessary to take into account the cost and commitment necessary to follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t want a half-hearted commitment that only exists when things are going well.
John 6:66 says, “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” In other words, some of
those who had followed Him simply dropped out. They quit.
If we aren’t willing to pay the cost and to go all the way, then we are better off not committing to serve Him in the first place.
Is there anything more tragic than a life that has had a great foundation but never did anything? There have been so many people who started out strong in the faith but somewhere along the way they got sidetracked and their spiritual lives ended up being nothing more than a half-finished tower in an empty field that the world uses as an excuse to mock and reject the faith.
I’ve got news for you…there are people watching your life. And some are just waiting to say, “I told you so!”.
III. PERSONAL POSSESSIONS Luke 14:33
“All” is a pretty inclusive word! All means all! Our most prized possessions, our free time, our money, our goals and dreams, and more.
Now, we may not literally "give up everything", but Jesus is again referring to an attitude of the heart in which these things don’t have priority over obedience to Christ in our lives. We must be willing to forsake anything that interferes with following him faithfully and completely. And I’m not just talking just about sinful things. At times even good things get in the way.
Closing: V. 34 – If the salt had lost its saltiness it was useless. It’s like gum that has no flavor. What do you do with it? (throw it on the ground so I’ll step on it in the Walmart parking lot).
Some of Christ’s followers were nominally committed, some were truly committed, and some weren’t committed at all. Which are you?
Billy Sunday was a pro Baseball player in the early 1900’s who became one of the most famous preachers the world has seen. Billy Sunday said “Stopping at third adds no more to the score than striking out.” It doesn’t matter how well you start if you fail to finish.
Discipleship is not an invitation to a Sunday School picnic but it’s an invitation to spiritual warfare over a long period of time. The good news is that God gives us everything we need to do the job. Discipleship is not based on shallow enthusiasm but on solid commitment.
No one can go back and make a brand new start but all of us can start from where we are and make a brand new ending.”
Whatever you do...don’t quit! (may have been injured, but stay in the battle)