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Paying The Price

(120)

Sermon shared by Charles Mallory

September 2001
Summary: Jesus wants us to seriously consider the high cost of following Him as a Disciple.
Denomination: Free Methodist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
IT IS ONE OF THE SUPREME HANDICAPS OF THE CHURCH THAT IN IT THERE ARE SO MANY DISTANT FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST AND SO FEW REAL DISCIPLES. ALL OF THIS SIMPLY DUE TO THE COST INVOLVED WITH DISCIPLESHIP.

NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE FOR FOLLOWING JESUS. INSTEAD, TOO MANY JUST CONTINUE TAGGING ALONG ON THE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP ROLLS AS STAGNANT, UNCOMMITTED, DEAD WEIGHT.

CHRISTIANITY WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE JUST A "GO-TO-CHURCH" RITUAL. ANYONE CAN COME INTO A SANCTUARY AND SIT THROUGH AN HOUR-LONG WORSHIP SERVICE. IT IS WHO ONE IS AND WHAT ONE BECOMES BEYOND THE SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE.

CHRISTIANITY WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A ONE-SIDED RELIGIOUS CEREMONY. CHRISTIANITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT DEVELOPING A PERSONAL, INTIMATE, RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THE FATHER THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.

A RELATIONSHIP THAT IS NOT BUILT ON DOING BUT BY BEING.
JESUS CALLS US INTO A RELATIONSHIP NOT "JUST" A DECISION. JESUS NEVER SAID HE WANTED DECISION-MAKERS TO FOLLOW AFTER HIM.

JESUS WANTED DISCIPLES WHO WOULD PAY THE PRICE OF ENTERING INTO A LIFE-LONG RELATIONSHIP OF LEARNING ABOUT AND RELATING TO BOTH HIM AND THE FATHER.

THIS RELATIONSHIP HE SPOKE OF WOULD DEMAND EFFORT AND A LOT OF COMMITMENT. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE IS NO JOKING AROUND BECAUSE ONE WOULD HAVE TO PAY A PRICE IF THEY WANTED TO FOLLOW AFTER JESUS.

THIS WAS THE POINT JESUS WAS TRYING TO GET ACROSS TO THE LARGE CROWD THAT HAD BEEN FOLLOWING HIM ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM. PEOPLE CROWDED AROUND JESUS QUITE OFTEN IN HOPES THAT ONE OF THEM WOULD BE SINGLED OUT AND ASKED TO BE A DISCIPLE.

SOME WERE FOLLOWING AROUND AFTER JESUS JUST TO BE SEEN WITH HIM SO THEY COULD GO BACK HOME AND RIGHTFULLY CLAIM OWNERSHIP OF THE TITLE "DISCIPLE" ON THE GROUNDS OF ASSOCIATION.

JESUS PROBABLY OVERHEARD MANY OF THE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT "WHY" THEY WERE FOLLOWING AFTER HIM. IíM SURE THAT ALL THE REASONS FOR WANTING TO BE AROUND JESUS WERE NOT FOR THE RIGHT ONES. IT WAS PROBABLY SO CHAOTIC THAT IT STARTED TURNING INTO A CIRCUS ACT AND JESUS FINALLY HAD ENOUGH OF IT.

JESUS BRINGS HIS JOURNEY TO AN IMMEDIATE HALT. JESUS STOPS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AND TURNS ON THE PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY OBVIOUSLY DIDNíT UNDERSTAND HIS DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP.

JESUS SAID THAT IF THEY REALLY WANTED TO FOLLOW HIM AND BE A DISCIPLE THEY MUST HATE THEIR FAMILY AND HATE LIFE ITSELF WHILE, AT THE SAME TIME, CARRYING THEIR CROSS. IíM SURE THE CROWD BEGAN TO THIN OUT QUITE A BIT AFTER HE SAID THAT.

IíM ALSO SURE THAT MANY TURNED AROUND AND WALKED AWAY DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE, TO THEM, THE FUN WAS OVER. IT WASNíT A GAME AFTER ALL, BUT A STUNNING REALITY THAT JESUS WAS SERIOUS ABOUT WHAT HE SAID.

YOU JUST CANíT TAG ALONG AND FOLLOW HIM AROUND. YOU MUST FOLLOW AFTER HIM AND "FOLLOWING AFTER" CAME WITH TWO CONDITIONS.

FIRST, YOU MUST HATE YOUR OWN FAMILY, AND EVEN YOUR OWN LIFE IN ORDER TO BE ONE OF HIS DISCIPLES. SECONDLY, YOU MUST CARRY YOUR OWN CROSS WHILE FOLLOWING AFTER JESUS.

THE DEMANDS THAT JESUS MAKES UPON THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW HIM ARE EXTREME AND EXPENSIVE. WE HAVE TO SNAP BACK INTO REALITY AND REMEMBER THAT CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A SUNDAY MORNING, MAKE-ME-FEEL-GOOD, RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION.

IT IS A HUNGERING AND THIRSTING AFTER GOD TO THE POINT OF DEATH IF NEED BE. IT SHAKES OUR FOUNDATIONS, TOPPLES OUR PRIORITIES, PITS US AGAINST FRIEND AND FAMILY, AND MAKES US STRANGERS IN THIS
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