Due to the large amount of sermons and topics that appear on this site I feel it is necessary to post this disclaimer on all sermons posted. my sermon ideas and illustrations are often taken from many sources including those at Sermoncentral.com, there could be instances where other minister’s wording is used, or wording similar. I am not trying to steal anything from anyone else, just trying to help others proclaim the gospel. my sermons are not copyrighted and may be used or preached freely. May God richly bless you as you read these words. It is my sincere desire that all who read them may be enriched. All scriptures quoted in these sermons are copied and quoted from the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Sermon: the cost of following Jesus
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
this passage tells about THREE MEN who Jesus met as He travelled with His disciples. Two of these men declared that they wished to follow Jesus; to become His disciples. The other was one who Jesus Called to follow Him.
The first thing I notice is the way that Jesus handles these three men.
MOST people with a cause are busy trying to recruit as MANY people as they can.
Most preachers are busy trying to get as many members for their church as they possibly can (and most have good intentions).
I like seeing new members myself!
It’s natural. It’s what we expect to see.
But Jesus has a totally different approach.
He seems to spend a great deal of His time trying to Discourage people from following after Him - or at least that’s what it looks like.
A minister shared online some advice that he was given by an older preacher that he greatly respected.
The old man said to him, “Son, always endeavour to keep your church as SMALL as you can!”
That’s strange talk isn’t it?! And that was coming from a man who himself had pastored a large congregation.
what he meant was, preach the truth of God’s salvation, and the demands of following Jesus, SO CLEARLY that ONLY those who have counted the cost and are ready to give up Everything for Christ will join themselves to you.
it’s my desire to see as many people as possible come to Christ - I pray to see them come in the hundreds and even thousands -
BUT I DON‘T JUST WANT TO GET A CROWD . . . that doesn’t interest me at all!
I want to see men and women, young people, boys and girls turning to Christ with whole hearts; becoming TRUE sold out disciples of the Jesus
it’s interesting to read of Jesus’ way of dealing with those who expressed a desire to follow Him; He seems to be trying to DISCOURAGE them. BUT NOT REALLY.
In truth Jesus’ desire is that people WILL follow Him - but He wants them to think it through first . . . to count the cost involved . . . so that once they DO follow Him they’ll never turn back.
Even as He spells out what is required in such clear, shocking terms, inside He is longing for them to accept him- He’s rooting for them - but the cost is the cost . . . it’s non-negotiable . . Jesus wants them to be prepared for it.
I want to preach about these three men who Jesus confronted with His demands, and consider with me “THE COST OF FOLLOWING JESUS”.
We read about the first man in VERSES 57-58.
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head
And from Jesus’ conversation with him we learn that:
1. THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS HAS NO EARTHLY SECURITY.
It’s a bold statement this one makes,
“I will follow you WHEREVER you go!”
Could you say that without any idea of where Jesus is headed or of what may be involved in the journey?!
Perhaps you would need some more information first, and then if you’re still willing to follow then all is well and good.
Jesus replies that to follow Him “WHEREVER He’s going” will not be an easy road.
He’s not one of these “high-flying” Rabbis who jets from village to village,
staying in the best hotels,
collecting nice offerings from the crowds that come to hear them.
His ministry is a true “FAITH” ministry!
When Jesus came down from His throne in glory to come to the earth and live and die for us, He left behind all that He had.
He exchanged wealth for poverty - he traded streets of gold for a barn and a manger
He exchanged leadership for servanthood.
He says, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head”.
What an irony . . . the King of all kings doesn’t even have a place to call “home”.
He has no earthly security.
He was loaned accommodation by those who loved Him.
He borrowed a coin to tell a story.
He borrowed a donkey to ride into Jerusalem and fulfill prophecy.
He was even buried in a borrowed tomb! (Which was ok He didn’t need it for too long!)
HE had NOTHING.
He gave up everything when He came down to die for us
those who follow Him must be prepared for the same road.
NO EARTHLY SECURITY.
I didn't say “NO SECURITY”.
there is security in following Jesus but it’s NOT an earthly security.
It’s not the security of possessions, or money, or homes, or any of those kind of things.
Its the security of God’s faithfulness,
Of a life beyond this one that NOTHING can take away!
If as a Christian we had nothing to our name in this life, we would still be more secure than the richest, most powerful of men.
But the follower of Jesus has NO EARTHLY SECURITY.
If you’re going to follow Jesus - and walk His road - it may cost you everything!
So COUNT THE COST! But remember the words of Jesus in another passage when He said: “WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE SHALL FIND IT!”
Then we read of a second man in VERSES 59-60.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
from Jesus’ conversation with this one we learn that:
2. THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS HAS NO EARTHLY TIES.
Here we have a conversation that has shocked many people; it shocked me when I first read it! Jesus CALLS this man to be His disciple, but the man asks to go and bury his father first. seems like a reasonable request?! I felt sympathy for the man,
BUT JESUS REPLIES: “Let the dead bury their own dead: I’ve called you to preach for me.” WOW!
the point Jesus makes here, is that if you’re going to follow Me then the claims of The Kingdom come before ANYTHING and ANYONE else.
Jesus said in another passage that, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me”.
He’s not calling for us to dishonour parents, or shirk our responsibility to our family,
He's just saying that IF WE ARE Put in a Place that we have A CHOICE BETWEEN THE TWO, HE COMES FIRST!
some have had to lose their family and friends to follow Christ.
The follower of Jesus has no ultimate earthly ties! So, Jesus says: “LEAVE IT BEHIND!”
When this man says, “Let me first go and bury my father”,
There's two things I want to point out about this man
First we don't even know if his father is even dead This man don't appear to be in ‘mourning’ so he might be saying just wait till my father passes on Then I will follow you later in life first let me do this
Second if this man's father has already passed away then it might help us to have an insight into Jewish funeral procedure. An initial burial took place shortly after a person’s passing but then ONE YEAR LATER, after the first burial, (and I won’t go into the graphic reasons why) the son would return to re-bury the bones in a special box in a slot in the tomb wall. If that’s the situation here, and it's possible that it was, then this man who has been called by Jesus could be asking for up to a YEAR’S delay before following! Jesus says, “Others can take care of that, my friend - the demands of the Kingdom are more urgent - MY call cannot wait!
the follower of Jesus has no earthly ties. Jesus says, “LEAVE IT BEHIND . . . Follow Me!”
I've heard people say “I’ll follow Jesus later on. I’ve got other more important things to attend to right now. My career, my education, my girlfriend, my boyfriend. I’ve go to provide a nest egg for my family first; wouldn’t God want me to be responsible like that?!”
I want to tell you if God is calling you to follow Him - to commit your life to Christ, or to take up ministry for Him, or whatever it may be, HIS CALL COMES FIRST! No excuse can be allowed to hinder you.
The follower of Jesus has no earthly ties. LEAVE IT BEHIND.
Then finally, we come to the third man in VERSES 61-62.
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
from Jesus’ conversation with this one we learn that:
3. THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS HAS NO EARTHLY DISTRACTIONS.
Again, this seems like a reasonable request? Would you deny a soldier going to war one last chance to bid his loved ones farewell?!
But again, Jesus clearly spells out the cost of following Him. “Sir, you’ve already declared you are ready to follow me - YOU’VE PICKED UP THE PLOW - if you put it down now because of your hankering after your family back home, you’re not fit for the Kingdom of God!” What Jesus is saying is "DON’T LOOK BACK!”
When Peter Andrew James and John followed Jesus, they literally “DROPPED” their fishing nets to go after Him. And right when it looked like business was picking up too! (Jesus had just got them a huge catch!)
They went back for nothing.
The Master had called & they followed
Some have looked back when God called them forward.
Let me list a couple of them for you.
LOT’S WIFE. We all know her story (tell story)
DEMAS was a man who was with Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome but in 2 Timothy Paul said that DEMAS had forsaken him "having loved this present world"
he looked back and missed out on so much
Neither one of them are remembered for anything GOOD
They were not worthy of the Kingdom.
If you’re going to follow Jesus, there can't be no going back.
Another reason why we count the cost FIRST!
Another way Jesus put it was like this: “Which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’”.
Commenting on those words, JOHN STOTT wrote this:
“The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers - the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called ‘nominal Christianity’. In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved; enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness
of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their conveniences. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.”
The true follower of Jesus allows NO EARTHLY DISTRACTIONS.
They don’t look back for anything or anyone.
Strait ahead keeping our eyes on Jesus
Here is what it will cost you to follow Jesus.
In short, it will cost you EVERYTHING.
He calls for us to commit ourselves completely to Him, and hold nothing back.
THAT is the picture of the true Christian.
The follower of Jesus has NO EARTHLY SECURITY; NO EARTHLY TIES; and NO EARTHLY DISTRACTIONS.
Jesus said to the first man: “COUNT THE COST”.
He said to the second man: “LEAVE IT BEHIND”.
He said to the third man: “DON’T LOOK BACK”.
What’s He saying to YOU tonight?!
Well, you’ve heard the COST of following Jesus.
You might say, “Who would ever consider following Jesus now?”
Well, consider the COST OF NOT FOLLOWING HIM!
- ETERNAL LIFE
- NO GUIDANCE (or meaning) IN THIS LIFE.
- NO OPPORTUNITY TO GLORIFY GOD.