The Costs of Following Jesus
INTRODUCTION: Saint Telemachus Goes to Rome
ILL.- Telemachus had counted the costs of following Jesus…he dedicated his life to God, he listened and obeyed God even when he had no idea where God was leading him, and he willingly laid down his life to take a stand for God’s truth.
Turn in your Bible to Luke 14:25-33. Read Luke 14:25-33
After we become believers, Jesus wants us to consider the costs of following Him. He wants each one of us to count the costs…have you counted the costs of following Jesus?
Billy Graham has said “Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything.”
Many Christians accept God’s free gift of salvation but are not willing to live for God. Perhaps this is one of the biggest problems facing the Christian faith, especially in America. Our churches are filled with casual Christians instead of committed Christians.
I would like us to consider 3 COSTS of following CHRIST
#1 Following Christ Will Cost your Favorite Sins
ILL- Bringing Nora home from the hospital – My ongoing struggle with anxiety
There are things that hold us back and sins that entangle us (Heb. 12:1)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (others are watching us!), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
Did you know that there are things that hinder us that are not necessarily sin?
ILL- Observation of Christians: A lot of Christians O.D. on fellowship, therefore neglecting the lost! I often refer to this as, remaining in a “holy huddle.”
There are two things we can do on earth that we can’t do in heaven: sin and witness.
There are sins that we knowingly tolerate
Psalm 19:13 says “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.”
There are sins that keep us in bondage
Do you realize that our habitual sin grieves God? (Eph. 4:30)
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
Let me say this about sin: SIN IS STUPID! Every time we sin against God, we slap Him in the face and say “My way is better than yours.” God wants the best for us and He knows the best for us, but we must submit to Him! The truth is we are all slaves…we can choose to be slaves to sin, or slaves to God.
Do you know why God wants us to give up our favorite sins? He wants to SET US FREE!
Galatians 5:1 says “If is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us FREE.”
John 8:31-32 says “To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you FREE.”
Let me ask you this: What sins do you keep secret from others? God knows them!
Psalm 90:8 “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”
James 5:16 says “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
ILL- Keith Kitchen and I meeting at the prayer towers at CIU.
Sum.: Following Jesus demands that we deal with our favorite and secret sins!
#2 Following Christ Will Cost you Favor of the World
1. The Bible tells us not to love the world (1 Jn. 2:15-16)
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world.”
“don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” James 4:4
ILL- Finding contentment in worldly things – Brand new car (1994 Geo Prism) 2 days after I got it, the windshield cracked. The world can never satisfy our deepest needs..only God can.
Jesus once asked “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but looses his soul?
We must not forget that the world rejected Christ and His followers (Jn. 15:19-20)
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”
ILL- KSU persecution from Robert, next door neighbor “Here comes Jesus!”
J.C. Ryle says this about the surrendered Christian “He must be content to be ill thought of by man if he pleases God.”
#3 Following Christ Will Cost First Place in Your Heart
ILL- As a single, I often struggled to keep Christ first in my life…what tended to get the number one position: a girlfriend. (I’ve done some dumb things…)
God never wants second place in your heart. God is the only one who has the right to be numero uno.
(CEV) Luk 14:26 You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life.
The Bible says “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” That is not one of the 10 suggestions; it’s one of the Ten Commandments. Proverbs 23:22 says “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Did you choose your parents? No, but God did.
ILL- I have been tempted many times, to go against my father’s wishes. God has used my earthy father in many surprising ways to help me discern God’s will for my life. When I was engaged to the wrong girl, my father made it clear that she was not right for me…although incredibly painful at the time, I’m so grateful now for his council.
When I was working for a church and was trying to figure out what to do next, God used my father to help direct me to go on staff with Navigators. 1.5 years ago, when I was struggling with our fundraising, he counseled me to stick with it and stay with Navigators.
It’s Biblical, that we need to listen to our parents (even if they are not Christians.)
But only our perfect Heavenly, Father, knows what’s best for us 100% OF THE TIME! That’s why, only He deserves first place in our hearts.
(MSG) Luk 14:33 "Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.
It’s so easy to put plans or people ahead of our relationship with Christ. Jesus doesn’t want to sit in the passenger seat of your car, He wants to drive!
One of the hardest prayers to pray is “Not as I will, but Your will be done” (Mt. 26:39)
Following Jesus will cost your favorite sins, favor with the world, and first place in your heart.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you willing to pay the costs? Favorite sins, favor with the world, first place in your heart.
Will you choose to not just believe in Jesus, but follow Him with all your heart?
Consider this: There are costs for not living a Christ-centered life. If we choose to live a selfish, casual Christian life we will be unhappy, depressed, feel spiritually empty, and be slaves to sin. And we will produce little or no spiritual fruit, we make little or no impact on eternity, we will be spiritually defeated, and spiritually apathetic. Is that the kind of life you want?
What kind of life will you choose to live?
Jesus said “You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life.
“You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.”
"If you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.