Summary: A message about Jesus’ words regarding the cost of discipleship.
Are You REALLY Sure You Want to Do This?
The Cost of Following Jesus
October 9, 2005
I thought I’d better warn you up front that my introductory remarks are going to be longer than usual, but you don’t have to worry about the rest of the message - we’ll still get out of here at a decent time, I promise!
But I wanted to spend a good bit of time laying down some stuff that will give us some perspective as we look at this passage from Matthew 8. I’d like you to turn there, if you would, please. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats, you can find this passage on page 686.
One of the underlying themes of the gospel according to Matthew is the idea of what it means to follow Jesus. And really, this is a theme throughout the gospels.
In our passage today, we see that Jesus has become very popular, and he has people coming up to him and saying, "Hey Jesus! Let me be your disciple!"
My guess is that everybody thought it’d be pretty cool to say that you hung out with Jesus.
And I have a feeling Jesus had to set some things straight. And he says some tough stuff here to those who think that following Jesus is a life of luxury and glamour.
Let’s take a look at what he says to two people in specific.
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
20 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
21 Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
22 But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
One of the things I appreciate about Scripture is its brutal honesty. God wants us to have our eyes wide open as we seek to follow him.
Jesus is being brutally honest here. He lets it be known that following him is no picnic. It’s not always easy being a follower of Jesus.
And to me, it’s like I hear him asking the question you see for the title of the message, "Are you REALLY sure you want to do this?"
Another word for follower is "disciple." And I use them interchangeably.
Disciples not only believe in Jesus, they live for him. They’re believers who have decided that the status quo of their spiritual life isn’t good enough, and they want more of Jesus and what he has to offer, in spite of the costs.
It’s interesting to note what Jesus said as he was preparing to go back to heaven after his resurrection. We call this the Great Commission, and it’s found in Matthew 28:19, where he says to go and make disciples of all nations.
Folks, it’s my considered opinion that the church of Jesus Christ isn’t doing enough to make disciples. We’re pretty good at making believers, and believe me, that’s incredibly important, because you can’t get to heaven unless you’re a believer in Jesus.
But I also want to tell you that your leadership is committed to helping people become solid disciples of the Lord.
And our CLASS 101, Discovering Church Membership, is one of the tools we’re going to use to help us do that. It lays a foundation for helping people become disciples.
CLASS 201 is called, Discovering Spiritual Maturity, and deals with developing healthy habits of spiritual growth.
CLASS 301 is called, Discovering My Ministry, and deals with the fact that God has gifted everyone for ministry in one form or another.
We’ll talk about how to find out just how he’s gifted you and how you can use those gifts.
And CLASS 401 is called, Discovering My Life Mission, which deals with how we can reach out to those around us who don’t yet know that they can have their sins forgiven and have a home in heaven.
So I just want to give an invitation to everyone here, whether you’re a long-time attender or you’re just checking us out, to participate in these classes.
My plan at this point is to offer them every couple months or so, with CLASS 201 being offered in January.
We also have small groups that meet in homes and at the church (starting later this month) so you can get great fellowship as well as get more exposure to the Bible, letting God use it to transform you into Christlike people.
My point in bringing these up is that at AWC, we’re committed to building healthy, authentic followers of Christ. That’s what we’re all about, because that will help us become effective in reaching more people for Jesus, both here in our area and around the world.