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Summary: You have to admit that you are a sinner, that God is greater than sin, you must give yourself to God and; if you are resisting continuing with the program, then you must count the costs of continuing in your sinful state or changing your course.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

“Count the Costs”

Text: Luke 14: 28

This Sunday we move to a pivotal point in our therapeutic program: 12 steps in nine weeks: breaking your addiction to sin.

First we know that you have to admit that you are a sinner.

Second that God is greater than sin.

Third you must give yourself to God.

If you are resisting continuing with the program, then you must count the costs of continuing in your sinful state or changing your course.

One of the tricks of Satan is to make one think that momentary pleasure is greater than long term consequences.

Satan in the wilderness takes Jesus up to the top of the mountain and shows him the Kingdoms of the World. If you bow down to me, I will give you all what you see. In one moment Jesus was a witness to all the power and pleasure the world could afford. His response to Satan was instantaneous, “Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Unfortunately, in too many instances the response of Jesus is not ours. We acquiesce to sin and accept its pleasures not taking into account the pain it will bring to us, our love ones, and the community.

No matter how hard one may try. You cannot make a success out of sin.

Who sacrifices short term gain, for long term pain?

We have come to point in our therapeutic process where a decision has to be made.

Will you change your sinful attitudes, attributes, or attractions?

Everyone knows that change is not easy.

Old habits are difficult to break.

Old patterns are hard to alter.

From old relationships, one cannot easily break free.

Change is not easy.

Economic, physical, emotional and spiritual dependence is real.

Withdrawal pains drain all the vitality out of our being.

Change is not easy.

Our bodies adapt to deprivation.

Our bodies crave the desolation.

Our bodies become dependent on the stimulation.

Change is not easy.

However, the failure to change has its costs.

How many people have found their horizons limited by the choices they have made?

How many people have found their careers curtailed by the hurdles, they were not able to cross?

How many people have been stopped in their tracks by the obstacles that block their path?

Choices, hurdles, obstacles all of their own makings – that’s what sin does!

It limits choices, installs hurdles, and erects obstacles that are difficult to overcome.

Too many people succumb and failed to overcome.

Live unproductive lives because sin has placed a weight too heavy to carry and a burden to hard to bear.

Jesus places a fundamental choice in the minds of all who would follow him.

Have you counted the costs?

Do you fully understand what it means to be Christ-like?

Are you able to comprehend the sacrifice that is required?

Do you know what will happen to you when you must relinquish every earthly desire or every fleshly pleasure that you have to follow me?

Do you realize that to follow me, you must give up sin?

Before you do, before you give up sin – you must count the costs!

I know if I begin to label or classify sin, everyone here would be relieved of any responsibility to change. Because immediately everyone would say, I don’t do that specific thing you have identified as sin.

That’s why I define sin at its basic element – missing the mark of the high calling which is found in Christ Jesus.

And a sinner is one who is in a state of being or a state of denial of their real relationship with God.

That’s what makes being a sinner so devastating.

It places the worldly pleasure or fleshly pursuit in the place of what should rightly be occupied by God.

The command of God is still true, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

That’s the cost you must count.

What do I lose, what must I pay when I place anything in front of God?

Will you place human affection in front of God?

Will you place the satisfaction of the family in front of God?

Will you place the affirmation of friends?

Will you place the stimulation of self-indulgence in front of God?

God’s math is not like ours.

When you subtract, he adds! When you divide, he multiplies!

When you give, he gives unto you!

God’s math is not like our math.

That’s why Jesus uses a three part illustration to drive this understanding home.

Have you counted the costs of what it means to follow me?

Are you willing to sacrifice anything that would impede your relationship with me?

Jesus earlier had said, “if you place your hands on the plow and look back you are not fit for the kingdom.”

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