Summary: This message looks at the challenge of following Jesus. It considers the nature of discipleship and how it is inseparable from being a Christian.
Counting the Cost - Following Jesus Luke 14: 25-35
We live in an era where Christianity has been simplified to a form of ‘easy believism’. There is the option of having Jesus as your Saviour without Him being your Lord. But this was not what Jesus taught. The call to being a Christian is the call to discipleship. For the meaning of ‘disciple’ see Acts 11: 26. A disciple is a follower – it involved a physical act as well as a commitment of mind and heart.
We will see four essential aspects to the cost of following Jesus, being his disciple which is essentially being a Christian:
1. Committing to Christ, Luke 14: 25-26
2. Carrying the Cross, Luke 14: 26, 27
3. Counting the Cost, Luke 14: 28-34
4. Conserving the Consistency, Luke 14: 34, 35
1 Committing to Christ, Luke 14: 25, 26
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
The level of commitment – the use of hyperbole to ‘hate’ your closest family. Jesus’ call is Exclusive – it is absolute and complete. Jesus wants our whole heart, emotions and will. Am I willing to follow Jesus completely? – NOT am I able; not ability BUT willingness.
It is relational with Jesus ‘Anyone who comes to me’ verse 26. Jesus first in our priorities, loyalty and affections – Is that true for you?
2 Carrying the Cross, Luke 14: 26, 27
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
This is a call to dying to self - sacrificing self – daily and consciously. We are to focus on Christ and the Cross – at the beginning of everyday. The Cross was the symbol of total humiliation. Within the Near Eastern context of the time the Cross was a despised object. This daily association with a despised object can only be accomplished because it is centred on the One we are following – Jesus. We are able to look beyond the world’s view and see the blessing of following our Saviour as long as we are focussed on Jesus.
The Cross, the Cross – surrender wholly, completely, entirely, absolutely and totally to God!
Jesus wants total commitment including our physical bodies – give up – say goodbye, renounce as the Greek indicates.
Three times in the passage Jesus repeats that if we do not follow Him as He calls the ‘he cannot be my disciple’.
3 Counting the Cost Luke 14: 28-33
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Jesus gives two parables by way of illustration of the need to count the cost of following Him.
I) Building a tower – the point is that we need to complete what we start. We need to count our funds, our sources – Can you undertake the venture? We need to know what is involved. Can you afford to follow Jesus?
II) A king with an army – again the point is that of counting the cost – knowing whether or not to take on an opponent. If not then the wisdom in making a treaty. As in the case of the king it is a matter of life or death. So is the matter of following Jesus.
CAN YOU AFFORD NOT FOLLOW JESUS.
We have to give up everything to follow Jesus verse 33: So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
4 Conserving the Consistency Luke 14: 34-35
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”