Summary: How is your walk and you talk? Is your flavor up to the task at hand. Too many believers fail to see the importance of complete discipleship.
Counting the Cost of Following Christ
Rev. Phillip A. Wright
I. The Instructions Given by Christ
A. The instructions given about the Family
1. Luke 14:25-26 25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
2. A follower of Christ must place Jesus above their own family.
3. Now let me assure you that Luke is not telling you to hate your parents or any others. The language can play tricks on you at times. The translation is one which is called a comparative statement. It is not really saying to love Christ you must hate others. Rather it is saying on a comparative scale compared to the love you have for Christ the difference to the next one behind Christ must be the different between love and hate.
4. Certainly the necessity to love one’s parents and others is solidly in Scripture.
5. So to be a successful follower or disciple of Christ you must love Christ with such fervor that the next one you love pales in comparison to your love for him.
B. The instructions given to the Follower
1. Luke 14:27 27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
2. The follower must carry their own cross daily.
3. Illustration: Karl Barth once said: The Word became flesh--and then through theologians it became words again.
4. I say that to illustrate the importance in knowing the difference between having an academic understanding of what scripture says and the physical act of obeying it.
a. One does not need great education to know Christ.
b. One does not need great understanding to share their faith.
5. You want to be counted as a believer and receive the rewards described in scripture. Then it is essential to step outside the passage. You have heard me explain the true meaning behind the word for “witness.” The Greek word is the root of our English word for “Martyr.” In essence, you want to take up your cross for Christ then be willing to lay down your life.
6. Paul said in Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (NKJV)
7. If you are a follower of Christ, quit trying on your own. Let Christ and the Holy Spirit live through you.
II. The Illustrations being a Good Follower
A. The illustration of the unfinished building
1. Luke 14:28-30 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- 29 "lest, after he has laid the 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.’
2. It is important to count the cost before beginning a project to insure you can complete it.
3. Why would someone want to start something without any idea of knowing whether or not they can finish it?
4. To build part of something is not real bright, as a structure in an incomplete state is bound to deteriorate. Then you have wasted your money and people will snicker. You did not count the cost.
5. You have tied up and wasted your resources in an unfinished and unproductive venture.
6. Jesus invests him time and energy in you as a follower, then trust me you are not incomplete. He will train you and empower you and use you as you allow him. The problem all too often is that we want to work with God but only as an advisor to him.
7. Living a vibrant Christian life does not mean trouble free.
8. Will you live for Christ as long as it’s convenient? Don’t live half a life dedicated to Christ then abandon it due to the lack of total commitment. That comes from failing to count the cost.
B. The illustration of the unsuccessful war
1. Luke 14:31-33 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
2. It is important to insure your army can win a war.
3. The idea of this verse can get lost with our superior weapons which enable a few to taken on a lot and prevail.