Summary: Being a Christian is not a casual experience. Daily, we need to renounce our old life, dedicate ourselves anew to serve Jesus Christ, and live in such a way as to imitate the life of Jesus in ourselves.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BE A CHRISTIAN?
(Remake of Feb. 10, 1991 Sermon at Lord’s Cove for Dorn Ridge April 29, 2012)
1.) A common question asked today is “How much does it cost?”
A.) More than ever, there is a price consciousness.
aa.) There is a popularity of discount stores, factory outlets, etc.
2.) Everything of value has its price.
ba.) If we want to take training to become a musician, athlete, or anything else it will cost us in many ways.
3.) When it came to Christianity, Jesus never deceived anyone about the cost of becoming a Christian.
I. ONE OF THE COSTS OF BECOMING A CHRISTIAN IS THAT OF RENUNCIATION.
1.) There are false interpretations of Jesus’ words “Let a man deny himself...”
A.) In the second century some followers began to disclaim any materialism.
B.) Some became Gnostic viewing anything physical as being evil.
ba.) Jesus never had in mind for anyone to withdraw from life.
2.) Some instructions about denying self.
A.) It means nothing less than the renunciation of our selfishness.
aa.) Gal. 2:20
B.) Self-denial is not easy.
ba.) We all have things we want. We all have goals, but Christ is clear that when we choose to freely follow him, we must first deny ourselves.
bb.) Denial means you can’t always do what you want to do, what your natural tendency is.
bc.) Denying self means that you will face tough, life-changing decisions that need to be made in the shadow of the cross, and not the desires of the heart.
bd.) Self denial doesn’t mean that you’ll be deprived of joy and happiness; rather it means that you find fulfillment and joy and happiness through dedication to Jesus Christ.
bda.) Denial of self is placing yourself in the hands of God at all times, no matter where his hands might lead you.
II. TO BE A CHRISTIAN INVOLVES DEDICATION.
1.) Certainly, there are those with false views of taking up our crosses today.
A.) Some would interpret this as any burden to be endured in life.
B.) Others feel to take up your cross refers to anything in life that causes you to suffer.
C.) Some would see it as an annoyance.
2.) Jesus demonstrates the meaning of Dedication.
A.) He showed us that it means to follow the will of God.
aa.) When we whole-heartedly follow the will of God, it is going to put us in opposition to Satan, and the forces of this world.
aaa.) When we have come to the place in our lives that we are fully willing to dedicate ourselves to God, we will also be coming to the place that we might in fact suffer for that faith and the willingness to take that stand for Christ.
aab.) When we look at the early Apostles of Christ, we see men who came to the place of putting their faith totally in Jesus Christ, and serving Him.
aab-1.) If we thought that the commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ was an easy thing we would be totally wrong.
aab-2.) It cost most of the apostles their lives, and in a very painful manner of death.
aab-3.) The only Apostle who did not die as a martyr was John. But even John did not have an easy go of his life in Christ. He was exiled on a lonely prison island in the middle of the sea.
3.) Just as it cost Jesus and the apostles very dearly to give total commitment, it may cost us very dearly as well.
A.) When Jesus told his disciples to take up their crosses, they all knew that he was telling them they might die for serving Christ.
III. TO BE A CHRISTIAN INVOLVES IMITATION.
1.) We need to look at the life of Jesus to see what He did.
A.) Jesus attended worship in the synagogue and temple on a regular basis.
aa.) Luke 4:16
B.) Jesus practiced systematic prayer.
ba.) The Jews had set hours of prayer.
bb.) Jesus would also go by himself when everyone else was still asleep for prayer.
C.) Jesus always accepted people where they were at, while looking for them to become better and more Godly.
ca.) When Jesus met with the Samaratin woman He accepted her where she was.
caa.) That does not mean he accepted her life of sin. In fact he pointed it out to her that she was living with a man who was not her husband.
caa-1.) Jesus accepted her where she was, while not condoning her sin, and gave her a goal to aim for greater and higher.
2.) Christ is the pattern for our living.
-- I John 2:6
A.) We can rely on Christ giving us the power to have the strength and determination to completely follow Him.