Summary: today the question we look at is this: Is the price of being a Christian too high?
Whenever I buy something, whether it is a car or a gallon of milk, I always check the price. The question always is: Am I willing to pay this amount, or is the price too high? If I stop at a gas station to get a gallon of milk, and see a price of $3, I think: OK, I could pick it up for 20 cents less somewhere else, but the convenience of buying it right now is worth the 20 cents. However, if they were charging $5 for a gallon of milk, I would probably wait and buy it at another store. If they were charging $25 for a gallon of milk, I would buy a can of pop instead. For most folks, even for those who have plenty of money, there are some price tags which are just too high and we refuse to pay that price for that product.
Friends, today the question we look at is this: Is the price of being a Christian too high? Some of you are thinking, "Pastor Dan, what are you talking about? It doesn't cost anything to become a Christian!" You are right. It doesn't. Salvation is a free gift, which Jesus Christ has purchased for us with His own blood. There is nothing we can do to earn or merit this marvelous salvation. It is by God's grace alone, and it is absolutely free. It costs nothing to become a Christian. However, we will pay a price for being a Christian. Those of us who follow Jesus Christ have difficulties and hardships that we would never experience if we were not Christians. That is what Jesus warns us of in our text today. We are returning to our study of the Gospel of Matthew, which we suspended last November. We pick up in Chapter 10:34-39. Let's pray the Lord would use His Word to help us realize that fol-lowing Jesus is well worth the price.
Matthew 10:34-39 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' Any one who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." This is some heavy stuff. I want to explore five points which I believe are Jesus' message for us.
#1) A follower of Jesus doesn't lead an easy life. Most of the Jews in the 1st Century thought the coming of the Messiah would usher in a golden age of peace and pros-perity. That is why, when it became clear that Jesus did not intend to do that, many of them rejected Him as the Messiah. Today many Christians assume that if they are following the Lord, they are not going to have any problems in their life. They are expecting a personal golden age of peace and prosperity. But that is not what Jesus promises. Instead of peace, He offers a sword. Instead of finding tranquility, His people will experience conflict. Those who choose to follow Jesus will not find a smooth, easy path. It will be very hard sometimes.
#2) Jesus' followers will experience conflict with their families. 10:35,36 "For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'" Now, these verses do sound puzzling. Many of us hope that, by fol-lowing Christ, we will be able to get along with other people better. Jesus seems to pop that bubble, but let's make sure we under-stand exactly what Jesus is saying. I think Jesus would say that if we seek to follow Him, there are times when our relationship with family members will improve. For example, if all the others in your family, except for you, are Christians who are faithful to the Lord, then your decision to follow Jesus will certainly result in better relationships. That is one of the great things about being part of a Christian family. Also, if you have had very poor relationships with other family members before you became a follower of Christ, then it is very likely those relationships will improve. I think of a friend who used to pick arguments with his parents all the time. His mom and dad were not real excited when he became a Christian, but they did appreciate that he stopped arguing with them and their relationship improved. Jesus' point is simply that if we choose to follow Him, there will be conflicts with family mem-bers who are not Christians. Some of you have experienced that. Your parents don't understand your priorities. Or maybe it's your children who don't understand why the church plays such a central part of our lives.