Summary: We all ask the question "how much?" when we are at the bargaining table, when we are out shopping we all look at the price tag. What will it cost me? Before we commit to the purchase we want to know what is going to be the sacrifice on my end. It is not
Series: Good to Great in the Eyes of God
Make Great Sacrifices
We all ask the question "how much?" when we are at the bargaining table, when we are out shopping we all look at the price tag. What will it cost me? Before we commit to the purchase we want to know what is going to be the sacrifice on my end.
It is not any different when it comes to the cost of Christianity. We want to know what it will cost. Some have said salvation is free. Well then I'm in.... and we live that way we give little or nothing to the Kingdom of God because we have believed a lie.
Free salvation has been taught in pulpits around the world for centuries and we have responded as a result of this cheap grace we have given casual commitment and accepted comfortable Christianity. This type of false doctrine has run ramped in our Americanized Christianity. I believe we have preached and taught and lived this lie enough.
Salvation is not free. It cost God his one and only son, It cost Christ his dignity, the cross and his life. It cost the first century followers. They were greatly oppressed, all of the 12 apostles met a martyr's death all but John who lived in exile in prison till his death.
Steven was stoned, Paul was imprisoned the beheaded. Many early Christians were thrown to the lions just for sport and endured all sorts of cruel persecution.
When Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 9 "deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me daily" they had a little better idea of what he was requiring then we do.
The first disciples left their Jobs and families to follow him. They lived with him as they followed him. He had no house, he had no money no car no promise of food for the day. They knew a little about sacrifice they saw it exampled in him and lived a life of depravity their selves.
So how do we grasp the depth of this call, as we sit on our padded pews in an air-conditioned building? How can we possibly understand Jesus call for us follow him in to death when we have believed that salvation is free and grace is cheap?. Well simply put, we can't.
Let's take off our 21st century glasses tinted with our American privilege for a while and simply listen to the plea that is before us.
This entire idea of Going from Good to Great in God's Eyes is based on strengthening our commitment. When we decide to commit our lives to Christ it we accept a certain level of sacrifice.
We get this idea of sacrifice from Christ. We can't think of Christ without also thinking of the Cross. So when we commit Christ we also commit to the cross.
The disciple's conduct is patterned after that of his master. A disciple of Christ is one who has determined to become Christ-like. If we are going to be like Jesus then we are going to have to take up our cross.
The Cross: It is important to understand that God has given us salvation. It was paid for by the cross of Christ. Along with this salvation comes discipleship.
Jesus said if you are going to be His disciple, you have to bear your cross.
The call of Christ will always include the call of the cross! Let's talk about that call of the cross for a few moments today. First notice . . .
1. The Clear Call of the Cross.
Look again at our text.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. [Luke 9:23]
Notice particularly the words: "And he [Jesus] said to them all.."
Jesus was always very clear regarding His call, and as we read scripture we find that the call is as clear today as it was 2,000 years ago. The call has not changed. The requirements for discipleship have not changed. It is important for us to notice that . . .
Jesus never recruits followers under false pretenses.
He never promised His followers a life of ease and comfort. He wanted those who would follow Him to clearly understand what they were getting into. The clear call of discipleship is that you will be required to live a life of self-denial and sacrifice.
The modern trend in church growth is: "Don't speak of the 'tougher' teachings of Jesus when attempting to win someone to the Lord."
However, this may very well lead to defections from the faith when difficult times arise. It is neither ethical nor scriptural to tell people if they accept Christ as Savior they will have no further problems in life.