You can hear the audio of the sermon on my podcast at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/697261/7655599
Following Jesus - Counting the Cost
• Price is Right show – fascinating and compelling game show where we are entertained by watching people guess the price of various products. (use logo screen for the show with the theme song playing as I begin.)
• Too often we know the price of something but not necessarily its cost.
• The problem. Accelerated disruption in our culture has highlighted our weak discipleship. Too many were willing to “pay up” to be in the church but didn’t understand the true cost.
• Barna research: We’ve probably lost about 1 in 3 completely. another 2 in 10 are drifting from their faith. The cost attached to knowing, following and loving Jesus in a pandemic has been too high. The changes to our traditional models of “doing church” have disrupted their expectations and willingness to participate.
• For quite some time we’ve been emphasizing that discipleship - following Jesus - and making disciples need to be our key focus.
• We’re in a crisis where this is absolutely essential.
• While this may sound and feel like a new circumstance, it’s not. Jesus had to be explicit about his expectations on more than one occasion.
• He’s going to tell us that we’re not like game show contestants who might win a prize or two because we know the price of a thing. He tells us that the cost is staggering but it’s worth it.
• Context: Luke chapter 14.
Luke 14:25 A large crowd was following Jesus.
• That crowd wasn’t so very different than us when we’re being entertained. They liked the food, the excitement of seeing a miracle or a healing, maybe a hint of rebellion in the air. Or perhaps just curiosity.
• But Jesus knew that their motives couldn’t tolerate the cost of what it truly meant to follow him.
• First, he sets
The Relational Cost:
Luke 14:26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
• Jesus means what he says but he’s also willing to use hyperbole or exaggeration to make his point.
• In this case, he wants us to understand the priority of relationships.
• It’s simple: We can do what Jesus wants, or we can do what others want.
• But wow, that’s harsh, Jesus!
• Rule of bible interpretation: the bible interprets itself. To pull this verse completely out of context of the passage and the rest of the Bible is to make it contradictory to the intent of the whole Word.
• Jesus himself told us to honor our father and mother.
Mark 7:9–13 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’
Ephesians 5:25 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her
Mark 10:16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
Luke 6:27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.
John 13:34–35 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
• No, Jesus is saying that by comparison, our love for others must be that much lower a priority than loving and following Him.
• The paradox is, when we love Jesus that much we’re enabled to love our children, spouses, parents, friends even more because we are becoming more and more like our Lord who gave the greatest love possible. We’ll be willing to love and serve them in the best possible way.
The Sacrificial Cost:
• Luke 14:26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
• We do a pretty good job of following ourselves first.
• The greatest struggle in the Christian life is to respond to “Thy will or MY will.”
• Jesus next startling statement on the cost of following is to tell us to go and die.
• To self.
• it’s clear that Jesus knew our biggest struggle in following Him would be choosing between our own self-interest and His plan for life.
• The answer is to simply choose to “end” this life. Not literally, of course. But to consider life as a “series of deaths.” That’s self-denial.
• Paul wrote:
• Philippians 3:7–9 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him.
• It’s a sacrifice of the things that we think will make us happy so we can choose Christ’s life as our model and find true deep satisfaction.
Calculating the Cost
• One time on the Price is Right (9/2008), a contestant (Terry Kneiss) bid the exact cost of a Showcase. One man, Ted Slauson, had constantly watched the show, noted what products consistently showed up and the price. He used statistical analysis to legitimately determine the exact prices of the items in the showcase. He signaled the price ($23,743) to Terry on stage. They won.
• Can you imagine the hours of study and concentration that went into learning all that just to win a camper, karaoke machine and a pool table as well as the other showcase of mainly trips.
• Can you imagine the difference in our lives if we put in a tenth of the effort to follow Jesus that these guys did to win prizes?
• Jesus likens it to calculating the effort it takes in construction and in war.
Luke 14:28–33 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ 31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
• We’re not game show contestants who will do well when we know the cost of an item.
We’re followers of Jesus Christ who must know and count the cost of discipleship.