Text: Luke 14:1—35
Title: Count the Cost
Series: Lent 2001
Topic: Christian Living/Discipleship
Theme: Cost of following Jesus
Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness challenging God’s people in my care to count the true cost of following Jesus.
Response: Individuals will fill out cards requesting God’s help and life changing power during the next 40 days of Prayer & Fasting. The cards will be left on the altar rail so I can pray for each one during this special time of seeking God.
Pattern: A deductive exposition of the text with illustrations.
What would you say to someone who asked you about becoming a Christian? What if a friend asked you how much you had to give in order to belong to God’s family? What would you say to someone who wanted to know what it would cost him or her to become a disciple of Jesus?
What will it cost me to follow Jesus?
The cost of following Jesus is very high.
1. Following Jesus will cost your old mindset of being RELIGIOUS (14:1-6).
Author Calvin Miller points out that “many Christians are only ‘Christaholics’ and not disciples at all. Disciples are cross-bearers; they seek Christ. Christaholics seek happiness. Disciples dare to discipline themselves, and the demands they place on themselves leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth. Christaholics are escapists looking for a shortcut to nirvana. Like drug addicts, they are trying to "bomb out" of their depressing world.
“There is no automatic joy. Christ is not a happiness capsule; he is the way to the Father. But the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which we sit and do nothing while we are whisked through various spiritual sensations.”
Citation: Calvin Miller in The Taste of Joy. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 17. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International
The Bible tells us that “one Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away. Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?" And they had nothing to say.”
2. Being close to Jesus will cost you your desire for PLACES OF HONOR and RECOGNITION (14:7-11).
Another Christian writer said: “Everything in me wants to move upward. Downward mobility with Jesus goes radically against my inclinations, against the advice of the world surrounding me, and against the culture of which I am a part.”
Citation: Henri Nouwen in the New Oxford Review (April 1987). Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 5. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International
When [Jesus] noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, `Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, `Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
3. Becoming a Christian will cost you all claim to the STUFF in your life (14:12-14).
A pastor from Florida says: Years ago I worked part-time on the loading docks of various trucking companies. At one company I met a fellow part-timer, a fine Christian man named Rufus Kidd. He had just completed his associate’s degree in transportation and was seeking a full-time career. Since the company was beginning to open up to minorities at that time, Rufus, an African-American, went in to interview for a position.
Later, I asked him how the interview went, and he said they offered him a job in sales, something that would pay well and offer unlimited opportunity. I was excited for him, but he said he wasn’t going to take it. Although it was everything he wanted, in order to take it he would have to give up his ministry with singles at his church. He said he would wait for a job to come along that would allow him to continue to teach his class.
What an example of commitment—and of finely-tuned priorities! Rufus sacrificed his chance to leave the sweltering docks and gave up a brand-new career to continue his "routine" service in the Kingdom.
Citation: Kenneth Mitchell, pastor of Westside Christian Family Chapel, Jacksonville, Florida © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International
[At the Pharisee’s house] Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
4. When you follow Jesus it will cost you every kind of DISTRACTION (14:15-24)
D.L. Moody, a historic preacher from Chicago, said: “Excuses are the cradle ... that Satan rocks men off to sleep in.”
Citation: D.L. Moody, Christian History, no. 25. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International
Jesus told a story about the excuses people make and what it will cost them. He said, "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, `Come, for everything is now ready.’
"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, `I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
"Another said, `I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
"Still another said, `I just got married, so I can’t come.’
"The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, `Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
" `Sir,’ the servant said, `what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
"Then the master told his servant, `Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ "
5. Being close to Jesus will cost your desire to put FAMILY in first place (14:25-26).
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters … he cannot be my disciple.
6. Becoming a Christian will cost you all claims to your own LIFE (14:27).
Stuart Briscoe is another author whose books mean a lot to me. He tells this story.
I met with a young business-lady last week. I pointed out these Scriptures to her, and she said, "You mean to say that Jesus Christ wants me to confront the possibility that I might be wasting my life?" I said, "Right!" "And you are trying to tell me that if I hold onto my life, I will waste my life?" I said, "No, I’m not trying to tell you. He said it. And not only that, he said the only way to make sure you really invest your life for eternity in the divine economy is to hand it over to him." She said, "No way." That was last Tuesday morning.
Sunday night she came to me literally trembling and said, "I’ve not been able to get that thought out of my mind all week: I might be wasting my life." I asked, "Are you the same Pat?" She said, "I’m the same one who rides her motorcycle at ninety-five miles an hour without a helmet and has never been afraid of anything, but now I’m utterly petrified.’’ Why? Because she was daring to do what disciples of Jesus Christ do: confront the issues. She quietly submitted her life to the Master last Sunday night. Do you call yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ? Disciples of Jesus Christ confront the issues he raises.
Citation: Stuart Briscoe, "Ordinary Folks Make Great Disciples," Preaching Today, Tape No. 47. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International
Jesus said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate … even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Jesus knows the cost of following Him is very HIGH.
That’s why Jesus told everyone who wants to follow Him – "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
SO WHAT WILL IT COST TO FOLLOW JESUS?
I think this sums it up very well.
One who trusts in Christ alone [will] completely give up his idols, horoscopes and other such practices of his old life that go against Christ’s Lordship. When a true believer is made aware of any area of his life that is not yielded to Christ, he will yield it. When he is made aware of a Christian principal to be followed, he will follow it whatever the cost.
So when a new believer finds out that a follower of Christ should love his enemies, he will do so, even though that seems sheer folly in today’s society. When he finds out that a follower of Christ cannot pay a bribe, he will stop paying bribes and pay dearly for it as far as his success in society is concerned. When finds out that a follower of Christ treats both high and low caste people, both rich and poor people as equals, he will do so, however hard that may be for him.
Citation: Ajith Fernando in The Christian’s Attitude Toward World Religions. Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 5. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International
1) Why should you count the cost and be ready to pay it? Please take a few moments right now to consider that question.
2) Why should you count the cost and be ready to pay it?
When you follow Jesus, you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior and know for sure that you’re on your way to heaven. After all that’s the direction Jesus always goes.
When you have received Jesus as Lord and Savior and you keep on following Him, He will bring you to a place of total surrender of your life to God. He will give you “a heart for holiness.”
When you follow Jesus He will ask God to give you the power to overcome your fears, your bitterness and your hurts. His Holy Spirit will help you replace hurtful habits and attitudes with ones that are like Jesus.
When you follow Jesus, you will see a life long advance to new heights of God’s power in your life. Often Jesus will lead you to try different spiritual disciplines to move you to the next level.
3) Please fill out the card in your Bulletin and bring it to the altar rail. We will close our service this morning with a prayer consecrating the days between now and Easter to God. These will be special days of seeking God’s help and life changing power.
4) Leave your card face sown on the altar rail and I will pray for each one through out the 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting. Thanks.
RESPOnSE CARD ---
My Request for God
During the next Forty Days of Prayer and Fasting, I will ask God to work in my life in the following….
I would like to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
I have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, but I would like to surrender my life to Christ. I want “a heart for holiness.”
I am asking God for the power to overcome __________________________________.
I am seeking a new level of God’s power in my life through _____________________.