Summary: While the cost of discipleship is 100% commitment 100% of the time, the outworking of that commitment will differ from one person to the next.
Last week we spoke about the cost of discipleship, or the cost of following Jesus, or the cost of being a Christian. Whether you are the pastor or a missionary or just the guy who gives out the hymn books each meeting, the cost of following Jesus is the same for us all.
And from the Scriptures we said, first of all, that there IS a cost to following Jesus. Whatever your thinking maybe before, whatever the tracks you’ve read have said, whatever your pastors or favourite tele –evangelists may have said, there IS a price to pay to follow Christ, there is a cost.
In Luke Christ says ‘If you want to follow Me you must take up your cross daily...if you don’t you are not worthy of Me’; to the rich young ruler He said if you want to follow Me, if you want to be a Christian then ‘go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor...’ the first disciples who were called immediately left their jobs, their businesses, their families in order to follow Christ.
2ndly, we said that the cost is great. To follow Jesus, to be called a Christian we must ‘present our bodies as living sacrifices...’; ‘Deny ourselves and take up our cross daily...’; Luke 14:25 says ‘"... If anyone comes to Me and doesn't hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple."’
And the cost of following Christ we said, which is the same for us all, can be summed up as 100% commitment, 100% of the time. And anything less than a total commitment to God is NOT good enough.
Remember the words Jesus Himself said to the lukewarm Church, the uncommitted Church in Laodicea ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.’
Paul warns Timothy of these uncommitted Christians – these so called Christians ‘...will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them —men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected’
And, if that’s not enough Jesus Himself tells us that many, on the Day of Judgement will say to Him ‘Lord, Lord, we did this in Your Name and we did that in Your Name and we did the other in your Name.’ But Jesus will say ‘Depart from Me for I never knew you’
And we began our service last week reading from Luke 14 where we are told, before we decide to give our lives to Jesus, to ‘sit down and count the cost’ of doing that. Because if we don’t, if we start this walk, if we begin to build this tower WITHOUT first realizing the cost then disaster awaits us!
I went to China a few years back with a friend from Uni, and in their town there were 2 huge, unfinished tower blocks. And my friend told me that one guy decided one day to build the tallest tower in that city. But then another guy heard his plan and he too decided to build the highest tower in the city.
And so they began, competing against each other, to build the tallest tower in the city. One would get to 20 stories and thought that was it, but the other would then build 21, so the first would add another 2 floors, then the other would do the same.
And this went on for a long time until eventually, they both spent all their money and went bankrupt. And these 2 towers, instead of being symbols of innovation and testaments to their builders ended up being symbols of foolishness! What should have made these men their fortune instead became their ruin. All because they didn’t sit down and count the cost.
And that is the danger for the Christian. We may start out with the best intentions, praising Jesus and singing those lovely hymns, expecting to be healthy and debt free within a year or whatever, and we find out that this walk is much harder than we thought, that the will and the ways of God are different from my will and my way and it’s US who has to change to be more in line with God and not Him to change to be like us.
And soon the praising stops and so does the singing, and that tower we started to build with the greatest intentions in the world suddenly stops and instead of being a testament and a symbol of the greatness of God, it becomes another stone in the hands of Satan used to hinder the Kingdom of God!