Summary: An overview of what discipleship: Where do i begin, What is required and What do i have to lose?
INTRO: I heard a story once about a pig and a chicken walking past a church where the sign read, “Help us to feed the hungry”. The chicken suggested to the pig that maybe they can help by pitching in some eggs and bacon. The pig responded, “Easy for you to say, your part requires just a contribution, for me it is a life or death commitment.”
This story is an illustration of what we are going to be discussing today, counting the cost…specifically in terms of discipleship.
Counting the cost is one of those things that you have to do often, but in reality we would prefer not to. Everything has got a cost to it. Been to the store lately? Have you bought gas?
No matter what you plan on doing with your life, there is a cost to it. Education…it cost money. Athletics, training for the coming Olympics, there is a great cost (time, training, trainers, etc).
In terms of being a disciple of Christ, there too, we much consider the cost of it.
Read text, Matt 16:24-26, and pray.
We need to first of all define what a “disciple” is.
For many of us, this is either a new term or one we don’t really understand.
We hear “disciple” and think of those 12 guys that ran around with Jesus…and yes they were disciples, they were followers of Christ.
We are also called to be disciples, the Great Commission says, “Go and make disciples.”
In the early church, followers of Christ were called disciples…Acts 11:26. Term “Christian” came months, maybe even years after Christ’s resurrection.
3 Questions we can find answers to in text on the cost of discipleship.
1. Where do I begin? V. 24…This is an appropriate question to ask, and Jesus gives us that answer.
a. Deny yourself: Giving Jesus his proper place in life.
- New Living Translation, “Put aside your selfish ambition”
- It is not about you.
- Making Jesus Lord, not just Savior…it is not one or the other.
b. Take up your cross: Discipline. (Word, prayer, worship, fellowship, and evangelism).
- Making our life an offering, Romans 12:1
c. Follow: The basic command of Christ.
- As He called His disciples, He said “Follow me”.
Discipleship beings when we call upon the name of Jesus for our salvation, when we give Him our life. We are denying our old ways, dying to the old self and choosing to follow him.
Discipleship is a lifetime…it does not one day end with “success”, because Christianity is a lifetime.
2. What is required? …once again, good question, you want to know what you are getting into.
Do you ever take a job without knowing what will be expected of you?
Jesus gives us a bit of a job description in V. 25 in a somewhat creative way.
• I love this verse! It reminds me a little of that old Abbott and Costello skit, “Who’s on first”:
What is required? Losing your life.
Why? So that you may have life.
But you said I was going to lose my life. Yes I did.
But when do I gain life? When you lose it.
Lose what? Your life.
And gain what? Your life.
How do I gain life by losing it? God’s Grace!
Mercy…He plays outfield!
Jesus had a way of making his listeners think, as He does here.
His point was that there is a huge investment that needs to be made on our part when we choose to be a disciple
When Jesus says, “Losing your life”, what does He mean, does He mean REALLY losing it?
Keith Green, Deitrich Bonhoeffer – Death
Jim Baker – Loss of family and riches.
Chuck Colson – Loss of pride.
God will take away the very thing that we cling to the most because we will often place that before Him.
God will not always require us to give up our life to the point of death, but because of our love for Him it should not be an issue.
Phil 1:21, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Lordship is the key!
Giving Jesus full control of our life, “god is my co-pilot” is not it.
3. What do I have to lose?
Bumper sticker, “He who dies with the most toys wins”. This is a popular mindset for this day and age.
We want to be like the Jeffersons, “Moving on up”
The way of the world is to want more money, a bigger house, faster cars, and the “perfect love”.
The message from Jesus was nothing like this, v. 26.
What good is it to have everything here on earth only to die and lose it all…”He who dies with the most toys” still dies!