Summary: There is a cost involved with discipleship, in moving from the crowd to the committed.

The Cost of Discipleship

Matthew 8:18-22

What is the cost of discipleship? Jesus urged His followers to count the cost, but have any of us really taken the time to think about the cost of following Jesus, and have we settled in our hearts that we are willing to follow Him, no matter what the cost?

Martin Luther said, “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.”

"If you want to follow Jesus," remarked the activist priest Berigan, "you had better look good on wood."

The world has been a difficult and trying place for those who are serious about following Christ. Listen to the following statistics from the World Evangelical Encyclopedia:

• Since the death of Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago, 43 million Christians have become martyrs

• Over 50% of these were in the last century alone

• More than 200 million Christians face persecution each day, 60% of whom are children

• Every day over 300 people are killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Some of you may remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. He said when he first came to the United States from Russia; he wasn’t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!"

Somewhere along the way we became convinced in this country that Christianity was ‘easy’. Just add water and ‘wala – instant Christianity”. All you had to do was go to Church once in awhile, say a few prayers, read your bible from time to time, and invite Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior, and you were good to go. You could go on living with your own goals and ambitions, you could make life the way you wanted it to be, you could do it “your way”, still get to heaven, and all would be good.

But is that what Jesus intended? What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? Is there a difference between a believer and a disciple? And if, as we have stated in our mission statement, our goal as a church is to “Make Disciples”, then what should be happening in the lives of those who attend Faith Alliance Church? Are we becoming ‘fully devoted followers of Christ’?

Theme: Jesus calls His followers to count the cost of discipleship!

There is a difference between those who follow Christ for fishes and loaves, and those who follow Christ with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus indicated this often in His teaching, but this morning I want us to look at Matthew 8:18-22. As we begin we will se first of all that:

1. There is a distinction between the crowd and the disciple.

Matthew 8:18-22

When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.

Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you no matter where you go!"

But Jesus said, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head."

Another of his disciples said, "Lord, first let me return home and bury my father."

But Jesus told him, "Follow me now! Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead."

Let’s start by taking a closer look at verse 18:

When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.

Jesus has been ministering to the crowd near Capernaum. He had healed many diseases and driven out evil spirits. He had preached and taught the people, and so many of them followed Him that they were pressing against Him at the beach. Then Jesus gave His disciples an order: “We need to move to the other side of the Lake.”

Why would Jesus want to do this? Of course we know that He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and that He had indicated often that He must keep moving from town to town to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

But the way Matthew has worded verse 18 indicates that the motive for Jesus crossing to the other side was more than just wanted to reach the people on the other side. Matthew writes: “When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.”

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