Summary: Billy Graham used to say: "Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you everything." That is an accurate expression of the teachings of Jesus on the cost of discipleship. In this sermon, we explore what it means to pay the cost of discipleship.
A. I like the old classic joke about the chicken and the pig who were talking about going into business.
1. The chicken says: “Hey Pig, we should open a restaurant.” The pig replies: “I’m not sure, what would we call it?”
2. The chicken answers: “What if we called it ‘Ham and Eggs’?” The pig doesn’t like that idea: “No Thanks, I’d be committed and you’d only be involved.”
3. So the chicken counters: “What if I am committed as well?” The pig asks: “I don’t see how you could be?”
4. The chicken explains: “We can open a place called ‘Wings-N-Ribs’!” The pig answers: “With both of us committed, I’m in!”
B. The big question about discipleship that I want us to wrestle with today is: Am I just involved with Jesus, or am I completely committed to Jesus?
1. In our sermon series on discipleship, we have been trying to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and are realizing that discipleship is a lot more than church membership and church attendance.
2. Last week we explored the call of discipleship and learned that a disciple is someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus.
3. Today, we want to explore the cost of discipleship and come to realize that the cost of discipleship is more like the sacrifice the pig makes for bacon than the chicken makes for eggs.
C. Most people really like the Bible verse John 3:16 (and for good reason) – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, the whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
1. Back in the day when we could have fans at sporting events, you would often see someone holding a sign with John 3:16 on it.
a. It is an important verse full of God’s love and truth, but the simplicity and brevity of our response (believe) is open to misunderstanding and minimization.
b. Those of us who are committed disciples of Jesus know that believing in Jesus is much more than a decision of the mind, it is a life of trust and obedience to Jesus.
2. A verse in the Bible that we will never see on a sign at a sports stadium is Luke 9:23 because it clearly communicates the cost of discipleship.
a. Luke 9:23 reads: Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
3. Let’s spend a few minutes dissecting this important verse.
D. Let’s start with the first word that stands out in that verse – ANYONE.
1. “If anyone wants to follow after me” – If anyone wants to be a disciple of Jesus.
2. The amazing truth that leaps off the page is “anyone means anyone!”
3. Being a follower of Jesus is an invitation to everyone – no one is excluded from the possibility of being a disciple of Jesus.
4. This means that discipleship isn’t just for a chosen few – an “elect” – so to speak.
5. Anyone is an all-inclusive word – anyone means everyone.
6. No one is too good or too bad to begin to follow after Jesus.
a. So, who is invited to follow Jesus? Anyone and everyone.
b. People with an immoral sexual past? Anyone.
c. People who have worshiped other gods? Anyone.
d. People who have been in trouble with the law and gone to prison? Anyone.
e. People who have had failed marriages? Anyone.
f. People who have been addicted to alcohol, cocaine, pot, gambling or porn? Anyone.
g. What about other kinds of sinners and hypocrites? Anyone.
7. How about that - anyone means me and you and everyone else.
8. Many people think that the excluding factor for discipleship has to do with a person’s past life and behavior, but that is one of the devil’s lies – salvation and discipleship is open to anyone.
9. As we continue to dissect this verse from Luke 9, we will see that the greatest excluding factors for discipleship have to do with the cost everyone must be willing to pay when they decide to accept Jesus’ invitation.
E. The next important words are “wants to follow after me” or “would come after me” - this phrase describes a passionate pursuit.
1. Jesus wants us to understand that following him is a pursuit that requires everything we have.
2. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 13 called “The Pearl of Great Price” and it gives us a good illustration of what Jesus means by pursuing Him.
a. Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought it” (Mt. 13:44-46).