Summary: Counting the cost

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The Cost of Discipleship

Luke 14:25-35

John Shearhart

August 8, 2010


This morning I want to talk to you about The Cost of Discipleship.

Christianity is sometimes sold as a quick-fix to all your life’s problems. “Come to Jesus,” they say “so that you can experience peace. Come so you can have victory and success and power.”

Actually, there’s nothing untrue about these claims—you will receive peace and victory and success and power—they might be defined differently than you think, but they’re all true.

But coming to Christ also means suffering and torment. It means agony and humiliation. Those who fail to count the cost are like someone buying a used car: they see the car on the lot and they see all the things they want to see. The carpet is clean, the tires are good, it seems to start fine—“Yes, this is the car for me.”

But then they get it home and discover that the gaskets leak, the battery doesn’t hold a charge, and the transmission is giving out.

So they take it back to get their money because “this isn’t at all what I had in mind.”

And Christianity is sometimes “tried out” the same way. They see all the blessings given to the saints and say, “Oh, I’d sure love to be a part of something like that. I wish I had power and success and victory. Let’s go ahead and make the sale.”

Then they find out that Christianity isn’t exactly what the preacher said it would be. There’s loneliness and abandonment; there’s abuse and mockery; there’s self-denial and moments that feel like defeat.

And that brings us to the reason a man comes to Christ in the first place—is he coming because he wants to take from Christ all that He’ll give? Or is he coming because he sees Christ as the Lord Who is worthy of his life and pledges allegiance to Him no matter what else happens as long as he lives?

The man who comes simply to get the blessings is like the man looking for a used car—he wants to give it a little test drive before making a commitment. He wants to make sure it suits him and helps him live out his desires.

But the man who sees Christ as Lord is like a slave coming under the submission of a Master—there’s no choice but to obey as long as he’s enslaved.

Do you see the difference? This is what it means to count the cost, and today we’re going to look at it in detail in Luke 14:25.

The Cost of Discipleship

Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26"If anyone comes to Me, and does not 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.

1. Christ’s disciples love Him more than anything else (:25-26)

Large crowds were going along with Jesus, but He doesn’t accept them all as disciples. Walking with Him is more than simply showing respect or hearing His teachings. It’s more than being familiar with Him.

To be a disciple one must “hate” even his closest family members; he must hate even his own life.

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Mt. 10:37).

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal (Jn. 12:25).

This is pretty strong language, but it goes to show the depths of the disciples’ love. Obviously husbands are to love their wives (Eph. 5:25), etc. but that love won’t come close to our love for Christ.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth (Psalm 73:25).

When we look at everything on earth and in heaven, there’s only One worth knowing and following.

The apostle Paul got it:

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ (Phil. 3:8).

In the Old Testament this is laid out very clearly:

If your brother, your mother's son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods' (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, 7of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), 8you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. 9"But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10"So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Deut. 13:6-10).

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