Summary: While salvation is a free gift, there is a cost in following Jesus.
For over a year now we've been studying the Scriptures and looking at the 'basics' of Christianity. We went through 1 John asking the question 'Is It Real' and measuring ourselves up against the tests found throughout that book designed for the purpose of judging whether or not our faith in Christ is real or not.
Then we looked at the fundamental doctrines laid out in Hebrews 6:1-4, those doctrines we are told our elementary, the milk, that we must know and understand before we can move on to maturity.
And since Christmas we started to look at the most important part of the Christian life, prayer, and began by looking in depth at the prayer Jesus taught, the Lord's Prayer.
These are all basic, fundamental things that each of us need to know and to live by. Christ is the foundation of our faith, these things are the next layer. Everything we have looked at this past year has been geared towards building us up in the faith, helping us grow and mature in Christ.
And at the beginning of this year I told you that God had laid it on my heart to expect Him in 2010. In whatever we do, where ever we go, for whatever purpose the Lord has called us, He wants us to expect Him to move for the glory of His precious Name!
But if we are going to grow, if we are going to mature, if we are going to be used by God and to see Him move with power then we must first sit back and count the cost. Before we go any further in our walk with Jesus, we must know and understand that there is a cost to following Him!
Salvation is a free gift, when we gave our lives to Christ we were saved then and there, justified then and there, redeemed then and there, reconciled then and there!
But when we gave our lives to Jesus we did just that- gave our lives to Him! Not a little bit or half of it but ALL of it! To be redeemed means to be bought, and we were bought with the precious blood of Jesus! We are not our own anymore!
We can't live like we used to live! We can't do what we used to do! We can't be who we used to be! We are new creations now. Born again, born of the Spirit! And it is the Holy Spirit who lives in us! The old has gone and the new has come!
We are no longer our own masters! How does Paul describe himself? A servant of Christ, a slave, a bond slave even of the Living God! Now a slave isn't free to do what he wants or to go where he wants or to speak what he wants. He has his own desires and own plans but cannot do them!
That is what Paul calls himself and that is what we are! That's the cost! That's the price! Paul knew the cost, listen to what he says 'But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.'
During Christ's ministry many people followed Him, and listened to Him and were amazed by His teaching and of course the miracles He performed, but when He spoke about the cost of being a disciple, when He spoke about the cost of following Him John says '...many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him'
There is a cost to following Christ! Don't be deceived in to thinking there isn't. Don't be deceived into thinking that we can call out to Christ for forgiveness and salvation and then carry on living the life we lived before! Don't be deceived into thinking that God is there to serve us and not the other way around!
There is a price to pay to follow Jesus! Listen to theses verses: '"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.' (Lk 9:23-26)