Summary: There is no free ride in following Jesus. The journey will cost us.

The Cost of the Cross

I. Introduction

Play a game with grocery items. Each ‘contestant’ will have a designated amount of money to spend. They will need to spend as much money as possible without going over their allotted amount.

The illustration is that the game is tough when you don’t know ‘up front’ what price you will be asked to pay.

II. Transition

The Lord calls each of us to follow him wholeheartedly. It is a costly decision, but he has told us up front the price to be paid. With that in mind, let’s consider THE COST OF THE CROSS.

III. Text—Luke 14:25-33

Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

IV. Prayer

V. The Cost of the Cross

A. Author Calvin Miller writes:

“Many Christians are only “Christaholics” and not disciples at all. Disciples are cross-bearers; they seek Christ. Christaholics seek happiness. Disciples dare to discipline themselves, and the demands they place on themselves leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth. Christaholics are escapists looking for a shortcut to nirvana. Like drug addicts, they are trying to “bomb out” of their depressing world.”

1. The good news of Jesus is that we don’t need to “bomb out” of our depressing worlds. He has promised to always be with us. We have also been given an invitation to confidently approach God in our times of need.

2. Life can be a difficult journey. However, difficulty does not negate happiness or blessing. In fact, difficulty often helps us better appreciate the good things in life.

ILLUSTRATION: (from the March 2000 issue of GOLF DIGEST)

In 1997, Reilly Rankin, was an all-American golfer as a freshman at the University of Georgia. In her sophomore year, she was set back by an appendectomy, hernia repair and treatment for endometriosis. Having recovered from these procedures, her and a group of friends ventured out onto Lake Martin, just north of Montgomery, Alabama. They were looking for a place called Chimney Rock. It was a popular site from which to jump and dive.

It only took them 10 minutes to find Chimney Rock. When Reilly saw it, her first thought was, “It’s not that big.” She swam to the rock and climbed past a cautious-jumper’s ledge 20 feet above the water. She went all the way to the top, 70 feet up. From there, she looked down at her friends in the boat and thought, “Whoa, this is high.”

Once on the ledge, she realized she had no where to go but into the water; it seemed riskier to climb down than to jump. But she couldn’t bring herself to do either.

Two young boys climbed up when they saw her peer over the edge. They showed her the running start needed to clear the cliff’s edge. In the air, one said, “Be like a pencil [when you enter the water].

After half an hour, Reilly threw herself off the rock. Right away she knew she’d done it badly. She wasn’t being a pencil. She was running in the air. She wouldn’t slide into the water. She would crash into it.

She landed on her hind end and flipped forward smacking her upper body against the water, which at her falling speed was like concrete. She had two broken vertebrae, a broken sternum and bruises to her heart, lungs and aorta. She might have been paralyzed had either of the two broken vertebrae moved another half centimeter. She wanted to know two things, “Am I going to die?” “Am I going to be able to play golf again?”

Today, she is practicing with the golf team again. She says, “Chimney Rock is the best thing that ever happened to me. If I hadn’t broken my back and bruised my heart and cracked my sternum, I’d have never known how family, friends and love can bring you through anything. With this and the surgeries the year before, people say, ‘Oh, you’re the most unlucky person.’ They’re wrong. I’m the luckiest person alive.”

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