Summary: A look at what it means to "count the cost" and why that's so essential. This message calls down the cheap gospel presentations that we so often make that have no mention in them of what it actually means to follow Jesus.

CHEAP FAITH: Too often we offer salvation that’s straight from the discount bin.

- Luke 14:28-32.

- Our approach to evangelism is too often to present salvation as a low-cost, no-commitment offer. All you need to do is say you believe in Jesus! That’s it! There’s no mention of the need for obedience or that being a Christian means following Christ.

- We leave out the hard parts and concentrate on the “free” parts.

- In the end, we only tell part of the story – the parts that make it most likely for them to say yes.

- It’d be like a car salesman saying, “You want this new vehicle? All you have to do is sign this paper right here!” You know, it might be worth mentioning that there are monthly payments that you’re going to have to make.

- This approach is not only Biblically-inaccurate, it’s also short-sighted because it gets people to say “Yes” but it’s commitment that’s essentially meaningless because they don’t know what they’re saying yes to.

- It’s really not a surprise (even knowing that the parable of the four soils lets us know that there will always be a significant portion that walk away) that we have so many people in America who claim to be Christians but who have no outward evidence of that commitment when you consider that we too often have “shared the gospel” in such an incomplete manner.

- “Wait a second,” you say, “I thought salvation was free.” Well, let’s talk about that.

- There are a couple verses in Titus 2 that can be helpful here.

- [put on screen?] Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”

- That verse brings out the point that you’re thinking, “Salvation is free because it can only come by grace through faith.” That is absolutely Biblically true: you cannot buy or earn salvation – you have to receive it as a gift. Why does it come to us through grace? Because that’s the only way that we’d be able to receive it. We can’t work hard enough to take away our sins; we can’t do enough good to offset our sin guilt.

- You could say that we’ve confused the fact that salvation is free with the idea that salvation is cheap. Salvation comes as a free gift, but it is not a cheap gift – in fact it cost God’s only Son His very life.

- This is brought out in the verse that follows.

- [put on screen?] Titus 2:12 says, “It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

- Notice that there is a consequence to receiving that free gift of salvation that came into our life by grace. The consequence is that God intends to transform us from sinful creatures into creatures that live lives that honor and glorify Him and that are no longer bound by sin’s power.

- God gives us our new nature as a gift, just like He gives us our forgiveness as a gift. He gives us the Holy Spirit as a gift. He gives us His Word to guide us as a gift. It’s all stuff that we don’t deserve and can’t earn by our own merits.

- But – and here’s the key point – He gives us all those things with the intent of transforming us into Christlikeness.

- That is an incredible opportunity when we understand it correctly. We were bound in our ugly, shameful sin and Jesus is offering us a chance not only to be forgiven but to be transformed into His goodness and love?!?!? Where do I sign up? It is an incredible opportunity – literally the opportunity of a lifetime.

- But it presumes that in receiving those free gifts that He gives us that He is giving them to us with the intent of changing and using our lives. And that transformation and service can get difficult sometimes. (More on this in a later point in the sermon.)

- The point is this: it is a free gift, but it’s a gift that He intends to use to transform us – and that transformation is not an easy one.

- So that leads us to the phrase in v. 28 that we should “count the cost” (NKJV). Let’s talk about what that means.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "COUNT THE COST"? Think deeply about the commitment you’re making because it’s a big one.

- Luke 14:28.

- [put in outline] “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost. . .” - Luke 14:28 (NKJV)

- I like the way the NKJV puts it when it says to “count the cost.”

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