Roseavenue.org

 



Sunday, October 14, 2012 am

COUNTING THE COST (2)
Luke 14:25-33

 

Before our gospel meeting we presented a lesson entitled “Counting the Cost.”  This was based upon the expectations of Jesus as He sought followers who were serious in their commitment.  It was such disciples that prompted Jesus from time to time to use strong language.  Language such as that found in our text calling for us to “hate” our families.  Obviously, the point addressed proper authority. 

Today is no different.  When we seek the lost we need to ensure that they understand what they are doing and the commitment expected of them.  Far too many want to “accept the Lord” without fully surrendering their lives to Him.  Sometimes we are too anxious to accommodate them thinking that the number of baptisms is all that counts.  But Jesus, in giving instructions to His apostles told them, “Go therefore and make DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20)  While that final statement is NOT saying that one must have a perfect and mature understanding, it does express an ATTITUDE of willingness to obey the Lord no matter the cost.  We ought to do our best to ensure that those we are trying to teach and those who express an interest in obeying the gospel fully understand the cost of discipleship.  Are we thorough enough?

Consider the cost paid in God sending “His only begotten Son” to die for our sins (John 3:16, Rom. 5:6-9) and consider how Jesus freely gave Himself a ransom for many (Phil. 2:5-7, Matt. 20:28).  His sacrifice ought to be motivation for the price we ought to be willing to pay.

In our last lesson we noted the cost of being a Christian involves:

1)       Our Relationships – would we give up worldly friends if they hindered our service to Him?

2)       Our possessions and worldly pleasures – are we willing to sacrifice the things of this world to follow Him?  In other words, are there possessions that we treasure more than a kingdom in heaven when this life is over? (Matt. 6:24, 19-21)

3)       Giving up sinful conduct – we cannot continue to sin (and reason that sin is acceptable) and be pleasing to Him (1 John 3:4-6, 9).  Are we willing to give up immoral activities such as dancing, ungodly movies and music, immodest clothing, drinking, gambling and other works of the flesh (cf. Gal. 5:19-21 which gives the sinful attitudes that lead to such activities)?

4)       A willingness to endure hardships for Him – will we “bear our cross”? (Lk. 14:27)  Are we “ready to suffer grief or pain, ready to stand the test” (Ready, #110 Sacred Selections)?

5)       A willingness to do whatever we need to do – to follow Him?  Will be prefer His brethren and His church over the world?  Will we do whatever He says, even if we don’t want to, or would rather do something else?

6)       Give up your own life – Would you die for Him? Rev. 12:11.

These are the cost of discipleship.  Have you counted the cost?  And furthermore, are we realistic in discussing these things with those who are considering obeying the gospel.

NOW, let us take a few moments and consider some other thoughts.

 I.                    Consider the rewards of such obedience –

a.        A relationship with our Creator – this is lacking in many world religions.  The gods of most world religions are impersonal or distant.
1 John 4:13-16 speaks of God abiding in us because we confess Him.
John 14:23 says, “IF anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and MY father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Romans 8:9-11 speaks of the Spirit of God dwelling within us.  We not fully comprehend how He dwells within us, but He does and it is a source of comfort.
Truly, God within us is a worthwhile reward for paying the cost!

b.       Eternal life in heaven – as Christians, we hope beyond this life.  We live in anticipation of a better place.  I am reminded of Heb. 11:13-16 – God prepared a city for them. 
Rom. 2:7 speaks of the eternal life that awaits those who patiently continue doing good. 
Rev. 2:10 speaks of being faithful until death and receiving the crown of life.
2 Tim. 4:8 described Paul’s hope of a crown that awaited him, “and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

c.        A brotherhood on earth – Mark 10:29-30 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for MY sake and the gospel’s who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life.”
The church is the family of God, and among its functions is our edification and exhortation (Eph. 2:19, 4:16, 1 Cor. 12:27, etc.)

d.       Contentment in life – 1 Tim. 6:6.  There is so much to be said about the relief one has when his purpose in life is not tied to the pursuit of this world’s things and ways.  He is the one who can learn to say, “So be it!” regardless of what his state is.  Like Paul, we can learn to be content no matter what our state may be (Phil. 4:11-13).

e.       Peace of mind – the Christian life is one that if followed faithfully, you can live with a good conscience (cf. Acts 23:1, 1 Pet. 3:16).  That is not to say you will not face grief and sleepless nights, but you know that in God’s eyes, all is well.

 

 II.                  The cost of refusing to obey –

a.        Like it or not, another consideration that we need to weigh is the cost of refusing to obey.    There is a high price in this life for one to follow after Jesus.  I have heard some say that following Jesus is easy.  I understand what is meant, but in the REAL WORLD, we know that it is not.  Even Peter, stumbled from time to time as an example (he denied our Lord and even as a seasoned apostle, he was a hypocrite in dealing with the Gentiles [Gal. 2:12-16]). 
It is not always easy to be a Christian, but it IS worth it!
AND, consider that if one refuses to obey God the COST is much higher!  Think about that!

b.       Scriptures are clear that those who will not obey will be lost! 

                                                   i.      2 Thess. 1:8-9 speaks of those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel.
Matt. 7:13-14 speaks of the two paths, the broader one leading to destruction. 
Luke 13:3 says, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

                                                  ii.      And then there are the passages that warn of returning to the world (again) – Luke 9:62, 2 Pet. 2:20-22, etc.

c.        One who is lost will:

                                                   i.      Be eternally separated from God – 2 Thess. 1:9 speaks of being punished with “everlasting destruction FROM the presence of the Lord.”
Matt. 7:23, concerning those who do not do the will of the Father, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

                                                  ii.      Suffer eternal torments - Mat. 25:46 speaks of everlasting punishment. The unprofitable servant was cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30).
Some contend that the descriptions of hell – eternal darkness, an unquenched fire, the worm doesn’t die, weeping and gnashing of teeth, etc. – are not literal.  Whether they are or not, the texts make it abundantly clear that the agonies of hell are the place you don’t want to go!  Yet those who refuse to pay the price of obedience in this life are destined to experience this place.

                                                iii.      Spend eternity with regret – Lk. 16:25 – the rich man had eternity to “think.” 
I am convinced that this is one way, “the latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (2 Pet. 2:20).  Imagine having had opportunity and rejecting it and being reminded of that every moment throughout eternity.  That is one of the GREATER terrors of hell!

 

Truly, the cost of discipleship is high.  It demands a dedicated change in your life that will affect every aspect of it.  But the rewards are “out of this world” and the price of refusing to obey is even higher.  What about you?  Have you counted the cost?  Why not obey Him today?