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Sunday, March 30, 2014 pm            Song Index

 

SERMONS IN SONG
Have You Counted the Cost?
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#480 – Sacred Selections

 In Luke 14 we find Jesus teaching about the cost of being His disciples.  In vs. 27 He says, “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:27–30)

The song we are studying tonight is “Have You Counted the Cost?”  It is a song written by AJ Hodge and has a copyright of 1923.  We know nothing more about this author or the background of this song. 

The message is one we are reminded of continually in scripture – the need to count the cost for the decisions we make.   The truth is, WHATEVER decision we make, there is a cost associated with it.  This song reminds us of some of those costs, especially if we choose to reject the Lord.

 I.                    Vs. 1 - The cost of rejection

a.        There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting the Lord – we are called upon to make a choice.
“Crossing the line” is an expression we sometimes use to describe one going beyond a boundary that has been set.  For some it has been a game (I dare you to cross that line).  For others it describes a decision one makes that comes with consequences of some sort or perhaps it is a sign of support (honoring or crossing a picket line).
Matt. 12:30, Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  While teaching, Jesus continually drew a line between those who would accept Him and those who would reject Him. 
In Matthew 25:31-33 we read of the day the Son of Man comes when all nations will be gathered before Him and the sheep and the goats will be separated.  The sheep are His followers who obey while the goats are all who are not His sheep – the lost.  Jesus is again emphasizing there is a line between the saved and the lost.
We draw that line when we sin!  Rom. 6:23, Isa. 59:2 – your iniquities have separated you from your God.

b.       Where the call of His Spirit is lost – whether this is one who just refuses to obey (as in the hardened heart – Matt. 13:4, 18-19) or one who drifts away so far from God to that he has reached the point of hopeless despair (Consider Heb. 6:4-6 warns us of the impossibility of renewing one to repentance who has fallen away.  The grammatical make-up of these verses seems to indicate one who has left the word of God and continues to live in that state of rejection.  He is so far gone that no one can say anything to provoke him to repentance.
Heb. 10:26-29 warns of those who have abandoned their brethren and persist to live in wilful sin.  They are described in deplorable terms – both in conduct and punishment) – there’s a line! 
They REFUSE to repent!  Paul warned Timothy of those who conscience had been seared with a hot iron (1 Tim. 4:1-2) – meaning it was damaged to the point of where there are no feelings of guilt in sin (such as a brand kills the nerve endings).
It is through the gospel that we are called (cf. 2 Thess. 2:14).  But if we reject that invitation what is left?

c.        And you hurry along with the pleasure mad throng – busyness sometimes is the culprit.
WE have to be careful that we do not get so busy doing whatever that we fail to take time to consider God in our lives.   That is the plight of many who reject God. 
Luke 9:59-62, “Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”” NOTICE how potential disciples decided to take care of other things instead of following Jesus. You find a similar message in the parable of the great supper – Luke 14:16-24 where invited guests had land to take care of, animals to test and family matters.  Too busy to take care of other pressing matters. 
We have to use our time wisely – Eph. 5:15-16.  We have to seek first the kingdom of God! 
To neglect these things could cost us eternity in heaven – Hebrews 2:1-3 speaks of being earnest lest we drift away and we neglect our salvation.
We also need to take time to meditate on God’s word (Phil. 4:8), pray (Matt. 6:6), and examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5).   This is CRUCIAL to our growth.

d.       Have you counted, have you counted the cost – the message of this song!

 

 II.                  Vs. 2 - The cost of worldliness

a.        You may barter your hope of eternity’s morn – bartering is seeking to exchange goods or services with another without using money to pay for it.  The object of bartering is to get a better deal for yourself (or so you think).  There was actually a reality show that involved a series of trades where the traders would end up with something of much greater value that the item they started with. 
IT is one thing to barter for stuff, but what about bartering with our eternity?
Esau is an infamous character in the Bible who is known for selling his birthright for a mess of pottage.   Heb. 12:15-16 warns us to pursue peace and holiness, “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.   NOTICE how Esau is described as a profane person. He took that which was sacred (his birthright) and treated it as common.
Don’t sell your soul for anything in this life.  Matt. 16:26, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

b.       For a moment of joy at the most – I again think of Esau and how his moment of hunger that led to his rash decision.
In our instant society, we need to carefully think about our decisions – whether it be some purchase (on credit), some form of immoral entertainment (pornography, gambling, drinking, drugs, fornication, etc.), or just doing something right now instead of the better choice (i.e. forsaking the assembly for entertainment, too much time at work to the neglect of time with God and family, etc.).  These things might provide instant gratification, but the long term cost is often great.
Instead let us be like Jesus who was hungry after 4o days of temptation.  Satan tempted Him to make bread out of stones.  He the answer of Jesus, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)
Heb. 11:24-26,
 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

c.        For the glitter of sin and the things it will win – sin is a trap. 
Satan appeals to your lusts, weaknesses and desires.  He will make them look appealing.  Consider the commercials for sin – the lottery, beer, scantily clad women (and men) all over the place (bill boards, fast food commercials, etc.). 
That is the nature of temptation.  James described it in James 1:14–15, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.  Satan knows your weaknesses and he will use them.  He will appeal to your wants and desires.
LEARN self-control!  WE have to be creatures of self-discipline if we are to overcome sin and please God. 
1 John 2:15-17 – “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 III.                Vs. 3 – The cost of delay

a.        While the door of His mercy is open to you
You are here and you still have opportunity.   
2 Peter 3:9 reminds us that God is longsuffering – He waits to end this world so that souls can be saved.
1 Tim. 2:3 tells us that God desires all men everywhere to be saved.
Jesus is still outside and knocking - “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

b.       Ere the depth of His love you exhaust – his invitation is not eternal. 
He will eventually cease His pleading and knocking. 
A day has been appointed – Heb. 9:27.  And it will come suddenly – 1 Thess. 5:2-4
Today is the day of salvation – Rom. 13:11-13
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

When the Lord returns then it will be too late.

c.        Won’t you come and be healed?  Won’t you whisper, “I yield”!  
This is a call to obey the gospel.  The “sickness” of course is the sin that we have allowed to burden our lives.  Jesus described Himself in terms of a physician coming to heal the sick.  When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”” (Mark 2:17)
Speaking of the sinful nation of Israel Isaiah said, ““Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward. Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment.” (Isaiah 1:4–6, also Isa. 6:9-10)
1 Peter 2:24, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

But His healing only comes to those who yield to His will.  We need to obey.  In Acts 3:19 Peter told the crowd, “Repent and be converted.” 
Acts 22:16 finds Paul being told to repent and be baptized and wash away his sins.

 

 IV.                Chorus – the cost of a lost soul – eternity separated from God.

a.        Have you counted the cost
At the conclusion of each verse, and as the chorus begins we sing the call to count the cost. 

b.       If your soul should be lost -
We have in this song talked about many things that man pays for in this life.  He barters with his eternal soul.
But the truth is what he is bartering with is where he will spend eternity.  The Bible clearly speaks of eternal punishment – whether we like it or not, the warnings are there.
Matt. 25:41, 46: ““Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:9–10)

c.        Though you gain the whole world for your own – Again, we are simply reminded of Matt. 16:26

d.       Even now it may be that the line you have crossed
As this chorus concludes the call is to examine ourselves.  Perhaps we have already “crossed the line” of sin.  But I want us to also consider this - with every invitation, if you are not prepared, it is another opportunity squandered.   Friends, every time we reject obedience (saying we’ll respond soon) our heart becomes a little harder.  The next time ignoring our need to change becomes a little easier.  Eventually, there is no conscience left – it has been seared as with a hot iron.  Nothing that one can say will move you.  

e.       Have you counted…have you counted the cost?

 

Anybody familiar with credit knows that while you enjoy what you have financed, a day will come when the bill has to be paid.  In recent years many have lost their homes and numerous other possessions because they failed to consider the ultimate consequences of their decisions.  Their loss was physical and perhaps sinful (but not always).  But we are talking about standing before God in judgment.  Your life is a stewardship, and one day we are going to be called to give an accounting.  Are you ready to stand before Him when your “bill” comes due?    Friends, don’t reach that point in your life where you are without hope.  Yield to His will and do it now!