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Consider the Costs

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It is written in Luke 14:25-35: 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. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Jesus told that to those who were following Him. Basically, they are those who believe in Him. Therefore, if you are a believer in Christ and you desire to become a disciple of Jesus, you must first consider the cost – the cost of being a disciple of Jesus. What are the costs of becoming a disciple of Jesus?

1. You must follow Jesus[1] under the supervision of the Holy Spirit.

2. You must listen to Jesus.[2]

3. “…you must hate everyone else by comparison [of your love for Jesus][3]—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life.”[4] In the Peshitta version, it is written as: “He who comes to Me and does not put aside his father and his mother and his brothers and his sisters and his wife and his children and even his own life cannot be a disciple to Me.”

4. You must carry your cross.[5]

5. You have to give up everything, all you own, all your possessions.[6]

6. “…you will be handed over to the local councils [the courts[7]] and be flogged [and be scourged[8]] in the synagogues.”[9]

7. “…you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.”[10] In the NLT, it is translated as: “You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are My followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about Me.”

8. “All men [and all nations[11]] will hate you…”[12] The world will hate you.[13]

9. You must deny yourself.[14] The NLT translated it as: “…you must turn from your selfish ways…”

10. “…you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed.”[15]

11. “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.”[16]

12. “…you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve… [You will be sorrowful…[17]]”[18]

Does the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus seem too much to you? Maybe it seems a lot to ask. But consider the cost of the Lord. Consider how much it costs the Father to give His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to the world. Consider how much it costs Jesus to be flogged and then to be nailed to the cross to bear the costs of our sins. Consider how much it costs the Father to see His Son suffer at the hands of men. Consider how much it costs the Holy Spirit to be poured out on all flesh and thus lose His holiness. Consider how much it costs the Holy Spirit to be away from the Father and Jesus for over two millenniums now. So, how does that compare to the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Nevertheless, there are still those costs to consider if you want to be a disciple of Jesus. Therefore, you will need strength, strength to forgive and to endure, as we learnt last Wednesday.[19] We need strength to endure the costs of becoming a disciple of Jesus. We also need strength to endure all that are about to take place,[20] namely the days of distress unequalled since the beginning of the world and never to be equalled again.[21] We need strength to stand before the Son of Man. In Hebrews 13:9 of the NLT version, it is written: Your strength comes from God’s Grace…

We need strength to follow Jesus, for there will be those who will think we are out of our mind and that we are deluded because we follow Jesus. We need strength to listen to Jesus and not any other men, not even men like James the Younger, for there are many in the church who do not know the difference between the words of Jesus and the other words in the Bible, and they will think we are too narrow minded in listening only to Jesus. We need strength to hate everyone else by comparison of our love for Jesus, for our own family will complain because we love Jesus so much that our love for them seems like hatred. They will also be unhappy that we put them and our lives aside to be a disciple of Jesus. We need strength to carry our own cross, for the cross we carry will neither be easy nor light. We will be tempted to cast aside our cross, especially when we are tired and thirsty and the thought of taking yet another step seems almost unbearable. We need strength to give up everything, all we own, all our possessions, for we are so used to living life the worldly way where material possessions count and we have yet to live life according to the way the Lord planned from the beginning. We need strength when we are handed over to the local councils or the courts and when we are flogged or scourged in the synagogues, for they will think we are wrong and they will also think that they are doing a service to the world or even to God. We need strength when we stand trial before governors and kings. We need strength to witness to them and to the Gentiles. We need strength when everyone hates us because we do not belong to the world. Just as they hated Jesus first, they will hate us. We need strength to deny ourselves and to turn from our selfish ways, for it might not be easy to put the Lord first and to cast aside our worldly plans and desires. It will be like giving up your life in the eyes of the world. We need strength when we are arrested, persecuted and killed, for it can be very scary to say have a gun pointed at your head and seeing the trigger being pulled. We need strength when we are betrayed by our own family and friends, for the days of distress will be too much for them to bear and the temptation to take on the mark of the beast will seem a welcome relief to them. We need strength when we weep, mourn, grieve and are sorrowful while the world rejoices.

But look at the end game. Look at what the Lord has planned that is written for us in the Bible. You know that the Lord’s will, will be done. You know that all His words will come to pass. Jesus will come back and reign here on Earth for a thousand years. After that there are New Earth, New Heavens and New Jerusalem. Beyond that, God knows what is held in His empire of dreams. Don’t you think it will be all sooooooo worth it? That, the cost of discipleship is nothing compared to having the Father’s dreams and plans all come true? Let’s fast forward to Revelation 21. Imagine yourself in New Jerusalem with the Lord. Do you really think you would be obsessing or even thinking about all that you had to suffer and give up during your discipleship days? Wouldn’t you be busy enjoying yourselves so much being with the Lord and in the Lord, and possibly doing new things? Imagine the joy and delight of the Father when He has sons and daughters of the full stature of Jesus Christ. Is it not worth it to see that look on your Father’s face when you are standing in front of Him in the full stature of Jesus Christ as one who is worthy to be called His son or daughter?

So, if you have yet to consider the cost of what the Lord has called you for, consider now. You need to consider the cost before making your choice. If you choose to go down the road the Lord has called you for, do not complain when you have to bear the cost, for you knew the cost beforehand.

Amen.


 

[1] Matthew 10:38, 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, 14:27, John 12:26

[2] Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7 & Luke 9:35

[3] NASB footnote

[4] Luke 11:26 [NLT]

[5] Luke 14:27

[6] Luke 14:33 [NIV, NASB, Peshitta]

[7] NASB, NLT, ESV

[8] Peshitta, NKJV, NASB

[9] Matthew 10:17 [TNIV] & Mark 13:9

[10] Matthew 10:18, Mark 13:9 & Luke 21:12-13

[11] Matthew 10:22 [NLT] & 24:9

[12] Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13 & Luke 21:17

[13] John 17:14

[14] Matthew 16:24

[15] Matthew 24:9 [NLT] & Luke 21:12

[16] Luke 21:16 [TNIV]

[17] ESV & NKJV & HCSB

[18] John 16:20

[19] http://www.holyspiritsworkshop.com/word2007/07.03.2007_TheNewCovenant.pdf

[20] Luke 12:36

[21] Mark 13:19

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