The Cost Of Discipleship

BASED UPON A SERMON BY N.B. HARDEMAN

 

25Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28“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 29“lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30“saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31“Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32“Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.      Luke 14:25-33

 

Our subject of this study is "The Cost of Discipleship".  What does it cost to become a child of God, and meet with heavens approval in our journey homeward? 

 

There were multitudes that frequently gathered round about our Lord, prompted by various reasons. Some of them followed for the loaves and fishes which He was able to multiply. Others followed doubtless, out of curiosity, and to behold the great signs, wonders, and miracles which He was accustomed to evidence in their presence.

 

A certain man approached Jesus on one occasion to say: 

Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58And Jesus said unto him…….....Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Luke 9:57-58).  As much as to say, "Don't follow me with the hope of dwelling in palaces fair on earth, or of sharing in the better things of this life, for of such I do not possess."

 

I begin by saying it cost us something to be a disciple of Christ.  Notice again this text: Luke 14:26 to this great multitude Jesus states:

 

26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.  ………33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.       

 

There are many hard sayings in the Bible things that challenge our thinking. To chose discipleship is to choose a way fraught with denial and that of bearing crosses. Upon the condition that one must hate his father, his mother and generally those most closest to him,  I must admit, I cannot do that.   And if the word hate, carry the ordinary significance here as I understand its meaning, I confess, I can not be a disciple.  For, I do not hate the father responsible for my existence upon earth, a man of whom I have the fondest memories.

 

My father has been dead for many years, he gave me my faith from a child he taught me the holy scriptures. My interest in music, which I cherish, and resulted from his interest. I do not hate my father.

 

Christ said, not only  must  hate my, father, but likewise I must hate my mother..... My mother died when I was only 5 years old. I really never knew my mother, I vaguely member her face, her voice I can not recall. I have very tender feelings for the memories, and stories I have heard of others concerning her.. But Christ said, "unless you hate your father, mother, brothers, sisters, children and your wife, you cannot be my disciple."  But I read in Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it       

 

I know that God is the author of this book, that every word of it is true, I know that all truths run parallel and if there seemingly is a discrepancy or a  contradiction it lies in my mind not in the words of Him who spoke these things. Paul gives these instructions   in  Ephesians 6:1-3

 

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

I cannot hate my family—

 

 

But words do not always carry the same significance in the scriptures. The word "hate" is one of those,  to us today, it means to despise, dislike, to abhor, to have absolutely no regard for….. But it does not always carry that significance in the Bible. 

In Genesis 29 there is a passage that will shed light upon this. The Bible teaches that Jacob ran away from home when he was fleeing Esau, to the lands of his mother's people, there he married Leah, the daughter of Laban. After seven years married Rachel her sister.   Our passage Genesis 29:30 states that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, but the next verse specifically states  31And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

 

What is the suggestion? Simply that of a comparative idea.   God says that Jacob in loving Rachel more than he did Leah that she was hated, or loved less. Now watch the parallel passage recorded Matt 10:36-37

36And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

 

Our text of Luke chapter 14 reads with  a different idea, when we insert  this idea  (more than me)  for the word hate ¾ hear it

26If any man come to me, and does not love me more his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

 

 With many of us, this test has never come.  And yet possibly there of many of you who know someone who has had to make just this choice. Now suppose a man wants to become a Christian and decides to obey the gospel, but his wife rises up in rebellion and files an objection, "I'll leave you if you do!"  That man has been put to the test. Shall he obey God, or respect the whims and wishes of his wife?  Let Christ answer

37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

 

I knew a man who was told in advance of becoming a Christian, "You'll have to find another home!" But that decision was made, and he did indeed leave home but is a fine gospel preacher today.  I believe that people ought to become followers of Christ prompted by the loftiest incentives and highest motives.  I heard a woman speak to a man, and say "John your wife Mary is a fine Christian woman, don't you think you ought to obey the gospel? It sure would please Mary if you did"  Any man who will become a Christian just to please his wife is unworthy  to wear the name of Christ. And if that is the only reason for becoming a Christian, I think he will ultimately be lost at last.

 

Therefore let us take Christianity out of the idea of being a kind of social club, let us be moved by genuine convictions and high ideals, all  must be subordinated to the will of God.  The church of our Lord is not calling for great numbers to swell the roll here, but we are calling on men and women to repent of their sins,  and truly be converted to the truth, with the courage to stand against anything contrary to sound doctrine….   

 

Paul urges Timothy —1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

 

Well, Another thought ¾ 1 John 2:15  states:

15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

 

That is a hard saying, I am frank to tell you I do love this old world on which I dwell. I love the beautiful Tennessee mountains. Have you ever heard a more beautiful sound that the calls of a mockingbird? The sweet scented flowers that make our pathway more pleasant.  I enjoy a beautiful sunset, or a harvest moon. But I do not think this passage forbids my having regard for these things. The word world is used here in a figurative sense.  We speak of a man being worldly-minded, as yielding to the carnal or fleshly appetites.,  lusts and passions.

 

Now in this sense of the word the Bible has a lot to say about it. In Galatians 5:19  there is this recitation:

 

19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”.        And in this sense I am not to love the world

 

Our text carries yet another fine consideration. Luke 14:28-33

 

28“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 29“lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30“saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31“Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32“Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

 

You ask what is the point of these splendid verses? I think it may be summed after way. Before we become a child of God, a Christian, we need to sit down and count the cost. But again if you contemplate going through life,  fighting against God, to finally meet  Him in judgment in disobedience, again you better sit down, and count well the cost.  If you are fighting against the forces of God Almighty, living in disobedience to His holy will, it would be well to think seriously and come to a decision to send an embassy and seek peace while the opportunity affords you.  Sit Down And Count Cost...  A bumper sticker I saw reads: “If  you believe there is not God, you had better be right”.  Good advice.

 

When I begin to count the cost of a thing from a business point of view,  “will it pay me to make this investment”?  I call your attention to some Bible characters who lived and invested in the service of God, you decide...  was it a wise investment

 

Along the lower Euphrates there lived, a man by the name of Abraham. There he enjoyed the benefits of that rich fertile country¾  But the call of God bade him forsake all, go out to a place afterwards to be revealed. Abraham left, and invested in the call of God. Genesis 12.  Did it pay? Hold that thought for a moment

 

Moses was adopted by Pharaoh the king of Egypt’s  daughter tutored and disciplined  in all the Wisdoms of Egypt, a man mighty in word and deed, a man adopted into the finest opportunities the world had to offer any man. But had to make a decision, in response to God, ..... the Hebrew writer states:

24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt    Was that a good investment?

 

The apostle Paul, forsook all the opportunities of the Jewish world,  counting the loss of these  but dross,  that he might  gain the knowledge of and be a disciple of our Lord.   Friends, were these good investments.

 

Does it pay to become a disciple of Christ? Were these characters justified in the acts thus described?  You know the story of Abraham  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.    Abraham why would you do that?

 

 Let the Hebrew writer supplies our answer Hebrew 11:10  

10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. Had Abraham never done this, you and I would not have heard his name, except possibly in some negative way. But as it is 4,000 years has passed since Abraham made that investment, and he has since been called the "friend of God"

 

But that is not all,  Abraham stands to every generation today as God's great man of faith  and Paul told the Galatians  ¾

29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.   Also we read from the lips of the Master Himself speaking of father Abraham Matthew  8:11-12

 

11“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12“But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Of course his investment paid

 

Moses cast his lot with God, invested in God's promises ¾  was it wise? You remember the story of the transfiguration Matthew chapter 17. Some 1500 years after his death, Moses was privileged to appear with the Son of God and the great servant Elijah.    But again that is not all, when time shall be no more, the ransomed of the earth shall be gathered and there we shall sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Of course his investment paid

 

 

The peerless apostle Paul  at the close of his wonderful Christian career states  2 Timothy 4:7-8

7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

 

There is another record in Luke chap 18:18-30. It is the story  of a man clothed in purple and wealth. Christ demanded that he give it all up, and follow after him. But he clung to his riches, and as far as we know he was shut out of the kingdom of God, passing to a country where hope is a complete stranger, and mercy will  never be known.

 

Beloved if we who have invested in Christianity can but be faithful to the end of life's way, we are certain to receive the fullest fruition of  all our hopes.  It is in this light that the apostle Paul says:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Cor. 15:58           Galatians 6:9 states: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

 

Have you made that investment? Pay whatever price is necessary, become a Child of God, then lean on His everlasting arms to fulfill  all His promises. Where will you spend eternity, don't  like the Rich young man, reject our Lord, Did he make a proper and wise investment?


contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658