Faithlife Sermons

Counting the Cost - A Life of Sacrifice

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

We will live for a lot of things in this life.
The approval of our parents.
Our favorite sports team.
A job.
a significant other.
Family (yes those are different)
We can live for the pursuit of money, power, influence.
But you find what really matters when you figure out what’s worth dying for.
Would you die for your job? Your favorite sports team? Would you die for your kids?
Now would you die for Jesus? Would you die for His church and the people in it?
Would you give your life that the world might know His name?
Over the last few weeks we’ve been counting the cost of following Jesus. We’ve talked about money, time, gifts. We’ve talked about letting stuff go.
This week is probably the hardest, because it gets to the heart of what Jesus wants from us. He wants our lives.
Now this doesn’t matter
Turn in your Bible to
Background to scripture: This passage happens in a power packed chapter. Jesus feeds 4,000. The pharisees act like fools. The disciples are acting childish again. A man gets healed. All building evidence to who Jesus is.
Finally, Jesus asks His disciples who people say he is. Then he asks, who do you say I am? Peter in a moment of absolute brilliance declares, you are the Christ. There is so much beauty in this statement and you think that a corner has been turned in Peter’s life and now, he’ll get his act together. and things aren’t meant to last.
Let’s read what happens.
Mark 8:31–38 ESV
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
There is a part of jesus that seems to try and talk people out of following Him. He genuinely wants people to count the cost. And he wants them to k now that.

Big Idea: Following Jesus will Cost you Your Life.

The disciples of Jesus had a very good idea that following Jesus was going to cost them everything, but they believed that the risk was worth the reward. Because, it was an opportunity at a better life and if this was the The palace wasn’t far away. But they really had no idea what they were in for. And Jesus tried regularly to let them know things weren’t as they seemed.
Yes, it would be worth it, but there was no palace.

1. Let go of your way; Embrace God’s Way. (31-33)

Explanation: Jesus radically redefined Messianic expectations. Jesus had to suffer because that was a part of His messianic ministry.
Peter was likely the source of Mark’s gospel, making this rebuke of Peter an eyewitness account. And of course a remarkable example of transparency.
If we get Jesus’ mission wrong, then we will inevitably end up with faulty discipleship.
Consider how absolutely brutal Jesus’ rebuke of Peter was.
Why did Jesus address Peter as “Satan”?
Isaiah 55:8–9 ESV
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Application: many of us have an idea of what we think God should do. God should meet our every want and desire. But God is bigger than that.

2. Die to Self. (34-35)

Explanation: To carry a cross was an idea that the early church knew. It meant that you were sentenced to die. And you were responsible for carrying the instrument of your death up a hill. So Jesus is essentially saying that in the worlds eyes, my people are sentenced to death. Carry your cross everywhere you go knowing that this is your fate. You might ask yourself how can a kingdom advance if everyone is dying. And we know that of the earthly apostles all but John became a martyr. There is a passage in Matthew where Jesus talks about the power of His kingdom. It was so powerful that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18 ESV
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Now what are the gates of hell? Well the gates of hell are death. Death would not prevail over the advancing kingdom. Jesus would die, and would rise again. The apostles would die and the way they died would become the fuel that advanced the coming kingdom.
They were willing to die for Jesus because they knew that he was the truth. If they knew it wasn’t the truth, they would have recanted, said they lied. They would have fought for their lives.
But they didn’t. They knew this day would come and they gladly gave their lives to the sake of following jesus.
The cross today carries a much different meaning than it did back then. The only people who took up a cross in Jesus’ day were condemned criminals carrying their cross up the hill to be nailed to it.
We’re prepared to suffer the indignities of a condemned criminal for the cause of Christ.
Self-denial up to and including persecution, suffering, rejection and some people even death.
All suffering is not a cross. Not everything is a spiritual test.
A cross is suffering that comes because of a faithful connection to Christ.
Application: What does this look like in your life?

3. Keep some Perspective. (36-38)

Explanation: I love kids. I love my kids. But kids have no concept of time. Their only concept of time is “RIGHT NOW!” Can you wait 5 minutes? But I’m hungry now! But I need help now. But I have to go potty right now! (I’ll usually drop everything for that one).
For most people this is how we live life. For right now. And we don’t have a perspective or a mind for eternity.
Eternity is a really long time. We often sing the song Amazing Grace and there is that final verse which says, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”
So anything that we experience in this life is momentary in light of eternity.
Momentary success.
Momentary suffering.
Momentary joy.
Momentary sadness.
But it’s it’s only momentary, why would we live for that.
Illustration: Jim Elliott and Nate Saint: January 8, 1956. Nate radioed back to his wife: “Pray for us! We’re sure we’ll have contact again today! Will radio you again at 4:30.” That was the last they were ever heard from. A few days later, their bodies were found in the river. It’s a tragic story that many would think was foolish on their parts. But they didn’t think that way. Later on, these words were found in his journal. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Eventually Rachel Saint (Nate’s sister) and Elizabeth Eliott went to live among the tribe. Learned their language, translated the Bible into their language and led the entire tribe to Jesus.
Because they were living for eternity and not for right now.
Application: Before we can even get to where someone like Jim Elliott and then his wife were, we need a complete shift in our mindsets.
How do we even get there?

Challenge: Give your life to Jesus.

What does that even look like to those of us in the western world?
Illustration: Damn Yankees.
Selling your soul to satan for success is something we joke about in movies or plays, but the truth is, we’re either living for eternity or we’re living for right now. And apart from Jesus, we’ve basically sold our soul for RIGHT NOW!
We have to start somewhere. That’s why these challenges keep building off of one another. You might start with your finances. You might start with your time, your gifts. You might have to let somethings go.
Giving your life to Jesus involves all of these, every day for as long as we follow Jesus. When we fall, there is grace.
But in the end, what will we be able to say about our lives.
I love what the apostle Paul said about his life.
2 Timothy 4:7–8 ESV
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 tim 4:
May our lives be in a journey of following Jesus better.
Related Media
Related Sermons