Count the Cost of Discipleship
TEXT: Luke 14:25-33
TOPIC: Count the Cost of Discipleship
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
July 30, 2006
(Outline and portions of this message come from Dr. Joel Gregory’s sermon, “Come at all Cost, but Count the Cost” pages 160-161, Gregory’s Sermon Synopses)
The presence of Jesus always attracted great crowds. The curious, the thrill-seeker, and the merely bored followed Him. The hungry, the hurting, and the hopeful came to Him.
In Luke 14, Jesus turned to the crowd following Him. He was walking toward a cross, and they did not understand the implication of following Him. Three times He told them of those who “cannot be my disciple.” Jesus was looking for quality, not quantity.
He warned that those who chose to follow Him would experience repudiation and renunciation. Then He gave two unforgettable illustrations of the cost to be a Christian disciple. In one He compares Christian discipleship to a building and in the other; He says being a disciple is like a battle.
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.
You will notice today that I make a distinction between being a Christian, and being a Christian who is a disciple. I believe the two are not necessarily the same. Many are Christians who have professed their faith in Christ alone for salvation. But that is as far as many have gone or grown in their relationship with Christ. Christians are also called to be disciples, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord Jesus still issues the invitation, “Come. Come be my disciple.” Come, but He also challenges us to count the cost. It costs to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I. AUTHENTIC DISCIPLESHIP ALWAYS COSTS, Luke 14:25-27
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.
1. DISCIPLESHIP COSTS IN RELATIONSHIPS
Jesus refuses discipleship to anyone unwilling to “hate” life’s closest relationships. Jesus uses the strongest language to shock us. He is using what we call in language a hyperbole. A hyperbole is an exaggerated figure of speech used to stress the truth of a particular statement. Jesus is challenging us to understand the costs involved in giving our lives to Him.
Matthew stated the same principle in a more positive tone, Matthew 10:37 He 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.
Jesus Himself paid that price. Matthew 12:46-50
46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. (KJV)
Jesus also predicted that His followers would face division in life’s closest ties in order to follow Him.
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (KJV)
He also predicted compensation beyond all imagination for those willing to follow.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (KJV)
Following Jesus is not always compatible with the claims of life’s closest and dearest.
2. DISCIPLESHIP COSTS IN RENUNCIATION
yes and his own life also
The “hate” must also extend to one’s own life also. To take up our cross puts us in the position of those already condemned to die, those who regard life in this world over. It is a mentality of martyrdom,
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (KJV)
As an authentic disciple of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to die to our own desires, so that God’s desire for us may be served. We must be crucified daily with Christ, Galatians 2:20.
What have you sacrificed for Christ?
II. BUILDING A DISCIPLE’S LIFE COSTS, Luke 14:28-30)
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.’
1. BUILDING A DISCIPLE’S LIFE COSTS IN CONSIDERATION
A man wishing to build a tower (a home or a business) must “sit down” to count the costs. This suggests serious consideration and deliberate calculation.
The decision to follow Jesus must be made positively, but it must be made thoughtfully.
2. THIS CONSIDERATION MUST BE MADE IN THE LIGHT OF THE ULTIMATE EVALUATION.
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.’
A builder who begins but only lays a foundation is subject to ridicule and then shame. The same is true of the disciple who starts but cannot continue in his or her Christian commitment.
What are you building with your life? May I say to you that the greatest building you can construct is that of a fully committed disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The second illustration of a disciple’s life our Lord uses is that of a battle. Look at verse 31.
III. BATTLING IN A DISCIPLE’S LIFE COSTS (vv.31-32)
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.
1. BATTLING IN A DISCIPLE’S LIFE ALSO CALLS FOR CONSIDERATION.
Jesus describes the odds as two against one. Each of his men must be as strong as two of the enemy. Positively, the disciple’s life is a building, a building under construction. Negatively, the disciple’s life is seen as deconstruction--a battle against all that stands in the way of God’s will for life.
We must give careful consideration to the resources both for building and battling in the disciple’s life.
2. THE BATTLE IS ALSO SUBJECT TO AN EVALUATION.
Our Lord tells us here that the life of a Christian disciple is a battle and not a banquet. The person who cannot summon the resources to win the battle must face the shame of permanent surrender and defeat at the hands of a stronger enemy. Jesus does not here indicate that we should surrender in life, but rather that we should have the resources to never have to surrender!
Our Lord Jesus Christ is looking for authentic disciples who will be builders and battlers. Jesus does not enlist us to count the costs and then refuse to follow. He exhorts us to come at all cost, but to count the costs!