Monday, September 26, 2016

The Cost of Discipleship

Chuckle: A customer said to the salesman, "I want to try on that suit in the window." The salesman replied, "Oh, Sir, we couldn't allow that. You have to use the dressing room like everyone else."
Good Quote: "God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do." --Regina Brett

Another of his disciples said, "Lord, first let me return home and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me now! Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead" (Matthew 8:21-22 NLT).
The central truth of this passage is that following Jesus will cost you something. If you profess to be a Christian and a follower of Christ, but you sacrifice nothing for the relationship with him, a heart examination is likely long over due. In our passage, it is possible that the disciple was not asking for Jesus' permission to go to his father's funeral, but rather he wanted to put off following Jesus until a more convenient time -- in this case, until his elderly father had died.
Jesus never minced words and was always direct with those who expressed a desire to follow him. He always made certain they weighed the cost of discipleship and their willingness to set aside any personal reservations or conditions which might prevent them from following him wholeheartedly. Jesus said, "Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38 NIV).
As God's one and only Son, Jesus did not hesitate to demand complete loyalty and devotion. This means that nothing can be more important to us than our relationship with him. The decision to follow Jesus should never be put off until a more convenient time. Even when other loyalties and desires compete for our attention, they should never be allowed to become more important than our Lord. If Jesus is your Savior, he also wants to be Lord and Master of your life.
As a pastor, I'm amazed at how many "Christians" claim the lordship of Christ in their lives, but, at the same time, sin against him by disobedience and letting sinful lifestyles prevent them from being fully devoted followers of Christ. When we intentionally disobey God's Word, refuse to give up sinful practices, or let other priorities in life take precedence over our relationship with him, it calls into question our very salvation experience. For a Christian, it is not enough to talk the talk, but we must walk the walk. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).
At the beginning, I said following Jesus will cost you something. But let me add, it will not cost you anything worthwhile when compared to the rewards of joy, peace, and contentment that comes to fully devoted followers of Christ. Once we surrender completely to him, everything that was once so important becomes abhorrent to us. The apostle Paul writes, "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared to the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him . . ." (Philippians 3:8 NLT).
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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