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Introducing Jesus: Week 28

Mosaic Boston

Religion & Spirituality

Audio Transcript: Hello. Welcome again to our livestream service. So glad to have you watching along with us. If you're new, I especially want to welcome you. My name is Shane. I am one of the pastors here at Mosaic. As Pastor Andy mentioned earlier, we would love to connect through our digital connection card. You can find that link in the description of this video, or it should be popping up in the chat if you're watching on Facebook or YouTube. If you fill that out, can you give us some information about yourself? We would love to follow up with you this week and just send a small gift to your email to thank you for being with us. Then you can also check off on there to receive some more information from us about ways to get connected here at Mosaic. The last couple of months have been pretty crazy for our family. Beyond just COVID crazy, we made the decision back around May, that it was time for us to begin looking for an apartment and to move. We began that process. Part of the reason is... My name is... coming in and out in the livestream, or is that just happening here? Anyways, my wife and I... We've been married for 15 years. We've got two kids. Our son, Owen, is eight. He's going to be turning nine this fall. Our daughter is five. They've just been getting way too big. They've been sharing a bedroom. Our whole family's been sharing a bathroom. It just hasn't been working out. Something needed to change. Now rewind with me. We began to look. Things were going well. We found a great place. We're getting ready to sign the lease and set the move-in date. Then the owner of the apartment called, said, "Hey. We saw on your application that you have a child under the age of six. Therefore, we need to have the place inspected for lead." Of course, they found lead because it's Boston, and everything here is made 100 years ago. He's like, "Well, before we can let you guys move in, we're going to have to delead the apartment." If you know what that's like, it's a whole long process. It's got to get inspected. Then the work needs to be done. Then it needs to be inspected again. Long story short, our move date moved. We went from looking to move in mid June to July 1st. Then it moved again from July 1st to July 15. Then it moved a third time to August 1st. We actually, finally moved into our apartment yesterday. Praise God. Extremely worn out and tired. Huge special thanks to Wade and Jessica for watching our kids for us, literally, all day long. They're probably more tired than we are. I bring that up because if we rewind all the way back to the spring, making that decision to move, that is a big life-changing decision, right? That's a decision that comes with a lot of risks and a lot of questions. It's something that you have to put a lot of thought to. I don't know. How do you make decisions like that? Some of you might be the, shoot first, ask questions later, type. I am the, ask all the questions and then maybe I'll reluctantly pull the trigger, type. I'm the kind of guy that I need to sit down. I need to look at all the possible options. I need to write out all the pros and cons and very carefully come to a decision. That's what we did. My wife and I... We sat down. The first thing we did was we updated our budget. Then we set kind of our target price range. Then we kind of went shopping to see what our options were. Then we did a full-out cost/benefit analysis of every single option before us until we finally arrived at the one that we believed would be best for our family, that would be best for our budget, would be best for our ministry, and for our goals, for our short-term, for our long-term goals. I bring all of this up because it's relevant to our text today. Jesus never really pressured people into making an impulsive or an uninformed decision when it came to following Him. In fact, what we often see is that when people want to follow Him, He challenges them to count the cost before doing so, to consider what they're really committing themselves to. We're going to see this in our text today, that three people come to Jesus. Some of them seem very enthusiastic about following Him. All Jesus needs to do in this moment is, right, smash that Like button and His followers go up, but He doesn't do that. You should do that if you're watching on Facebook or YouTube. Jesus doesn't do that. Instead, He tells them to consider what it's going to cost them to be His disciples. In doing so, He gives them an open door to walk away if that cost seems too high. This seems so strange to us. Doesn't Jesus want more followers? Yes, of course, He does, but He wants followers. He wants followers in the truest sense of the word, legitimate followers. He wants lives, not just likes. He wants men and women who are prepared to give their lives to follow Him wherever He goes, wherever He takes them, whatever it costs them. What we're going to see is that Jesus is going somewhere. A place our text tells us that He's going is He's going to Jerusalem. Jesus is on a path to the cross. Our text today is Luke 9. We're going to be looking at verse 46 through 62. As we do, I want us to do a cost/benefit analysis of following Jesus. We're going to see five aspects of life where following Jesus is going to cost us something in the short term. We're also going to see that the decision to not follow Jesus is going to cost us something in the long term. The five categories that we're going to be looking at is, first of all, we're going to be talking about how following Jesus is going to cost us our pride. Second, our purpose, third, our possessions, four, our people, and then fifth, our priorities. If you look at the text with me, I'm going to be reading from Luke, chapter 9, beginning in verse 46. It says, "Now an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest, but Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side. He said to them, 'Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.'" "John answered, 'Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow with us.' Jesus said to him, 'Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.' When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparation for him, but the people did not receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples, James and John, saw it, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?' He turned and rebuked them. They went on to another village." "As they were going along the road, someone said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.' To another he said, 'Follow me,' but he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Leave the dead to bury their own dead. As for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' Yet another said, 'I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'" God, we thank you for this word. We thank you for your word, your word that is an authority in our lives that is true, that is inerrant, that has power. We thank you for giving us this word recorded here in Scripture for us. Lord, we pray that you would take these truths and that you would apply them to our heads, to our hearts, to our hands to conform us more into the image of your Son, Jesus Christ. It's in His name that we pray, amen. Wow. It's an intense text. In the context of Luke's gospel, it's a little bit of a turning point. Much of Luke's gospel, up to this point, has really been focusing on this issue of Jesus's identity. Who is this man who performs miracles, and casts out demons, and heals the sick? This really comes to a head in verse 20, when Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter answers, "You are the Christ of God." Then right after this, we see the story of the transfiguration where Peter, James, and John are brought up to the mountaintop. They are given the privilege of getting a glimpse of Jesus's true power, and splendor, and glory. Luke 9... It answers that question of Jesus's identity definitively, that this is God in the flesh, that He is the Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, the divine Savior of the world. Now that that has been made clear, Luke begins to shift a little bit and ask another important question. That's this: If this is who Jesus is, then what does it look like to be His disciple? What does it mean to follow this Jesus? The big idea is that if you have seen Jesus for who He really is, you never want to leave Him. This is what we saw last week. Peter sees Jesus for who He really is. What does he do? He's like, "This is great. Let's build some tents. Let's camp out here forever. I never want to leave you, Jesus. Let's just stay here." What Peter needed to learn and what we need to learn is that Jesus doesn't just camp out. Jesus is not going to be stagnant or complacent in His mission. Jesus is on the move. He has a purpose to fulfill. He has a mission to complete. If we want to be with Him, we have to move with Him. We have to follow Him. Following Him won't always be safe. It'll almost never be comfortable because our passage today tells us where He's going. Verse 51 says that, "When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem." This is so important, right? Jesus... Up to this point, He's been healing. He's been traveling around. He's been teaching. Now, all of a sudden, He sets His face to Jerusalem because now the time had come where He needed to complete His mission. He needed to fulfill His purpose here on Earth. What was that purpose? He told them a few verses earlier. Verse 22, he said, "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 on the third day, be raised.” This was His purpose. This was His mission. He's born to die, to give His life as a ransom for many. If this is where Jesus is going, then what does it mean to follow Him? Well, Jesus tells them in the very next verse. Verse 23, "He said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'" The way of Jesus is the way of the cross. Before reaching the glories of heaven, it needs to pass through the valley of the shadow of death. It's short-term pain for long-term gain. For us, short-term, following Jesus is potentially going to cost us everything. Short-term, it may seem reckless, insensible, foolish. Long-term, it's the only rational option before us. Look at these five categories. The first thing that we see in our text is that following Jesus is going to cost us our pride. It says in verse 46 through 48. It says that, "An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and He said to them, 'Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.'" Notice that Jesus doesn't rebuke them for wanting to be great. Instead, it says that he knew the reasoning of their heart. The reasoning was flawed. He corrects their reasoning. He gives them a proper definition of what greatness is. You want to be great? That is great. You should strive for greatness, to be the best that you can be, but first, allow Jesus to give you a proper definition of what greatness is and what makes a person truly great. He pulls this child over, and He says, "Look." How do you relate to those of humble stature? He checks their pride. What we see here is Jesus is... He's trying to get his disciples to displace where... Instead of desiring a childish greatness, that they begin to desire a child-like greatness. This is the difference. Childish greatness... It's puffed up. It's pride-filled. It's argumentative. It's conceited. It's filled with selfish ambition in its desires to rule over and subjugate others, but child-like greatness is humble. It's gentle. It's meek. It's not weak, but it's strength that's under control. It's ambitious, but it's ambitious to serve others. It reaches for the top, but it does so in order to pull others up along with it. What's the cost/benefit of following Jesus? Here, the cost is, we must lay down our childish pride. The benefit is, we receive the freedom of child-like humility. The childish pride... It comes from thinking of God as a taskmaster, as this grumpy boss who's always tracking everyone's performance, comparing you to everyone else. Child-like humility... It comes from knowing who God really is. He's a loving father that you have been accepted by grace through faith, not anything that you've done to earn it. Therefore, there's nothing you can do to lose it. Therefore, you've got nothing to lose and no one to impress. You're just secure in the Father's love. A childish desire for greatness is insecure. It grasps at power to build itself up at the expense of others, but a child-like desire for greatness is both confident and humble at the same time. It's secure in the Father's love. Therefore, it's free. It's free to steward the power that God gives it as a gift from a good Father in order to use to serve and to build up others. The second thing we see is that following Jesus is going to cost us our purpose. This is verse 49 through 55. John answered Jesus. He said, “Hey, master. We saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow with us." "Jesus said to him, 'Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.' When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him, but the people did not receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples, James and John, saw it, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?' He turned and rebuked them. They went on to another village." When I say that following Jesus is going to cost us our purpose, this is what I mean. James and John... They had a dream. They had a vision of what it would be like when the Messiah came and established his kingdom, of what their purpose would be in that Messianic kingdom. Their problem was their presuppositions about that purpose and that kingdom weren't in line with Jesus. Jesus has to rebuke them here. See, Jesus's mission was not about handing out special ranks or privileges. It was not about destroying His enemies. He's actually getting prepared to die for His enemies. He said that, "I've not come to condemn the world, but to save the world." Now this doesn't mean that there is no judgment. The time for judgment would come. Actually, in the very next chapter, in the very next passage, Jesus talks about that as He sends His disciples out on a mission. He says, "Listen. You're going to be rejected by people. You're going to be rejected by villages. Listen. Those villages or those people are going to fall under judgment on Judgment Day," but that day is not here. That day is coming right now. They're on a mission to proclaim good news. They're on a mission to proclaim and to announce the gospel that the king has come, and he's offering peace. He's offering amnesty to all who would repent and believe, that people can come to be forgiven and to be made right with God. The question for us here, the application is, is Jesus the Lord of your dreams? Can Jesus tell you what to do? Can Jesus tell you no? Are you willing to submit your dreams, your plans, your deepest desires and purpose to Him as your king? When I was about 14 years old, a dream was born in my heart. That dream was to stand on a stage in front of a crowd of people, playing music with a band, and hearing them sing songs that I had written. Now I knew at age 14... At the time, my all-time hero was Kurt Cobain. I was just fascinated with him, with his story, with his talent. Even at 14 years old, I knew that this dream was not from God, and it was not what God wanted for me. I knew that Kurt Cobain was a tragic hero who lived a tragic life and died a tragic death. I knew that, but I convinced myself that I was going to be different, that somehow, if I could just get a small taste of the success and the fame that failed to satisfy him, that surely, it would be enough to satisfy me. I worked toward that goal. When I got into college, I pursued that with everything I had. It really didn't take long before that dream started to come to fruition. I met some guys. I joined a band. We started writing music. We started playing shows. We started going to studios and recording. The next thing you know, we're doing radio interviews, and we're signing autographs. We're getting to play shows with some of our all-time favorite bands. It was amazing, but that feeling... It didn't last very long. In fact, it wasn't long before that glory really began to fade, and I felt myself getting jaded. I felt myself getting dissatisfied, disillusioned even. I remember the night that my dream from 14 really, for all practical purposes, became a reality. We were playing this show with one of our favorite bands that had just recently risen to massive success. We're playing this show. The room is packed. As we're playing, I can hear the crowd singing the songs that we wrote. After the show, the rest of the band... They went and they hung out with the other bands. I went home. All I could really feel, all I could really think was, "That's it? That's what I've been waiting for?" That didn't satisfy me. That didn't feel the way that I thought that it should feel. I knew what was going on. I'd known it in the back of my mind for some time. I was chasing the wind. I was never going to reach that moment of satisfaction. Anytime you get closer, it just moves farther away. I knew that as I was chasing the wind, I was also running away from Jesus Christ and from His purpose for my life. That was a hard realization. I began to see that the songs we wrote would never be good enough, that the shows would never be big enough, and that it was never going to fully satisfy me. God had to take me to the end of that dream to show me how vain it was and to show me that when Jesus says no, I should listen, but also to show me that when Jesus says no, it's not because He's trying to withhold something good. It's because He has something better, and you need to trust Him. I needed to repent. I needed to let go. Really, the problem wasn't that my dream was too big. The problem was my dream was way too small. It was all about me. I needed to make it all about Him. I needed to put that down in order to take up my cross and find something that was really, truly worth living my life for, which was following Jesus Christ. We might not directly relate to that or to James and John. The application for us all is that you're going to know that Jesus is truly your Lord by how you react when He tells you no. If Jesus can't tell you no, then He's not your Lord. If He's not your Lord, then He's not your Savior. Don't waste your life trying to tack Jesus onto your dreams, trying to get Jesus to serve your purposes. Instead, invest your life in His eternal purposes and His mission. The question is, what area of life are you trying to keep Jesus off the throne? It could be anything, right? Is it sex? Is it money? Is it relationships? Is it the way that you treat other people? Is it work? Is it leisure? Is it the way you parent? Is it your health or your stewardship of your body, of your resources? Now whatever it is, if Jesus tells you no, right... He's not trying to withhold something good. He wants to give you something better. What's the cost/benefit of following Jesus here? The cost is, we must be ready to lay down our desires, our dreams, our purposes and submit our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ. The benefit is, we receive the joy of being used by God for His eternal purposes in His plan, in His mission. Third, we see that following Jesus is going to cost us our possessions. This is verse 57, 58: "They were going along the road, and someone said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes. Birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.'" As Christians, this is hard, but we need to be really careful about becoming overly attached to the things of this world. Jesus wants this man to understand that the urgency of his mission is so great that he can't afford to put down roots. He can't afford to get too tied down by the comforts of this world. For Jesus, that meant He didn't even have a home. Now, does that mean in order to follow Jesus that we all need to be homeless? I hope not. That's a hard question because, apparently, it did for this guy at least. Now I don't think that applies to everyone. The question for us is, are we ready? Are we willing? Are we prepared to do so if Jesus commands? If Jesus is the Lord of your life, then He's the Lord of your stuff, and He can tell you how to use it. He's the Lord of your money, of your home, of your possessions, of your time, of your treasure, of your talent. They're all His. We are called to steward them well. Everything we have has been entrusted to us by God for His good purposes. We're going to give an account for how we use them. Now, if that worries us, again, we need to remember who God is. God is a loving and generous Father. His purposes are good. His resources are limitless. Therefore, if He's asking us to be disciplined with how we use our possessions, if He's asking us to be generous, He's asking us to be good stewards, it's because, again, He knows what is best for us. He knows what's best for our fellow man. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says that, "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." This makes sense. Pretty much, common sense farming illustration. Then he compares it to how we use our finances and possessions. He says this, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, 'He has distributed freely.'" He's giving to the poor. "His righteousness endures forever. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God." What's the cost/benefit of following Jesus here? It costs us our entitlement to use our possessions as we desire. The benefit is, we get to steward the provisions of a gracious Heavenly Father whose resources are limitless. Fourth, we see that following Jesus is going to cost us our people. This is verse 59 and 60: "To another he said, 'Follow me.' He said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'" Sometimes I like to imagine what it would be like if Jesus was a pastor today and try to figure out, how long would it take him before he got fired for saying stuff like this? James and John... They got the classic Jesus juke. These next three guys are getting the Jesus nuke. This is like, let the dead bury their own dead. Wow. What's going on here? Well, culturally, there might be some stuff going on here. It's likely that this guy's father wasn't actually dead yet. Perhaps what he was saying was something more like, "Jesus, I want to follow you, but I'm going to wait. I'm going to wait until my father dies because I don't want to lose out on my inheritance or my place in the family." Whatever the case, Jesus is trying to make it clear that the call to follow Him is... On the one hand, it's urgent. On the other hand, it's a call that's going to supersede all other commitments, loyalties, allegiances that we may have, even to our own biological families. Now, this doesn't mean that we don't love and honor our families. 1 Timothy 5:8 says that, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for the members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Now what this does mean, however, is that our allegiance to Jesus and our loyalty to the family of God... It overrides our allegiance to our biological families if those things come into conflict. There's going to be times when they do. Some of you know this very well. I've talked to people. I've met with people who've come to Mosaic and said things like, "Listen. I live in a country where it is against the law for me to become a Christian. If I get baptized and make that decision to follow Jesus, my family is going to disown me. They could even have me killed." For them, the cost of discipleship was immediately a reality in their life. It cost them something, and it alienated them from their families. Some of you have experienced this to a lesser degree. All of us at times in our lives... We're going to have these times where the wishes, the desires of our biological families, and our allegiance to them is going to come into conflict with our allegiance to Jesus and His desires and purposes for our lives. My wife and I... We know this a little bit. This month is going to mark seven years that we have been here in Boston and seven years that we have been away from our family. Now, their wish and our wish is that we would be closer together. All right? We miss them terribly, but Jesus has called us here. We need to remind ourselves, "If this is where Jesus has called us to, we need to trust Him that this is for our good and obey." Jesus is passing out a lot of hard pills to swallow in this passage, but we take them as medicine for our souls. We take them with an eternal perspective. By God's grace, Kelly and I... We have assurance that we will spend eternity with our biological families in heaven because of their faith in Jesus Christ. That's a great comfort to us, even if right now, we don't get to see them as often as we would like. Even if that were not the case, when we come to Christ, we are given in Christ a whole new definition of family, that our true family is not biological, but it's supernatural, right? It's the family of God. It's our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is what we see in the previous chapter in Luke 8. In verse 19, we're told that, "Then Jesus... His mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. He was told, 'Hey, your mother and your brothers... They're standing outside, desiring to see you.' He answered them, 'My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.'" Mark 10:29, "Jesus said, 'Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life. Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.'" How can leaving our families for the sake of the gospel result in receiving a hundredfold back? Well, He's talking about the church. He's talking about our brothers and sisters in Christ. If you've ever relocated around the country, and had to leave a church, and move to a new area, and find a new church, you know exactly what this is about. J. C. Ryle wrote that, "The true Christian regards all Christ's friends as his friends, members of the same body, children of the same family, soldiers in the same army, travelers to the same home. When he meets them, he feels as if he had long known them. He is more at home with them in a few minutes than he is with many worldly people after an acquaintance of several years. What is the secret of all this? It is simply affection for the same Savior and love to the same Lord." What's the cost/benefit of following Jesus here? Well, it's going to cost us our earthly commitments and allegiances, but the benefit is, we receive a heavenly citizenship, adoption into the household of God. Jesus is preparing for us an eternal place with an eternal people. The last thing we see is that following Jesus is going to cost us our priorities. This is verse 61, 62: "Yet another said, 'I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'" What do you treasure? What do you hold most dear? What are you afraid to let go of, or what can you not imagine living your life without? What is it that's going to tempt you to take your hand off the plow and look back? Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem, and He didn't turn back. There were a lot of good things that He could have done, but He sets that all aside because there was only one thing that He needed to do. Nothing was going to stop Him from fulfilling that task, from going to the cross. His priorities were set in stone. Many of you have read the book, From Good to Great. Jim Collins famously observed that good is the enemy of great. It sounds very profound, but it's just kind of common sense, right, that there are so many good things that we could commit our lives to, but those good things become bad things if they keep us from doing the ultimate things and the greatest things. The greatest purpose and priority that anyone can have in this life is to know Christ and to proclaim the kingdom of God. This all started with Jesus's disciples arguing about, who is the greatest? The true greatness comes when we follow in the footsteps of the greatest man who ever lived, and that is Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, that only the man who follows the command of Jesus single-mindedly and unresistingly lets his yoke rest upon Him, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure, receives the power to persevere in the right way. The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. For those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy and the burden is light. Following Jesus and giving your life to His kingdom as your top priority... This is going to be the hardest thing that you could ever attempt to do, but it's worth it. The reason that it's worth it is because as you do, Christ is right there with you, yoked together. It might be hard, but you keep pushing forward. You keep in step with him. As you do, you begin to realize that He is the one carrying the weight. He's the one shouldering the burden, and you get the privilege of going along with Him in this great mission. As we close, I want to just ask one simple question. Why count the cost of discipleship? Perhaps you came to Christ, and nobody ever challenged you to do this, to count the cost. What's the harm in that? If somebody is ready to come to Christ, why stop them? Why caution them and encourage them to count that cost? Why not just let them dive in with all of their enthusiasm? I think part of reason that Jesus wants us to count the cost of discipleship is because once you've done so, there is absolutely nothing that's going to be able to make you turn back. Once you've counted the cost and once you have determined that the privilege of following Jesus and of knowing Christ is worthy of giving up everything you have, then nothing is going to take away down. Nothing will stop you. Nothing will deter you. Nothing will distract you. There will never come a day where you throw in the towel, and quit, and say, "Hey, I didn't sign up for this," because, of course, you signed up for this. We all signed up for this. We did it because He's worthy, because He's worth it. This doesn't mean that you're going to live a perfect, flawless Christian life, but it does mean that you're going to get up every day, you're going to take up your cross, you're going to preach the gospel to yourself, remind yourself of Christ's worth, and you're not going to turn back. Listen. Until you see Jesus for who He really is, this cost of discipleship is always going to seem too high. The lordship of Jesus is always going to seem burdensome. When you see Jesus for His true worth, when you see Jesus for who He truly is, you begin to see reality for what it truly is. That truth sets you free. It sets you free to see that the cost of discipleship is not a price that you have to pay. It's actually an investment that you get to make. Jesus says this in Matthew 13, verse 44, that, "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls who, on finding one pearl of great value, went, and sold all that he had, and bought it." "The kingdom of God is like a field," Jesus says. Now, the world sees that field. It sees toil. It sees work. It doesn't see any value in investing there. What the world doesn't know is that that field is not a field to be worked. A field is a field to be mined for treasure, that in that field is a treasure. The greatest treasure of all is Christ Himself. The greatest treasure you find is Christ because He's the one who first treasured us. He's the one who found us and gave His all for us. He did so joyfully. Before calling us to count the cost, Jesus Himself counted the cost. He counted the cost of our salvation. This is Hebrews 12:1. It says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him... " You picture that guy who finds the treasure in his field and then in his joy, he goes and sells everything he has. It says that of Jesus, that, "For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God." What was the joy set before Jesus? What did Jesus have by going to the cross that He did not have without going to the cross? It was us. It was God's people. We can joyfully give all we have for Christ and for His kingdom because God joyfully gave all He had for us. No matter how hard we may try, we will never outgive God. Romans 8:31 tells us, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son... " Think about this. "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Where are you today? Counting the cost of discipleship... It's important. It takes thought. It takes honest reflection, but it doesn't really take a lot of time. The man who found the treasure in the field... He immediately, joyfully went and sold all that he had to get it. He bought it right away. Now, in contrast, we see that Jesus is not at all impressed with the men that he meets in this passage. He's not impressed with their excuses. He's not impressed with their reasons for procrastinating, for waiting to make that call. He wanted them to count the cost, but He also wanted them to act urgently. Maybe you're a Christian who came to Christ, and you've never counted that cost. You should do that now. You should do that daily because, really, what you're doing is you're counting the value of Jesus Christ as you do. Perhaps you're not a Christian. Perhaps you're watching, and right now, you're afraid. You're afraid of what it might cost you to follow Jesus. I'm not going to stand up here and give you a bait-and-switch about all the amazing things that are going to happen to you if you make that choice. I want you to count the cost because it will cost you. Beyond just the five things that we've already talked about from this passage, first and foremost, it's going to cost you your sin. You know in your heart what I'm talking about. You can't come to Jesus without repentance. Where are the places in your life that you don't want Jesus to be Lord because you don't want Him to change things, because you don't want Him to tell you what to do? If there are places like that, this is what I would encourage you to do. Take a hard look at Jesus, and then take a hard look at your sin. What has sin done for you, right? Has it made you happy? Does it satisfy you? Does it give you peace? Does it give you joy? Does it give you hope? Does it give you purpose? If not, then why keep living for it? Scripture actually says that apart from Christ, that we are slaves to sin. We live for sin, and we are slaves to sin, but that Jesus came to set us free from not just the penalty of sin, but from the power of sin to give us victory over sin. We can live in that freedom. Jesus died for you so that you could be set free, so that you could repent, put your faith in Him, and find that His commandments for you are not burdensome. His commandments are life, and joy, and peace. Listen. Making that decision... It's going to be the hardest thing that you would ever do, but nothing could be more worth it. On the other hand, not making that decision is a decision too. That decision comes with a cost as well. I pray that you would consider that. As you do, look and see that sin will take everything from you and never fulfill on its promises. Jesus is the only who came and gave everything for you. That is why He is worthy of our lives. Now, would you please join in prayer before we continue in worship? Father God, you gave your greatest treasure, your one and only Son, Jesus Christ, so that we could be saved, so that we could be adopted into your family and be called sons and daughters as well. We thank you, and we praise you for that. Jesus, you gave your all, your very life, for us. We thank you for your sacrifice. We pray we would live lives worthy of your gospel. We pray that you would help us to just more deeply comprehend your great love for us and that by the power of the Spirit, we would count the cost and see your greatness, see your worth, and live lives of greatness ourselves following in the footsteps of you, our Lord, our Savior, denying ourselves, taking up our crosses daily, and following you. Jesus, it's in your name that we pray, amen.


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