The Cost of Christianity; Luke 14:25-33

Text: Luke 14:25-33                                                         10/26/08am

Thesis: Christ demands all or nothing from every Christian

 

Read Luke 14:25-33

 

I) Christ demands radical love

a)      So get this, because Jesus is wonderful and powerful and full of love there will always be a great number of people that want to be with him.

i)        Verse 25 tells us that great crowds accompanied him.

ii)      People want to be with the Healer, the Provider, and the Popular.  They, like all of us, wanted a free meal free, free health care, and a good show.

iii)    So they walked with him and traveled with him hoping to get something good to help them on their way.

iv)    But a distinction is being made here that is important for us to grasp regarding what Christianity is and what Christianity isn’t.

v)      The people were there with Jesus, traveling with Jesus, and going along with him.

vi)    But this is not enough. Jesus says we must come to him.

vii)  There are many people who will use Christian language and go to a Christian church as long as they get what they want.

viii)            Many people pray a prayer hoping God will give them what they want. Many people join a church and serve and sing as long as their stipulations are met.

b)      There are few people who come to Christ.

i)        In Luke chapter 14 we are given different illustrations of what it means to come to Jesus.

ii)      Look at verses 16&17, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’”

iii)    Coming to Jesus is being invited to a join with him in a close personal relationship like a special quest at a special meal.

iv)    Look at verse 27, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

v)      Coming to Jesus is following Jesus. Not like the crowds who followed Jesus to get a good meal and a good show.

vi)    Following Jesus is following him in death and following him in life. Coming to Jesus is dying to self and living for the glory of God and the good of others.

vii)  Look at verse 31, “Or what king, going out to encounter another kin in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand.”

viii)            Coming to Jesus is a radical collision like that of two armies crashing into each other in battle. There is no halfway commitment in hand to hand combat.

ix)    A Christian is someone who has been invited to come and receive Christ as ruler over all his life.

x)      Christ says, “Come to me in a personal way, die to self, and be totally committed to me.”

xi)    This coming to Christ is complete; he demands all of us. When sinner and Savior come together it is complete; nothing held back. Everything is given.

c)      Verse 26 makes it clear that coming to Jesus is recognizing and being satisfied with His preeminence over everything in your life.

i)        The preeminence of Christ is the priority of Christ. He is our greatest love. Knowing him is our greatest goal.

ii)      Making him known to our spouses, families, coworkers, neighbors, and the nations is the reason we exist.

iii)    Matthew records the time when Jesus gave this teaching expressed in positive terms.

iv)    Matthew 10:37, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

v)      It is probably the case that the crowds attempting to use Jesus for their own ends called for a much more forward teaching regarding the place of Jesus Christ.

vi)    So Jesus’ words in Luke 14:26 are meant to slap us in the face and wake us from our self-centered slumber.

vii)  To understand the message we need to get clear in our minds the biblical definition of hate.

viii)            Hate can be that state of being repulsed by something. It is a passionate dislike which leads to an emotional and negative reaction.

ix)    There is that type of hate referenced in Scripture.[1]

x)      And Scripture has another definition of hate. If something or someone is not number one.

xi)    If something or someone is not the center of your thoughts, actions, and affections than it is appropriate to say that thing is hated.

xii)  You may enjoy that thing and thank God for that thing but since it is not your top priority or object of value then that thing is hated.[2]

xiii)            In Luke 14 Jesus is demanding that he be our priority. If we do not come to Christ and embrace him as infinitely more valuable than every other thing and person in our lives than we cannot consider ourselves to be Christians.

xiv)            But do not soften the blow of Christ’s words.

xv)  If Jesus is not more valuable than father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even your own life, you cannot be his disciple.

xvi)            Scripture here defines a Christian as a person whose devotion and love for Christ are so great and strong that love and devotion for everything else are put in their proper lesser places.

xvii)          The redeemed, the saint, the born again believer, the Christian, the disciple, the worthy follower of Christ, the one who has eternal life are all the same thing.

xviii)        No separate categories for those Christians who recognize and are satisfied with the preeminence of Christ and those Christians who do not.

xix)            You either love Jesus or you don’t. You love people for Jesus and you die to give them Jesus or you don’t.

xx)  Jesus demands radical love because he alone can sustain and fulfill all our radical love.

xxi)            He alone can give us salvation and lasting strength. He alone is God and he alone loves us purely. He demands and is worthy of radical love.

II) In verse 27 Christ demands radical living (read it)

a)      Bearing your cross is going to your death

i)        Unfortunately we have drastically tamed what it means to carry our crosses or bear our crosses.

ii)      A rambunctious child has become a cross some mothers bear. An addiction or financial decision or failed relationship gets labeled ‘the cross I bear.’

iii)    This is not the point. To come after Christ is to pick up the humiliating means of your own death.

iv)    What’s the best way to love Christ more than your own life? Bear your cross and follow Jesus.

v)      The cross was excruciatingly painful and the humiliation involved was incredibly intense.

vi)    On another occasion Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

vii)  Coming to Jesus is not going to the Wizard of Oz to have your wants and wishes fulfilled.

viii)            Going to Jesus is picking up our cross and having our small self-centered wants and wishes crucified and replaced with Christ-centered eternally satisfying wants and wishes.

ix)    So we’re not talking about being crucified with Christ like Galatians 2:20 says. This isn’t justification.

x)      We’re talking about daily denying the me-centered dreams and demands and embracing the Christ-centered dreams and demands; Christ-centered commands for your relationships and finances and free time.

xi)    Bearing your cross is going to battle to put to death the demands of self.

xii)  You see, if I don’t love my wife for Christ and according to his strength and grace then I’ll love her for the good I can get out of her. I’ll put me first.

xiii)            If I don’t use this money or home or car for Christ then I’ll use it for me and it will become my master.

xiv)            Pick up your cross, humble yourself, and become a follower of Christ because he alone satisfies.

xv)  Here’s why this is so important: we want to get where he went.

xvi)            Jesus died to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18)

xvii)          Jesus lived and died and rose to give us what is eternally satisfying and truly full of joy. Namely, Jesus died to give us the presence of God in our lives now through the Holy Spirit and for all eternity in heaven.

xviii)        We in turn share Christ to others and die to give Christ to others.

xix)            Through His strength and according to His Scripture we crucify all the lesser loves and empty pleasures that would distract us from loving Christ.

xx)  Do you want your American dream best life now or do you embrace the cross so you can have God for all of eternity?

xxi)            It is a cross that will lead to great joys now and throughout all eternity.

xxii)          It is a cross that destroys temptations and the flesh and in its place puts more and more of Christ.

xxiii)        We’re talking about wholehearted devotion, all-out loyalty, and complete self-denial so that one places his time, his earthly possessions, his talents, [everything] at the disposal of Christ. This is what Jesus asks of each of us. [Hendrickson 737].

xxiv)        To follow Christ is to live this way. It’s time for a radical decision.

III) Christ demands a radical decision (read verses 28-30)

We must realize that the religion we’ve created that wants to make following Jesus as attractive, easy, and palatable as possible is not the Christianity of Christ himself.

a)      The decision to follow Christ is like the decision to build a building that will cost us everything.

i)        The thought pressed on our builder’s mind is whether this glorious undertaking is possible.

ii)      He must count the cost. Making this tower happen will drastically change life as he has known it.

iii)    And I don’t mean it will change life from being hard to being easy. Building this tower will bring hardship.

iv)    If he doesn’t intentionally sit down and weigh out what is required in the entire process he’s likely to make a foolish decision.

v)      Imagine the mockery he will bring upon himself if he gets the foundation finished but runs out of money and energy to complete the job.

vi)    What we are being told is that “Give Jesus a try” evangelism is dangerous.

vii)  You don’t need to give Jesus a try and see if he works for you. You need to sit down and realize that following Christ will cost you everything. Do you want to pay?

viii)            Is Christ worth everything? I’m sure we could all give a name or two of people who were baptized and excited but when it came time to die to self and love Jesus above all else they ran like scalded dogs.

ix)    “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” This makes a mockery of the man and a mockery of the church.

x)      You and I must make the decision. We must spend time in Scripture. We must spend time talking with real cross-bearing believers. Is Christ worth the cost?

b)      The decision to follow Christ is the decision to fight a battle that will be intense and demand your greatest strategy. Read 31-32

i)        Notice in verses 28 and 31 that the builder and the king first sit down and count the cost or deliberate.

ii)      In all of this “the design of Christ is to warn his followers to bear the cross that they may prepare themselves with courage” (Calvin, 473).

iii)    If you aren’t willing to die you’ll make a poor soldier.

iv)    Do you remember that the people from a town called Lystra tried to kill the Apostle Paul when he preached the gospel there?

v)      They stoned him, drug him out of town, and left him for dead. Miraculously he didn’t die, went on preaching, and later returned to Lystra.

vi)    Do you know what he told the Christians there?

vii)  According to Acts 14:22 they strengthened souls, encouraged them to continue in the faith, and said through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

viii)            Let me promise you that if you repent of your sins and embrace Christ as your perfect guilt removing sacrifice and the greatest joy of your heart you will have trouble.

ix)    Sit down and consider if he’s worth you paying everything.

x)      Sit down and consider if a town comes after you and tries to kill you is Jesus worth it? 

xi)    What about father, mother, spouse, and children what if they turn on you?

xii)  If my family shuns me, if my friends makes fun of me, if they try to kill me is having Jesus worth it?

xiii)            Are you going to finish the tower? Are you going to do battle with sin and temptation?

xiv)            Are you going to pay the price? Catch this

IV) Following Christ is not a sacrifice; following Christ is smart.

a)      Jim Elliot picked up his cross followed Jesus and was killed for it. In his journal he wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

i)        Jesus says this in verse 33…

ii)      Jesus put it this way in another passage, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

iii)    The decision today is to lay down all that we think is valuable so that we can gain what is truly valuable.

iv)    Let go of the guilt. Let go of the anger. Let go of the bitterness. Let go of the self righteousness. Let go of the lie when you tell yourself “I’m not that bad”

v)      Stop protecting yourself. Now we have to be careful here because we can get this wrong.

vi)    We can think that Jesus is telling us to stop loving our wives and our kids and stop working and go out into the wilderness and just love Jesus with a guitar and granola bar.

vii)  This isn’t about not loving parents, spouse, children, friends, and neighbors.

viii)            This is about loving Christ and in his strength and in his grace giving parents, spouse, children, friends, and neighbors what they need.

ix)    What they need is for you and I to die to our stupid hobbies and gardens and toys. They need you to love Christ and show them what that love is all about.

x)      That’s going to take great sacrifice, it’s going to make you uncomfortable. The final destination for a cross-bearer is to be nailed naked to a cross.

xi)    It is to hang there and be humiliated until you die.

xii)  That’s intense but here’s why Christianity is not a sacrifice it’s just smart.

xiii)            A sacrifice is when you give something of greater value for something of lesser value.

xiv)            But when you give something of lesser value and receive in return something of greater value that’s just smart.

xv)  Take Jesus your sin and he’ll give you his righteousness.

xvi)            Take Jesus your life and he’ll give you his own.

xvii)          Take Jesus your weakness and he’ll give you his strength.

xviii)        Take Jesus your emptiness and he’ll give you his fullness.

xix)            Take Jesus your marriage and he’ll make it like his relationship with Christ and the church.

xx)  Will going to him and following him and living for him be costly? You bet. It will cost you everything.

xxi)            Is it worth it? You bet. You will trade in what is broken and be given what is whole, perfect, and pure.

xxii)          Today, this very moment, Jesus will give you forgiveness of sins and he will reconcile you to God.

V) This is what I want you to do during our final hymn

i)        I want you to stop and consider if you have ever come to Christ. I don’t mean have you prayed a prayer or been baptized.

ii)      I want to know if you have personally embraced him as the redeemer of every sin and the ruler of every breath.

iii)    I you have; rejoice over the majesty of his grace.

iv)    If you have not I want you to count the cost. No rash decisions here. I you aren’t willing to be humiliated and die in order to know Christ and make him known.

v)      Then Christianity is not for you. I have been praying and will continue to pray that we understand the glory of Christ, the heinous nature of every sin, and the need to die to self.

vi)    If you have questions or if you want to be saved but do not know how then Mike and I will be here.

vii)  If you want to pray. If you want to cry out for your own salvation or the salvation of those you know and love then get on your face before God and do it.

viii)            Count the cost, die to self, and find that you have made no sacrifice at all; you’ve been given Jesus.


[1] Deuteronomy 12:31; 16:22; Amos 6:8

[2] Genesis 29:30&31

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One thought on “The Cost of Christianity; Luke 14:25-33

  1. I was looking for some one to tell me how far can I die to self. In Christian life today to self is not even enough. People still punish a dead body. The even come on peoples graves to prove the point.
    What is the cost?. and who is paying if I cannot afford the price?

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