25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. 34″Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” You may see that large crowds were following Jesus at that time and that is when He laid the heavy truth on them. The truth that modern day Christians would have a definite problem with is still the truth, a core truth. The truth is at the essence of who we are and all we hold to and it continues to separate the committed from the convenient. This is the inconvenient truth that shows who is and who isn’t. This is the truth about fruit. Paul tells of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives in Galatians 5:22 and we always seem to hit love, joy, peace real hard but leave out goodness and faithfulness. Is that because they are further down the list or is it because we don’t want to admit we might not be considering the cost of being a disciple at a ground level commitment. I think it is the latter. The desire to make everybody happy has taken over for the base line call to discipleship that Jesus made to “all” who would follow Him and in our zeal to make the faith palatable, we have left out a very important core truth. We have left out “discipleship.” A disciple is someone who is a learner, and in our faith a participant in living and learning. We learn to take on the very nature of who Christ is and that is seen in our actions, our attitudes, and our abilities. As a minister of the gospel, I used to feed the consumer attitude, and then I grew up. In growing up, I began to see “paying” people to come to church was not necessarily a good thing. In fact, it is the start of the erosion on the core truth of discipleship. I knew I could not continue to feed this “heresy” anymore and so I made a life commitment to stop teaching it as a truth. I quit giving drugs to the drug addict. The drug is “feed me and please me at all cost” and the result is ” I will serve if it is convenient.” A youth minister associate of mine years ago challenged me on my commitment to build disciples in this way. He said, “I will do whatever it takes to win people to Jesus!” Who can argue with that? I sure couldn’t. I then asked him “Then what?” You see, he mistakenly confused salvation with discipleship. You cannot disciple someone who hasn’t been regenerated and you can’t be regenerated without giving your all to Jesus. That is salvation and that is it. Finis’
What is the solution to the problem of this core erosion? Like the drug addict who wants to change we must practice “tough love.” Don’t give any more drugs to them and challenge them to choose what they will do whether they like it or not. It is time for it to stop and if they really want to be free of the drugs, then they must put themselves under the control of a higher power. In other words, don’t try to use drugs to get them off drugs. They must be weaned off the drugs to conquer their addiction. Who is going to look the worst to them at this point? Probably the one who is helping them “kick the habit.” But it must be done.
In a modern day world that is all consumer oriented and in a modern day church age where we almost feel like we have to pay people to come in the doors of the church, much less ask them to give of their time and talents given them by God. We must look to the core truth of our Savior and give the challenge. “Take up your cross and follow Christ”and His example and then live that life in complete surrender! Yes, I said it…surrender!! Back to the story of my youth minister friend who challenged God’s Word and me. His ministry became so consumer minded that most of his budget was used to buy commitment from students who already knew what was expected of them, but they got on the “gravy train” because he gave them their non-commitment drugs. He made them drug addicts addicted to living a life of mediocrity and weakness and most of those “disciples” fell away. Jesus took the students in our ministry to a whole new level of commitment when they committed totally to Him and many of them, I mean many of them, are committed to being a true disciple today in their lifestyles. The core truth came through for them, so God’s word was correct. Duh…. When we commit as leaders to following the whole Bible, there will things that we are scared of doing, but if they are core truths, then we must. Anything less is pure sin. So step up and put on your big boy pants and teach the cost of discipleship and quit giving drugs to drug addicts. The drug of apathy is out there everywhere and we must resist the devil and all his ways. Below is a story of real sold out commitment and surrender that was lived by a strong leader who impacted his world by his leadership style.
When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. Ordering his men to march to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat. Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer! And that is exactly what they did.
Are you all or nothing in your attitude to serve Christ? Then you need to quit watering down God’s Word by offering consumer faith to win the world. It will NEVER do it!!!
That is the cost of being a disciple..Burn your ships!!!
The Pilgrimage continues…..