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Series: “”What Did He Say?”
Today: “There’s a Cost to Discipleship”
Rev. Audrey Spencer
Introduction: Matthew 8:18-22: When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nest, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22. But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” There is a cost to discipleship and few will take the task.
What is a disciple? Jesus Christ commanded us in Matthew 28:19-20 “to go and make disciples of all nations…” What does it actually mean to be a disciple of Jesus? The standard meaning of a disciple is someone who adheres to the teachings of another. A disciple is a follower or a learner. But Jesus Christ also said in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” So, a disciple is someone who takes up the ways of someone.
What does a disciple do? If we call ourselves a disciple of Jesus, we are a worshipper of Jesus, a servant, and a witness of Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus means we worship Him exclusively. He told the woman at the well that the Father was seeking true worshippers. Scripture tells us that Jesus is a servant. He came to earth not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for sinners (Mark 10:45). When Jesus knelt before His disciples and about to wash their feet, he says, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” To be a disciple of Jesus is to serve like Jesus. John gives another picture of who a disciple should be. In a commission to His disciples, Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you (John 20:21). This means a disciple is one who is on a mission to tell the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus had a purpose on earth: to reveal God and redeem sinners (John 1:14). And so, this is our purpose as well.
What is the cost of discipleship? Our text this morning tells of a time when Jesus reminded His disciples that discipleship is costly. In Matthew 8:19, a teacher of the law approached Jesus and promised to follow Him wherever Jesus went. He is committing to being Jesus’ disciple or His follower. But our wise Lord tells the man about the cost of following Him. Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Jesus Christ is saying here that following him is not an easy venture. It is costly to follow Him or be His disciple. A person must leave everything to follow Him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Book, “The Cost of Discipleship” makes the assertion that grace is free, but grace is not cheap. Grace was paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Because of the price paid, His disciples are led by grace to surrender their lives to God in faithfulness and gratitude to God.
So what is the cost of discipleship? One cost of discipleship is the loss of one’s identity. Paul in his second letter to the church at Corinth tells the Corinthians, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new” (2Cor. 5:17). Once we were part of the world and its sinful nature. As disciples of Christ, our old nature or identity is in the past. The cost of discipleship is also the sacrifice of personal freedom. When we become disciples of Christ, God gave us the freedom to choose. We called it free will. We chose to follow Christ and live in Christ. I give up prejudice, envy, lies, slander.
Conclusion: Discipleship is costly because it cost a man His life. That man is Jesus.
It is costly because it offers a man the only true gift, the gift of everlasting life.
To follow Jesus is the greatest thing we can ever undertake, but not without a cost.
God bless you.