Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Cost of Discipleship

Jesus calls His disciples--Courtesy
Last week we learned that in America options are a way of life. But for the Christian discipleship is NOT optional. All Christians are called to be disciples of Christ. Today, I want to look at the cost and the compensation of discipleship.

The Cost of Discipleship

Whenever Jesus called people to become His disciples, He always spelled out the cost of discipleship.
The disciple must be willing to forsake all (Luke 14:26, 33. He must put Christ first. He must bear his cross (v. 27)--crucify himself (put his own desires to death), and follow Jesus (which speaks of obedience).

According to John 15:18-21, the disciple can expect to suffer for Christ. When we become like Jesus, the world that hates Him will hate us.

Part of counting the cost involves asking two pertinent questions: Can I afford to follow Jesus? Can I afford to refuse His demands? In other words, am I willing to pay the price of being a disciple of Christ? Am I willing to pay the price of not following His demands?

The price tag of not becoming a disciple is very high. First, the kingdom of God suffers. The Church suffers. The world suffers.

Second, not being a disciple of Christ cost you the abundant life Jesus came to bring--peace, joy, hope, power over sin, a life that counts for eternity.

Third, the nondisciple will be cast out.

In Luke 14:34, 35, Jesus referred to salt to illustrate His comments concerning discipleship: "If the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out."

If we claim to be Christians but do not serve the purpose for which we have been called, we will be cast out of the Kingdom.

The Compensation for Discipleship

Jesus, however, not only pointed out the cost of discipleship. He also described the rewards. The
rewards in this life are numerous--a sense of meaning and fulfillment, peace, joy, hope, power over sin, to name a few.

In Mark 10:29, 30, Jesus told His disciples, "There is no one who has left houses and brothers and sisters and father and mother and wife and children and lands, for My sake and the gospel's who shall 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."

Florence LeFevre Personeus at 21
My grandmother, Florence Personeus, was disowned and disinherited by her father when she left home at 21 to prepare to be a missionary. She was no longer allowed to visit her mother or other family members in her childhood home. Her father did not even recognize his then white-haired daughter when he saw her 25 years later. Yet, God blessed her with a husband who shared her calling and they joyfully ministered together in Alaska for 65 years.

Lillian Trasher--the Nile Mother
Lillian Trasher broke her engagement a week before the wedding to answer the Lord's call to go to Egypt as a missionary. In so doing, she felt she was giving up her dream of having a dozen children. But God made her "Mama" to more than 8,000 homeless orphans in the land of the Nile.

The disciple is also enlightened by Christ. In John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

The disciple is guided by the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised, "When He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). We can count on His guidance.

And in eternity the disciple will be acknowledged by Christ. In Matthew 12:50, Jesus promises, "Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother." The disciple will be honored by the Father. John 12:26 promises, "If any man serves Me, him My Father will honor." In 2 Timothy 4:6-8, the apostle Paul described the crown of righteousness the Lord will give to all who have loved His appearing, who finish the race and keep "the faith."

Since the compensations are so great, why do so few become disciples of Christ?

Jesus described several reasons: "The cares of this life," "the deceitfulness of riches," the inordinate attraction of entertainment ("eat, drink, and be merry"). Family, jobs, relaxation are important, but we can become so busy doing good things we neglect our relationship with Jesus--the essence of discipleship.

People make many excuses for not serving the Lord, but they are only excuses. People do what they want to do.

Let's examine our true desires and intentions as reflected in the responses and choices we make each day. Are we truly disciples of Christ? Remember, for the Christian, discipleship is not optional.

You can read more about Florence Personeus in my book, Frontiers of Faith, available at

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