The Cost Of Discipleship
The following material was taken from a recent message that I preached at Berean.
We must not forget that there is a tremendous cost to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
There is a great cost to being a disciple of Christ. A recent Gallup poll concluded that less than 10% of professing evangelicals were deeply committed to their faith. This is disturbing. Around the world Muslims are rampaging, rioting, raping and ready to die for their faith. While true Christians deplore the violence and viscousness of Islam we also are disturbed by the lack of passionate dedication among those who claim to be followers of Christ. There is little counterpart to Islamic passion and dedication among Christians. The Christian faith has nearly been extinguished in the West and what ever faith is left is weak, effeminate, and cowardly.
The problem with Christianity today in America is that so many professing Christians are following Christ with a superficial, lukewarm, and anemic faith. Where is the strong, courageous, bold and vibrant faith of our forefathers? Sadly it hardly exists any more. The Unfeigned faith of our forefathers has been neutered by lukewarmness, worldliness, unbelief, compromise, unconfessed sin, and the distractions of a multitude of rival interests.
The problem with Christianity today is that so many professing Christians have never counted the cost of following Christ. Christians have been preaching what Dietrich Bonhoffer called “cheap grace.” Bonhoffer defined cheap grace with these words:
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ…”
So we have today people being brought into the church by cheap grace, they are living by cheap grace, they worship in churches that preach cheap grace, so it’s not surprising that the church does not resemble in any way the church of the New Testament.
Coming back to our text we ask then, “What is the cost of discipleship?” It is very high indeed. It will cost you everything. It will cost you your life. It will demand full allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. It will demand full surrender, complete obedience, and the utter abandonment of your soul to God.
Our text in Luke’s gospel will spell out the cost of discipleship for us. Jesus begins with this statement, “…if anyone desires to come after Me…” What does this statement mean? It clearly means to become one of His disciples. It means to be a follower of Christ and one who sits at His feet to learn the principles of the Christian faith.