The word “disciple” means a learner. A disciple of Jesus means someone who follows Jesus, learns from Jesus and becomes like Jesus.
In Luke 14, we find Jesus teaching a large crowd, and he challenged them on what it means to be a disciple. People started leaving because the cost was too high, his words were too convicting.
Being a disciple of Jesus costs. There is always a cost involved in being a committed Christian.
Salvation is free, but discipleship costs.
In the church today, we have made discipleship too easy and the commitment of being a follower of Jesus is pretty low. We have lowered the bar in Christianity so much that people think they are doing God a favor by coming to church. The truth is that you will never find that kind of faith in the Bible. Discipleship costs, but it is worth it.
This passage calls out four characteristics of a follower of Jesus.
1. True Disciples must Worship at any cost.
Worship is not just singing, that is an aspect of it, but worship is all about values and priorities. We value what we worship, and we prioritize what we worship.
Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
To worship God above all else, there is a cost involved in personal relationships. The Greek word Jesus used here for “hate”, means to love less than. To worship God means that we must not love anyone or anything else more than we love God (See Matthew 6:24). Your love for Jesus, your worship must come before any human relationship. Often our following Jesus will cost us relationships and reputation, but our lives are no longer our own.
What are your plans for 2023?
To be a true disciple who worships at any cost we must take ourselves off the throne of our lives and put Jesus on the throne. This applies to every decision we make.
Adrian Rogers said, “when you come to the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s the last personal private decision you will ever make, your last independent decision. From then on, you have to ask, “Jesus, what do you want me to do?”
Do you want to be a disciple of Jesus? You must worship at any cost.
2. True Disciples must work at any cost
Luke 14:28-30, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.”
Being a disciple of Jesus, not only involves dying to self, but it also involves building. Our lives are to be towers that are constructed where the Lord places us, according to his design. As disciples of Jesus, we are to submit to the architect of our lives for his building plan. Like any building project, there is planning, sacrifice and diligence required.
Some of you began building your spiritual lives, but then the cost and the sacrifice became too high.
You used to be faithful in the place of prayer, but you got distracted and stopped building.
You used to have a daily rich time in the Word, but then you got busy and stopped building.
You started tithing monthly, but then you had a financial challenge and stopped building.
You were attending church weekly and even joined a life group, but somehow slowly pulled back, and stopped building.
Maybe you volunteered in the children’s ministry, but it began to cost more than you expected in time, and you stopped building.
Today, I want to challenge you to get back to building the tower of your spiritual life.
3. True Disciples must war at any cost.
Luke 14:31-33, “Or what king, going out to encounter another king 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? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
When you become a disciple of Jesus Christ, you will be at war with this world. The good news is that, he has already won the final victory. And even if it seems that the whole world is opposed to you being a follower of Jesus, with God, you are in the majority and you cannot be defeated.
But as soldiers, we must not compromise, lowering the standards in order to keep the peace. God’s word is our first and final authority, there is no compromise or reducing the word of God to make it acceptable to the world around us. There is no compromising with Satan and his demons, he has one agenda, and that is to kill you.
4. True disciples must witness at any cost.
Luke 14:34-35, “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus addresses the commission of a disciple; we are to be witnesses for the Gospel.
Salt is a preservative; we are to be salt that preserves and prevent our families and communities from spoiling.
Today, the church has lost its salt and we are seeing the devastating effects in our society of a church that does not act as an influence in society.
The problems we face in the world, pornography, drugs, crooked politicians, broken marriages, and the likes, are not because Satan and his demons have gotten more powerful or eviler. The problem is that the Church has compromised and lost the preserving power of the Gospel.
Are you ready to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in 2023? (See Matthew 16:24).