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Counting the Cost

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2022 1:00 am

Counting the Cost

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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These words of Jesus that I read earlier in the service fall on the ears of many people today is strange and for some very, very hard.

My fear is that so many people in our day have made a decision for Jesus and yet have not counted the cost of what it means to be a Christian. I think living in the South, it might be easier to find somebody who hasn't had coded than to find somebody who doesn't profess to be a Christian. Some wrestle with the words of Jesus and say well he's talking about a super Christian he's talking about another level of a Christian and not beyond discontent not to be a disciple. I'm a Christian I'm on my way to heaven, but you know there are those who want to follow Jesus and take up their cross and that that's for the super Christian that's a misunderstanding.

The Scriptures Christian is a disciple of Christian is a follower of Jesus. There is no such thing as a Christian who doesn't follow Jesus a man I tonight I'd like to consider with you the subject of counting the cost. Counting the cost. Jesus said in verse 28 of our text this evening. Luke 14 verse 28 for which of you, intending to build the tower does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it. What's the immediate context with immediate context is verse 25 and 26 now great multitudes went with him great multitudes following Jesus for various and sundry reasons curiosity.

He's a miracle worker.

He turns a few loaves of bread and fish into enough to feed a multitude lot of people following some genuinely wanting to follow the Savior great multitudes went with him and he turned and said to them, if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and he is own life also, he cannot be my disciple cannot know it's and's or but's. Or perhaps he cannot be my disciple. So, will that word hate is a very strong word. Well, it is used in the way of comparison, remember the first great commandment were to love the Lord our God with what all of our heart. All of our soul. All of our mind and all of our strength. These have first place.

He's to have the place of preeminence in our life is not an add-on. He has saved us.

We belong to him.

These first doesn't mean we can love mother father wife husband but we love him first and foremost, that's what that's what he means in circles like ours it might sound strange to say that there is a cost to being a Christian is in a way to manage here a cost to being a Christian. Haven't we been told and preached a gospel of free grace the gospel of sovereign grace that there is nothing a man can do to earn merit with God that God is under no obligation to save any man that there are no works that I can performer you can perform sufficient enough to satisfy the justice of God. Yes, salvation is free, but it's very very costly. So we need to count the cost tonight is what I'd like to do count the cost of being a Christian salvation is free. But remember one thing. And never forget though we have's receipt freely of his mercy and grace. It was not without cost.

Who who can calculate the cost or fathom what was paid to secure our redemption. Peter tells us we been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. Our condition was such that it required God blood to rescue us so with that introduction. Let's think this evening about counting the cost. What is the cost of being a true Christian Christian in the Bible sense of the word not a nominal Christian. But a real Christian.

Therefore, things I want to draw your attention. Number one to be a Christian to be a real Christian to be a disciple to be a follower of Jesus will cost you your self-righteousness. It will cost you your self-righteousness.

Nobody has ever come to Christ holding on to their own righteousness.

We must have no confidence in the flesh.

There must be a forsaking of all self-confidence repudiation of self we must be able to say and be held by the grace of God to say with Paul.

I know that is within me dwell of no good thing.

Titus chapter 3 in verse five says not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he has saved us, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost price that I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance should be alarming to us to draw some parallels between the times of Christ and our own times, the people who were the most to see the people who were had the greatest animosity and hatred for Christ were the religious people. The Pharisees who felt so self-righteous that they didn't need what Christ offered a lot of religious people in our day. A lot of religious people.

I was at a funeral this past well week or so ago and them I didn't know the man well enough to really know whether you had a relationship with Christ or not, but the preacher sure wanted everybody to know that he was okay because he came into Christ at his baptism. I sat there thinking to myself if that's his only hope.

There is no hope. There is no hope for that know all of our righteousness is as filthy rags and he who sees no sin in himself will feel no need of a safe no man is ever been saved.

That has not been convinced by the spirit of God that he is lost that there's nothing he can do to secure favor with God. John Calvin said in his institutes quote whoever is utterly cast down and overwhelmed by the awareness of his calamity, poverty, nakedness and disgrace has thus advanced farthest and knowledge of himself.

What I love about the hymnody that we sing here at the church is how almost without exception. What we sing reinforces what we believe the Bible teaches Augustine's top ladies him rock of ages. Nothing. Nothing in my hands, I bring, simply to thy cross I cling so to be a Christian or counting the cost of what it means to be a Christian to be a disciple to be a follower of Christ to be a Christian in the biblical sense will cost you your self-righteousness that will cost you something else it will cost you your sin. It will cost you your sin, your member, you shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins from their sins.

You remember what Jesus taught in the sermon on the Mount as he was talking about the narrow way in the Broadway he said enter enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that lead to destruction, and there are many who go in, thereby because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find we cannot we cannot love our sin and love Christ at the same time. That's mutually exclusive and I know that's of a difficult thing to say but that's the truth of the matter. We are saved unto holiness.

Paul said in Ephesians 1 worries dealing with those great doctrines of predestination and election.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, so that what so that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, we find good company and our honesty in our wrestling was sin when we read the Scriptures. Paul came to the end of his life and had knots ceased fighting and babbling with inward corruptions.

He said I have fought a good fight. I've often wondered what you referring to Paul. How broad is that what fits under that I have fought a good fight while he fought the enemies of Christ. He fought the enemies of the church. Don't you believe he fought his own flesh.

He fought his own corruption. He fought his own sinful desires. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith because he said later in life. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners, of whom I am the least that Woody said no. Of home.

I am chief is that will Paul really you really mean that. I think he really did mean listen to what Martin Luther had to say on the subject. He said I am more afraid of my own heart than of the Pope and all his cardinals because I have within me the great Pope self so said Martin Luther. I'm amazed when I read about Jonathan Edwards and the resolutions that he made that a very young age. Listen to some of these resolutions number eight resolved resolve to act in all respects. Both speaking and doing as if nobody has been so vile as I and as if I had committed the same sins or had the same infirmities or failings as others and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. Resolution number 25. Resolve to examine carefully and constantly what that one thing in me is which causes me in the least to doubt the love of God and tuck to direct all my forces against it.

Resolution number 56 resolved never to give over, nor in the lease to slacken my fight with my corruptions. However, unsuccessful. I might be is that your result tonight to be fighting sin, pushing back against sin saying no to sin, number 65 resolve very much to exercise myself in this all my long life with the greatest openness I am capable of. To declare my ways to God and lay open my soul to him all my sins temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires and everything in every circumstance. So he said being a Christian is costly business you will cost us our self-righteousness. It will cost us our sin and I probably should say something here come from a background that I don't know if you live the theology that was taught ever have any joy because you could be saved today and lost tomorrow. Saved this minute and lost five minutes from now will have Woody me the teaching was that if you died with unconfessed sin. You went to hell now is that true is that true only say something to you tonight if that's true, a lot of us are in serious trouble tonight. We might be saved. We might be redeemed but we are redeemed sinners and this idea of sinless perfection of attaining perfect holiness in this life is a lie is unattainable. Now we need to be striving for holiness and making progress in sanctification and that's why we referred our understanding of sanctification as progressive sanctification as opposed to a second work of grace. Will you come to a crisis in your life and pray a second prayer and immediately your your sanctified.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I was in a church and that's what was taught and we I wife and I both wrestled with that something's not right here. This can't be correct and the pastor was the most joyful person and we scratched our heads thinking of. Wait a minute, if he really believes what he preaches that's smiling that Joe illness is a farce or he has a different understanding of sand in the Bible. That's what turned out to be with a conversation with him's talk to him about some hypothetical situations that were together with some folks and we're drinking and we get drunk and run the highway were driving up the road we go off the road we die where we only want to help you went to hell. Another hypothetical situation with the same people were not drinking but boy we are having a payday, gossiping and slandering same scenario same accident were dead when we go well. This is not been honest as it was sin no.

It'll cost us our sin. It'll cost us our love for sin. It'll cost us our tolerance for sin because of the Spirit of God dwells within you. He will not allow you to make peace with your inner corruptions. They will trouble you. You will be convicted by them. Yes, the be times in your failure and your hopelessness.

You'll say there's no hope.

I've struggled against us for so long and you just gonna give up for a while, but the spirit of God will let you give up forever fresh grace will come to you renewed commitment your fight the good fight.

That's the characteristic of a Christian so not saying that when I say to cost you your sand that once and for all you going to be done with it. It'll be over. You won't have any more struggle with sin because that would not be being honest with with the Scriptures, someone is asked me what ways.

One is God arranged salvation to be in in the stages in which it is that we we can be justified declared righteous have a confidence were going to heaven yet at the same time were going to struggle our whole life with the residual effects of Adam's fall in us, our sinful nature corruption. Why is that, that's another sermon for another day but one thought that comes to my mind is to win us away from this world to create a longing in our hearts, for heaven. One of the things is going to be wonderful about heaven. Is this desire in this temptation for sin will be gone gone no no ever be able to sin. Can you imagine such a state outside of Christ.

We were slaves we had no we had no power to push back against sin.

All we could do one sin is a Christian now we can say no to sin. And yet, we can still indulge in sin, but that day is coming and that's why say what God is done for us in Christ. The second Adam is far greater than anything he could've done in the first Adam had Adam. Adam was on probation was and he wants to be on probation forever.

I don't.

Some say what you put me in a perfect garden and give me one prohibition. I'll tell you what I can stay away from it really a really you stay away from it. Just like a two-year-old stays away from up fresh baked dozen chocolate chip cookies right and he's a he's a let two-year-old or three-year-olds a loser.

Particularly, not only is he smell the chocolate chip cookies. All it takes is mother to say don't touch the chocolate chip cookies right he's gotta a bent toward chocolate chip cookies certainly don't want to trivialize sin by talking about chocolate chip cookies. I was just an illustration. But you know what I'm saying.

So I say is going to cost you your sin. You're going to have to resolve. Sin is not your friend. Sin is your enemy.

Sin disrupt your communion with God, you're gonna have to value communion and fellowship with God enough to fight against sin and fight against it your all lifelong that's what I mean about it will cost you your sin number three. The cost of being a Christian. It will cost you a life of ease.

It will cost you a life of these Jesus said, and whoever does not bear his cross and come after me, he cannot be my disciple is riveting language in that day when you saw a man carrying his cross. He was a participant in his own death. He was on a death march to the end of his life. That's what was going on. I remember number of years ago we had featured a book in our book room 10 things I wish Jesus never said by Victor Kulig and and want you to listen to what Victor Kulig and has to say. He says crucifixion is painful. Many believers today envision the Christian faith is more of a picnic or walk in the park than a blood sacrifice of the self. But the former is not the biblical portrait, the biblical portrait is of a person being nailed to a cross nails pierce the flesh and the body is hoisted fall upon a wood upon the wood where it is left to perish slowly.

It is this crucifixion of the self that is necessary to draw us closer to God. That's the truth that's it right there. He concludes this chapter by saying this you concludes with a prayer. Oh Lord, help me to endure the pain of the nails as they pierced my selfish desires.

The crown of thorns as it penetrates my selfish pride in the sword as it is it as it is thrust through my selfish motivation with each pain and spasm. Help me to recognize that you are creating good out of what is evil. You are reforming my sinful body mind and heart you are transforming me into a new creation. You are conforming mean more to the image of your perfect son give me faith to trust you in this painful but necessary process. Yes, the Christian life will cost you a life of ease. Dr. RC Sproul wrote a book, answering questions, it's a collection of questions and he answers them the title the book is now that's a good question. So here's a question that Dr. RC scroll posed and then here's his answer to it. If I'm happy with my life.

Why do I need Jesus.

If I'm happy with my life. Why do I need Jesus. He says I hear that from a lot of folks they say to me I just don't. I just don't feel the need for Christ, as if Christianity were something that were packaged and sold through massive ass Madison Avenue.

The what were trying to communicate to people is there something that's going to make you feel good and everybody needs a little of this in their closet or in the refrigerator as if it were some commodity that's going to add a dash of happiness to our lives and then he says this.

If the only reason a human being ever needed Jesus was to be happy and a person is already happy without Jesus, then they certainly don't need Jesus see the logic to that.

The New Testament indicates, however, that there's another reason you or somebody else needs Jesus there is a God who is altogether holy was perfectly just, and who declares that he is going to judge the world and hold every human being accountable for their life as a perfectly holy and just God he requires from each one of us a life of perfect obedience and of perfect justice. The problem is simply this.

If God is just and requires perfection for me and I come short of that perfection and he is going to deal with me according to justice than I am looking at a future punishment at the hands of a holy God. If the only way I can escape punishment is through a Savior. And if I want to escape that then I need a Savior like I love the man and how he reasoned he had such a mind yes to be a Christian is costly to cost you your self-righteousness.

It will cost you your sin. It will cost you a life of these and you see just that language. It'll cost you a life of the for those who have responded to Jesus and have prayed to receive Jesus and believe because of that there are a Christian, but they responded to Jesus with the idea that coming to Jesus will make life so much more meaning you'll be so happy you have a piece. The world knows nothing of now is that true will you have a piece. The world is nothing nothing of yes but it does not mean that you will have a life of these Jesus said if they hated me they're going to hate you in this world you're going to have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Too many people have signed up to something that's not biblical at a friend who was very aggressive in evangelism and I admired him for that. And yet he was also of a persuasion along the lines of the seeker driven mentality so get people to church whatever it took whatever you had to do to get people to come to church so we had a conversation one time and I said will you know I'm not against so he was fussing at me about my theology, my syphilis and I'm not against drawing a crowd draw a crowd, but when you draw a crowd at some point you gonna have to get to the place Jesus got to so I said to be going to sneak up on Wendy Donatello that to be a Christian requires repentance. But turning from sin, because in that culture in that easy believe is him that seeker driven mentality. You don't say anything that's going to offend anyone.

You'll run people off. Yes, you will because a lot of people don't want to hear it Senate finance the gospel is an offense is an offense so I would try the offense but there's an awful lot of people today you may know some of them who claim to be on their way to heaven, but they have a misunderstanding of what what it is to be a Christian of the Christian life is not a life of ease.

Not comparatively. Life is a whole lot easier for us than it is in a lot of places in the world. Let's not be complacent. Let's not be nave harness and harshness may come life for Christian made it harder than it's ever been. For us, and if it does. Jesus told us that it would be like this, so as not be surprised. The cost of being a Christian will cost you one more thing Elise, as far as the sermon goes to my it will cost you friendship with this world. It will cost you friendship with this world. John said in first John two do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the father but is of the world and the world is passing away in the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever abides forever know we must be certain, as were trying to help people and keep our own minds clear about what a Christian is to limit ourselves to the biblical distinctions there is this biblical distinction of either being all of the world or belonging to Christ, you can't belong to Christ and at the same time be of the world there at amity with one another. That's what Jesus is saying that's what John is saying now. John type. Jesus is high priestly prayer. Prayer recorded in John 17. Listen to what the emphasis that Jesus placed on these distinctions of being in the world, being all of the world being brought out of the world. Listen to what he says. John 1760s praying to his father. I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours. You gave them to me and they have kept your word. Verse 12 while I was with them in the world. I kept them in your name those whom you gave me. I have captained none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled, but now I come to you in these things I speak in the world that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. Verse 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world. Just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. Then he says in verse 16. They are not all of the world that is a biblical category.

Christians Bible Christians are not of the world is is that confusing is hard to understand.

Isn't that pretty much straightforward part to confuse what Jesus is saying here that you see churches that adopt a methodology to attract a crowd under the guise of preaching the gospel to them. Try and bring as much of the world into the church to attract lost people. How how that how is that strategy biblical you see how convoluted that is. Jesus said they will relay those whom the father gave to him those he out those who are his followers. They are not of the world. Just as I am not of the world. So what is it mean to be of the world. I think we make a mistake when we confine our understanding of the worldly person or being of the world to behavior and action.

It does affect our behavior and our action, but it's first and foremost something else to be of the world is to have a certain mindset have a certain posture that you view life you view your own life you view this world, not in reference to God you don't see God you don't, you're not interested in God. God doesn't intersect in your world, your out of the world.

That's the world and were to be opposed to that.

We need to fight against that this idea that were to live our lives with no reference to God, whether you eat or what you drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. Got hard to think of anything you might do that doesn't involve the that simplicity of things with you eat or what you drink is are pretty mundane activities right.

Too often people think well it's it's what you do on Sunday defines with your Christian or not know when you eat or what you drink your whole life is been reoriented around your living your life in reference to God you're trying to understand the world in reference to God what is said about his ownership of the world.

Our stewardship of the world is coming to judge this world. That's what it means and I thought this was an important message to bring because if you can be a Christian and it doesn't cost you your righteousness. That doesn't cost you your sin. And it doesn't cost you a life of these and it doesn't cost you your place in the world than why am the world did Jesus come, give his life to make you to redeem you into made provision for you to be saved if you could be saved without any of that. You know I'm not an Arminian right. You do know that right.

I've been here long enough.

I think that shouldn't even be on the table on the Calvinist.

I believe in sovereign grace to salvation is free, but it cost our Savior's life and had he not been willing to come in bare our sins and to die in our place in the shed his precious blood there be no salvation for us so we come to the table. It might be good. Those four points are hard to to think about and and reflect upon when we come to the table. Give thanks to the Lord Jesus for his righteousness.

The grants you acceptance to the father's not your righteousness. It's his. Give thanks that God has dealt with your sin in his son, that Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the give thanks to the Spirit of God that striving with this in helping us on our way to God in sanctification. Give thanks to God that you understand you're not deceived the Christian life is not a life of ease. There are demands upon us, and you're not looking for the easy way you're not looking to just put your wagon up to Jesus so that you have a guarantee to go to heaven. That's not what Christianity is so give thanks if you know different and give thanks that God has rescued you out of the world you're not out of this world anymore. You used to be causes for Thanksgiving. Let us pray father, thank you for the word of God and for its instruction and for its admonition and Ford's direction. Lord we ask that you would take your word and use it in our lives to help us on

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