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The Cost of True Discipleship

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 28, 2022 12:00 am

The Cost of True Discipleship

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 28, 2022 12:00 am

There is some pain and suffering that can develop in our true obedience of discipleship to Jesus Christ.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, January 28th. Explore what it means to be devoted to Christ as you learn about the cost of true discipleship. Well, all disciples are believers, but all believers are not disciples. And I suppose if the church is long on one thing and short on something else, it's this. We are long on membership, short on discipleship.

Lots of emphasis on the figures, but not much emphasis on growing. And I believe, according to the New Testament, if a church is doing what it ought to be doing, it ought to be discipling God's people. And when you and I begin to think about disciples, usually we think about the 12 apostles as disciples, but Jesus Christ intended for all of us to be one because here's what He said. He said, as you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. And then here's what He said, teaching them, instructing them to observe all the things that I have commanded you.

And as you do that, He says, you have this promise, I'll be with you to the end of the age. And let me ask you this, whose life is being changed because of who you are? He says, as you go, that is, He says, as you go about your life, make disciples. That is, our lifestyle is such that we should be such a challenge to other people that they too will become learners. Now, what is it that motivates someone else to become a learner but looking at your life and my life? What motivates them to start beginning to feel a hunger in their heart for God? Something that goes on in their life, something about our testimony, something that God is doing in our life. You see, a success isn't that I just stay out of sin.

Success is that my life is glorifying the living God to the point it is making a definite, decided, eternal difference in someone else's life. Now, that's not easy. And if you'll turn to the fourteenth chapter of Luke, you'll find out where it's not easy. In the fourteenth chapter, if you'll notice, verse 25, now great multitudes were going along with him and he turned and said to them, 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.

Now, watch how many times that same phrase is mentioned here. He cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation he's not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, mock him, and make fun of him, saying, this man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel, whether he's strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand.

Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation to ask terms of peace. So therefore, no one of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Therefore, another therefore, salt is good, but if it loses, if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? And there was a certain kind of salt that they found in those days that could lose its twang, not all of it. It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile.

It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. This was Jesus' way of saying, are you listening? Now, what is the real price of discipleship?

I can tell you what it is not. It is not accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, being baptized, and joining a church, and sitting and listening to sermons. That is not the price of discipleship. Now, I want you to listen carefully, beginning in verse twenty-six. He says here is the first price tag on a true, genuine follower, and is allowing Christ Jesus to live his life in and through them. A true discipler.

He says this is the first price tag. 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, count him out, he or she cannot be considered a disciple of mine. What did he mean when he said, unless you hate them? Well, let me tell you what the word means, then let me explain what he says here. The word he uses here does not hate means to love less. If you go back in the Old Testament and the Hebrew and trace the use of the word and how it's used, it means to love less. So here's what he's saying. Unless anyone does not love less, his father, mother, wife, children, yea, brothers and sisters, yea, and his own life also, unless he loves them less than he does me, he cannot be my disciple.

Now, in essence, here's what he's saying. That the love that is within us must be so strong toward the Lord. Our loyalty and devotion and love to Jesus Christ must supersede our love for anyone and everyone else to the point that in our obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ whom we have yielded to his Lord, to the point that our yielding to him may bring about in the thinking of those whom we love and love us that we do not care, that we are not concerned, that we do not love them as much as we ought to. That is, there is a degree of pain and suffering that can develop in our true obedience to Jesus Christ.

Now, my friend, to live the Christ-like life nowhere is even implied that it's simple or easy or that all of your Christian friends and family will agree with you. Now, he says, except a man loveless those whom God has given him to love unless his love, devotion, and loyalty toward the Lord Jesus Christ exceeds his love for all others even to the point that he or she is totally misunderstood, may be criticized and persecuted by their own family. He says you cannot be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

Now, here's the problem. We live in such an affluent world and such a weak degenerated church body today that discipleship is totally way out in left field compared to our thinking. But what we have to do is to get back to ask ourselves the question, did Jesus mean what he said? I don't have any evidence anywhere in the Bible that Jesus meant anything except this, that my love and devotion and obedience to Jesus Christ must supersede my love and devotion and obedience to all others even to the point of being misunderstood and it'd be painful in the process of doing so.

Second price tag, listen to this. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. That is when Jesus Christ, down on the cross, how many times we've said this, Christ is crucified and Paul said, I too was crucified with him. I am crucified with Christ. Taking up the cross means that I choose death to the self life. That is, I have chosen death to the flesh life.

It does not mean that I will never participate in it, but it means as a way of life and a lifestyle I've chosen death to the old way. He says that is the cost of discipleship. Whosoever does not carry his own cross and come after me. And what that words come after me means is attach himself to me.

Let me ask you a question. What are you attached to? You see, one of the biggest things that needs to happen in the body of Christ is there needs to be a great detachment. A follower of Jesus Christ sinks very, very, very light roots because the truth is you and I must be available to do what he says, when he says, where he says it at any moment, whatever his choice may be.

Now you see, this is Satan's satanic cloak. The church today is working to get acceptance by the world. God deliver us from acceptance by the world. Did you know that the worst thing that could happen to the church in America is for the unbelievers to say, well, I'll tell you what, let's stop persecuting the church. Let's accept them. Listen, I'll tell you what would happen, friend.

There would be a total collapse. We don't want to be accepted by them. We want them to accept our Christ.

That's what we desire. That's what discipleship is all about. Now in the middle of this, he drops in this little parable. He says, now, for which one of you when he wants to build a tower, and they would build towers so tall in the middle of their vineyards to keep the robbers out. He says, which of you in deciding to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it. Otherwise, when he's laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, this man began to build and was not able to finish. What is he saying? He says, listen, it's not easy to be a follower of Jesus.

That is a true committed follower of Christ. So he says, now, before you leap, he says, look real good and be sure you understand what it means to be a follower of Christ. Now listen, then he says, what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, does not first sit down, decide two things. Well, he's got 10,000 soldiers versus 20.

Is he going to attack or is he going to be the kind of fellow who goes to negotiate his peace terms? Then look at this next verse. So therefore, no one of you, three times he says it, no one of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

Aha, I was waiting for that one. He says, now, who does not give up all his own possessions? Now, we rationalize this. We can reason all this out.

We can say anything you want to say about it, but that's exactly what it means. There must come a time in your life when you say, God, it's all yours. You do with it what you choose because God is the one who's given you what you have. The question is not how much do you have, but how much of you does God have? Now, my friend, when you stepped across the line and God has all of you, did you know that God isn't interested in the things in your life?

He knows they're not yours to begin with, and you know they're not yours, and he knows that he has access to any and all of it and any split second in your life. We must learn to live with but above and detached. That's the only time you'll be free. Freedom is the greatest treasure in life. When you can live amidst and among, when you can be freed and liberated, you're not attached.

Nothing is attached to you, but you walking in the freedom and the liberty of Jesus Christ, then it doesn't make any difference. And you see, when he says unless a person who does not give up all his own possessions. Now for the rich young ruler, he said, I want you to sell everything you have, give it to the poor and come after me.

Now you just think about this for a moment. He meant exactly what he said. He does not require everybody give up everything they have.

That is, sell every single possession they have and follow Jesus. He doesn't require that of everybody. But if he did, let me ask a question.

How many of us would be willing to do it? And every once in a while I had to bring that to my mind and say, okay, God, at this point in my life, is there anything to which I am attached? Is there anything that has any attachment upon me? He said, the rich young ruler, you sell it all and come follow me. You think about this for a moment. What a foolish mistake. He held on to his attachments and gave up following Christ.

What a foolish move on his part. My friend, anything that you're attached to, anything that has an attachment to you, anything that you've not given to him, anything that he doesn't have ready access to is cheating you out of God's best in your life. Let me ask you a question. Is there anything you own? Boy, you own it. I want to tell you then you're not free. Because whatever you own, owns you and you're not free. He says, except a man and a woman, give it all to him. Can't be a follower of mine. Because you see, a man cannot serve things and Christ. He cannot be attached to things and to Christ. He's going to be attached to one or the other.

And you see the same thing is true of relationships. We can have no attachments that are not of God. No attachments to things or to people that are not of God. Let me ask you, what are you attached to? I'm talking about the things you and I know about that people get attached to. Naturally, you ought to be attached to your wife and your sons and daughters and your husband. That's a divine attachment that God's given. That's a love relationship. I'm talking about things or relationships whereby there is a tug, whereby there is a relationship that is between you and God.

What is it that has an attachment upon you that you wouldn't be willing to give up? Let me ask you a question. Are you living in it? Are you driving it? Are you wearing it? Do you have a relationship with it?

Do you own it? Does it own you? Man, the Christian life is a life of liberty and freedom, not just the rejoicing of the Lord, but liberated from the attachments of life. Well, he says, no one who's my disciple, unless we're willing to lay it all before him become detached.

Be sure his name's on the will, his name's on the deed, everything you and I supposedly own, it's all his. He's free to take it anytime he chooses, give it back and multiply it if he chooses. And here's the wonderful thing about God. Friend, the more you become detached, you know what happens?

Oftentimes the more he swirls around you. And as long as you stay detached, God is able to trust you with more to give, more to enjoy in life. On the other hand, that may not be true.

It just depends on what God's perfect plan is for your life. But the key is detachment, not ownership, detachment. Then listen to what he said. Therefore, salt is good, but if even salt has become tasteless, what good is it? And what he's simply saying in the last two verses here is this. What real good are we to the kingdom of God if we're not going to be true followers of him? Here's what happens.

It's all wrapped up in one word in that cell. Garibaldi was a, was an Italian revolutionist really, and probably one of the most recognized guerrilla fighters in modern times, but this was back in the 1800s. And in his desire to unify and liberate Italy, he set out to do that. And one day he was walking along and he saw these fellows on the street corner and he asked them to follow him. And they said to him, what do you offer?

And this is what Garibaldi said. I offer you hardship, hunger, privations innumerable, rags sleepless nights, foot sores in long marches and victory in the noblest cause that ever ask you. What does Jesus Christ offer us?

My friend, the first thing he offers us is a cross. And most folks want to duck that one and just get in the kingdom and rejoice in the blessings. Friend, the Christian life's tough. It's tough now.

It's going to be tough and it's going to get tougher in this country. It's going to be more and more difficult for more and more God's people to live separated and to keep the cross, not in the, not in the background of their mind, but in the forefront of their thinking. It's that they've learned to live detached from the world and attached to him. Father, I pray in Jesus' name in my life and every single one of us, wherever there are attachments, surface them right now in our thinking so that we can confess them, repent of them and walk away from them, surrender them, yield them totally and completely to you with no grasp and no grip. But to say, Lord, here, Lord, not only things, but here, Lord, am I. And Father, you know that when we've really said, here am I, the whole I, that things really don't make any difference anymore because a man who's crucified on the cross can't be attached to anything else. So Father, would you allow those wonderful words of the apostle Paul to become a reality in all of our lives that we might be able to say with him, I have been and am now in the present state of being crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ now lives in me and the life which I now live, I live with the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

Therefore, I live in the liberty and the freedom detached from the world, attached to life eternal is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-16 21:44:00 / 2023-06-16 21:51:16 / 7

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