Sunday, February 10, 2013

counting the cost

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Counting The Cost

Jesus set the standard for counting the cost. He gave His life willingly, amid horrible suffering, to accomplish His purpose of paying the price for sin and bringing many children to the Father. The writer of Hebrews wrote this, Heb 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  (Scriptures are from the New American Standard Updated version, unless otherwise noted)
Jesus taught that we should count the cost before we start following Him, Luke 9:59-62—And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father."

But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

Another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home."
But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 14:27-33--"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 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.'”

"Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is 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 and asks for terms of peace.”

"So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

Seems that Jesus did not teach the “easy believism” that is so popular today. Jesus taught that we must have a change of heart before we can follow Him. We must be willing to give up doing things our own way in order to follow Jesus. This does not mean we must change jobs or family relationships to follow Him, even though Jesus said in Luke 14:26--"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.”

Jesus is not saying we must shun our physical life and family, but He is saying we must put Him first, even above our own life and family. Jesus taught that the way to have a good life is to put Him and the Kingdom of Heaven at the top of our priorities. God will not accept second place in our lives. Either we surrender our lives to His control, or we will keep on being dominated by Satan through our worldly passions.
Coming to Jesus is not just believing and inviting Him to come into our lives. Coming to Jesus requires our counting the cost, being willing to give up selfishness and self-worship, and to come to Jesus in acceptance of His invitation.  He invites us to take His yoke, which requires us to give up our “doing things my way.”
It was Jesus who commanded that repentance for remission of sins would be preached beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-49). Just before ascending into heaven, Jesus spoke these words, Matt 28:18-20-- "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  
Repentance requires a decision to give Jesus first place in one's life. Counting the cost of following Jesus involves giving up selfishness.
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