A friend once told me about a store he had been in. I don’t
remember the kind of store or the product at which he was looking.
I just remember what happened when he asked about one of the items
that had no price tag. The shopkeeper responded, “If you have to
ask, you can’t afford it.” The response had a two-fold
meaning. First, if you were concerned enough about your finances
that you had to ask how much the item was before choosing to buy
it, you wouldn’t be able to afford it. Second, if you had to
know how much it cost before determining whether you wanted it,
you didn’t want it enough to pay the price.
Lots of people have a romantic notion about discipleship,
like seeing that classic convertible on the side of the road and
dreaming about how neat it will be to drive with the top down. But
when they call the number on the sign and find out how much it
costs they decide it is just too much. Luke
14:28-32 describes the importance of counting the cost. We
need to be like a person who is building a tower or facing an
enemy army. We need to consider the cost and whether we are ready
to pay the price. If not, we need to just walk out of the store.
What are we buying?
relationship with Jesus:
3:8, Paul said he was giving up everything in order to
attain the surpassing value of knowing Jesus. Discipleship is, at
the heart, having the closest possible relationship with a great
teacher. Our modern form of schooling doesn’t highlight the
concept of discipleship very much, but Jesus walked the earth when
teachers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle would set up shop in
the cities to gain followings. If you impressed the teacher enough
you got to become part of his close entourage. You became his
disciple. Part of his glory and reputation was passed on to you.
How much greater it is to be able to claim you have that
relationship with the master teacher of all time, Jesus Christ.
26:28, Jesus said His blood was poured out to offer
forgiveness. How awesome is this? What sins have you committed?
Have you lusted, lied, cheated, stolen, committed sexual
immorality, coveted, been drunk, got high, gossiped, slandered,
raged, exploded with anger, committed murder, taken advantage of
others, extorted, committed homosexuality or gone after idols? It
doesn’t matter. Those who become Jesus’ disciples are
cleansed, sanctified and justified (I
Not only are we forgiven but we are given strength to overcome our
7:15-24 demonstrates the problem we face outside of
Christ. We have given our lives over to sin and it is destroying
us. Who will deliver us? Romans
7:25 gives the answer—Jesus Christ our Lord.
life in heaven:
Peter 1:3-5 says a home in heaven awaits us and is
reserved for us through faith if we have been born again. Paul had
said the reason he wanted to know Jesus was to attain the
resurrection of the dead (Philippians
3:8-11). What a blessing.
I am going to answer the “what does it cost” question,
but in reality we need to recognize if we look at this list of
what we are buying and we want to know what it will cost before we
make our decision, I’m warning you that it costs too much. If
you are not already saying, “Whatever is on the list of costs, I
don’t care, I want these,” when I start listing the cost, you
aren’t going to be willing to pay it.
How much does it cost?
13:44-45 says the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure or
a pearl worth so much that the men who found them sold everything
they had to buy them. Regrettably, it is easy to say,
“Everything,” sing the invitation song and go home happy but
in reality give nothing up because we don’t think about what
that specifically includes. Let’s dig a little deeper. First,
let me share a story that illustrates the parable of the pearl of
great price. Then we will get specific. I found the story in Brent
Hunter’s Personal Work 101.
He attributes it to a book called Disciple
by Juan Carlos Ortiz.
want this pearl, how much is it?”
the seller says, “it’s very expensive.”
how much?” we ask.
a very large amount.”
you think I could afford to buy it?”
of course, everyone can buy it.”
didn’t you say it was very expensive?”
how much is it?”
you have,” says the seller.
make up our minds, “All right, I’ll buy it,” we say.
what do you have?” he wants to know. “Let’s write it
I have ten thousand dollars in the bank.”
ten thousand dollars. What else?”
all. That’s all I have.”
I have a few dollars in my pocket.”
start digging. “Well, let’s see: thirty, forty, sixty, eighty,
a hundred, a hundred-twenty dollars.”
fine. What else do you have?”
nothing. That’s all.”
do you live?” He’s still probing.
my house. Yes, I have a house.”
house, too, then.” He writes that down.
mean I have to live in my camper?”
have a camper? That too. What else?”
have to sleep in my car.”
have a car?”
become mine, both cars. What else?”
you already have my money, my house, my camper, my cars. What more
do you want?”
you all alone in the world?”
I have a wife and two children…”
yes, your wife and children, too. What else?”
have nothing else, I am left alone now.”
the seller exclaims, “Oh, I almost forgot. You, yourself, too.
Everything becomes mine—wife, children, house, money, cars, and
he goes on. “Now listen, I will allow you to use all these
things for the time being. But don’t forget that they are mine,
just as you are. And whenever I need any of them you must give
them up, because (now) I am the owner.”
costs our pride:
5:3 says blessed are the poor in spirit. If we are lifted
up in spirit, we will not look to Jesus enough to be His
costs our self-rule:
2:20 says I must crucify myself and allow Jesus to rule my
costs our self-reliance:
7:15-25 shows what happens when we rely on ourselves to
overcome sin. We must rely on Jesus to deliver us.
costs our fleshly passions: Galatians
says we must crucify our flesh with its passions. Vss.
19-21 lists some of those passions. Our drinking, our
gambling, our lusting, our gluttony, our procrastination, our
laziness—all this must be given away.
costs our resources:
Timothy 6:9-10, 17-19 demonstrates if we have material
goods we are not to put our hope in them, but use them to serve
God and others. They are no longer our own.
costs our friends:
Peter 4:4 says
the friends who are not willing to sell all for the great treasure
will malign us. They will abandon us, all the while claiming we
have abandoned them.
costs our families:
10:35-37 says we must love Jesus more than we love our
family if we will be His disciples.
costs our personal goals:
3:3-7 demonstrates Paul’s sacrifice. He gave up his
personal goals as a Pharisee among the Jews and all that went
along with it, a seat on the Council, influence, prestige, money
in order to gain Christ.
costs our prejudices:
3:28-29 says we are all one in Christ Jesus no matter our
race, gender or class. If we show partiality to white people,
middle class people, southern people, American people, people who
dress like us, talk like us and act like us, then we are sinning
and condemned as transgressors (James
costs our time:
6:33 says we must seek first the kingdom of God. Seeking
takes time. We have enough time to do anything we want, but not
everything we want. If we are going to seek the kingdom of God, we
are going to be spending time we could have been doing other
costs our leisure:
4:8-11 says when we enter Christ, we haven’t entered our
rest. The rest comes when we get to heaven. No doubt God provides
us with time for rest and rejuvenation. But the general rule is
work for the Lord. If we are not willing to work, then we are not
costs our independence:
As Americans we like to tell everyone else they have no business
in our business. Hebrews
10:24 says different. Our brethren do have business in our
business. They are to push us, challenge us, rebuke us, provoke
us, stir us up.
costs our privacy:
5:16 says we need to confess to one another. I am not
saying we have to air all our dirty laundry to everybody. However,
I am telling you if you want to overcome sin and be Jesus’
disciple, you are going to have to start talking to others and
getting help with your weaknesses.
costs our eyes and hands:
5:29-30 says if our eyes or hands get in the way, we need
to get rid of them. Obviously, this is not really about eyes and
hands. But it is about getting rid of anything that gets in the
way of our discipleship no matter how bad it hurts.
Go back to the parable of the treasure in Matthew
13:44. Notice it says that the person was willing to sell
all he had for joy over the treasure. When we understand the
treasure Jesus is offering, it will be a joy to pay these costs.
What is the cost of not buying?
Having heard the cost, you may be thinking about not
buying. But let’s think about the alternatives. First, the
benefits to not buying. If you don’t buy the discipleship, you
get to keep all your money and use it however you want. You get to
do whatever you want and tell everyone else it is none of their
business. You get to go where you want, do what you want, watch
what you want, drink what you want, eat what you want, sleep with
what you want. You get to be lazy if you want. You get to party if
you want. You get to use your family and friends however you want.
You get to be angry when you want, bitter when you want,
hypocritical when you want. You can surf whatever you want on the
internet. You get to control you and no one will be able to say a
thing about it. There will be lots of pleasures along the way. But
how long will that last? 50 years? 80 years? 100 years? Then what?
The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke
16:19-31 tells us the cost of not being a disciple. For a
few years, you may live on top of the world. However, for
eternity, the cost is overwhelming. Whatever conflict may be going
on in your mind, let me assure you, the cost of hell is not worth
whatever fun you will have getting there. However, heaven is worth
the costs you must pay to get there.
16:24-26 explains we must take up our crosses if we wish
to follow Him. To some of us, that seems a bit extreme. The
question we have to ask, though, is what is our soul really worth?
Only you can answer that question. You will have eternity to
rejoice that you gave it all up for heaven or you will have
eternity to mourn that you gave heaven up for something else. The
choice is yours.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ