The familiar saying goes: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” While the source of this old adage is rather obscure, it has been around a good long time and has a fairly clear meaning: it is impossible to get anything for nothing.
There is some danger in applying this statement to anything Christian, because in many ways our faith is built upon the idea of God’s free gift of salvation to all who believe. I would never say anything to counter this. God gives salvation, redemption and eternal life to all who come to him in humility and repentance. However, to take that free gift of salvation and turn it into a free ride to heaven is indeed something we must be careful of.
While our invitation to join God’s family is open to everyone and our acceptance into that family does indeed come free of charge, there is a very definite understanding that there are expectations placed on us as we enter into that family. There are costs involved when it comes to following Jesus. Those costs come, mainly in denying ourselves and living out God’s plan for our lives instead of our own.
Even the very nature of our Christian faith, that it is a transformative faith, is costly. When Paul writes: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the newcreation has come: The old has gone, thenew is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17), he is speaking of a cost. It is not easy to deny your old self in the everyday of life, it requires sacrifice. It requires that we “by the Spirit…put to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13).
Principles of following (so far):
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life. 5) A follower knows Jesus intimately. 6) A follower follows Jesus in a community of other followers. 7) A follower follows Jesus on mission.
Sermon Big Idea:
Following Jesus is costly.
- All of the “principles of following” work together to define what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
- All of the principles are costly in one way or another.
- Jesus makes no secret about the fact that following him is costly (Mark 10:16-23, 37-39, Luke 9:57-62)
- Following Jesus costs us our comfort: we are not a home here on earth, we are foreigners (1 Peter 1:17 & 2:11, see also John 15:18-19, Philippians 3:20 and Hebrews 11:13-16)
- What should the slogan be for followers of Jesus? Come and die.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer: ““When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
- Die to yourself, your dreams, your plans, your comforts, your priorities.
- Luke 14:25-33 Jesus encourages us to count the cost of following him.
- It seems like a lot! G.K. Chesterton wrote: “It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, but that it has been found difficult and left untried.”
- What makes the cost worthwhile? Grace. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.
- The only real response to God’s grace to us through Jesus Christ is for us to give up everything in service to him.
- Consider Isaac Watt’s words from the last verse of “When I survey the wonderous cross”: Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
- Is the cost of following greater or less than the cost God paid to save you?
Take a moment to look at the principles of following that we have looked at so far and think about what each one might cost you as a follower. Are you prepared for those costs?
Questions for families with small children:
Take some time talking with your children about how much things cost and whether the cost is worth what you get out of it. Talk about that concept in connection to God and the price he paid for us.
Are you a follower?