Counting the Cost to Follow Jesus

Dustin Folden December 30, 2018 Luke 14:25–35
Outline

4 key truths for following Christ wholeheartedly in the new year

Luke 14:25-35 - Now large crowds 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. 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. Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 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.”

I. Love for Christ Must Be Our Greatest Value

Luke 14:25-26 - Now large crowds 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.

A. We love Christ by valuing Him above _________

Matthew 10:37-39 - He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

B. Loving Christ is essential for loving others

Matthew 22:36-40 - Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

II. Following Christ Means Dying to Yourself

Luke 14:27 - Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

A. By taking up your cross and following Him

Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 - For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

B. Counting the cost

Luke 14:28-32 - 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.

C. By sacrificing all for Him

Luke 14:33 - So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

III. Living for Christ Keeps You from Wasting Your Life

Luke 14:34-35 - Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 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.

IV. Recognize that Christ Has Given Himself for You So That You Can Have Everything in Him

So did you get what you wanted for Christmas? Maybe it was that pair of socks you have been eyeing all year, or that Lego set, or maybe if you were like me, you got some tools or a Lowes gift card.

Now the problem with getting tools is, you now have a mandate to build something…I plan (lord willing) to build a workbench that you can put in the corner of the garage and then pop the wheels up and move it around.

The problem when I build things is they always cost more in time and resources than I think they will. Do you ever have that….anyone renovate their kitchen, and it cost more than they thought…anyone build a deck and it was more than you thought…anyone do anything and come in at or under budget (cf. Northend and the grace of God and giftedness of planners and contractors etc.)…and actually finish the project. It is very rare, and that is why it is so important to count the cost carefully before starting a project. I have learned to calculate better and build in more margin of time and money on things…

But no one starts out on a project and says, I have enough to redo half the kitchen, or build half a deck or half a work bench and then get started knowing full well, you are only going to go halfway. We might miscalculate , have prices increase, or unexpected things come up that you can’t plan for and not be able to hit the price spot on, but no one says, I have just enough money to do half, lets get started.

We also should not have that approach when it comes to Following the Lord…we really need to go into the new year and count the cost when it comes to our relationship with the Lord, because He doesn’t want us to plan to go halfway.

Now small spoiler alert…when we plan to follow Christ wholeheartedly, we realize we will fall short, but we also will then realize that our Lord and savior didn’t fall short…He paid it all, so that we can then grow in follow him with our whole lives…so this idea of counting the cost encourages us to think about our responsibility, and think about the Lord and then think about our responsibility and really go back and forth in a very relational way…

…but we want to start out the year in the best place possible to do that well.

So today we want to consider Counting the Cost to Follow Jesus in the new year

…So with that in mind please turn in your bibles to Luke 14:25-35, which is on page 59 in the back section of the bible under the chair in front of you.

Luke 14:25–35 (NASB95) — 25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 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. 27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “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? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “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? 32 “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. 34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 “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.”

So with our time remaining lets look at 4 Key Truths for following Christ wholeheartedly in the New Year

The first key truth to help us follow Christ wholeheartedly is that…

I.              Love for Christ must be our greatest value (v. 26)

25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 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.

Now this is strong language. Hate your father, mother, wife, and children, siblings even your own life…this is Hebrew Hyperbole, Jesus also said to love your enemies and pray for them, so Jesus is really making  extreme point verbally, that asks the people who are following Him,…what do you love the most?

  • You are here in the crowd, but where is your heart, what do you really love.
  • Where does reading the word factor in
  • Where does faithfulness to corporate worship and being a part of the body factor in
  • Where does reaching out to the Lost fit in
  • Where does serving with the strength and gifts God gave you fit in.
  • …in order to follow Christ and not live for yourself, you need to really think about your relationship with Jesus and how he sacrificed all for you (glory of heaven, the perfect love he had with the father, taking on frail humanity and bearing the sins of the world), to follow Him, you need to think about who He is and what He did and consider if He is worthy of you giving your whole life for Him.
  • Calling yourself a disciple or a Christian, but not actually following Him in any way shape or form is useless.
  • I don’t just need the teaching of Jesus, I need Jesus Himself.

Earlier in Luke 14 Jesus talks about a man who invited many to dinner, and the people made excuses, I bought a field I need to go check on it, I bought some oxen and I want to take them on a test drive so I can’t make it, or I just got married, so I am busy.

Jesus said the man responded by going out into the streets and inviting the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame…in other words, those who understand will come because they are needy, and not distracted by all these other things they love more than the Lord.

In our passage, the focus is on our family, and even our own life…because we tend to love our family, and ourselves a great deal.

In the new year will you be honest about the problem...honest about the things you love, the things that compete with Christ for your affections….will you wrestle with the big idea that God wants all of you, your whole heart.

So the point is that…

A.    We love Christ By Valuing Him above _________

Now that is not a typo, we didn’t forget to fill in the blank…the point here is that you need to fill in the blank, with what most frequently competes with Jesus having prime place in your heart.

When you read the passage in other gospels, we clearly see that it is about the priority of our love…what will we love the most.

Matthew 10:37–39 — 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

I love the phase, when you put first things first, then second things actually increase. IN other words, when you love Jesus more than your family, you are able to love your family with the love of Christ, which is greater than if you tried to love your family without a focus on Christ.

B.    Loving Christ is Essential for Loving Others

If you love Jesus more than you love your family, then you can be kind to them when they are not easy to love.

You can love them, not because of what you get in return or how it makes you feel, but you can love them with a love fueled by the greatest commandment, when your heart is aimed at the Lord, you will view people like He views them, and love them as he commands you to...

Matthew 22:36–40 — 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

The two greatest commandments work together, and in fact the whole Law and prophets revolves around putting God first, so that we can live in loving community with each other to the glory of God.

Notice where you fit in the equation…you’re not the one giving the commands, and you are not the center of the commands…

II.            Following Christ means dying to yourself (v.27)

In the new year, we must have a right view of ourselves to follow Christ.

Now you might say, ok, I get that Christ needs to be first and above other things, but we also have to understand counting the cost means we also need to give up something…

Jesus eludes to this when he says, hate even your own life, he who finds his life loses it, he who loses it finds it…he goes on and says…

27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

To live is Christ and to die is gain is how the apostle Paul phrases it.

Think about some of the phrases we often here…This is not the way I thought my life would turn out…My life just isn’t going how I expected it or how I want it to go.

We tend to look to order our lives in the way we want and the way we think we will be happiest. I don’t want to be too busy, I don’t want to have too many responsibilities I have to keep track of, I don’t want to get involved in things that are inconvenient messy and will take more time than I want to give, but I also want to do things that are exciting and meaningful.

Jesus says you are going to have to die to that way of thinking about your life….you are going to have to die to all those goals that are really all about you… if you are to follow Him, you can’t follow you.

- (plus there is a lot of hope here when you consider that He leads better than you and he leads to better places than you)

But the points Jesus is saying to the crowd is… to be his disciple we need to love our own life less than you love Him …

and we do that …

A.    By Taking up your cross and following Him

You see it is not just about loving him most…it is also about recognizing He is in charge, and I live my life for him…

Christ is using intense terminology just like hate, he is saying…pick up your cross, an instrument of death that Rome, who was in charge, used to force submission…and Jesus said if you want to follow me, you need to recognize you are not in charge of your own life…you must take up your cross…willingly submit to the one you are following.

When we say die to self, we are really talking about placing our life under His authority, so that he is in charge.

Galatians 2:20 — 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

2 Corinthians 5:14–15 — 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Jesus calls us to follow Him with our whole hearts, but he graciously gives us the perfect motivation…give your whole life to Christ…because He gave His whole life for you….in other words, because of who He is and what He did…He is worth it.

Jesus wants His followers to consider if He is worthy of their whole lives, and to honestly look at the reason they are following Him, and when you are confronted with difficulty, it really helps you see what you love.

Jesus wants the crowd to really consider what it means to follow Him…as we go intro the new year it is good for us to really consider what it looks like to follow Him.

HW – Make a list what it will look like for you to follow the Lord wholeheartedly in the New Year

Jesus gives them some illustrations; some word pictures so people can really wrestle with how we view Jesus… do we really believe He is the Messiah, the one our whole lives are to revolve around…

So Jesus leads us in…

B.    Counting the Cost (v.28-31)

He says to the crowd…

28 “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? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “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? 32 “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

The point here is just like the kitchen remodel, the patio or workbench…no one plans to build half a tower…it is a mockery to go halfway.

Likewise a king who is about to be attacked, doesn’t go into battle knowing he is going to be crushed by a force twice his size…he is calculating things, and he then acts as He seeks peace.

You can image a large crowd of Jesus would have a number of people that believe Him, love Him, and are following Him and orienting their very lives around Him even as He goes to the cross to pay for their sins.

But there would also be a lot of people in this crowd that like the free food, are entertained by the miracles, and just want to see if Jesus it going to clash with the Pharisees and romans…they really don’t love Jesus, they are just sort of halfway there.

Jesus is saying, you don’t go halfway in other things in life…so don’t follow me halfway.

Don’t plan to go halfway with Jesus this year.

CAVEAT - I am not talking about perfection…no one can count the cost perfectly, no one loves Jesus perfectly, but my concern is that some people may not even think about what it means to orient their life around Jesus this year.

If you just sort of plan to come to church a few times a month, and maybe go to a bible study if it works out, maybe go to a few men of faith breakfasts…can I lovingly pastor you and say you are planning to build half a tower.

When you count the cost you realize it is going to take more time, energy and resources than you want to give…

but we are to follow Jesus…

C.    By Sacrificing all for Him (v. 33)

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

Jesus is constantly putting people to the question…do I believe who this Jesus is…if He is who he says he is, then he is of supreme worth, and he is worth all of me and even everything I own needs to be viewed through the grid following Him and being His disciple.

Hate your family, pick up an instrument of death and die to self, and give up all you own…Jesus is calling us to radically follow Him…not halfheartedly follow Him.

I think when a person sits down and really calculates the cost, they realize the cost is too high…I can’t do it….I can’t follow Christ perfectly.

You see following Him, leads us to the Cross….And that is Why he didn’t just come to earth to give the sermon on the mount and then leave…this is why he didn’t just teach people what it means to be a disciple and then leave,…he had to come and die and pay for our sins, so that we can even be in a position to grow in loving Him above all…above our family, above our way, above our possessions, above our very lives.

What is amazing about looking at things God’s way, is that it initially seems like there is no way this can work, and then you realize, no… this is the only way this can work.

How can I be happy if I don’t do what I want, I don’t live for myself…oh maybe the one who created me knows that I can only have true joy if I live in a way where He is the provider of Joy and He is at the center of my life…

Christ counted the cost and poured out His life for me…so I can count the cost, believe He is worth it and pour out my life for Him so that my life is filled with purpose.

You see, when you pour out your life in line with you purpose, it is useful, but if you rebel against your purpose, then it is a waste.

So…as you go into the new year, consider how…

III.          Living for Christ keeps you from wasting your life (v.34-35)

Jesus continues with another analogy, so that the crowd understands God is laying claim on their whole life…He uses salt to make this point.

34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 “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.”

I wonder how many times we will look back on aspects of our life and things we thought were so important at the time and when we look back they will be viewed as really being a waste.

Salt really helps us think about what our lives should really be about.

Now sometimes biblical illustrations about salt can be really confusing…salt preserves, salt adds flavor, salt was actually used to pay soldiers…that is where the phrase…that guy is not worth his salt comes from….as we see in this text you could add salt to the soil or manure pile so that crops would grow better.

The point here, is that salt has value, because Salt has purpose,…Jesus said salt is good…whatever you use it for, it is good…because it’s salt.

When you use salt, it is used up…it dissolves, it is useful, but you can’t use it twice for something else.

You can’t salt food, and then say, you know, I want to use that for something else, let me scrape it off…all the saltiness is gone, but I can repurpose this and use it for something else.

If salt is not salty…if it is tasteless…what are you going to add to it to make it useful…nothing….it needs to be salty to be useful….

So think about what Jesus has been saying…radically follow me with your whole life…view yourself as salt, where you are going to be used up for God’s purposes, and that will be useful…but if your life is really about your purposes, we can’t add something else, some other purpose that will ultimately give meaning.

The point is God has a purpose for you…to be the salt of the earth…to live in a way that brings Him glory, He wants your whole life to be used for His glory…you can’t mix in your own purpose and follow that and follow Jesus.

You can’t say, I want to live a little bit for the lord, and a little bit for myself and I will just find the right ratio to make it work.

You have to agree with God when He says, you are the salt of the earth…you are here for a purpose…and that purpose is to live your life wholly devoted to the Lord, your creator and be used by Him in His great plan of redemption.

You see God loves rescuing people, loves working in people’s lives so that they turn to Him, they cry out to Him, they trust Him….is your life in line with his purpose…God is about redeeming and saving those who are lost….are you having a salt-like impact in line with that purpose.

That starts with the Lord rescuing you. And that starts with your recognition of your need to be rescued.

I believe Jesus is saying all this to the crowd so that they will have ears to hear, and that the message is, I am in trouble….I don’t love God more than my family, I don’t love God more than my own life, I don’t deny myself and follow His ways above my ways, I don’t embrace my purpose that He gives me, I like to mix my own….in other words, I am in trouble….I need a savior…because I have calculated the cost, and I am going to be really short.

So the message of Jesus is not just be better, love me more and everything will work out….the message of Jesus is consider what you love, and be honest about what you love more than God, so that you will see your need and then place your faith and trust in Jesus, the one who counted the cost and finished the work, the one who loved His heavenly father more than his own earthly family and more than His own life….the one who came to fulfill His purpose perfectly.

That helps you…

IV.         Recognize that Christ has given Himself for you so that you can have everything in Him

When you admit you fall short of loving God, first and most, you are in a positon to see Christ properly, and when you then look at a passage like this, you can response not simply by trying harder, but by growing and going into the new year wanting to be more and more focused on fulfilling the purpose God has for you, because your heart is directed toward the Lord above all else.

So what does that look like. Well it starts with being excited about the things of God, with committing to knowing Him better in the new year, and putting reading his word, and fellowshipping with His people and reaching out to those who don’t know Him.

I want to encourage you to be salty each Sunday…to come to church with purpose. Start the week looking to grow in your love for God and your love for others….talk to the people around you and get to know them. Don’t just think about yourself, let the Lord use you up like some fine pink Himalayan salt.

It starts on Sunday, and it continues throughout the week…you go to work, and you are going to work to do a great job for the glory of Lord, but you also are expecting the Lord to use you to impact people in a useful way…to rub off and impart some Christ centered flavor to others…in the form of directing conversation to spiritual things, going deeper with folks and praying with them, and inviting them to come and consider if they want to take up their cross and follow Jesus.

What you are going to find is there is more joy, more peace, more delight being used up for God’s purpose, then exhausting yourself trying to fulfill your own.

That is not a New Year resolution, this is your purpose from the beginning of creation that has been made possible to live out in Christ.

God wants to give you His very best, so He gave you His son, and He didn’t just stop there, He wanted to give you a grand purpose in this life…to help others know and love Him.

 

Dustin Folden

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.