Holiness: The Cost Part 2

The Importance of “Counting the Cost” We could begin and end the discussion with the fact that Jesus commanded people to consider the cost. 1. Those Who Need to Be Exhorted to “Count the Cost” – There are a large group of people that are religious and think a lot about it. They are not ignorant of religion and know the basic tenets well. But they are not rooted and grounded in their faith. They have picked up their beliefs from family or friends or from attending services, but they have never had an inward experience. They have made a quick profession of faith. They walked an aisle or signed a card or raised a hand but have not had any grace work in their hearts. These are those that need to be encouraged to count the cost. They are like those in Israel that had seen all that God had done to release them from Egypt but when they did not have meat cursed Moses and God. They are like all those at the feeding of the five thousand that enjoyed the miracles but when told to feed on the flesh and blood of Christ, they left. They are like King Herod who liked to hear John the Baptist preach and treated him as a holy man. He did some good things but when it came to giving up his brother’s wife, he would not. They are like Demas who was a fellow worker with Paul but forsake him because he loved this present world. “They begin with a sadly mistaken notion of what is true Christianity. They fancy it consists in nothing more than a so-called “coming to Christ,” and having strong inward feelings of joy and peace. And so, when they find after a time, that there is a cross to be carried, that our hearts are deceitful, and return to their old sins…they had never learned that we must ‘count the cost’” 2. The Practice of Counting the Cost – Luke 14:25-27 says, “Now great crowds accompanied 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 bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” In this section, we are pointed to some of the great preachers of the past and their practice. They understood that the heart was deceitful and that outward appearance did not always correspond with an inward change. When they preached they always called people to consider the cost. It is compared to a military recruiter that promises a crisp, clean uniform, three meals a day, decent pay, and glory but does not mention the battle, the drills, the watching, the marching, the months away from loved ones, and the potential for death. When we share the gospel we must share all the gospel; eternal life and eternal joy but also carrying one’s cross and self-denial. How To “Count the Cost” Rightly In this section, we have some hints on how to count the cost biblically. These will help us to have the right perspective on what we lose and gain as Christians. 1. The Profit and the Loss – Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Though you might gain everything here on earth what is that to eternal death? 2. The Praise and the Blame – Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” You might have some people that will insult you or even launch an all-out verbal attack, but you will gain the praise of the triune God. The praise of men matters little compared to the praise of God. 3. The Friends and the Enemies – On one side you have the devil and the wicked on the other you have your friend Jesus Christ. The enemy may hurt you but you have Jesus who can save to the uttermost. Luke 12:4-5 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.[a] Yes, I tell you, fear him!” 4. The Life That Now Is and the Life to Come – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” In following Christ, you may have a life of trouble and fighting that you might avoid otherwise but the things we have now only last a short time compared to the glory that will be given.

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