(Luke 14:26-27), "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
It has well been said, “That salvation cost you nothing but discipleship will cost you everything.”
As a pastor over the last thirty years I have noticed there are three level levels of commitment to Christ in the church among those who profess to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
(1.) There is the Complacent Level – those who attend church part-time and that truly never get involved.
(2.) There is the Casual Level – those who are attend church regularly and serve God as long as it doesn’t cost them or get them out of their comfort zone.
(3.) There is the Committed Level – those who are committed to developing a relationship with Christ and others in the Church; who are committed to following, serving, and living every day of their lives for the glory of God, regardless of the cost.
It is the third level that I want to focus on as we think about "the cost of complete commitment to Christ." If we are going to be a committed disciple of Christ there is a price to be paid.
(1.) Jesus Must Take Priority Over Your Personal Relationships (v. 26a), ""If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters…and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
Jesus is not talking about an emotional hate toward our family but Jesus is speaking of priority. And what He is saying is, your priority may have been in time past the relationships around you and you did what those around you wanted you to do, your family and those that were intimate in your life. They were the ones who basically charted your course, because those relationships meant so much to you, and these were your priority. But for you to be My disciple, from now on, you have to love Me with all your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength. And you have to do what honors Me, what pleases Me, what I desire, what I will, and what I command because as the Lord of your life, I must take priority over all other demands and relationships.
(2.) Jesus Must Take Priority Over Your Personal Reputation (v. 26b), "If any man come to me, and hate not…his own life also…and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
Again, Jesus is not talking about an emotional self-hate but what He means is that in order to be His disciple, you must consider yourself, your will, your ambitions, your desires, and your purposes as minor and unimportant compared to your desire to do what honors your Lord. When you come to Me, Jesus says, you're not just adding Me to your life. I'm not just decoration. I'm not just the topping. I'm going to take over.
(3.) Jesus Must Take Priority Over Our Personal Realization (v. 27), "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
The cross simply a symbol of death. It was a torture instrument used to execute people. It's a very concrete way to express martyrdom. What Jesus is asking is, are you willing to give your life? Are you willing, not only to give up your desires, your ambitions, your dreams, your hopes, all the things that you think are your well-crafted purposes and plans; are you willing to abandon them to My sovereign authority, subordinating them to My will, and yes, even to the point where it could cost you your life? What Jesus is saying is that if you are not willing to take up your cross daily and follow Him, you cannot be His disciple.
A.W. Tozer said this concerning what it means to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
(a.) A man who is crucified only faces one way.
(b.) A man who is crucified is not going back.
(c.) A man who is crucified has no further plans of his own.
One of the major problems in our churches and among professing believers today is, the saints of God are not willing to make Christ the priority of their lives but just want to fit Him in when and where it is convenient for them.
Jesus teaches us that in following Him and becoming His disciple, that you will receive blessings in this time, and unlimited and inexplicable blessing throughout eternity. Fulfillment forever will be yours. But for those gifts, Jesus says, I want to take control of your life so that I may truly fulfill it, truly satisfy it, and truly use it for My glory and your good.
Are you a disciple of Christ? Does He have priority over every area of your life?
A chicken and a pig were walking down the street one day and noticed some poor children who looked as if they hadn’t eaten anything for days.
Moved with compassion, the chicken said to the pig, “I have an idea! Let’s give those children a nice breakfast of ham and eggs.”
The pig contemplated the chicken’s suggestion and said, “Well, for you that would involve a small sacrifice; but for me, it would involve total commitment.”
The church today is full of chickens, willing to make small sacrifices, such as attendance and even giving.
What the church needs today is a bunch of pigs, who will totally commit to Christ.
Pastor Allen Jackson