Lessons Of A Lifetime

WOULD BE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST
OR
COUNTING THE COST TO FOLLOW JESUS
SUNDAY JAN. 31, 2021

Scripture To Consider:
“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, ‘Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’

“Then Jesus said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.’

“And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ Luke 9.57-62

Something To Consider:
Jesus has set His face to go to Jerusalem. We too as true believers must set our face, our hearts, our minds, and our resolve to follow Jesus no matter what. For if we do not, just as with these three examples we too may become would be followers of Christ. And yet, at the same time, we must not follow Jesus blindly unaware that there is not a cost to be counted.

Lip service alone without commitment would prove us to be would be followers and keep us from truly counting the cost of discipleship and following Jesus. But our whole hearted commitment to the cause of Christ will bring many benefits and eternal rewards to us and to the kingdom of God on earth and in the future!

The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 2.9, by stating a tremendous truth. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” So, the question becomes, do we truly love God? Do we move from being would be followers of Christ to people who have counted the cost of following Jesus and have decided to do just that no matter what?

According to 1 John 1.6; “If we say that we have fellowship [due to love] with Him [God], and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” And if we are not practicing the truth, then we are practicing a lie and therefore, iniquity will follow our practicing a lie. And if that be the case, there is great condemnation awaiting us as we enter into eternity and the judgment of an Almighty God. Therefore, what will be our decision as to remaining would be followers of Christ? Or will we welcome the opportunity to become and to remain followers of Christ after truly counting the cost?

Something Else To Consider:
Matthew, in his rendering of this event, in Matthew 8.19, tells us a certain scribe spoke up and said; “Teacher, I will follow You wherever you go.” Jesus did not hide the fact that following Him may be difficult and possibly uncomfortable and declared to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

In other words, if a person is looking for a guarantee of comfort, he or she has come to the wrong place. Neither gospel records this scribe following Jesus. That would have been a good result to proclaim, but they did not. Like so many since, this certain scribe for the moment remained a would be follower of Jesus that counted the cost and could not commit himself.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1.24, speaking for God he stated; “I have called and you refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded [responded].” Jeremiah the prophet declared, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” The majority of human beings will remain would be followers of Christ even though God’s perfect will is that none perish. That is the very sad truth!

Something More To Consider:
One of these would be followers asked Jesus’ permission to go bury his father. This did not mean that his father had died, but rather he was using his father as an excuse to put off his following Jesus. He put off making a decision to follow Christ by counting the cost, and considered it to be too high a price to pay!

Therefore, Jesus firmly stated, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Lot’s wife, in looking back on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was turned into a pillar of salt. And yet, why would we consider turning back after having made a decision to follow Jesus? Let us beware that no one deceives us!

And Peter warned us in his second letter by declaring; “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the later end is worse for them than the beginning.” Therefore, would be followers of Jesus should count the cost of discipleship.

Let us not be found looking back at the end of our lives and wondering why the decision to follow Christ was never made. As Paul instructs in 1 Corinthians 7.29; “The time is short.” And in 2 Corinthians 6.2 Paul reminds us; “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

A Few Final Words:
Jesus acknowledged the importance of taking advantage of the time we have been given in John 9.4. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him [God the Father] who sent Me, while it is day: the night comes [evil dark days are coming], when no one can work.” Are we ready for those dark days? Are we prepared?

I love what the apostle Paul imparted to all who have ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying in Romans 13.11. “And do this, knowing the time [knowing the evil days of the end times are approaching], that now it is high time [the right time] to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Notice that Paul proclaimed that our salvation is near!

Therefore, every would be follower of Jesus Christ is to count the cost of discipleship, thereby greatly reducing the likeliness of looking back with a desire to turn back. “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his [or her] hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, teach us of the importance of counting the cost and never looking back with a desire to turn back or to depart from the faith. In Him Always, Amen!

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