Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Does it Cost to Follow Jesus?

Matthew 10:37-38

37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

IMG_0301It is Good Friday. I had a funeral this morning for a long time friend from a previous church and a Good Friday service tonight at the church I presently serve. It is the day that our Lord sacrificed His life for me – for you – for all humanity – He paid for the sins of the world.

One thing I have always preached – there is a cost to follow Jesus. Salvation is free – but to truly follow Christ – there is a cost. That cost is a denial of self and an acceptance of God’s will in our lives. It is that Gethsemane moment where our will and God’s will clash – the cost is denying self and doing God’s will. The free gift of salvation requires a denial of self!

Here is today’s passage in partial context – it will help us understand the cost of following Jesus. Matthew 10:32-39 – 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

3crossesLet’s take a look at this passage together. The first part of this passage says – “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” Most of us like to hear an Atta boy/girl when we have done well.  We might ask the question: how do we acknowledge God before men and women? Giving God the glory – the praise – the honor in our lives – is part of what it costs us to follow Jesus.

The second verse in this section of Scripture shows us what happens when we do not acknowledge God before people.  It is a part of this passage I’m sure some wish Jesus hadn’t included: “But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” To disown God is to be – in turn – disowned by Him.

Let’s look at the other portions of this passage. Matthew 10:34-37 – “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”  For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;… Loving God needs to be at the top of our list! Loving God more than we love even those in our lives that we are supposed to love with a deep love.

The next verse covers the cost of following Jesus – Matthew 10:38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Following that is a warning – to not hold our lives up high but to lower our view of self and honor our view of God. Matthew 10:39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The whole concept behind being a disciple of Christ is that we have been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 – 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

All we do in this life – once we have been saved – bought and paid for – is to live for Jesus.  Being bought and paid for by Christ means we are His – our life is to be lived for Him – rather than live for ourselves.

2 Corinthians 5:15 – And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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April 3, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , ,

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