Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A HIGH PRICE

Lea Sylvester

What is the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? We know from the scriptures that everywhere Jesus went there was a crowd of people who followed of him. Multitudes of people followed Him, as we are told. Is following Him the same as being His disciple?
Crowds followed Him every where He went.

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.” Matthew 8:1

And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.” John 6:2

A great multitude followed Him. Is that a bad thing? No. These followers saw His miracles, what He did and they followed Him for various reasons.

And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.” Matthew 4:25

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14

So we see that great multitudes of people followed Jesus wherever He went. When He saw them, He healed the sick. There are great multitudes of people today that follow something. Some say they follow Jesus Christ. Churches all over the country in the Western world have meetings each week and all of those people make up a great multitude of people. They are there for a reason. They are following after teachings and other things. Because there is a great multitude of people that are following Him, is this the same as being His disciple? In other words, is following the same as being a disciple? It is not the same thing.

It doesn't cost a lot to follow. One can get in the car, go to meetings anywhere one may choose. What is the cost? Fuel, an airline ticket? So, it doesn't cost too much to be a part of a crowd or to be attached to a group of people. Is this wrong? No. But, that's not what he told us to do, to just follow.

There are five questions posed here for consideration.
    1. Because large crowds followed and were healed and he had great compassion on them does this make them His disciples?
    2. If being his disciple is more than just gathering in a crowd then how does one become his disciple?
    3. What is the cost of being a disciple?
    4. Can you afford the cost? Will you pay the cost?
    5.When do you pay the price?

    In order to understand this question of following versus being a disciple, we must understand that we must develop a correct mindset. Hear what the Holy Spirit has to say here. There is a mindset we must have. It is not just action, it is how we think. It is what drives us, moves us, causes us to operate the way we do. It is a total way of thinking. It is not a name tag nor is it a title.

    The mindset of being a disciple is to understand how one must thinks, what one does in order to serve. It is a way of life. It is totally foreign to the way most think today. Without the proper mindset of a disciple versus the mindset of being a follower, one can miss what we are to do, think and be. One can think they will go worship and have praise and be a Christian. That is not a bad thing. But that is not the mindset of a disciple.

    Let's look at the mindset of a disciple. Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man but the end is the way of death." Proverbs 14:12. "There is a way that seems right to a man but the end is death.” Proverbs 16:25. Proverbs 21:2 "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes. But the Lord judges and weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2.In those days there was no king in Israel. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

    When one does what is right in his own eyes, it brings death. This is what God's Word tells us. The entire chapter of I Chronicles 21 speaks to the mindset of a disciple. It drives home the mindset we must have. We see that David was moved by satan to number Israel. Joab asked why but the king's word prevailed and so it was done. The number was given to David; it was a large army. In verse 7 we see "Yehovah was displeased with this thing and He struck Israel."

    King David confessed his sin, asked that his iniquity be taken away. He repented. Yehovah sent word via Gad to David: "Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things: choose one of them, that I may do it unto thee...Either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before your enemies, or three days the sword of the Lord...” I Chron 21:11-13.

    David had done what was right in his own eyes, here we see the consequences. David was greatly distressed. David said, “I will fall in the hand of Yehovah because great are His mercies but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” So the Lord sent a plague among Israel and 70,000 men died. And an angel was sent to destroy Jerusalem but the Lord said "enough!"

    David lifted his eyes and saw the angel standing between heaven and earth ready to destroy Jerusalem. David and the elders clothed in sackcloth fell on their faces and David said, "Was it not I that commanded the people, I am the one...but these sheep what have they done....be against me but not against all these people.” David was told to erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan. Ornan bowed before David and the king asked for the place to build an altar. He would pay the full price. Ornan tried to give it to him, but David said no. David was willing to pay the full price because he would not take what belonged to Ornan and give it to the Lord. In other words, he wouldn't give the Lord something that was cheap or easily gotten.
It was said that David would not accept a discounted offer for the payment of Ornans' property. No, David understood the need to not cheapen the worship. He demanded to pay the FULL price, or the King's Price for the acquisition of the property. Do you see a parallel here? Yeshua paid the FULL price for the acquisition of our salvation. He was able to do that because He had the perfect MINDSET of denying Himself, taking up His cross and following the Father's demands.
    What a powerful chapter of the Word of God! What can be learned from this? We don't come before God with cheap worship that doesn't cost us anything. We don't lollygag along and go along thinking that what we consider is right or is good is enough for God. Heaven forbid!

    We are not to do what is right in our own eyes. God's principle is this: there is only one approved mindset and it's called His "sop" (standard operating procedure). It is not just following, it is not just causally worshiping, it is not just wearing a cross. It is none of those things. There is one thing and it is found in two places: Luke 9:23 lays it out so very clearly: "Then He said to them all, if any one of you in this crowd want to come after me then deny yourself, take up your cross then you follow me." Deny yourself, take up your cross and then follow Him. This is not the sop of following along in a crowd, enjoying the niceties of worshiping.

    In Luke 14:25 we see more, "Now great multitudes went with Him and He turned and said if any one comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, and even his own life also he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you intending to build a tower does not sit down first to count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consult whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? ...So likewise whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
    There is a cost. There is not a big cost in following. The cost is whether you are going to be a disciple He calls His own. We are told in the Book of Acts that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. If one reads history and understands what was happening there, one knows that Antioch was very much a pagan city. Who was it that called them Christian? Was it from among the followers or disciples? Did they name themselves? No, that was a pagan city. The ones who called them disciples were the heathen. The reason is that they saw that this group of people were more than just a crowed of people, but were truly disciples of Jesus. They saw their lifestyle and what they did. It cost them something.

    If your faith and your walk is not costing you everything you have, then stand back and see what is going before your savior. Do you want to follow or do you want to be named as His Disciple? You cannot be so without entering into the mindset shown here.

    Every day we must choose to be a disciple. It is our choice. We focus on pleasing the one who calls us. Today I will not just follow, I will be His disciple. This mindset will take us into a deeper or more serious judgment of our life; what we are willing to do for God. Using the definition of "Christian" as most people understand, it can be said that the USA is a Christian nation . Houses of worship are filled with multitudes. The question is, how many of that multitude is choosing and lives a lifestyle that says, "I am a disciple of Jesus"?

    All of the apostles and those writers of the "New Testament" never referred to themselves as anything except disciples, brethren, of like faith. They understood the cost and that's why most of them gave their life for the sake of God's Word and for the sake of their walk with God. This is a very bloody religion - to be a disciple of Jesus. We've taken it and have prostituted it out. We don't hear much about the true cost, we just like to see what it's like to follow. It is very costly. But oh, when that price is paid and when we get that mindset, we know He never leaves us, He never walks away, anything we might face in life we know we are not alone, because He is there.
We are instructed in Philippians 2:5-8:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Yeshua Messiah, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, andcoming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Here is the perfect picture of the cost of being a disciple with Yeshua. It cost everything! Everything you own, everything you are; family, reputation, self desires, etc. Without being a disciple, we are only followers, like most are.

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