Counting the Cost

Paying the Price of Accomplishing Our Purpose

Luke 14:25-33

Craig Ledbetter, Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland –


I.         Introduction (Luke 14:34,35) – More than being what we are just in Name


A.      What we are is compared to SALT


1.        Salt is good – but if it only is salt in name, and not through and through, it is not worth anything

2.        When Jesus came, Israel as a light to the world, had lost its savour – its saltiness, its reason for existence

3.        No amount of additives can restore salt back to its original taste

4.        Only salt can make salt, salt


B.       The same is true with Christianity


1.        Christianity easily loses its savour, saltiness, reason for existence as well

2.        We far too easily are Christians in name only – only a label on the outside of the pourer, but no flavour when poured out


C.       There were hundreds, and sometimes thousands of grown men, and women, and their children travelling to wherever Jesus would be on a given day

D.      They would come to hear Him speak, and preach, and teach about things that answered life’s most needful questions

E.       As they came, and went, day after day, Jesus, right at the end of His 3 ½ year long ministry, preaches what I believe to be His hardest message – His greatest challenge to His followers

F.       The people sitting in front of Him, and surrounding Him for hundreds of metres in every direction, thought they were followers of Jesus

G.       They really liked this guy Jesus, and believed that He spoke the truth, and made sense, and was worth learning from

H.      But Jesus knew that it was time to draw the line in the sand so-to-speak, and lay-out the price of being a disciples of His


1.        We expect there to be a cost to being on a professional sports team

2.        We expect a cost to be a great musician – long hours, intense practice

3.        We expect a cost to be a politician – no private life, constant examination

4.        We expect there to be a cost of being married, and being a parent

5.        Well, there is a cost to being a Christian as well


I.         Discipleship


1.        Discipleship is the process of changing me into more and more like Jesus

2.        Three times Jesus lays out the conditions for being a disciple

3.        Three times, Jesus lays out just how hard it is going to be to accomplish


J.        Now before we go any farther, lets review a great Scripture (Philp 3:7-14)


1.        What was gain and good was dumped like dung

2.        THAT is how we have to let go of things that we value for the accomplishment of our purpose in Christ!!!

3.        Paul never fully accomplished what he so sought after – to be like Jesus

4.        But Paul never stopped striving

5.        He worried about ONE thing, and ONE thing only – losing that savour – losing that goal, losing his reason for existence (1Cor 9:27) – worried about becoming useless!


K.      I too personally want to accomplish the purpose that God designed in me – I want to be like my Saviour – but I must be willing to pay the price though!


II.       Message – Counting the Cost


A.      The Goal (Lk 14:25) – To become just like HIM!


1.        By being HIS disciple

2.        By following Jesus

3.        By learning of Him

4.        So many people claim this goal for their life, but are they willing to do what is necessary to be, and think, and live like Jesus of Nazareth?

5.        A most worthwhile goal


a.        There is no greater goal

b.       There is no greater life to live than that of a Christian – full stop


6.        That’s our goal – the Christians in this room, join with this multitude that are gathered around Christ, with the one goal of being like Jesus

7.        But there is a price to pay


B.       The Cost (Lk 14:26) – the Price I Must be Willing to Pay


1.        It’s always this way


a.        The things that are really important and really valuable, cost – a lot!

b.       Thankfully, the price of my forgiveness and salvation from hell, was paid for by Jesus Christ

c.        But the price of discipleship, of being like Jesus, I must pay

d.       And even long time Christians, find the price steep


1)       Christ must be pre-eminent

2)       I must expect persecution

3)       There is a strait and narrow path I need to stay on


2.        His Pre-eminence - This is where the rubber meets the road


a.        Pre-eminence means, “to the exclusion of all others”

b.       We all have a problem with that word “hate” in this Scripture

c.        It is the word the Lord used – carefully chosen to:


1)       Draw our attention – it works!

2)       Force our decision – who will be our God?


d.       We don’t like to admit it, but we have lots of “gods” – lots of forces controlling our lives (Lk 14:16-20)


1)       Possessions, and wealth – they control and dominate our lives

2)       Potentials – always living for our own plans and dreams

3)       People – notice the words, “I cannot come!” She won’t let him!


e.        There is no side-stepping it - You are to have only ONE Master in life (Lk 16:13)


1)       Not your wife, or your Mother, or your Boss, or your kids!

2)       This world has kept back the child of God from making Jesus the pre-eminent Lord of their life that He has earned the right to be


a)       Col 1:18

b)       Philp 2:5-11


3)       The key to discipleship is making Him Lord today! Living for Him today. Following Him now, and not later!


f.         In order for you and me to BE what we were saved to be, we must:


1)       LOVE – Love only ONE Person in all the universe – Jesus


a)       This is the first act of honour (Lk 10:27)

b)       If I get THIS one step right, everything, absolutely EVERYTHING else will fall right into place

c)       Love Him totally, completely – make Him not just the top person you love, out of all the people that you love, but the ONLY person you love – this is FIRST

d)       To the exclusion of all others – even people closest to you! Like your Parents; Husband or wife; brothers and sisters; your children; And even your own life also

e)       This is the first step

f)        Jesus says, there is no middle ground


1.        You can’t reduce your love for others and increase your love for God – they won’t let you!

2.        Just like your wife wouldn’t tolerate just a greater part of your heart than you have towards other women!


g)       This is the church’s loss today – we are middle-of-the-roaders – we are so lukewarm – never really passionate - and we make Christ sick!

h)       My first person I must learn to love is Jesus Christ – to the absolute exclusion of all others – did you hear me!?

i)         NOT that I will never love anyone else, but that I CANNOT love them right until I first rightly love the Lord!

j)         Oh the greatness of this truth!


2)       LET GO


a)       Let the love you have for the Lord Jesus be released to Him in full, not just bit-by-bit on occasion – when you feel good

b)       Compare to the lad who gave his lunch to the Lord Jesus – gave it all, not just a bite

c)       We give so little of our heart away to God

d)       Probably because we hate to be hurt and disappointed

e)       So, we never know what it means to fully, and completely give what God deserves the most of – our love!


3)       LEARN


a)       Now you can understand how love really works

b)       Now you can learn how to love somebody, even anybody when it’s no longer just YOU trying to love them – but the Lord Jesus loving them through you


1.        Like with your parents – you will find it hard to honour and obey unless you love the Lord Jesus first!

2.        Your wife – some find it hard on their own – it would be good to let the Lord love them through you!


c)       You will find that the little love you have for people, when fully directed at the Lord Jesus, will bounce back in your lap (just like the 12 baskets full) for others!


g.       God is not asking any of us to NOT love our parents, or our wives or husbands or kids, but rather to only love HIM, and in doing so, we will find more love to love others, but only AFTER I love Him only!

h.       We are not sincere;  we will not be constant and persevering, unless we love Christ more than any thing in this world, and be willing to part with that which may be dominating our lives (Jn 6:66-69)


1)       Thus Abraham parted from his own family and country

2)       Moses left Pharaoh’s court (Heb 11:24-27) – forsook!

3)       All because they both loved the Lord supremely


i.         THAT’S pre-eminence


3.        Our Persecution


a.        The carrying of the cross for the Christian is a humiliating thought


1)       Jesus uses a very shocking analogy – the cross

2)       The disciples did not understand how the life of the Christian could be associated with an instrument of death

3)       Yet Jesus commands His followers to carry along with them, daily a readiness to die – a readiness to be humiliated with Christ

4)       We all want PRAISE and COMMENDATION – and oh we will get that one day – in heaven

5)       But we must be ready for misunderstandings, and for attacks, and for hatred and for bad days, weeks, months!

6)       We are victors, but our lives may not show it (Heb 11:32-38)


b.       The bearing of the cross is a heavy burden – not an easy task


1)       Don’t worry though

2)       The strength you need to carry such a weight will be supplied – it is called God’s Amazing Grace!


4.        The Path to Follow


a.        Our path we walk is simply to come after Jesus – follow in His footsteps

b.       Follow Him wherever he leads, however long He takes to get where He is leading

c.        These people came to Jesus, and would follow Jesus to certain places, and at certain times of the year, but when the going got tough, even His apostles jumped ship!

d.       The cost is consistency, faithfulness, perseverance


C.       The Consideration (Lk 14:28-32)


1.        None of these choices can just be decided on a whim

2.        They have to be carefully considered, weighed, and committed to (Josh 24:15)

3.        What are we considering? What we really want!

4.        Carefully Consider, Like a Builder, building a Tower (Lk 14:28-30)


a.        This man wants to build a tower – not an instant task

b.       A tower is a complicated thing – not just a wall, or shed, or a house

c.        So, the builder MUST consider


1)       Does he have enough money to FINISH the task?

2)       Does he have enough commitment to see it through?


d.       I wonder how many Christians are the laughing stock of hell?


5.        Carefully Consider, Like a King preparing for War (Lk 14:31,32)


a.        Faced with an approaching enemy

b.       This king wants to win! But it will cost!

c.        So, the king has to consider:


1)       Does he have sufficient military strength to defend his kingdom?

2)       Does he have sufficient ability to overcome his enemy?


d.       If not, is he wise enough to seek another way beside a massacre, like conditional surrender?


6.        Always considering the cost of each decision, the price of each action, the sacrifice needed to accomplish the goal

7.        THAT’S where we are at


a.        Oh, we know our goal – we have known what we wanted from the moment we got born again

b.       We just shy away from really looking at the price and being willing to pay it


D.      The Care (Lk 14:33)


1.        Do we really care enough about the goal to pay the price?

2.        To forsake is to abandon, completely let go of something

3.        Do we really believe Jesus is worth everything we currently hold on to?


a.        These folks had seen what Jesus could do

b.       They knew who He was able to love

c.        They saw all the glory of His way of living – beyond anything that money could buy


4.        The ONLY way you are going to let go of this life, and this world, and this way of living is if Jesus means more to you than any of it all


E.       The Final Comparison – with Salt (Lk 14:34,35)


1.        Can you now see how that lesson about salt relates to us?

2.        Our outside label says “Christian”

3.        But how do we taste?


a.        Bland and worthless?

b.       Or full of flavour, full of zing?


4.        Rule number one: don’t lose your saltiness

5.        Rule number two: to get back the flavour of salt, you have to get salt – in other words, you are going to have to get back to the point where you were made salty to begin with – it all began with Jesus, in your life!


III.     Conclusion and Application


A.      The Goal (Lk 14:25) – To become just like HIM!

B.       The Cost (Lk 14:26) – the Price I Must be Willing to Pay


1.        Christ’s Pre-eminence - This is where the rubber meets the road

2.        Our Persecution

3.        The Path to Follow


C.       The Consideration (Lk 14:28-32)


1.        Carefully Consider, Like a Builder, building a Tower (Lk 14:28-30)

2.        Carefully Consider, Like a King preparing for War (Lk 14:31,32)


D.      The Care Do we really care enough about the goal to pay the price?

E.       The Final Comparison – with Salt (Lk 14:34,35)