Foundations: The Cost of Discipleship (Part 1)
On August 9, 2005, the direction of my life (Jon) was radically changed. While leading a group of college students at the National Collegiate Week at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC, I heard David Platt preach a sermon on the “Cost of Discipleship” from Luke 9:57-62. The main point of the sermon that night was this: “Jesus is worthy of our…1) trust, 2) plans and dreams, and 3) affections.” In response to God’s Word, I wrote the following on page 1046 of my Bible: “Tonight, I surrender my plans to Jesus because that’s cost of following him!” Almost five years later, the cost of discipleship has led me and my family to Medford, MA.
The gospel of Luke has much to say about the cost of discipleship and one of those passages is Luke 14:25-35. The thrust of this passage teaches that in order to be a disciple of Christ, you must renounce everything and follow Christ(14:33). What does this mean practically? First, disciples of Christ must love Jesus supremely (14:26). Our team has left moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and friends and moved to Medford, not because we don’t love them (we love them very dearly), but because as disciples of Christ, we love Jesus supremely and we go where he tells us to go and do what he tells us to do.
Secondly, disciples of Christ must follow Jesus sacrificially (14:27). We understand that the call to discipleship is a call to die (see The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer). We must die to our plans, dreams, and desires and follow Jesus, not on our terms, but on his. You may be thinking, “Jesus, you’re asking a lot. Die to my plans and dreams? Surrender my whole life? That’s tough.” The call to discipleship is not a call to an easy life, but it is worth it when you consider the very one who calls you to come and die poured out everything for you on a hill called Calvary. Dying to yourself will never come close to comparing with the death he died to bear the penalty of your sin and save you from eternal hell. Answering the call of discipleship is only a response to the gospel of Christ. The gospel should serve as the great motivator for discipleship.
The reward is great for those who renounce everything and follow Christ. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). As David Platt says, “The cost of non-discipleship is far greater than the cost of discipleship.”
People must grasp the cost of discipleship because God’s mission is at stake. We are convinced that the Great Commission will not be fulfilled until people really begin to grasp the implications of the cost of discipleship. If we love Jesus supremely, we will also love his mission. If we follow Jesus sacrificially, we will be willing to go where he says to go. The mission of God is too important for half-committed people! It is our desire that Redemption Hill Church clearly communicates what it means to be a disciple of Christ (obedient to the gospel) and that by God’s grace, many will become disciples of Christ who are willing to risk it all, even to the ends of the earth (obedient to God’s mission).