A Note from Michael Gossett
Dr. Michael Gossett

“Consider the Cost…”

Jesus makes a clear statement that anyone that would truly follow Him must first consider the cost. What cost is Jesus referring to?

Now great crowds were traveling with him. So he turned and said to them, “If anyone does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, and even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If not, while the other is still far off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-33)

Have you considered the cost of following Jesus? Jesus says we must consider the cost so that, like the wise builder, you can complete the project. And like the clever king, you can stand against Satanic opposition. In the first analogy, Jesus is saying that His followers should not grow weary of doing good until the task is completed.  In the second analogy, Jesus taught that we should avoid the trap of falling into the sin that easily ensnares us.

We agree with the premise of finishing and not falling, but what is it that we must count? Discipleship has a common ring to it within evangelical circles, but it often fails to have a resounding impact on us. Some would say, perhaps even the majority, that there is no common understanding of the requirement of genuine discipleship in the Christian Life. The challenge we face today is not an abundance of immorality in the world, but a neglect of discipleship within the church.

Jesus took the concept of discipleship seriously. For the sake of understanding, we will consider the term, “discipleship” as “an individual following Jesus that results in deeper fellowship with Jesus.” Jesus says, we must consider the cost of discipleship because we are called daily to take up our cross and follow Him. We must all consider the cost of discipleship, because it is in the process of creating disciples that the church advances the Kingdom to all corners of the world.

Some people claim that evangelism is the answer. Others claim that better programs are the answer. Still others will claim that singing more hymns is the answer. All of these good methods are simply tools that are used to help develop Christlikeness in the believer. The real answer within the church is not better programs, more hymns, improved methods, stronger finances, or anything else that could be counted in earthly terms. The true answer within the church is discipleship. Discipleship causes the believer to look to the person Christ and not focus on ministry methods.  There has never been a “church program” that can produce Christlikeness. A hymn or worship song alone will never produce Christlikeness. It is only the Spirit of God and our dependence on that Spirit that can provoke a disciple’s course toward Christlikeness.

This realigns our thinking in such a way to realize outward tools will never substitute for counting the cost of discipleship. Only when we have an inward focus on Christ can we truly count the cost of following Jesus. This outlook may sound simple or elementary to some. But have you sincerely counted the cost of following Jesus?  Discipleship happens when we understand that there is a cost to us – relationally, physically, spiritually, and financially.

In Luke 14, Jesus taught that discipleship is not some mechanical process where a believer performs actions x, y, or z and it produces more of God’s mercy. This is not the case because God’s mercy, along with his grace, are gifts from God.  If we ever believe we deserve mercy and grace, then we will continually miss the mark. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Salvation and eternal life in Him are a free gift from God. If mercy and grace are free, then they can never be bought at any cost. So, what cost are we counting?

Jesus is not guiding us through some delusional course to throw us off our track of following Him. Instead, He provides us with a reorientation of how we count the cost. God proved His love in this way… “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 1 John 4:9-10 says, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” We did not love God, yet God loved us so much that He paid the highest cost so that you can be redeemed by Him.

When we count the cost of discipleship, we are not counting how much we may lose by following Christ. Instead, we are counting how much we gain because Jesus paid the highest price for us to live. We are not considering the cost that it will take for us to receive Christ. We are considering the cost that Jesus paid for our salvation.  As a result, any earthly cost discipleship requires from us seems like nothing.  This is what drives our discipleship, our growth, and our longing for Jesus. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. We are not obligated to Christ in some legal way. Rather we owe Him everything because in Him we have everything.

It’s easier to consider the cost of following the Savior when we consider the cost Jesus paid for us.  This is why Paul was able to say, “But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).

Have you considered the cost of following Jesus? Discipleship is not a one-time declaration before the Lord. It is a daily reminder that all I am and have – every hour, month, year – even my next breath – belongs to Jesus because He alone is worthy of my life. Let this be true of us, that we begin each day with the posture that my life does not belong to me, but to the Lord. What would be different in our lives if we committed every day and every moment to the Lord? Let’s make that our prayer.

Thank you for your incredible outpouring of generosity this past Sunday! As a church family, we are now sponsoring over 300 kids! This is well on our way to our goal of 800! I want to say thank you for your support for this great partnership and ministry. If you watched the interview portion of the service with Owen, you could see how Compassion International is making such an incredible impact around the world and now you and I get to be a part of that as well. It is even more encouraging to know that the children our church is now sponsoring will have contact with our church between mission trips, making the trips that much more impactful. If you did not have an opportunity to sponsor a child for $43.00/month, then you can do so by visiting our missions team at the tables in the foyer.

I want to invite all the married couples, and almost married couples, to join my wife and me on a great date night, February 9th!   It will be an evening, filled with inspiration, laughter, and biblical community! Connect with other couples while you enjoy dinner and encouragement with pastor and comedian Ted Cunningham—there’s also a chance to win prizes! Registration is open from January 1st to February 4th. The cost is $40 per couple, which includes childcare. Don’t miss out on this memorable evening!  Click the image above to register!

If you are currently serving or interested in finding your spot to serve, join us for the Multiply Conference this afternoon at 4:00pm. This is a free event designed to inspire our leaders and give vision for 2024 as we Connect, Grow, and Multiply! Click the image above to register.

I cannot wait to worship with you this SUNDAY! This week, we are jumping back into to the book of Hebrews and will be looking at the first nine verses of chapter two. Here is the text so you can read the passage and begin to pray for God to speak to us through His word.  Hebrews 2:1-9:

“For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him. At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to his will. For he has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about. But someone somewhere has testified: What is man that you remember him, or the son of man that you care for him? You made him lower than the angels for a short time; you crowned him with glory and honorand subjected everything under his feet. For in subjecting everything to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death” (Hebrews 2:1-9, CSB)

As you can see in the text, this is a deep subject. It has an incredible application for us today as we aim to walk closely with the Lord. In the text, we will discover the great tragedy of how spiritual neglect in our lives then produces the danger of spiritual drift. This is a do not miss type of Sunday! I look forward to worshipping with you this week!

You are loved and prayed for!

Michael Gossett