The Cost of Discipleship


Text: Luke 14:25-35
Full Sermon Draft

Luke 12 to 14 is tough to preach on in the current context. Even the “easy” text of Luke 12:22-34 if you are preaching it in context is not so easy. I think most of us here those words and immediately think – “ok, this Jesus thing isn’t going to mess up my life, don’t worry, I can still have my stuff.” And that is almost exactly the opposite of the intention. A disciple is to be a fearless witness (Luke 12:4-12), and the assumed context of witness is persecution. Jesus is heading to Jerusalem and the cross. In the midst of that, don’t worry, your Father takes care of the sparrow, right? So keep walking. All these things that might be taken away here, will be added in abundance in the Kingdom. (Luke 12:31-34)

Then you careen through “not peace, but division (Luke 12:49ff)”, “the barren fig tree”, “the narrow door”, “Jerusalem’s hardness of heart”, “the great banquet – where the invitation are cast off for meaningless excuses”, and it culminates in this text.

Sometimes Jesus sees a crowd and his gut is churned because the are like sheep without a shepherd. But just as often Jesus gathers a crowd, he turns and says something that causes most to flee or go home. I’m importing that more full account from John 6:52-71, but you can take Luke and observe the lessons Jesus teaches when he turns toward the crowds. This would seem to be one of those second crowds. We are on the way to Jerusalem, to the cross, he thinks we should know.

Why it is tough, it because of the quote from Dr. Beck at the start of the sermon. The church today operates on a different model than the early church. The church today gathers crowds and tries to keep them no matter what. Oh it tries to encourage them to places and things where spiritual growth can occur, but what it never does intentionally is what Jesus does – spell out our spiritual state. That is left for you to intuit. The church at different times would force a counting of the cost first. Are your priorities Kingdom priorities? If you don’t hate the best things in your life (wife, husband, family, job) when they get in the way of your walk with Jesus, you can’t be a disciple.

In that counting is also the grace. Like Peter realized when others turned away – “Where shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.” This is Jesus at his most Protestant. You have a choice to make – the hard narrow path to life or the easy path to destruction. And once you choose, don’t turn back – because what good is salt that has lost its saltiness? Where can it be re-salted?