In the year 55 AD Julius Caesar led the Roman armies into Britain. The soldiers were reluctant to get off their ships, There was fear in their hearts – fears of defeat and failure. Finally they left and forged ahead. After they departed, Caesar took a bold and decisive step. He told them to look down from the edge of the white cliffs of Dover, and there before their eyes they saw their ships ablaze, fully engulfed in flames. Caesar had cut off any possibility of retreat. No turning back! No turning back! This became their cry. I don’t know if this is where the expression came from about burning your bridges or not, but with this behind them, there was nothing left for them to do but march forward and conquer! And that is exactly what they did.
What is the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? The cost of discipleship is very high, it means just that, No turning back! No turning back! Discipleship begins with our salvation. This is the point of discipleship. Jesus told this to Nicodemus when He said: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In order to know Christ, this is where it all starts! Unless you have come to this point, you cannot know Him. But today we are going to look at the process of discipleship. It is a pilgrimage, an ongoing process that we will continue all throughout our lives. Today I believe that there are many who have come to the point of discipleship – they have experienced Biblical Salvation, but they are missing God’s best! They are not truly disciples of Christ. So let’s look at what the scriptures say about discipleship. First we will look at what discipleship is not and the we will look at what it is. Luke 9:57-61 says:
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’’’
In this Chapter we find Jesus in the heart of His earthly Ministry. He’s performing miracles on a daily basis, people are being healed, people are being fed, people are clinging to him like they would some great celebrity of our day. But what is he saying?
What Discipleship is Not!
- It is not empty words (vs. 57-58). Jesus could read the hearts of these people. He knew this man was not sincere. He knew these were just empty words. He said in effect: “Look, friend, I know better than that. I don’t even have a place to lie down at night! You just want to follow me when it suits your own best interests.
- It is not procrastination (vs. 59-60) Explain colloquial expression regarding the dead.
- It is not indecisiveness (vs. 61-62) We need to be fastened and focused and fixed upon the Master. There can be no turning back, no turning back! We have to burn those bridges. Otherwise as this passage says, you are not fit for the kingdom of God!!
Luke 14:25-33 says:
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and 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, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”’
What Discipleship is!
An overwhelming love for Christ (vs. 25,26)
- What does Jesus mean “hate?” Didn’t Jesus say the two great commandments were love of God and love of neighbor? Of course! So it is a love so great for the Savior that everything else pales in comparison!
- A willingness to bear the reproach of Christ through the persecution of the cross (vs.27-31) All kinds of people wear crosses today. One nameless female rock star said at one time that she wore a cross so that she could have a naked man on her chest. I pray to God that He forgive her for making this statement. No, what this means is that if we truly are disciples of Christ e must be willing to suffer for him. When people ridicule us for our beliefs, we must be willing to take it, and then go right back in the thick of the battle again.
- A willingness to hand over everything in service to the Master (vs.32-33 forsake all)
- “Lord, everything I have is yours – I withhold nothing from your service
- Andrew Murray said: “If you bow down in nothingness and wait upon God, He will become all”
No Turning back!!! Are you willing to burn that bridge? Let us ask: Am I willing to turn my eyes upon the Master and never look back!
This is the challenge Jesus gave to all of us.