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The High Price of Discipleship: What it Really Costs to Follow Jesus

In this post, we’ll explore what it means to be a disciple, the cost of discipleship, and what it takes to be a true follower of Jesus.

Section 1: The Cost of Discipleship

What does the Bible say about the cost of discipleship? In Luke 14:27, Jesus says, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” In other words, being a disciple requires sacrifice and commitment.

Discipleship is not a solo journey. It requires fellowship with other believers.

What are the 7 costs of discipleship? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian and pastor, identified seven costs of discipleship in his book, “The Cost of Discipleship.” These include:

1. Costly grace: Grace is free, but it is not cheap. It requires repentance and obedience.

2. The call to discipleship: Jesus calls us to follow Him, which means leaving behind our old way of life.

3. The cost of obedience: Discipleship requires obedience to God’s will, even when it is difficult.

4. The cost of discipleship in community: Discipleship is not a solo journey. It requires fellowship with other believers.

5. The cost of discipleship and suffering: As a disciple, we may face persecution and suffering.

6. The cost of discipleship and death: As Bonhoeffer famously said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

7. The cost of discipleship and joy: While discipleship requires sacrifice, it also brings true joy and fulfillment.

Section 2: The Cost of Discipleship Parable

In Luke 14:28-33, Jesus tells the parable of the builder and the king. 

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The builder starts building a tower but doesn’t have enough money to finish it. The king starts a war but doesn’t have enough soldiers to win. Both the builder and the king must count the cost before beginning their projects.

What is the meaning of Luke 14:33? 

Jesus says, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” This means that being a disciple requires putting Jesus above everything else in our lives.

Section 3: The Basics of Discipleship

What are the four basics of discipleship? According to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, the four basics of discipleship are:

1. Evangelism: Sharing the good news of Jesus with others.

2. Baptism: Being baptized as a public declaration of our faith.

3. Training: Learning from God’s Word and training others to obey what we have learned.

4. Obedience: Living a life of obedience to God’s commands.

In all of these areas, we must be willing to take up our cross, which means being willing to suffer for the sake of following Jesus.

The Three Demands of Discipleship

In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” This verse outlines the three demands of discipleship: self-denial, sacrifice, and obedience.

1. Self-Denial: To be a disciple of Christ, we must deny ourselves. 

This means we must put aside our own desires, ambitions, and needs in order to follow Jesus. We must surrender our will to His will, and put Him first in all areas of our lives.

2. Sacrifice: Discipleship also demands sacrifice. 

We must be willing to give up everything for Christ. This includes our time, money, possessions, and even our lives if necessary. In Mark 10:29-30, 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.”

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3. Obedience: Finally, discipleship demands obedience. 

We must obey God’s commands and follow Jesus’ example. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

The Price of Obeying God

The cost of discipleship is high, but the price of obeying God is even higher. 

In Matthew 16:26, Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” We can gain everything this world has to offer, but if we lose our souls in the process, it will all be for nothing.

Obeying God may cost us everything we hold dear in this life, but the rewards of eternal life with Him far outweigh any temporal pleasures or possessions we may gain.

What It Takes to Be a Disciple

Becoming a disciple of Christ requires a willingness to follow Him no matter the cost. It requires a humble heart that is willing to submit to His will and a desire to grow in our relationship with Him.

In Luke 14:26-27, Jesus said, “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.” 

This is a radical call to discipleship that requires us to put Jesus above all else in our lives.

Jesus also said in John 15:8, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” As disciples, we are called to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. This means we are to share the gospel, make disciples, and serve others in love.

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In conclusion, the cost of discipleship is high, but the rewards are even greater. 

As Jesus said, “whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27 ESV). Discipleship requires sacrifice, commitment, and obedience to God’s will, but it also leads to a life of purpose, joy, and fulfillment. By counting the cost of discipleship and choosing to follow Jesus, we gain access to the greatest gift of all: eternal life and the love and grace of our Heavenly Father. 

May we all strive to be true disciples of Christ, and may we never forget that the cost of discipleship is worth it all.

Obeying God may cost us everything we hold dear in this life, but the rewards of eternal life with Him far outweigh any temporal pleasures or possessions we may gain.

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