10 September 2009

Have You Counted the Cost?


In today's world people follow someone or something that catches their attention. Basically we are followers of those who have gone before us, or those who have achieved what we want to achieve.
You can tell yourself, that not me, but your only deceiving yourself. We live in a society that needs to follow others; we live in a society that wants to be like everyone else. Take for example: 
Music
Clothing
Hair styles
Speech
Sports
Celebrities
Automobiles
Popular Religious Movements
Causes (wwf, peta, gay movement, feminist movement, and so on) 
Peers ( Co-workers, school mates, friends and neighbors) 
Our post-modern world says "we must have what everyone else has" (We call this Jonesin') We just want to fit in. Why? Because we love the attention of others; or we look to others for acceptance. The Question I have for you and I would be: Who are you going to follow? Is it going to be the World? Or Is it going to be the Lord Jesus Christ? Maybe to help you answer that question we need to understand what the word follow means.
Follow (means) To go after or behind; to walk, ride or move behind, but in the same direction. Soldiers will usually follow a brave officer. To pursue; to chase; as an enemy, or as game. To accompany; to attend in a journey. "a follower, or "companion" (from the prefix a, here expressing "union, likeness," and keleuthos, "a way;" hence, "one going in the same way"), is used (a) frequently in the literal sense, e.g., Mat_4:25; (b) metaphorically, of "discipleship," e.g., Mar_8:34; Mar_9:38; Mar_10:21. It is used 77 times in the Gospels, of "following" Christ, and only once otherwise, Mar_14:13.
So who are you going to follow now that we have a proper definition of this word? The reason I ask this question, Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt 7:13-14) He also said "....... Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Mark 8:34). Are you willing to deny yourself for the sake of Christ? Leaving everything behind, to follow the One who gives you life anew every day. This doesn't mean you sell everything and move into a cave all alone and become a monk. It means are you willing to die for the sake of Christ. If some was pointing a gun to your head and said "renounce Christ, and you will live" Are you willing to say to this person as Martin Luther did before the Diet of Worms " I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen." Are you willing to deny yourself even if it means death or persecution from others. He is worthy to be followed for what He has done. Think about for a moment. What if Jesus said "forget these sinners" and went back to Heaven to leave us to our guilt, shame and the wrath of God. He had ever right to do that! But He chose to face: opposition, hatred from the people He came to save. Why? To show us how valuable He really is, and what it really means to follow Him. Jesus went to an old rugged cross to take our wrath (punishment) to please the Father on our behalf. He denied Himself so that we could have life with Him for all eternity. See to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, is going to cost you something. Let me rephrase that, it's going cost you your life! Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to die for the name of Christ? D.L. Moody said "If He laid down His life for us, is it not the least we can do to lay down ours for Him? If He bore the cross and died on it for me, ought I not to be willing to take it up for Him?" If you are a Christian; a servant of the Lord; a disciple of the Lord; a follower of the Lord, you will continue to follow until either He calls you home, or until your last breath on this earth. To deny ones self is to completely surrender to follow Christ until the end, not part of the way and turn back, because times got too tough for you to handle. Jesus said "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62. Don't be like Lot's wife who loved this world more than God. She looked to the world and all it had to offer and counted the cost, which was her soul. I (Mike Andrews) have counted the cost and I will follow by faith in the Lamb of God. Again remember what Jesus said ".....If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." Matt 16:24-27. Have you done it? Better yet are you going to do it? For today is the day of salvation! What are you waiting for? You may never see tomorrow. The final thing I want to hear for you and me is "well done, my good and faithful servant" We follow Christ out of love for Him and His glory. Not because it's the fad (trend)of the week, the religion of chose, or a crutch to get us through. But because Christ is extremely valuable to me and you. I've counted the cost; I've done the research; I've considered the consequences, and they all lead me in one direction, Christ Jesus my Lord. To deny oneself is to live for Christ every moment of every day. Its not a job but a lifestyle. As the late great Charles Spurgeon once said "My brethren, let me say, be like Christ at all times. Imitate him in "public." Most of us live in some sort of public capacity—many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined—taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me." As Paul said "for me to die is gain" that's my prayer for all of us. I look forward to one day being with Him, where I can gaze upon the Lover of my soul; the One who loved me and you, with an everlasting love, because He is worth far more than the cost. To Him Be the glory! 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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