Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 149 THE PRICE WE MUST PAY

 
Luke 14:25-33;

Lesson 149 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).

I Cost of Discipleship

The multitudes following Jesus were warned that indifferent service to God was unacceptable, Luke 14:25-33; Deuteronomy 13:6-10; Exodus 32:26-28; Revelation 3:15. 16; Proverbs 24:27, 30-34; Matthew 10:37, 38 Service to God must be given despite any opposition that might be encountered, Luke 14:27; 9:23-26; Mark 10:21; John 19:17; II Timothy 3:12; Acts 14:22; Matthew 13:21 Personal sacrifice must be willingly given, Matthew 8:19-22; Luke 9:57-62; I Kings 19:19-21

II Evaluated Service

Jesus instructed His followers that the price of discipleship must be fully considered, Luke 14:28-33; Matthew 10:37, 38; I Corinthians 3:9; Acts 7:39; Luke 17:31, 32 A life consecrated to the service of God is the only assurance of a successful pilgrimage, Luke 14:33; Romans 12:1; Mark 10: 28-30; Hebrews 10:4-10 The Old Testament relates several instances where vows were made, as examples of the entire consecration the Lord requires, II Sam¬uel 24:17-25; I Samuel 1:11-15, 24-28; Psalm 50:6-15

NOTES

Following Jesus

To those who would follow Him, Jesus commanded, 'If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.' There have been people who have heard this passage of Scripture read in Christian meetings and have immediately relinquished their profession of following Christ.


Are we actually to hate our own family and brethren? Jesus most certainly did not mean we were to have malice and malignity in our hearts toward our family. The proper meaning of hate in this passage of Scripture is a lesser love.


Our love and devotion to God must be the purest and highest affection in our lives. There is to be no neglect of the love and affection we owe our family and brethren. But that is not to be above the deep, moving worship that belongs to God and God alone. When affection for our family becomes worship, then that affection has become idolatry, for family affection has stolen what belongs to God. In that respect, then, we are to love our families and brethren less than we love God. (Read Matthew 10:37.)


This command of Jesus was no license for anyone to neglect his family or his rightful duties, under the guise of serving God. Anyone truly serving God is very diligent about the welfare of his family, both in their physical and spiritual needs.


God's commands are righteous and just. There is nothing that has precedence over the will of God, for God's will is of such prime importance that there can be no excuse for not obeying it. Under the Law the Israelites were commanded to slay everyone who would dare to discourage anyone from serving God, or who would be guilty of enticing one to serve idols. If a member of one's own family was guilty of such acts, he was to be slain (Deuteronomy 13:6-10). Under the Dispensation of Grace we are commanded to separate ourselves as much as possible from any hindrances which tend to keep us from serving God.

Counting the Cost

Jesus warned His followers that they must consider the cost of discipleship. Momentary enthusiasm and superficial zeal were not enough. The decision for enlistment in the service of God was to be as deliberate as that of a man who contemplates the cost of building a tower..Before he builds he decides the amount of materials he will need, the question of proper tools, and his ability to use them, and whether he has sufficient means to buy all that he needs. Constructing a life of service for God includes the securing of the experiences of justification, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. These can be obtained only through the price of much prayer and consecration.


The foundation of salvation is Christ, and the beginning of that salvation is justification, which is having our sins forgiven by the efficacy of the Blood of Christ. We are to build upon that foundation as wise masterbuilders. (See I Corinthians 3:10-13.)


An important part of the building is sanctification, a second work of grace, which removes the Adamic nature from the heart and soul of the justified believer. Still there is more to be added to the building. The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, received through the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, will enable us to be ready for the Rapture and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.


Consecrations must be made that will enable the disciple of Jesus to live an overcomer's life to a successful finish. Deliberately to attempt to follow Jesus with anything less than these experiences, or to try to avoid the consecrations that will bring them, is to commence a pursuit of Christ that can end only in defeat! That person's neighbor will mock him and say, 'This man began to build, and was not able to finish.' Peter, speaking of those who started and failed to finish, said of them, 'It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them' (II Peter 2:21).

Acceptable Sacrifices

It has been said that God requires only our reasonable service, and only that which it is possible to pay or achieve. That is true, but that reasonable service is all of ourselves! 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service' (Romans 12:1).This is the minimum requirement for successfully serving God. 'So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do' (Luke 17:10).


We are to give our most heartfelt loyalty to the cause of Christ, and our undying devotion to Jesus. The best of the works of our hand:. belongs to the promotion of the Kingdom of God. Our enthusiasm, our health, our purpose of life, and ability to work also rightfully belong to Christ.


Victory is within our reach. What we may lack in wisdom, strength, power, or anything else, God's grace will provide in a measure more than sufficient for our need. (Read James 1:5.) A willingness and consecration to do the will of God are the keynotes for following Jesus. He who settles it once and for all, for time and eternity, that he will by the grace of God serve Jesus all his life, has made a good start toward final victory.

A Perfect Sacrifice

There are several Old Testament characters whose vows to God are examples of the entire consecration the Lord requires of all who follow Him. There is the outer consecration which includes faithful service but does not entirely consist of faithful service. The most important is the inner conse¬cration that is made in its entirety from the depths of the heart and soul unto God, that cannot be counterfeited or superseded.


Hannah, desiring a child, prayed to God from the depths of her heart, speaking no audible word; and Eli, the priest, thinking she was drunk, rebuked her. Hannah promised the Lord that if He would bless her with a son, she would lend him to the Lord all the days of his life. God an¬swered her prayer, and she gave birth to a son. Hannah kept her vow to God, and Samuel served the Lord from his infancy until his death.


David desired the threshing floor of Araunah that he might use it for making a sacrifice to the Lord. Araunah freely offered it to David with the oxen and all that he might need, but David refused to take it as a gift. David said, 'Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing' (II Samuel 24:24). God accepted David's offering and He answered his prayer.


These are examples of the entire consecrations it takes to be a disciple of Christ. God's commands are very specific against offering an offering to God that is blemished or imperfect. 'And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a free¬will offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD' (Leviticus 22:21, 22).

 

Thus in the Levitical types is found the truth that God demands a perfect sacrifice. Jesus Christ was the perfect Sacrifice for our sins; but we are to offer a perfect sacrifice or consecration to God before we shall be wholly accepted by Him.


What is a perfect consecration? We learn from the example of Jesus what it is. 'In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, 0 God' (Hebrews 10:6, 7). To do the will of God is what Jesus came to do — and that is the perfect sacrifice (Read Psalm 50: 7-14.) Nothing else is going to suffice, and anything less than a consecration to do the whole will of God is a scurvy offering and will not be accepted of God. It is comparable to trying to conquer the army of an enemy without the proper planning or sufficient forces. This was Israel's downfall, a blem¬ished offering. Halfhearted service and complaining discipleship were the best Israel could seem to give.


They were 'a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God' (Psalm 78:8). 'They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law' (Psalm 78:10). Israel did not make a complete consecration, that which was required to see them through to victory; and the result was that they failed to make the goal.


Peter was once very bold in his claim that he would follow Jesus to the death if necessary. It was but a few. hours later that Peter denied his Lord three times. This denial caused Peter so much sorrow, and such searching of his own soul that he repented and renewed his vows to God, and made such a consecration to serve God that he never failed again. Peter became a great hero of the faith, and served the Lord faithfully to the end of his life.


Paul's exhortation to the Romans is to be remembered: 'Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.'


Jesus' positive words were, 'So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.' Consider the cost! We have the price to pay; and pay it we must if we will obtain all God has for us. If we pay it, great will be our reward on earth as well as in Heaven.

QUESTIONS

1 In what way is a Christian life comparable to building a tower?
2 What are the materials with which we are to build?
3 How are these materials obtained, and from whom?
4 Name several who made entire consecrations.
5 What is a perfect sacrifice?
6 Will God accept an imperfect offering from us?
7 Do we all have the price to pay for what God desires of us?

 
   
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