“It Ain’t Free.99”
Anchor Verse: Luke 14:28-30
I just turned 50 a few weeks ago. It’s a milestone birthday, but I’m not trying to think about it. People keep reminding me. A girl in youth told me I would start forgetting things soon! I’m pretty sure the Bible says you can’t throat punch children!
But I am able to relate to the Farmers Insurance motto. I’ve observed people for a long time. I’ve seen they love a good deal. And some people are really good at it.
- Pastor Aubrey
- Pastor Kevin
Yes, people get excited about a good deal. Especially if it’s free. They can’t wait to tell you all about it and the best part is that it was “Free.99”
There’s nothing wrong with a good deal. But we tend to take free things for granted. We don’t invest, understand, or remember. It’s free to us and it shouldn’t cost us anything ever.
We see the same attitude from Christians regarding their salvation. Free gift from Jesus and don’t want it to cost them anything.
- There is nothing you can do to earn your salvation.
- Don’t get that twisted and start calling/emailing P. Matt
- It’s a free gift, but living out that faith should cost you something.
But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction
of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money
to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before
running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would
say ‘There’s the person who started building and couldn’t afford to finish it’.
Verses 26-27 show He’s talking about leaving family, despising your own life and bearing your cross. You have to be willing to even be His disciple. And make sure you have enough “currency to go the distance.
Too many Christians don’t get that. I said a prayer and now Jesus is my homie. They don’t understand what being a true follower of Christ looks like. They start with that attitude, get bad theology and then are offended when confronted with the truth of what the Bible says.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh
(the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.
“I have to crucify MY flesh?”. It’s not really what I signed up for. I just wanted my “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
- Penal Substitutionary Atonement – It cost Jesus everything and He didn’t have to pay it. We shouldn’t be so cavalier about this “free gift”.
Our attitude should more closely reflect that of King David in 2 Samuel 24.
- Punishment for David’s sin of taking a census
- 3 day plague that killed 70,000
- Jerusalem was next
- Stopped at the threshing floor of Araunah
- Gad told David to go build and altar
2 Samuel 24:21-24
Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”
“To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to
the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped.” Araunah said to
David, “Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here
are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing ledges and ox yokes
for the wood. Your majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah
also said to him, “May the LORD your God accept you.” But the king
replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to
the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought
the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.
David wouldn’t sacrifice without a personal cost. Compare to Romans 12:1.
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the
mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all
our members AND faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated)
and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent)
service and spiritual worship. (AMPC)
David’s animal sacrifice cost him something. Shouldn’t our “living sacrifice” be costly as well?
OT vs NT mentality. OT – the sacrifice was complete with the death of the animal. NT – our sacrifice doesn’t end until we die or until Christ returns.
What does it all mean? We need to have practicality and application. What does it look like to live out a faith that is costly? What does Jesus ask for in return. Simple – everything! All of us!
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to this topic. But I want to discuss a few “areas” that encompass most of the ways we will need to “pay the price” as we crucify the flesh, despise our lives, carry our cross…live our lives for Jesus.
My first point is this…
Being a Christian should cost you your resources. The biggest resources we have are Money and Time. It’s been said “show me your bank statement and your calendar and I’ll know what’s important to you”.
Money – Don’t have to talk much about this. Reference Pastor Matt’s sermon from a few weeks ago.
- Tithing is biblical and arguing it reveals a heart condition that doesn’t wan to submit.
- Tithing is the only area in the Bible where we are encouraged to test God.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my
Temple. If you do this”, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the
windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t
have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (NLT)
- If you’re having a hard time getting over the uncertainty of beginning to tithe – just start with something. Maybe it’s not a full tithe, but start trusting God with something and see what He does with it!
We should be giving of our time to help people.
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to
practice hospitality. (NLT)
Helping isn’t an exclusive trait to Christians. But we are asked to give of our time in another way. By being in church.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the day approaching. (NKJV)
I don’t understand Christians who rarely or never go to church. It’s like the bare minimum requirement as far as giving up our time. But people have excuses.
- Church hurt
- Busyness of life
However, you should be attending church on a regular basis.
My wife and I spend a lot of time at church. If I ever got in sideways with the mob, I’d be the easiest hit job ever. But I don’t say that to sound all spiritual or extra saved or anything. It’s just our lifestyle. It’s not the standard. But you need to be in church – active attender and server in the Body of Christ. How can you love Jesus but not His bride?
I get that we all are busy and we all have very real financial concerns. It’s about priorities. What does your checkbook and calendar say?
My second point is this…
Being a Christian should cost you your comfort
If you aren’t growing, you’re dying. You become like a stagnant pond. We should strive to grow closer with God and that means being stretched. Sometimes that’s because of trials out of our control but often it’s because we say “yes” to something.
I mentioned being nervous. It’s more than that. I wasn’t looking forward to tonight. I was asked and immediately started thinking of all they reasons I didn’t want to do it, all the ways I’m inadequate, all the people who would do a better job.
That kind of thinking plays into the enemy’s hands. Sometimes he is like a roaring lion and sometimes he’s a silent assassin. He will use doubt and complacency to keep you from growing. Eventually, the storm will come that you aren’t prepared to handle because you stopped growing and then he’s got you.
Those feelings were getting to me!
- Tonight would be a catastrophe
- The end of FVC
- Pastor Matt back in a sales job
Obviously that is crazy thinking. But it shows the mind games the devil will play to keep you from stepping out. I do feel inadequate, but I was asked and the only reason I had for saying no is because it made me uncomfortable and anxious. Not good enough excuses when it comes to the things of God.
I do wish preparing for this had been super fun. It hasn’t. It’s been difficult and time consuming to get my thoughts down. At times, I probably didn’t have the best attitude. But I trust why our Pastors would ask and it’s given me the opportunity to remember some key Bible verses about peace and relying on God.
Verses that aren’t only applicable when we are facing challenges that are out of our control. They also apply when we have the choice to say “yes” or “no” and choose to step out in faith.
1 Peter 5:7
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your
concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and
cares about you watchfully. (AMPC)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of
God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
You don’t have to do it all. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to another. We need discernment and balance. Don’t be quick to dismiss a request. Your Pastors aren’t trying to manipulate or take advantage of you for their benefit. They are trying to grow you. If you don’t trust that, you are at the wrong church.
Giving up your comfort might look different. Everyone won’t preach. Some will speak at ManUp, a women’s event or chapel. Maybe it will be less public.
- Giving up warm bed and extra sleep to meet with an accountability partner
- Giving up a full belly to fast
- Giving up a casual conversation to share a hard truth
Don’t shy away from what God ask of you. You’ll see the greatest growth during that time.
My third point is this…
Being a Christian should cost you your pride
Pride is the root. It got Lucifer kicked out of heaven. It got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden. And it will be your biggest deterrent to following Christ.
Pride/Proud are mentioned roughly 100x in the Bible. Only once in a positive way, and that was about God. Pride isn’t just a bad character trait. It’s a sin.
For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual
immorality, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy,
slander, PRIDE and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they
are what defile you. (NLT)
The world sells it as a good thing. Movies, music, culture. They just spend a whole month celebrating homosexuality, transgenderism and other perversions. Then they double down and celebrate the pride of sis as well. Considering how destructive pride is, it should come as no surprise the Bible is full of very strong warnings about being a prideful person.
When pride comes, then comes shame, but with the humble is wisdom.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (NKJV)
A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.
And probably the scariest warning of all…
…therefore He says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’.
If you want a sure fire way for God to be against you, be a prideful person.
The world is going to do what the world does. It’s not surprising how prevalent the idea of self is “out there”. What sad and discouraging is that it’s prevalent in the church as well.
If you harbor unforgiveness in your heart – pride
If you talk in a way that tears someone else down to make yourself look better – pride
If you think serving in a certain ministry is beneath you – pride
If you refuse to receive loving correction – pride
If you walk in those doors and think all of this is about you – pride
That last one is a big deal these days. Entitlement is everywhere. Starts at a young age, probably with participation trophies and gets worse with social media fueling the delusion that it’s all about us. It’s a delusion that’s creeping into the church.
- Growing up in a small town – 800 people
- No McDonalds or Wendy’s or Burger King’s, but we had the commercials
- Burger King’s motto was “Burger King – Have it Your Way”
- The idea was that you could order something and customize it anyway you liked. They wanted the customer to be happy.
Lots of Christians need to understand the church is not Burger King. You can’t have it your way! Stop making it about you. The church doesn’t exist to cater to you. Don’t get offended because you don’t like the song choice or preaching style or because you came here looking for some sort of status or position.
The truth is, God doesn’t care about giving you a title. But He will give you a calling and He will use you if you humble yourself and allow Him to work it out in His way and His time.
Remove pride from your life. Learn humility. Humble yourself and see your relationships restored. Humble yourself and see more joy in your life. Humble yourself and see God lift you up.
Or hang on to your pride and have God stand against you.
My final point is this…
There may come a time when being a Christian may cost you everything, including your job, your family and maybe even your life.
It sounds dramatic but remember our brothers and sisters around the world who live with that reality every day. The political climate in America is not headed in the right direction.
If you have run with footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you
contend with horses? (NKJV)
All these other things seem insignificant in comparison. But if you aren’t doing them now and building that strong foundation, how will you sand when the real persecution comes? When your employer or the government start asking questions about your religious affiliations. When the Bible becomes labeled as “hate speech” and is punishable by law.
Will you stand on The Rock? Espouse a watered-down version of the gospel? Walk away from your faith altogether?
Now is the time to heed Jesus’ words in Luke 14 and make sure that you have enough currency to finish the project – no matter the cost!
I know none of this has been ground breaking news! But I do hope it’s been a good reminder and a challenge to take an honest look at your life and consider some of the things that you are hanging onto that should be given up in order to have a closer, more steadfast relationship with Christ.
Our goal is to stand before Him one day and hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant”. Notice it doesn’t say “well said” or “well thought about” or “well intentioned”. It says “well done”. And doing something will cost you something.
But here’s the really good news!
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (NKJV)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or
sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. (NLT)
We’re promised a place with no more tears, no more hurt, no more suffering, no more death. We’re promised an eternity with our Savior! No matter what it costs us in terms of denying ourselves and walking out a biblical faith – it’s so worth it. There is no buyer’s remorse in heaven. There is nothing you can give to or do for the Lord now that won’t be paid back 1000x over when you get there. None of those things (the time spent, the money spent, the uncomfortable moments, giving up what you want for what He wants) – none of it will matter if we can stand before Jesus and hear the six sweetest words that will ever be spoken! Amen?
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