Hebrew Roots/The army of invaders/Cost
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
"Then Y'shua said to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24
This is to deny the SELF part of us.
The Greek for 'deny' means to 'totally reject'.
It is to reject the self-will, the desire to do our own thing, to follow our own goals and ambitions in order to follow Messiah. It is rejecting the self nature, the inner motivation through which we order our own lives, in order that we may yield to the life of Messiah within.
To deny ourself means that we surrender our will, our affections, and our mind and body.
- - no longer seeking our pleasure in life, but rather the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:3)
Man originally turned to his own way and reconciliation with God is to turn totally from going our own way. We must turn from the kingdom of self to the kingdom of God. It is to make Y'shua our King and submit to His authority over our lives.
Self-denial involves repentance!
- i. Turn from our own way
- ii. Dying to our own way
- iii. Walking in His way
Self-denial will result in OBEDIENCE to God!
"Not every one who says unto me Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" Matthew 7:21
The aim of redemption is to restore us to obedience! (original sin was disobedience)
It is obedience that makes us disciples, not the profession of our mouth! Matthew 7:24
It is always better to obey than to offer sacrifices unto Yahweh 1 Samuel 1:15
Y'shua was obedient unto death. Our salvation was dependent upon His obedience. Every disciple must pay the price of obedience.
"They that shall be perfect (mature) shall be as their master" Luke 6:40
Y'shua said, "If you love me keep my commandments" John 14:15
If we truly love Him, we will keep His commandments!
Self-denial is the first requisite for having Y'shua as our first love, i.e. to love Him with all the heart, mind and soul and live in obedience to Him. Love for Him will keep us from self-love.
B. BEARING THE CROSS
When people were sentenced to die on a torture stake (the cross), part of their sentence was that they would have to carry their own wooden stake. It was an instrument of death. Those that were condemned, had to carry it publicly which was a heavy burden, a shame, and a great emotional trauma as well as the physical suffering involved. The expression to carry our own 'cross' would therefore mean to endure whatever comes our way because we have made a decision to follow Messiah. Y'shua is our example, "Who for the JOY that was set before Him" bore the 'cross'. (Heb. 12:2)
We fulfill our responsibility to Messiah for saving us, and joyfully suffer the consequences of following Him, knowing that we are doing the Father's will, as Y'shua did saying to the Father "Not my will, but thine be done" Matthew 26:39
The road to a crucifixion was a one-way journey, and as such there was no return. Taking up one's cross signifies the utmost in self-denial.
But it is not a once-for-all occasion for us, Y'shua said it is to be done daily. It is a daily decision to follow Messiah in His road to the Torture Stake.
For Y'shua the 'cross' was the most difficult part of His commission. In seeking to do the will of Yahweh, we will have to endure hardships and even persecution. This is the 'cross' that we have to bear.
"The servant is not greater than his master, if they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also!" John 15:20
"All who live godly in Messiah Y'shua will suffer persecution" 2 Timothy 3:12
"We know that our old self was crucified with Him, that the sinful body might be destroyed, that we might no longer be enslaved to sin." Romans 6:6
"For I am crucified with Messiah" Galatians 5:24
"And those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:24
The work of sanctification, or being made holy, is a daily work of God's Spirit that is made possible by a daily desire to be crucified with Messiah.
C. COUNTING THE COST
Before we make a decision, we usually consider the facts, contemplating the decisions which will be involved. Y'shua taught His disciples to do this and count the cost of becoming a disciple. Following is an act of the will. The resources to follow, the strength of mind and purpose, is God-given through His enabling grace.
The question is, do we have what it takes to make the initial surrender of all that we have, our will, our mind and our heart? Read Luke 14:26-33 If we are prepared to surrender all, He will provide the necessary strength to follow though.
In Matthew 21:28-32 Y'shua told a parable of a man who had two sons. The first was told by his father to go and work in the vineyard and he refused to go, but afterward repented and went. The second said he would go but did not obey.
When Y'shua calls us to be His disciples He tells us to go and work in His vineyard. To quickly say we will go and then turn back brings shame (Luke 14:28-30), we need therefore to count the cost first. We need to be convinced we should follow with all our hearts
"So likewise whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33
Paul states his commitment - "Indeed I count everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Messiah Y'shua my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I might gain Messiah." Phil.3:7,8
It costs everything!
It means a forsaking, leaving behind all of your own interests and desires, both of the flesh and of the mind.
This is the only basis upon which you will be able to stand in the day of testing when the enemy comes to bring temptation to you.
D. FOLLOWING Y'SHUA
The main word for 'following' is AKOLOUTHEO which means 'to go in the same way'.
Denying self, taking up the cross, and counting the cost are preparations of the heart and mind to follow Him. Following is taking His yoke upon us so that we might learn of Him. In this sense the 'following' is the beginning of discipleship. It is as we follow that we become a disciple.
Following Him requires leaving all that is your own!
James and John immediately left their nets and their father to follow, whereas the rich young ruler could not respond and enter into the calling because he could not leave his old lifestyle. Matt.19:16-22
Many never enter into their true inheritance in Messiah because they cannot leave the things of this earth and the things of self.
His purpose is for our good, for our personal eternal profit.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
Life comes through death,
- exaltation through humility,
- freedom through service.
- exaltation through humility,
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor." John 12:24-26
Being where He is (spiritually) -- by dying -- results in a harvest of ----> life!
Preserving our own life, our own identity will result in loss, both now and eternally. Whereas, dying to ourselves will result in having the real essence of life which only He can supply.
Y'shua said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10b
" ..... always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Y'shua, that the life of Y'shua also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Y'shua's sake, that the life of Y'shua also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." 2 Corinthians 4:10,11
"Therefore brethren, we are debtors -- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (the 'flesh' is the natural life) Romans 8:12 read also v.18-21
Y'shua waits patiently for our commitment to follow Him!