Sabbath, December 1, 2018

Lesson 9 – Discipleship Has a Cost

“Wrench yourself away from hurtful associations. Count the cost of following Jesus, and make it, with a determined purpose to cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Eternal life is worth your all, and Jesus has said, ‘Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.’ Luke 14:33. He who does nothing, but waits to be compelled by some supernatural agency, will wait on in lethargy and darkness.” –Christian Education, p. 117.

Natural affection should not be a hindrance
1. Considering the great multitudes that followed the Master, can we say that they all became His disciples? What is part of being Christ’s disciple?
Luke 14:25, 26. 25And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If 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.

“Natural affection for relatives and friends should not lead any soul who sees the light to reject the light, to dishonor God the Father and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Every possible excuse for disobedience will be framed by men who choose, as many did in Christ’s day, the favor of men rather than the favor of God. If one chooses wife or children, father or mother, before Christ, that choice will stand through eternal ages, with all its weight of responsibility….” –Selected Messages, book 3, p. 401.

2. Is the path of the disciple of Christ like a nice walk in the park? What is part of the disciple’s life?
Luke 14:27. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

“The word of God has not widened the narrow way, and if the multitude have found a path where they can wear a form of godliness and not bear the cross or suffer tribulation, they have found a way where our Saviour did not walk and they follow another example than that which Christ set before us. Is it not enough that Jesus left the felicity and glory of heaven, endured a life of poverty and deep affliction, and died a cruel, shameful death to provide for us the joys of holiness and heaven? And can it be that we, the worthless objects of so great a condescension and love, will seek after a better portion in this life than was given to our Redeemer?” –Our High Calling, p. 288.

Discipleship has a cost
3. Jesus compared discipleship to building an expensive tower. What does one risk if he is not fully aware of the cost?
Luke 14:28-30. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

“The folly of beginning a work without counting the cost is a reproach to God.” –Pacific Union Recorder, September 26, 1901.
“God calls upon those to whom He has entrusted His goods to acquit themselves as faithful stewards. The Lord would have all things of temporal interest occupy a secondary place in the heart and thoughts; but Satan would have the matters of the earth take the first place in our lives. The Lord would have us approve the things that are excellent. He shows us the conflict in which we must engage, reveals the character and plan of redemption. He lays open before you the perils you will meet, the self-denial that will be required, and He bids you count the cost, assuring you that if you zealously engage in the conflict, divine power will combine with human effort.” –Faith and Works, p. 92.
“Every soul must count the cost. Not one will succeed but by strenuous effort. We must spiritually exercise all our powers and crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts. Crucifixion means much more than many suppose….” –In Heavenly Places, p. 117.

4. What other important illustration did the Lord give to help people understand what it means to be His follower? Since the warfare is a spiritual one against the powers of darkness, what type of help is absolutely essential?
Luke 14:31, 32. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

“The Christian’s warfare is not a warfare waged against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The Christian must contend with supernatural forces, but he is not to be left alone to engage in the conflict. The Saviour is the captain of his salvation, and with Him man may be more than conqueror.” –Faith and Works, pp. 92, 93.

“In order to be true soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must meet the requirements of His word as loyal subjects of the heavenly kingdom…. Those who claim to believe the truth must appreciate the great warfare before us and what is comprehended in being a faithful soldier of Jesus Christ…. The Saviour’s army invites voluntary enlistment. There must be a complete surrender of the passions, will, and ways to the will of the Master. Our work is to obey the orders of the mighty General of armies.” –The Upward Look, p. 230.

5. Is it enough, like Andrew and Peter, to leave behind the boat, nets, and shore, or does it require more than this to be the Lord’s true disciples?
Luke 14:33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

“Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely….” –The Faith I Live By, p. 154.

“Those who deny self to do others good, and who devote themselves and all they have to Christ’s service, will realize the happiness which the selfish man seeks for in vain. Said our Saviour: ‘Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.’ Luke 14:33. Charity ‘seeketh not her own.’ This is the fruit of that disinterested love and benevolence which characterized the life of Christ. The law of God in our hearts will bring our own interests in subordination to high and eternal considerations.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 397.

Preserving Christlikeness
6. To what are Christ’s followers compared among society? In what way do they act as a preservative?
Luke 14:34. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

“True Christians are a savor of life unto life, because Christ abides in their hearts. Reflecting His image, they are children of the light.” –Our High Calling, p. 296.

“God requires those who claim to believe the Bible, the standard of Christian character, to bring the Christlikeness into all their service, that not one particle of the salt shall lose its preserving influence. The Christlikeness is ever to be preserved. The mind and heart are to be cleansed from all sin, all unlikeness to Christ.” –This Day with God, p. 201.

7. If the salt loses its saltiness, will it still be of use as a seasoning and preservative? Likewise, what will happen to all who lose the wonderful effectiveness of the gospel?
Luke 14:35. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

“In like manner the disciples of Jesus will go into the dark places of the earth, disseminating the light of truth until the pathway of those in darkness shall be illuminated by the light of truth. In what contrast to this is the life of the professed child of God who is as the salt without the savor…. These sunless professors are shadows of darkness…. All may be channels of light if they will connect with the Source of light. They can communicate the bright rays of light to the world. None need strengthen unbelief by talking darkness. Every expression of doubt strengthens unbelief. Every thought and word of hope, courage, light, and love strengthens faith and fortifies the soul to withstand the moral darkness that exists in the world.” –Our High Calling, p. 296.

For additional study
“God has need of workers who, as they labor with Him, will comprehend the sacredness of the work, and the conflicts they must meet in order to carry it forward successfully–workers who will not grow despondent as they see the arduous task before them. The Lord does not try to conceal from His people the stern conflicts they will meet in these last days. Instead, He shows the plan of battle; He points out the hazardous work to be done; He lifts His voice in warning, bidding men count the cost of their discipleship: but He encourages all to take up the weapons of their warfare; for the heavenly host will stand with them in the defense of truth and righteousness.” –The Youth’s Instructor, October 26, 1899.