Discipleship Is Not For Sissies

25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,
26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 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?
29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.
30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
31 Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?
32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.
33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
34 Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again?
35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”


What does every pastor, preacher, evangelist in America want? A larger crowd, more followers and bigger numbers. I got caught up in the Church Growth movement years ago but then God convicted me of having impure motives. Pastors want to grow big church because this is the way the culture gages success. If you pastor a large church, and this one is not large, you are a success and if you pastor a small church, you are not. Every Association, State Convention, and especially the SBC uses this criterion for measuring success. This is what makes Jesus so unique: He did not measure success by numbers.

Matter of fact, He turned on this crowd that was following HIM after the dinner at the home of a leading Pharisee. He not only turned on them, He scattered them with His stern message on discipleship. Jesus had a distinct advantage on us, He knew exactly why they were following Him, He knew their motives.

  • Some followed to see the miracles. They were into sensational things. They were curious. They wanted to see what Jesus would do next. We call this group “Miracle Mongers,” or “Sensation Seekers.”
  • Some followed Him for what the benefits: Jesus healed thousands of people and He fed thousands. They followed for what they could get from Him. These folks were self-seekers.
  • Some followed Him because they believed He would lead them to political prominance and victory of their Roman conquerors. They were power seekers.

Jesus knew where He was headed and it was not to a throne but to a cross. He knew these folks were following for the wrong reasons so He stops to clear the air. They had expectations for HIM that He had no intention of fulfilling so He stops and tells them the truth, “If you are really serious about following me, let Me tell you where I am going. I am headed for a Roman cross and if you are not willing to suffer with me, and die for me, you need to go elsewhere.” This is the JEV, Jack’s everyday version.

There are a lot of things being taught today and I know it gets confusing. There are some who believe in LORDSHIP salvation, “If Jesus isn’t LORD in your life, you are not saved.” It is equivalent to saying “If you are not filled with the Holy Spirit, you are not saved.” Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, to whom I admire, says that Jesus distinguishes between SALVATION and DISCIPLESHIP and I am inclined to agree. This view does not distract from what Jesus says here about discipleship, it enhances it.

  • Salvation is free –Discipleship is costly.
  • Salvation is for all–Discipleship is for a select few
  • Salvation is confession of sin and trusting Christ–Discipleship is following Christ.
  • Salvation is what Christ does for us–Disicipleship is what we do for HIM.

Jesus made is very clear, that discipleship is for those who are willing to pay the price and not every believe is willing. Those who deny carnal Christianity believe that the church is filled with lost people. They are like the Jews in Luke 14, they are lost but do not know that they are lost. This is one way to resolve the problem. Looking at my own experience, I was saved at nine but did not become an active disciple until I was 19. Would I have gone to hell had I died during that 10 year period? I do not believe so. I have met scores of people who I believed were saved but they had never committed to discipleship.

I had a man come to me after a REVIVAL service and say, “I am supposed to be doing what you are doing. God called me to preach but I did not obey and I have been miserable since.” I honestly believe he was telling me the truth.

Jesus is honestly saying to this crowd: “I don’t mind you following me but I do want you to understand the cost. I want you to consider the cost before you make a commitment to follow.”

So today, Lets talk about the COST OF DISCIPLESHIP


“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus said, “You can’t follow Me if you love your parents more than me.” But Jesus didn’t stop with parents, He covered all human relationships. You can be married and follow Christ but to do so, she was to be willing to go where He leads you. I left my home and family at age 22 and I never had the opportunity to return. During my folks retirement years, I was away serving churches. I missed those years and at one time, I grieved that fact but I have come to believe that it was no sacrifice at all. I believe in my heart that heaven will make up for that loss and more.

In Luke 18 we have a dialogue between Peter and Jesus on this very subject:

Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”


27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

Earlier, in Luke 9, Jesus said to another crowd…

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

A huge part of discipleship is “Self-denial.” You cannot follow Christ and pursue your own selfish and personal interest at the same time. Being a disciple means sacrifice. The game of baseball illustrates what a sacrifice entails. The batter gives up his chance for a hit or a home run in order to advance another runner who is already on base. This part of baseball has almost passed away in the American League and rarely do you see anyone other than a pitcher do it in the National League. Why? I am glad you ask…

No one wants to give up their right to swing away and go for better stats and a bigger salary. Major League ball players as a whole are selfish and they put themselves before the team.


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