“For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Lk. 14:28-30.
“If I were to select a title for this lesson I would call it—Counting the cost. I suppose when it comes to the subject of counting the cost Christianity is talked about more than any other subject. Jesus considered the subject by talking about building a tower, or any building of any kind.
- A place to build it must be found and prepared to build the building on. When it is fit then the house can be built. I guess if we thought of this in starting a business of some kind we would find a place suitable for the business.
- Then the place would have to be made to look nice so folks would stop in.
- It would be necessary to stock material or parts folks would want to look at. You know folks sometimes just stop in to look around. If things look good it might cause people to buy what they really don’t need to buy, but wanting it because it looked so good.
- Then it needs to be advertised so that the people who have their mind made up what they want, would come in to buy.
All of these things would cost so the cost must be counted to make sure you have the funds to get the business started. Of course, I have bought things in my time figuring I could make the payment each month. But you know, I didn’t figure out my real estate taxes, the insurance on my car and house. When these extra bills would appear, a lot of times we would have to make other plans in order to pay all the bills. I really didn’t count the cost, as I should have. But then we have to do without some of the things I really would like to have or really needed. Then I was in the get by stage over not counting the cost before I bought the things I could have gotten by without in the first place. So, in any matter we need to count the cost.
Think About What Our Salvation Cost God
The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians in I Corinthians 6:20 that they were bought with a cost. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit.” The price he was talking about was high.
- It was so high that the sacrifices of the many animals offered for sin were not enough. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins, Hebrews 10:4. The price was so high that gold, silver, or jewels of all sorts could not remove the sins of men. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers’ 1 Pet. 1:18.
- The price was so high that it took the death of Christ to save us. Peter said after the passage I just quoted, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” I Pet 1:19. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” John 1:29.
- Jesus knew the cost of sin would require his death. “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39.
- God wanted us to be saved so bad that he gave his son to save us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” John 3:16-17. This show of God’s love puts man in shape to love him back. “I John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.”
We Need To Remember What Our Salvation Cost Christ.
Jesus left the glories, power and riches of heaven to come to this old earth and provide the salvation that can belong to everyone of us. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8:8, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” That ought to be enough to arouse our interest in our own salvation, but there is more to consider. When Jesus came to earth he did not come as a king, but humbled himself below the smallest and most ignorant of humans. We read over there in Philippians 5:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus having the feelings of men must have been embarrassed to become one of the creatures God had created. Nobody likes to be embarrassed, but Jesus endured it. More than that he was embarrassed and lowered even more as he had to suffer death. Jesus was and is a member of the Godhead, which means before he came to earth he was the life itself. But instead of living he died. But there is more to the story. Jesus suffered the most humiliating of the ways to die. He was condemned to death on the cross. When men died on a cross it was a sign to everybody that he was an evil person. Jesus died not for himself, but for we who are poor sinners. I am glad to read that through his poverty he has made us rich. It is hard to imagine how much he loved us. We are told, Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Every Sunday when the church gathers we remember how much it cost Jesus by eating the Lord’s Supper. My judgement is not the final one but when people are seen neglecting to assemble or if they do come eat the Lord’s Supper with a passing attitude I believe there will be a high cost to many Christians.
Sinners Need To Realize That The Cost To Be Saved Must Be Counted.
The question I raise in this lesson is the cost concerning our obedience to the Gospel of Christ. I think everybody would like to go to heaven as long as they could go any way they so desire and the cost was not too much. But we have to pay the price. Sometimes the cost means cutting the ties that are most precious to us. Jesus warned, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:36-37. I have known of children losing their inheritance because they obeyed the Gospel. The cost was very great but they paid it gladly. They realized they had a greater reward yet to be revealed. And I am acquainted with some that chose their children, grandchildren or other family members over Christ and the gospel truth, because the cost was too great for them.
When Jesus met the rich, young ruler we see a man that counted the cost and found it to be too much for him. Coming to Jesus he asked, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Well, Jesus told him some of the Ten Commandments such as, thou shalt not commit adultery, steal, murder, or bear false witness and to honor father and mother and generally love thy neighbor. The young man said, “all these things I have kept from my youth up, what lack I yet?” Listen to what Jesus said unto him, “if thou will be perfect, go sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and come and follow me.” the young man heard that he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions>” Matthew 19:16-22. The cost was too great for him. The great possessions that he had here were worth more to him than the eternal treasures in heaven. This man is now in the eternal world awaiting judgment and if he did not reconsider the words of Christ and never become obedient to the truth, I ask what do you suppose he would be willing to do now if he had the opportunity to reconsider? There is no doubt in my mind that he would be willing to give up everything even giving up his life if necessary.
Paul wrote, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” 2 Timothy 4:10. If Demas had been permitted to take one look behind the curtain of time into Paradise and the Place of Torment there is no doubt that his decision would have been different. Very quickly he would have decided the cost of being a Christian was not too great.
Every Person Needs To Consider The Cost Of Christianity.
Early on in his teaching Jesus assured us that following him would be costly. Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Paul, a well-known persecutor of Christians, knew the cost of following Jesus, yet surrendered his life to gain a complete change of attitude. He wrote in Romans 12:14 “Bless them which persecute you.”
There are some things that we can no longer do once we have obeyed the gospel, Maybe some of the people we have counted, as our friends must be shucked. Some of the places we have enjoyed going to must now be rejected. Some of the words that have often fallen from our lips must be hushed and even some of our family members we must separate from. The cost must be considered, as it is great in some situations.
There are some other things that we have neglected that must be added to our life of reverence toward God. Romans 12: 1 is a passage that should cause people to count the cost. It reads, “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.” Some of these things now required of Christians have caused disciples to leave the church as they seek an easier way that can be found among the denominations. One such demand made upon every Christians is to gather with fellow Christians on the first day of the week to break bread. We learn of this practice in Acts 20:7. “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” This breaking of bread was referring to the Lord’s Supper, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, This is not to be forsaken, Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Some can’t stand to not work on Sunday to get double time, some just want to sleep in after a hard week of work, others want to engage in some pleasure or activity and when it is pointed out that they cannot “forsake the assembly” they get bent out of shape and quit the church. Another thing that is not accepted by some followers of Christ is laying by in store, 1 Corinthians 16:2. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” When some learn that they were to give they won’t give. Others will give but fail to give as they have prospered. And as in some other things they tire of hearing how much is to be given just leave the church and go away sorrowfully with the same selfish attitude that was in the rich, young, ruler. The warning of Jesus has no effect upon them. The Lord declared, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:36-37. This question asked by Jesus is one that all of us should never forget.
The question for all of us is AM I WILLING TO COUNT AND PAY THE COST. I hope and pray that the answer is, yes, I will.
Russell R. Owens
*The above lesson was taken from the handwritten notes of my Father Russell R. Owens. At the death of my mother this past spring I collect his notebooks. I was startled at the number of lessons he had prepared. He was not and did not think of himself as a good speaker, consequently, he had rather others make the talks. I heard him give lessons on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, but I never heard him present a lesson during Lord’s Day Worship, the reason being, he believed the best should be used to edify when all the church was gathered. Dad, wasn’t a good reader, but he could quote nearly every passage regarding the plan of salvation (especially baptism), the church and worship. He never met a stranger consequently did his best to stand up for the truth anywhere having many discussions at work, with family members, with people he chanced to meet in stores and with church members. He tried to be an example in living a Christians and encouraging others especially the young. I would have failed as a preacher many times over if it were not for him. I can only wish to be the man he was. What you saw is what you got.
Barney Owens 1811