INTRO:In Lukes gospel Jesus uses an interesting and pointed illustration about counting costs. The subject is really discipleship and whether or not one would follow through with his commitment day by day. The Lords illustration spoke of a man who starts out to build a tower but who runs out of money before he finishes the construction. What he intended to be glorious becomes an object of mockery and scorn. The Lord wants people to count the cost of following Him. Dont start unless you are aware of the potential cost and are willing to pay the price. In our text from the book of Philippians Paul is saying, I have counted the cost. I have paid the price. I have no regrets.
I. LOOK AT HIS COUNTING THE COST
A. Three times Paul mentions counting
1. he once counted as most folks do were gain
2. position, prominence, power, attainment, applause ... all of those things had been important
3. he had invested a goodly part of his life in them
B. Now, however, he is counting differently
1. I count all things but loss ... but refuse
2. something had happened to change how he counted!
3. that something had been the entering of Christ into His life and his entering into Christ (Gal 2:20)
C. This was a conclusion reached over many years
1. some might have said, Paul, you were too impetuous or Paul, you were too emotional at the beginning
2. but he had years of experience and life in Christ and is still certain he made the right choice no regrets
3. and he had certainly been tested!
D. Do we do enough explaining about cost counting?
1. we are eager, desirous for baptisms and hear a great deal said in workshops, publications, etc. about growth
2. but in whole process doe we talk honestly about cost?
3. now, Paul believed the price small to pay for what he gained
(2 Cor4:16-18 light affliction!) ... but do we? do we speak of this to our children? others? (Lk 14:33)
II. WHAT GAIN WAS THERE? (Phil 3:8a)
A. Encompassed in the knowledge of Christ Jesus
1. excellency ... the all surpassing value
2. he had counted, weighed and realized that nothing could compare with this knowledge of Christ Jesus
3. Gal 2:20 who loved me, and gave himself for me
B. Exactly what was this knowledge of Christ Jesus?
1. it was certainly not just knowing about Jesus thats no particular blessing
2. it was - in fact - explained in his words my Lord
3. note Col 3:3, 4a, 11b, 13b, 16a, 17, 23who is our life!
a. knowing Christs offering - 2 Cor 5:21
b. knowing Christs love - Gal 2:20
c. knowing Christs challenge of life - Col 4:5,6 and 2 Tim 1:9
d. knowing Christs access to God - Jno 14:6
e. knowing that without Christ as total emphasis of ones life, life would not be worth much ... every thought, action, word, habit caught up in the flavoring which Jesus gives it permeating
III. SO MANY, THOUGH, SEEM TO HAVE REGRETS
A. Listen to Jno 6:66 many ... went back and ...
1. and Heb 10:39a folks who did not follow through
2. when the cost really came home to them, they just did not consider winning Christ as gain!
3. favorite, valuable things began to get in the way
B. Why are so many Christians unfaithful?
1. oh, the blame can be placed everywhere (usually is)
2. but real truth is that these folks thought they wanted Christ and the life He challenges us to live but they really didnt!
3. and - unfortunately - these folks have given people of the world every cause to mock, deride and disparage the Lord and His church
CLOSE: It costs everything - in a sense - to be in Christ. And some of us may truly not really want to pay the price. But, oh, it is so worth paying!
Cecil A. Hutson
28 May 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)