The church today is doing a disservice to those who are looking at following Jesus Christ. In an effort to fill the building, the truth of the gospel has been set aside for a cheap misrepresentation. This marshmallow theology filled with false facts and distortions will hurt the new believer in the short and long run. There were always large crowds following Jesus but only a few were his true disciples. The true disciple is set apart from the crowds. The true disciple will carry their cross and die to self as Paul says in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Those who are to be disciples need to be told about the cost. Even when Jesus taught on this earth many disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. (John 6) Jesus said in Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. 34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
If we do not understand from the beginning of the journey there is a cost, we will continue to attempt to live for ourselves and for Jesus, which in the end will prove disastrous. At the first sign of trouble they will turn from God. It is better for us, the church to lay it out from the beginning instead of teaching a little prayer and off you go. When trials of many kinds come or even persecution comes and they will, they will not be able to stand. The good news is that Jesus has promised us in Mark 10:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” In order for us to have this life we must be willing to loose it. But notice this verse also says along with persecutions. Once you have counted the cost and have said I will leave everything to follow you will be strengthened and you will have the joy of the lord. Then you will be able to join with James when he says (James 1:2) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
So don’t take this journey lightly. Start strong and finish strong. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)