The Cost of Discipleship - John MacArthur
To speak of the cost of discipleship in our society may be not the most needful thing from the viewpoint of the listener right now, it may become more needful in the days ahead. If we were in Eastern Europe tonight, we would be speaking on a subject very dear to the heart of the hearer. In fact, I would daresay that they are so well apprised of the matter of the cost of discipleship that perhaps it wouldn't need to be spoken of at all, except to encourage them. And frankly, the approach that I will take in this message wouldn't be needed at all because no one in a country where you pay a price for naming the name of Jesus Christ is going to do that unless they are willing to pay that price. There are no shallow, uncommitted believers. Why pay the price? And yet in our society here, we have developed this incredible theology that says you can be a Christian and not worry about being committed. In fact you can be a Christian and not even be a disciple. Those who teach that would say yes there's no question in the New Testament about Jesus assigning a tremendous cost to discipleship. But you don't need to worry about that because that's second-level Christianity. First-level Christianity doesn't really have any particular cost at all.
To show you how pervasive this is, one of the longest standing, most widely read fundamentalist newspapers in America is a newspaper called "The Sword of the Lord." In "The Sword of the Lord's" January 8 issue of 1988, this year, the editor writes this, referring to Luke 9:57 to 62, let me read it to you. In Luke 9, the Lord is speaking about discipleship. And starting in verse 57, He says this, "And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, I'll follow You wherever You go. And Jesus said, The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. And He said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Permit me first to go and bury my father. But He said to him, Allow the dead to bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the Kingdom of God. And another also said, I will follow You, Lord, but first permit me to say goodbye to those at home. But Jesus said to him, Not one after putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of Heaven."
The writer of "The Sword of the Lord" said this, "This passage has nothing to do with salvation. These calls are not calls to salvation, they are calls to discipleship. MacArthur, like many others, confuses discipleship with salvation and uses passages dealing with discipleship to try to prove that the sinner must give up all that he has and all that he is to receive Christ. This is simply not true. Nowhere in the Bible is the sinner told to forsake all that he has to be saved."
What is a disciple? Is it something different than a Christian? It's fairly clear in the Bible that Jesus calls men to follow Him. That writer is saying that doesn't have a thing to do with salvation. Doesn't it? All of the calls of Jesus to discipleship, are they something more than salvation?
READ MORE (and/or listen): http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-23/the-cost-of-discipleship