The Cost of Discipleship

The Cost of Discipleship

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:7, Luke 12:49-53, Deuteronomy 21:15
Date: 03/29/2014  Lesson: 13
"The rewards of discipleship may likewise be measured through comparison with the costs. ... Everyone who undertakes discipleship should first consider carefully the investments involved."
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church, right here in Sacramento, California. We're so glad that you're tuning in from across the country, around the world - listening on the radio, watching live on our website at 'saccentral.org' or on the various television networks. It does not matter how you are joining us, we're just glad that you are. We hope that you've had a wonderful week. We have and we're ready to sing some songs with you and open up God's Word and study together.

So if you have a hymnal at home, pull it out and join us right now for our first favorite request - 'all things bright and beautiful' - #93. This is a request from gina in California and joyce in kenya and we are going to sing - listen carefully - the first, second, first, third, fourth, fifth, and first verses. Follow along and it will all make perfect sense. #93. Thank you so much for sending in your favorites.

We have heard from so many of you - over 20,000 requests from all over the world - and we are doing our best to get through those so don't panic. But if you have a favorite that you want to join and sing with us on an upcoming program, it's very simple: just go to our website at 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link, and you can send in your favorite song if it's right here in our hymnal. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for blessing us and bringing us here to study your word and to sing praises to your name. We just thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to come here again to open up your word and study together.

And I just ask that you would be with our speaker. Be with each person here and our extended Sabbath school family around the world - that you will open up our hearts, our minds, and speak to us today and that one day very soon we will all be together on the streets of gold singing praises to your name. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much for the music and The Songs - it's always good to learn some new songs.

Morning. Happy Sabbath. How is everybody? Glad to be able to study together with you and also want to welcome those who are watching or studying with us via internet streaming or satellite or some other mechanism - television - we're just glad that you've tuned in. In a moment we'll get to our study on - it's our last study on discipleship and that really is a good segue for our free offer today and this is for anyone who calls the number on the screen. It's called 'the high cost of the cross' by Joe Crews.

If you call 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #156, we'll send it to you free. Please read it then share it with somebody and hopefully we'll mention that again at the end of our study. 'The cost of discipleship' - this is our last study on the subject of discipleship and - covering a broad plethora of verses, but we're going to read a memory verse that is from 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 7, and if you have your Bibles, I always appreciate if you can join me and say this out loud with me. I'll be doing it from the new king James version. Corinthians 1:7 - are you ready? "And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

" Being a Christian has a cost, but it pays more than it costs. But, nevertheless, it costs something. There is a new - it's not that new, but there is a spreading version of Christianity. It's called by a number of names - prosperity preaching or the prosperity Gospel or the word of faith Gospel. Have you maybe heard of this before? It's the notion that if you're sick or poor you just don't have enough faith.

And if you had enough faith you could declare - and because you are made in God's image and God's Word - when he says something it happens, if you then declare by faith what you want to be, you can speak prosperity into your life. You can speak healing into your life. It sort of makes you a little mini God and - as though the message of Jesus is how you could be wealthier and healthier and wise. Now, I do believe God blesses his people - I do believe there are promises in the Bible that talk about that. They're not all material blessings.

And I do believe that there's a health message and God wants us to be healthy. The problem is, most Christians - the problem with their health is not because they don't speak faith into their lives, it's because of what they're eating and their living habits. And the Bible has a lot to say - there are a number of health truths in the Bible that, if you practice them and cooperate with God's natural means of healing, you'll be stronger and live longer and have more abundant life. But this counterfeit Gospel really neglects an important truth that Jesus said that there are going to be troubles in life. In a minute we'll get to this verse, but I want to get you ready.

Who has acts chapter 14:22 - we gave that verse to - over here? Alright, you got a microphone there? You will in a moment. You know the lady with the microphones. Okay - that's his wife. Corinthians 11:23 - I just want to share with you did Paul have some challenges in his life? Now here's an apostle fully surrendered to the Lord. Paul says - 2 Corinthians 11:23, "are they ministers of Christ? - I speak as a fool - I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes" - that means being whipped - it left stripes on your back - "in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

From the jews five times I received forty stripes minus one" - they could whip you up to times - "three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness" - let's all follow Paul! Does that sound like the life you want to live? So if you look at the experience of the most productive new testament writer, was it a life of health and wealth and ease? Or was it trials and tribulation? Alright, listen to what Jesus says to Peter: John 21:18, "most assuredly I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." This he spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, 'follow me.'" What death was Jesus telling Peter he would experience? You'll stretch forth your hands...crucifixion. Peter was crucified. Tradition tells us he was crucified upside down. Let me give you another one.

Hebrews 11:35 - speaking of the faithful through the ages, Paul - assuming he wrote Hebrews - says, "others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mocKings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented - of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

" I can relate to that last part. But here it's telling us about the Christian experience. Was it one of driving a gold mercedes and wearing a rolex and be, you know, decked in pearls and fox coats and private jets and - was this the kind of Jesus that was being promoted in the first century? But you know what I'm talking about. I can start naming their names. There's all kinds of ministries out there and their idea of faith - it means you're going to be rich and you're going to be comfortable and you're going to be healthy and you're going to be - a lot of it is materialism and prosperity and power.

Is that what Jesus said? 'Come, follow me - and drive your bentley.' Was that his message? But, you know, that appeals to some people. One person who was interested in money - he was a scribe - he came to Jesus and said, 'Lord, I'm going to follow you wherever you go.' And Jesus - actually, if you read the book 'desire of ages' he tells us that was Judas who was looking for earthly - he thought Jesus might be the Messiah. He wanted to get up close to the next king because of the benefits. And Jesus said, 'really, you're going to follow me wherever I go?' He said, 'foxes have their holes and the birds of the air have their nests, but The Son of man has nowhere to even lay his head. You want to follow me?' So a lot of what's being told in the Christian world about the price or the cost of discipleship is not really what the Bible teaches.

Alright, go ahead, read for us acts 14:22. "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God." Alright, so while we're talking about tribulation, you realize that, in the Christian world, there are three views on the tribulation in relationship with the rapture. Now, when I use the word 'rapture' I mean the time we're caught up to meet the Lord in the air - I'm not talking about 'the secret rapture' - I'm talking about the second coming. But there are three views: one view is that the second coming happens before the tribulation - post - one view is that the second coming happens in the middle - they call it 'mid-trib' - and the third is following - or 'pre-trib' is the one before and post-trib is the one following. So you've got these three views.

Now much of the world believes what we call 'the left behind' scenario - much of the Christian world. You know what that 'left behind' scenario is? It's that any day now the Lord is going to come and rapture away the church because he doesn't - I mean, most Christians agree there is a tribulation coming. If you read in Revelation 15 and , where it talks about the seven last plagues, it tells us there's a tribulation coming - you can't deny that. Jesus said, 'he that endures to the end' - in Daniel chapter 12 that - when Michael stands up there's a time of trouble such as there never has been ever since time until the end and at that time God's people will be delivered. Great time of trouble.

So the Bible tells us about men's hearts failing because of fear, and the sea and the waves roaring, and great perplexity. So there's this time of trouble. So does the Lord love us too much to allow us to go through tribulation? The left behind scenario says he takes us out of the world before the tribulation and then the seven last plagues happen. Were God's people in the world when the ten plagues came on Egypt? Were they in Egypt when the plagues fell? Did he save them from the plagues or through the plagues? Did God save Noah from the flood or through the flood? Did he save shadrach, meshach and abednego from the fiery furnace or through it? Daniel from the lions' den or through it? Joseph from his trials or did he save Joseph through his trials? And then we just read where Paul said it is through much tribulation we will enter the kingdom of God. There are trials.

I mean, who wants trials? I don't want trials. I mean, do you pray for trials? Only time I pray for trials is when I pray for them for you. No, I don't pray for me to go through trials. You know what I'm saying? I don't want trials but typically God says it is through tribulation - the Lord is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle. Do you iron with a cold iron or a hot iron? Cold one doesn't work, does it? And it's hot water that gets those spots out.

And so there are going to be fiery trials that will ultimately purify the church, but teaching the church 'God just loves you so much, he wants you to be wealthy, he wants you to be healthy, and he is going to pop you out of the world before the trials come.' That's exactly what - that's the devil's Marketing campaign. That's why Peter says, 'do not be amazed at the fiery trials that will try your faith as if some strange thing is happened unto you.' You know why he says that? Because a lot of the church is going to be amazed. There are sincere Christians caught up in these false teachings. And when the trials begin to come upon God's people they're going to go, 'what? I thought we were going to miss all this and just be blessed all the time.' Well, God does bless his people and if you follow the Lord and obey his commandments he says, 'you'll be blessed going out and you'll be blessed coming in.' But he doesn't say you'll never go through trials. Was job a good man? Did God bless job? But did job go through a great tribulation? Bingo.

That's not a biblical word but that's so you get the idea. That says it. That's exhibit a of what I'm talking about. There is a cost of discipleship. Alright, let's look at Luke chapter 12, verse 49.

Jesus said, "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division." Did any of you see that video - at the time of this broadcast it'll be old news, but last week, you know, the pope gave a message. How many of you saw that? Did any of you see my commentary on that? Okay. Did you notice that in the preamble to the pope's message this guy, bishop anthony palmer said, 'division is diabolical. Diversity is wonderful.' Well, division is not all diabolical or Jesus is diabolical because Jesus said 'I came to bring division.' The truth causes division. The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword that divides and so sometimes Jesus said, 'I came' - I'm just reading these - red-letter edition - it's his words.

"I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." - Boy, a lot of mothers-in-law there. So there - he says, even a person's family - there'll be division there. Luke 14:25, "now great multitudes went with him.

And he turned and said to them, 'if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children," - what? I thought the Bible said you're supposed to love your wife, love your children. Why is Jesus saying that? I'm reading new king James version, just in case you're wondering. Some versions do this differently. If he "does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Now what does the Lord mean by 'hate' there? Is Jesus - I thought he commanded us to love; here it sounds like he's commanding us to hate. That's a difficult verse.

What he's talking about is a comparison. He's saying, 'in comparison to your love for me, those things must be second. You must hate them.' In comparison to where God belongs in your life. An example of that would be, if you look in the old testament in Deuteronomy 21 - and this is in your lesson - Deuteronomy 21:15, "if a man have two wives," - now I'm reading king James version because other versions change this - "if a man have two wives" - God's not endorsing this, but they did it - "one beloved, and another hated," - can you think of some people in the Bible that had that situation? You remember, yeah, you've got hagar and Sarah; you've got - I don't know that he hated hagar, but you've got elkanah had hannah and peninnah - the mother of Samuel was hannah; and you've got Jacob that had two sisters and he really loved rachel and he got stuck with leah. By the way, Jesus came through leah so God knew what was going on.

So you've got some examples of this. So they did it - God didn't endorse it but he made a law and he said, 'if you have that - "and they have borne him chlidren, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:" - it doesn't matter whether you love one and you don't love the other, the firstborn is supposed to be the firstborn. And the word 'hated' there means 'disliked or loved less' - that's what that means. So it confuses us - it doesn't mean hate in the sense that you loathe somebody, here the word 'hate' means 'loved less' and so he's simply saying, 'we can't love anybody more. That's the cost of discipleship.

Have you ever met folks that said, 'you know, one of these days I'm going to surrender all and follow Jesus but I'm waiting for my spouse to come around. I'm waiting until my husband, you know, my husband - I'd go to church with you but he really likes me to go out shopping with him on the weekends and that's his day and i, you know, I love my husband and I know it's the truth and I should be in church on the Sabbath but" - and I remember one sister told me that. I said, 'the best thing you can do for you husband is putting God first.' And she didn't - at first. And then her husband had a very serious accident at work that nearly killed him and I went to visit him in the hospital and she cried to me - she waited until we got out of the room. She said, 'I've been putting my husband first and I realized - God said, 'I can take your husband from you.

' She said, 'I need to put God first.' And she started to come to church and eventually her husband began to visit with her. So that's why the Lord is telling us you've got to hate even the closest thing you can think of as a family member - that has to come secondarily to God. God needs to be first. That's the cost of discipleship. Alright, someone look up for me Luke 14:27.

Who has that verse? Over here? You've got the microphone already. Alright, let's get the - it looks like we're going to get a camera focused on you. In the meantime, 'bearing one's cross' is our heading right now. Mark 10:21, "then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'one thing you lack: go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me.'" Now this is what Jesus said to that rich young ruler. You'll also find this in - all three Gospels talk about this rich young ruler - he's really being invited to be an apostle.

Now he's telling him the cost of discipleship: sell everything you have, give it to the poor - is he asking all of us to do that? Not necessarily. He is asking all of us to do whatever it takes to put all on the altar. When you follow Jesus you give everything to him. Now, for the apostles, they really needed to liquidate and follow Jesus. Go ahead, read for me Luke 14:27.

"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." Now does that talk - does that tell us that there's going to be some struggle? Where did people take crosses back then? If the Romans gave you a cross, where'd you take it? To your execution. They used to make you carry your own cross to your execution. You weren't going to get a soldier to carry it for you. And so, they were very familiar with the term 'taking your cross'. It meant that self-denial - death to self.

Now that's not very popular, is it? You don't hear a lot of pastors and preachers talking about - to the secular, atheistic world - choose to be a Christian. Die to self. But, you know, that's the only way you can really live, biblically. Someone look up Luke 12:15 - Luke 12:15 - who - we got that over here? Alright. We'll get a microphone for you in just a moment.

And I'm going to read Matthew :16 - I'm sorry, Matthew :26, "for what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" So we're talking about the cost of discipleship. What does it cost to be a disciple? How much does it cost? Everything. The Bible tells us it's like a man who's walking through his field and he - maybe he's plowing in his field. His plow sticks on a box and the box - he digs up and it's got treasure in it. The problem is he's only leased the field, he doesn't really own it.

And so, in order to get the treasure - he's an honest man, he realizes he needs to buy the field and then he'll own everything in the field. So he goes to his wife and he says, 'we're going to sell everything.' 'Everything?' 'Everything.' 'Well, we're not going to sell grandma's china?' 'We're going to sell everything.' Why are we going to sell everything?' 'Because we're going to buy this field.' 'This old field? It's got weeds and rocks in it.' He says, 'trust me. It's got treasure in it. Treasure worth more than everything we've got. We're going to sell everything.

' 'We're not going to sell my family heirlooms?' 'Everything.' 'My jewels?' 'Everything.' Can you imagine that discussion? And finally he sells everything. They take - they have nothing left - they bring it to the realtor, they buy the land, they get it registered, then he takes his wife out into the field. He says, 'look what I found.' And he digs up the box that he had Marked and there it's full of gold. How many of you heard about this really happening here in northern California? It hit the news not too long ago. Talk about finding a pot at the end of the rainbow, a couple somewhere up in placer county, above auburn,they had some rural land they've owned for years.

They were walking around on a trail they've walked on for years with their dog and they saw a can sticking up - a rusty can - out of the ground and they decided to explore it and it had gold in it. Then they found another can and they started digging and they found eight cans containing over ,400 gold coins that dated between 1847 and 1893 - many of them in mint condition. Some of them are in such good condition - they're so rare they're worth a million dollars a piece - and they found 1,400 of them. They figure it's worth about ten million dollars. They're still trying to figure out how it got there.

Some are speculating - you ever hear of a stage coach robber named black bart? He was caught - quite an interesting character - actually, he used to hide out in covelo too - black bart. I used to tell the kids all the time, I'd tease them with a metal detector out in the front yard, 'you keep looking. Black bart's treasure is out there.' This guy used to rob wells fargo and they called him 'the gentleman bandit' because he would leave poetry and he never cursed and he was very polite and they finally caught up with him. They put him in san quentin prison. He stayed there four years and got out on good behavior and then wells fargo tracked him for awhile because they thought that he would start robbing stagecoaches again and eventually he slipped away and they never heard from him again.

They don't know what happened to him in history. Very interesting character. Well, they're wondering now if this was some of black bart's treasure that never got recovered. Some of it, he told them, he hid in a hollow log in the woods and he forgot where it was. But it just makes you wonder - interesting.

So, you find this treasure in a field - that was a long way of telling a parable. It does happen, doesn't it? Would you sell everything if you could buy that land that had ten million dollars on it? Would you sell everything you had? Unless you've got over ten million dollars. If you do we'd like to talk to you afterwards. Would it be worth it? How much does it cost to follow Jesus? Go ahead, read for us - who has Luke 12:15? Luke 12:15, "...'Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.'" By the way - thank you - that was Matthew 13:44 - "the Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." So the Kingdom of heaven, how much should it be worth? Everything. It should be everything.

When Jesus asked the apostles to follow, do you notice he waited until he filled their nets and then he said, 'forsake everything and follow me'? When he asked Matthew to follow he was sitting at his cash register brimming with coin and he said, 'walk away from it and follow me.' So Jesus lets us know that 'I'm going to give you something that is worth eternal treasure - eternal life - but you've got to let go of everything else. You can't keep both.' So when they brought their boats to land they forsook all and followed him. Peter says - someone look up for me Matthew 16:21. Who has that? Right here? We'll get to you in just a second. Get you the microphone.

Peter said - and this is Luke :28, "Lo, we have left all, and followed thee." They were willing to forsake everything to follow Jesus. Christianity costs something, but it pays more than it costs, doesn't it. So, alright, are we ready for that? Okay, go ahead mike. Why don't you read that next verse? Alright, Matthew 16:21, "from that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day." Right. You know, so Jesus was letting them know.

What were their plans for Jesus? Their theology said Messiah is going to, you know, use his miraculous power and overthrow the Romans and he'll have the strength of sampson and the wisdom of Solomon and the courage of David and he's going to be our new king and they had built all these things into their picture of what the Messiah would be like. And Jesus, they thought, he can even multiply bread and feed the army. And that's why James and John came to him. One version says their mother came with them and they said, 'Lord, can we talk to you for a moment?' And he said, 'sure, how can I help you?' 'When you come into your kingdom, can I sit' - James, probably, being the older brother - 'can I sit on your right hand and John on your left hand?' How did they view that? Were they thinking of being crucified on his right and left or sitting on thrones on his right and left? They were so - when he said, 'I'm going to Jerusalem and I'm going to be crucified' - even Peter said, 'Lord, far be it for you. Not you! No, not that.

That's what happens to criminals. You're the King.' And Jesus said to Peter, 'get behind me, satan.' They did not understand even back then, the real cost of discipleship. Now, if you go into it without false expectations. If you go into Christianity and you surrender everything and you are ready to be crucified with Christ and you say, 'Lord, all that I am and all that I have is yours.' If that's your attitude going in, then it's uphill from there isn't it? It'll only get better. I mean, if you die, can things get worse? Can they? No, so once you are crucified with Christ then everything else is a blessing after that.

Can anyone hurt your feelings if you're crucified with Christ? But if you're living for yourself and your kingdom is in the world - if you're thinking about an earthly kingdom you're going to be disappointed. So Jesus tried to say, 'the world's not going to love you. You'll never be popular. John 15, verse 18 - John 15, verse 18, "if the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own.

Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'a servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also." I heard a story and John wesley, you know, he was one of these outdoor preachers - founder of the methodist church - and it was considered very unpopular and unconventional to be preaching outdoors. And he had been condemned by the official church of england. And often, when he would go preach, there were mobs that they thought of him as a rebel and preaching outside and his sermons about living Godly lives they used to ridicule.

He'd get done preaching in the town and they'd shut down all the saloons and the bars and so some people really hated him. And, frequently they made attempts on his life - they'd break down the door of his house or stab him or throw bricks at him or just all kinds of things. You can read - his own autobiography will tell you about the things that were done. But one time, he was preaching in england and he realized that several weeks had gone by where he hadn't experienced almost any resistance or unkind words or any persecution and he's on his horse and he thought, 'Lord, maybe I'm not preaching the true Gospel anymore.' And he stopped where he was and he got down off the horse and he began to pray and he said, 'Lord, I've just noticed things are going really well and you say, 'woe unto you when all men speak well of you for so they did of the false prophets.' And Lord, maybe I'm not being faithful.' And right while he was praying, somebody in a house not far from the road saw him and said, 'be ye that terrible preacher wesley?' And he hurled a brick at him. And wesley said, 'thank you, Lord.

' He thought, 'I guess I'm still on the right course.' And he got back on his horse. So, you know, Jesus said, 'if they hated me, they're going to hate you.' So you can't preach the Gospel without offense and in our world today there's a movement where we're just wanting to pull our punches for what the real Gospel is and just get along with everybody and just talk about love and unity. That sound familiar? Can't we all just get along? Let's not highlight the differences. Let's not be divisive. Don't preach the real message about turning from your sins and taking up your cross.

Follow Jesus and everything's going to be okey dokie. And that's a lie. That's just what the devil wants. It's not what Jesus taught. John 16 - listen to this - 1 and , "these things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.

They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service." That's an exact prediction of what happened with Paul. Didn't Paul think he was serving God when he killed Christians and put them in prison? He was sincere, but he was wrong. Jesus said, 'you're going to be persecuted.' Luke 21:12, "but before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before Kings and rulers for my name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

" So why do we go through trials as disciples? It says, 'it will turn out as an occasion for testimony.' You know when Christians make the best witnesses? Through trial. When did Paul get to preach to Kings? While he was in jail. When did John the baptist preach to herod? When he was in jail. I mean, you have a lot of opportunity to be a witness, sometimes, when you're going through trial. "It will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist." Kind of like luther before the diet of worms, where God gave him such great eloquence as he was being tried for his faith. the Lord will do that for you. And that time's going to happen again when real disciples, if we're faithful, God is going to allow that to prove to be an opportunity to share our faith. 'They'll put some of you to death' Jesus said. I'm still in Luke 21 - I'm reading verse 16 - verse 17, "and you will be hated by all for my name's sake.

But not a hair of your head will be lost." Well, I've had to talk to the Lord about that verse. "By your patience possess your souls." So, to be a Christian requires putting everything on the altar. Romans 12, verses 1 and 2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Someone look up for me Philippians 2:3. Who did we give that to? Over here? You're going to do that ricky? Okay, I'll let them locate you and zero in.

So there's a trial in being a Christian. Now, I don't want to discourage you. When I talk about the cost, I think some of you went, 'oh man, death, trials, persecution and prison? Doug, you're scaring us.' Don't forget what I said: Christianity costs but it pays more than it costs. Jesus said to the rich young ruler, 'go sell all that you have. Give it to the poor.

Follow me.' And you know what he said, 'you will have treasure in heaven.' Is that true? Not only there, but you end up with more here. Peter said, 'Lord, look, we've forsaken everything to follow you. What will we have?' Jesus said, 'no man or woman has given up houses or lands or position' - I'm paraphrasing now - 'or husband or wife, or children in this life but he will have a hundred times more houses and lands and family with persecutions and eternal life in the world to come.' But he says, 'even in this life you end up with a hundred times more.' Now, how does that work? Does that mean you're going to own a hundred houses? No, but when you become a child of God, instantly your family grows and their house becomes your house. Doesn't the Bible say, in the days of the early church when he poured out the Spirit, 'no man said that ought that he had was his own but all men had everything in common.' I know that sounds like communism but it means that we really love each other and we're willing to share. And he says you'll have more family.

How does that work? We call each other brother and sister and everywhere I go I've got family now. I had a very small family growing up. I just had, you know, my brother and my father and mother and they divorced and it felt pretty small living with a single mom in New York because my brother was somewhere else. And so I kind of grew up - small family - distant. I became a Christian - man - first time I came to church everyone starts hugging me and so yeah.

You get invited home every week and you finally get to where you get to ask, 'so what are you guys having for dinner? Maybe I'll get myself invited over here.' And here at central church it's great because I'd walk out in the courtyard and I'd be able to say, 'I don't know, today what do I want? Do I want to go to the fijian potluck or do I want to go to the filipino potluck? Or should I go to the hodgepodge potluck or the romanian potluck? Or who's potluck - that's pretty nice. You've got family all over the world without even leaving the church. So you really do get a hundred times more but there's trials. Alright, who is next with a verse? Ricky? Philippians 2, verse 3, "let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." That's the key to the cost of discipleship is: 'he that seeks to save his life will lose it, but he that loses his life for my sake and the Gospel will find it.' The only way that you ever get it is by first giving it away. Now let me illustrate this here.

Does everyone know what one of these is? Power strip - and they're very handy. If you've got a computer or some kind of electronics or media, you know, you've got all those power cords that hang down - you've got your battery back up, you've got your computer itself, you might have power speakers, you've got your printer and all that stuff - you know, those cords dangle behind your desk. You don't have that many outlets. You've got two outlets on the wall so you've got to multiply them so you stick this in the wall then you stick all your apparatus in here and then you've got to make sure the switch is on. I won't plug this in but it does come on.

Well, I was rooting around behind my desk one time - as I was reconfiguring the wires in my computer and I plugged it all in and I couldn't get my computer to work. And I looked and I saw that it was all plugged in and I kept checking the power switch and I couldn't get it the power switch to come on. I knew it was a good power strip because I just bought it and I'd tested it somewhere else and the light came on. And you know what I ended up doing? I'd plugged one of the plugs - there were all these plugs hanging - back into itself. So all the wires are kind of down to there and I didn't realize I'd plugged the power strip back into itself.

Now, how does that work? See, the idea - I know, it's really embarrassing. Any of you ever done that before? No? I saw one hand went - no one else is going to raise their hand, I'm not raising my hand.' Alright, confess. In your life, have you ever gone to unscrew a light bulb while it was still hot? Okay, I just wondered. So we all do dumb things, right? I'm not the only one. But the idea is the power is supposed to come in here, flow through and go out here.

And it works just fine if you do it that way. Your lives are supposed to be like that. But most of us, this is how we go through life. We just - we think we're going to live unto ourselves and we're all plugged in to ourselves and you will have a powerless life. You end up self-destructing.

If you worship God - if you get your life and your power from God, you will be able to pass it on to others and you become a channel of blessing and you light up. But if you live unto yourself and you just you think that, you know, you're God and all of it is going to be you, you don't get anywhere. And most people go through their lives - they say, 'it's all about me.' Someone brought to my attention a few years ago - we used to have magazines called 'life'. Now there's a magazine called 'self' and 'life' magazine is out of business. And they've got the me magazine and it's all 'you deserve it.

Have your own way' and 'you're worth it.' And everything's about, kind of, self worship. But to be a Christian it's about giving it away. What's the great commandment? Love the Lord first - it's not you - love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. And you've heard that acronym before, 'joy' - secret to happiness is 'Jesus, others, you.

' And that's got to be the sequence, but the world has inverted that so it's all first you and people are never satisfied just taking care of themselves so they never get to Jesus and others, it's all about me and myself and i. Okay, carrying on here. Luke 18, verse 28 - oh, actually I gave you this verse already. That's where he says - there's also a version I quoted more from Matthew - Luke 18:28, "Peter said, 'see, we have left all and followed you.' So he said, 'assuredly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time,'" - in this life - "'and in the age to come eternal life." So you end up getting much more. It does cost something but you do get blessed.

Read Deuteronomy 28 - it talks about the blessings and the cursings and God says if you obey God's commandments and you seek first his kingdom, you will be blessed when you go out. You will be blessed when you come in. You will be blessed in your barn. You will be blessed in your field. You will be blessed in your family.

You will be blessed everywhere you can be blessed. He says you'll be blessed, but he doesn't say there'll never be your time of trouble like what job went through or like what Joseph went through. John 14:1-3, Jesus said, "let not your heart be troubled" - yes, in this world you'll have tribulation, but "let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions" - or dwelling places - "if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself;" - it costs something, but it pays. Eternal life, a body that has no pain or sickness, in a world where there's no fear, no locks on the doors, there's no cold weather, there's no hot weather. Every day's a beautiful day. Everybody is nice up there. They don't just pretend to be nice.

Everybody's really nice. Can you imagine living in a world like that where, you know, your greatest mental challenge is you'll be able to endeavor great things even in heaven. If you read in Hebrews 11 it says, 'a better resurrection' in your lesson. Hebrews 11, verse 35, "women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

Still others had trials of mocKings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two" - and I read this to you earlier. And so they suffered because they said, 'we are looking forward to a better resurrection.' And so, are there days coming for the church when faithful Christians are going to be challenged? Now let's face it, how many of you know somebody that they moved to the country years ago because they were worried about the time of trouble and they got old and died up in the hills and the only time of trouble was that they were too far away from the hospital when they got old? You can go back a hundred years and people have - they've thought or they read about these times of trouble - the great tribulation and, you know, frankly I'm a little worried because some Christians God would have us - where's most people? City or country? The city. God - we need to have a work in the city. There's a lot to be said about work in the cities.

It's nice if you can live on the outskirts and have a little more of a rural dwelling, but we can't all go flee into the woods waiting for the time of trouble. But eventually it is going to happen. It will happen. And you are going to be a lot better off. God's told us when to head for the hills.

He said when the governments begin to make laws that start telling us how to worship, that will be the signal that - evidently it's not going to happen in 24 hours. I don't know if it will be three and a half years. I don't know what the time period is, but I think that God's going to give us a signal that we need to start getting to more remote places where we can be self-sufficient because there's going to be a great time of trouble. But there'll be persecution that's going to happen anywhere - can you hide these days? I mean, you just look at the technology the government has for tracking people down. Do you really think - I mean, I know people that they don't have a driver's license.

They don't have a social security - they're trying to live off the grid. Oh, come on, who are you kidding? There's video cameras everywhere. They're in the air right now. They've got infrared. What are you going to do, walk around with tinfoil on your body at night? What kind of life are you going to live? So people trying to hide - you know, God'll have to take care of you.

And yes, you're going to maybe be - you're going to be cornered and people are going to say, 'why do you believe what you believe? You might be challenged. You might be brought to trial. You may experience some persecution. Are we to hide from that or did Jesus say, 'if they persecute you in this city, go to the next one.' That's what he said. And so he's told you, if you're going to be a Christian there's going to be trials.

This mentality that I run into in the church about 'well, but if I get enough 5-gallon buckets and if I can get off the grid and' - you know, I've got a house in the country - we have a place like that that's solar powered and - but we didn't do it to save yourself. First of all, who here doesn't know that we have a country place in the hills? First place they're going to go looking for me, so there's nowhere you can really hide. The idea that, 'if I just store up enough soybeans and if I've got enough wheat. And, you know, if I get this canned food that lasts for 50 years and I can do all this.' The mentality is: 'I'm going to save myself somehow.' How many of you know that mormons store enough food to last a year or two? I forget what it is. How many of you know that? Let me see your hands.

So where are you going to go when you get hungry? We're going to go see our mormon friends, right? That stuff's going to - yeah, or a cave - you can't - your faith can't be in saving yourself because of country living or the food you've got stockpiled. There's going to be persecution and you just need to live in the light. Let your light shine, right? Don't put your light under a bush. God wants us to share the message. And so, I just worry about the mentality about 'let's go crawl under a rock somewhere until the tribulation comes.

' You're not going to save yourself that way. It's going to be surrendering to Jesus. And when you completely surrender to Jesus and you're crucified with Christ, you're going to want to use the life that's left in spreading the Gospel, right? That's what it means to be a disciple: to go - Jesus said to Peter, 'come and follow me.' Paul said, 'before I die I want to go to rome.' He didn't say, 'I want to go to the himalayas and hide.' He said, 'I want to go to rome and preach the Gospel - reach as many people as I can.' He laid down his life. And so, I just thought we should really think about what's involved here in the cost of discipleship. Let me read something to you - I'll close with this: 'steps to Christ' page 47, "many are inquiring, 'how am I to make a surrender of myself to God?' You desire to give yourself to him but you're weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt and controlled by the habits of your life of sin.

' - That would be most of us - "your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you. But you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will.

This is the governing power in the nature of man. The power of decision or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to man. It is theirs to exercise.

You cannot change your heart. You cannot of yourself give God of its affections, but you can choose to serve him. You can give your will to him then he will work in you to will and to do according to his good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ. Your affections will be centered upon him.

Your thoughts will be in harmony with him." - This is really important. Did you get that? All we can do is say, 'Lord, I admit I'm helpless. My promises are like ropes of sand. Without you I can do nothing. But I want to follow you.

I am choosing to follow you.' And when you do that, you give the Lord permission to activate the power of the Holy Spirit because he will not force you to love him. But if you say, 'I want to love you. I want to serve you. Help me.' And invite him into your life then, when those struggles come, he will unite his supernatural power with your free will and you can start experiencing victories. That's how it happens, amen? And that's what it means to live the life that you say, 'not I but Christ.

' There'll be challenges - there's going to be trials in life, but you can make a choice. Okay, I've run out of time. We do have - I want to mention our free offer - it's a great book by Joe Crews. We've reprinted this several times because it's been such a popular book. If you've not read it before, 'the high cost of the cross' - we'll send it to you for free.

Just ask for offer #156 when you call the number 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966. Please read it and share it and God bless you. When we study again next week, don't forget, we'll be starting with our new quarterly talking about Christ and his law. Blessings. In 3 - 2 - 1 - action! This documentary covers a span from the first coming of Jesus and what was going on in the church up until just before the second coming of Jesus.

It shows the great apostasy that crept into the church and, ultimately, the great revival through the great reformation. This is a life and death battle. It's not just something that is happening in hallucinations of a prophet. Those things are played out in real history. This is an exciting day.

This is not only our first shoot for studio for Revelation, but this is also our first real shoot in this studio. When we started this project, the paint was literally drying on the blue cyc that we shot most of the scenes on and we literally put in the flooring and all the pillars and everything to shoot the scenes with Pastor Doug Batchelor. When we created our scene breakdown, we decided that there were about 68 scenes that were really pivotal to telling this story to make it what we dreamed and imagined it could be. We had a wish list of things we wanted to recreate but you also have to deal within reality and a budget and so we needed to pick, you know, which of the scenes we needed to communicate the drama and the emotion of what has really happened in religious history from the time of Christ's first coming up until where we are today. We made the choice to actually send a film crew to different parts of the world to get fresh footage of some of the scenes of the reformation in europe and some of the catacombs in rome.

Now we're in rome and we're actually in a catacomb where the Christians would bury their dead. This is the catacomb domatilla and this one is one of the most, I guess, most fascinating ones because it's 17 kilometers in distance. That's almost ten and a half miles of burial spots. You've got so much artwork on the walls. You've got areas where people have engraved tombstones or you've got some of the symbols which come from the constantine era.

So it's been very, very exciting to see all of this history all in one place where the Christians actually came not just to bury their dead, but to escape - to be able to continue in their faith. Getting the actual shots of the places where these events transpired brings it to life and makes it real. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at 'amazingfacts.org'. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location, so many possibilities.

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