Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will be preaching at the Bristol Hill United Church of Christ tent revival. I've been praying (sometimes desperately) for what He would have me speak on. Luke 14:25-33 keeps coming to my mind and has been for over a week now. So, unless the Holy Spirit says differently tomorrow, that will probably be the text.
I've been meeting with around nine pastors and lay leaders for several months now every Saturday morning at 7am for prayer. Every week we meet at a different church, but the focus of the prayers are always the same: Lord, revive your people. The above text is an important one to me because it speaks to something often ignored in our desire to see God move: the cost. Salvation isn't cheap. It cost Christ everything and he expects us to pay the same price.
"Wait! I thought salvation was free. Now you are telling me I have to earn it?" No! Let me say that again, NO! You cannot earn salvation. It is a free gift from God. You cannot make God give it to you. You cannot be good enough to get it. You cannot buy God off. The only way to get this free gift is if God gives it to you. Period. However, this does not mean he won't ask anything in return for this free gift. Not as payment but what was due him all along.
You see, men and women were created to glorify God. All creation was created for this purpose. To glorify and serve God forever. I like how the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it:
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
Man's chief end (purpose) was and is to glorify God. Not because God needs it, but because he deserves it. But people rebelled and instead of giving glory to God they glorified themselves, making gods with their own hands and worshiping them instead. Not only did this leave man in a state where he wasn't doing what he was suppose to do in the first place, it left him unable to do what he was suppose to do in the first place.
When we are "born again" we are given new hearts and new life. We become new creatures. As a result we are now able to do what we were suppose to do all along: glorify God with our whole beings.
This is the cost people miss. This is what Jesus is trying to point out. If we want to be His disciples he wants it all back. Everything we've claimed as our own when we were living in rebellion against him he wants it back. Not because he needs it, but because he deserves it and it is the right thing to do. To do anything else is to rebel. And people who are going to rebel against God's ultimate design on our lives don't make good disciples. Count the cost.
"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33 - ESV)