[Biblemat] Good News for Norwalk: Volume III, Number 47: November 23, 2008
Ethan R. Longhenry
disciple_of_iesus at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 23 21:02:18 CST 2008
Good News for Norwalk
For I am not ashamed of the good news, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
A publication of the church of Christ in Norwalk, Ohio
Volume III, Number 47: November 23, 2008
Counting the Cost
"Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build, and was not able to finish.' Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and asketh conditions of peace. So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27-33).
When we consider what Jesus has to say to us, we quickly understand that He makes pretty strong demands. He seeks for us to renounce all that we have to follow Him (Luke 14:33). He would have us put Him above our family, our friends, and even ourselves (Matthew 10:37-39).
Deciding about Christ is a monumental decision indeed! That is why Jesus expects us to count the cost. We need to consider ourselves and our future. What will become of us if we decide to follow Jesus? What if we decide against it?
If we decide to follow Jesus, then we are asked to renounce our own will and to submit entirely to God's will. We must be willing to give up everything that we have-- our money, our family, even our own lives-- if Christ were to demand it (Matthew 10:37-39, 1 John 3:16). God would have us not only act like Jesus, but even think like Him: we would have to take every thought captive in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We would have to reckon ourselves as slaves of God (Romans 6:16-23). Persecution of some kind will come (Acts 14:22): we may lose friends, we may be mocked or insulted, or we may even be imprisoned, beaten, or killed for the name of Jesus Christ.
Yet the outcome of our decision and faithfulness is eternal life in the presence of God-- gifts so wonderful that Paul is able to describe the life of Christian service as "light affliction" in comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17)! Yet even in this life, if we decide for Christ and are faithful to Him, we have the confidence of being in Christ's Kingdom, never separated from His peace and love (Colossians 1:13, Romans 8:31-39, Philippians 4:7). God with us-- what a comforting thought!
If we decide against Christ, and remain as we are, we might receive comfort in this life. We are not as likely to experience persecution. We are able to think for ourselves and act for ourselves in any way that we please.
While that may sound nice, the Bible reveals that in such a condition we are also separated from God and hostile toward Him (Romans 8:1-9). We stand condemned under the law of sin and death. The way we think is right leads to death (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25), and really turns us into slaves of sin (Romans 6:16-23). If we decide against Christ during our lives, we cannot expect or trust that God will hear us, and we are left alone, to our own devices, and certain death (cf. 1 Peter 3:10-12). If we continue in that state at death, we have little hope for salvation, and can only await the hell of fire-- the outer darkness, where there is great suffering and pain (Matthew 8:12, 10:28).
Such is how we must count the cost. The decision is not easy, yet it is a decision that we must make. We cannot put it off or pretend that it is not ours to make, for as long as we attempt to put off the decision, we really choose against Christ (cf. Acts 24:24-26).
Consider Peter's response to Jesus in John 6:68-69:
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of God" (John 6:68-69).
Being a Christian is not easy, but it can be done. You may not understand everything that God teaches, but we pray that you at least understand that Jesus has the words of eternal life, and that if we seek to live, we must follow Him. Do not be left without God in your life. Do not continue to live without the encouragement of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Decide to serve Jesus Christ today!
Ethan R. Longhenry
evangelist at norwalkchurch.org
The church of Christ in Norwalk, Ohio
Thank you for reading the electronic version of our bulletin, Good News for Norwalk. If you live in Norwalk or happen to be traveling in the Norwalk area, we would certainly love to have you visit one of our assemblies!
386 North Edgewood Drive (just off US 250 just north of Norwalk's city limits)
Norwalk, Ohio 44857
Sunday morning assembly: 10:30am
Sunday evening assembly: 6:00pm
Our Bible studies:
Sunday morning Bible study: 9:30am
Wednesday evening Bible study: 7:00pm
For More Information
If you have any questions or comments about anything you have read here, or desire more information, please contact our evangelist, Ethan Longhenry, at evangelist at norwalkchurch.org.
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