June 8, 2023

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I had 18 hours in the city of Rome. That's how long it was between my flight connections to Africa. I decided not to waste that time sleeping in the airport when I could be seeing one of the world's great cities. Right? And, my missionary friend, Dave, was kind enough to be my chauffeur and guide. With his help, I got a whirlwind tour that included the Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, and some beautiful piazzas. But the highlight of my day in Rome was my visit to the Catacombs, those ancient caverns that wind beneath the streets of Rome. Dave's been there many times so he said he'd wait while I went in. Well, here were the caverns where some of the first Christians hid from the Roman soldiers who would take them to their execution for believing in Christ. And here's where they carved in the walls the ancient symbols of their faith - like the cross and the sign of the fish. Those symbols are still there as a silent testimony to their faithfulness. And here in the walls, they buried countless loved ones who'd been torn to pieces by lions in the Coliseum all because they would not renounce Christ for Caesar. As I emerged from those Catacombs, Dave said, "Well, what did you think?" All I could say was, "Our faith is very, very expensive."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Discount Disciples."

The way of Jesus that we claim to walk today was, indeed, very expensive for those first Christians; for millions who have suffered or died for the name of Jesus in every generation as well, including our own. And it cost Jesus everything. So who am I - who are we - that we should get off so cheap?

Jesus made it clear that there would be no discount disciples; those who could request a commitment to Him that didn't cost too much. What an insult to the man for whom it cost everything! Or to our brothers and sisters across the generations who've paid such a high price for following this same Savior. Jesus put the cost of following Him right up front in Luke 14:27, our word for today from the Word of God: "Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple." In Luke 9:23, He made clear that joining Jesus in carrying your cross was not a once-for-all decision, but one that has to be renewed every day. He said, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

Notice, He didn't say, "Take up your couch and follow Me." Somewhere we've gotten the twisted idea that following Jesus just means going to some of His meetings, believing His beliefs, throwing a little money His way, maybe taking on a couple of jobs for Him, and maybe even being called a couple of names because of Him. If the price tag gets much higher, we start to complain, to feel sorry for ourselves, to think about quitting. We are here today because of some real disciples who refused to quit, no matter what the cost. Because of a Savior who refused to quit, even when it meant the agony and humiliation of a cross.

Those who have experienced Jesus most deeply, most sweetly, are those who walk the way of the cross with Him. Don't be afraid to make the choices for Him that may cost you something. That's what taking up a cross means - expensive choices. That's what taking up a cross meant for Jesus. He is worth any price you pay for following Him, because as much as it may cost to follow Him, it costs a whole lot more not to follow Him.

After the Allied forces stormed ashore at Normandy on D-Day, charging into deadly German fire and land mines, General Eisenhower said, "There are no victories at discount prices." It was true at Normandy, and It's true in following Jesus. Beginning at the cross, it's always been expensive and victorious. The hymn writer nailed it when he said: "Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, when others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?"



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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