Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts

No Price Too High 1



Freedom! People have fought for it and millions have died for it. The desire for freedom is the top craving of every human heart and nations have gone to war for the sole purpose of giving its citizens the right to be called free.

People cry out, "give me liberty or give me death", for the taste of freedom is sweet and worth dying for. Those who have tasted the redemptive blessings of being free would rather their life end than to never again bask in the glories of true, unadulterated freedom. It was for freedom that the Heavenly Father sent his only begotten Son to the earth to save all people from the shackles of a bondage so oppressive that no man, woman, or child could be loosed from it on their own.

Setting people free from the bondage of sin and death was the purpose for which Jesus lived and died. He said in John 8:36, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." This freedom is not free nor is it cheap. It costs Jesus His life to give it and will cost you your life to obtain it.

Matthew 16:24-26 says, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

The Message Bible says, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?" There is no price too high to pay for this freedom although most people have chosen to drink the bitter waters of death, hell, and the grave.

Paul spoke of a man named Demas who "has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica" (2 Timothy 4:10). Even Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

The Message Bible says, "Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life - to God! - is vigorous and requires total attention."

Difficult is the way that leads to a good life in Christ Jesus but most people choose to travel the road of least resistance. They spend most of their time looking for shortcuts around the path of hardship instead of pressing on and learning to fight like the soldiers they're called to be. They don't realize that if something is not worth fighting for, then it's not worth living for.

Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:6, "The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crop." It's the diligent farmer who gets the produce but too many believers are living lazy, sloppy, and fleshly lives. To avoid fighting for what rightfully belongs to them they instead quote scripture out of context thinking they've found the shortcut to an easy life. This leads to a life of deception, for people will think they're more spiritual than they actually are. They'll have no defense against the wiles of the devil and this deception opens the door for the enemy to come in and wreak havoc in their lives.

Jesus did not promise you an easy life. He did say if you would put on your armor and fight, you could have a victorious life, a good life of freedom that nobody can take from you. Our society has produced a generation of people who want things handed to them without any work or effort on their part and this "want something for nothing" attitude has crept into the local church.

To obtain freedom without fighting for it, born-again believers often quote John 8:32 which says, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They confess this verse over and over again because they think it's a shortcut to freedom. Little do they know that not all believers will know the truth and be set free.

This verse is almost always quoted out of context and to get the full meaning of what Jesus is saying one needs to back up and read verse 31 first. "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'" This verse is speaking to disciples. Being a believer doesn't automatically make you a disciple.

In John 8:31, Jesus was talking to people who were already believers. He then said "if" and that is a conditional word. The Message Bible says, "If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure." The Amplified Bible states, "If you abide in My word and hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them, you are truly My disciples."

Believers are those who believe in Jesus but disciples are those who continue in His Word and become followers at any cost. Just like the student trains to become like his teacher, the true disciple of Jesus trains to become just like his Master. He seeks to become more and more like Him every day. In Greek the word "disciple" means 'learner' and 'follower' and is the same as being an intern and an apprentice.

A disciple is not only a pupil but is an imitator of the teacher much like an oriental martial arts student who copies and mimics the ways and moves of his master. This is more than a scholastic study where you sit in a chair and take notes. You don't learn everything from a book but like in the eastern culture you imitate what you've been taught. This is not a small, trivial matter. It will cost you to become a disciple of Jesus like nothing has ever cost you before. Becoming a disciple requires a greater level of submission than a believer, a greater level of commitment.

Jesus told some fishermen that from now on they'd be fishing for men and women and "they forsook all and followed Him" (Luke 5:10-11). This describes the beginning of becoming a disciple of Jesus. Luke 5:27-28 says, "After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, 'Follow Me.' And he left all, rose up, and followed Him." This is not the same as saying "believe in Me" because only believing in Him will not change your lifestyle. If your life and priorities don't completely change, then you didn't become a disciple, you just became a believer.


Becoming a disciple will require great discipline on your part. You will have to live like a highly trained athlete and the Holy Spirit will be your personal trainer. He'll lead you and train you in the ways of the Master. Luke 6:40 says, "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher."

After Pentecost the disciples were operating just like Jesus. They told a crippled man "rise up and walk" and he did (Acts 3:6). They forsook all but soon realized that there is no price too high to become like Jesus and do the same things He did. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it." This verse describes being a disciple and Paul compares it to having the lifestyle of a top athlete.

Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline. He says in verse 27, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." The NIV says, "No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave." Other translations say, "I harden my body with blows" and "I beat my body black and blue." Paul is talking about training spiritually so that you can become a disciple of Jesus.

You must train and maintain your spirituality at the level of an Olympic athlete who begins training when they're children. They train year after year and endure injuries and soreness and they follow a strict diet. You must discipline yourself and become like Paul who said, "I bring my body under total control."

Millions of believers have no concept of this at all and we now live in a generation of weaklings and whining babies. When Paul was stoned to death he got up and went back to the same town he came from and preached the gospel. He was a highly disciplined disciple of the Lord and wrote in 2 Timothy 2:3, "You therefore must endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

Olympic athletes and soldiers are all disciplined and don't get distracted and entangled with other things. To become a disciple you must commit yourself to the Lord and do what He tells you to do when he tells you to do it. It doesn't matter how you feel. The Lord needs you when He needs you, not when it's convenient for you.

It is a good thing to become a disciple of Jesus and is worth any sacrifice you'll have to make. In Luke 14:26-27, Jesus told a great multitude of people that becoming a disciple will cost them everything for it requires a great commitment. "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." Jesus is not saying to literally hate your family but to love them less than you love Him.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." Many believers are not disciples because daily they demonstrate that they love somebody else more than Him. It may appear to be a noble thing to say that your family is your top priority in life but if family comes first then God is not first and you cannot be His disciple.

To obey the Lord's command to "follow Me" will change your life and your priorities dramatically but there is nothing better in existence than a life committed to Jesus. He's training you to rule and reign with Him for all eternity in His glorious kingdom. The price to become a disciple cannot be compared to the glory that is to be revealed.

Jesus taught about the true cost of discipleship in Luke 9:57-62, "Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, 'Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'

Then He said to another, 'Follow Me.' But he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.' And another also said, 'Lord, I will follow You but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.' But Jesus said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'"

--- Please click: "HERE" to read "No Price Too High 2" ---

*** Written by Randall Brewer ***


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