Consider the Cost

Consider The Cost – Repost of Pastor T. Boxley’s Sermon

consider the cost bible message
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Good morning, everyone. Welcome to “Try Jesus!” If this is your first time joining us, it’s great to have you with us. I would like to thank all the new members for joining “Try Jesus.” Also welcome those in New York, North Carolina, Arizona, California, Iowa, and Minnesota this week.

What a tremendous week of seeing God’s people turn out for last week’s message. The nation seems it has placed itself in a blender of destruction and continues to do everything backwards without common sense.

But God continues to build his church and navigate his born-again believers through this worldly maze of sin. We continue to be his workmanship running towards the glorious prize that awaits us (Philippians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Ephesians 2:10).

Let’s bless the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Heavenly Father, thank you for gathering our hearts together in your wonderful presence. Lord, please give us a hunger and thirst to sit at your feet the way you gave Mary.

Open our understanding to receive the Holy Spirit’s presence in your word today. Lord, please enlighten our minds with truth, inflame our hearts with love. Inspire each will with courage, enrich our lives with service.

Lord, as we begin this new day, help us to engage your will with a reckless faith. Teach us to trust in you and help us grow in righteousness. Give us the courage to step out in faith today.

Fill our hearts with your spirit and let us speak your words with boldness. Order our steps today and keep us standing on your strong foundation, for you are our never-failing rock, in Jesus, mighty name, amen.”

It truly has been a remarkable week of seeing God touch hearts and lives. When people see devastation on the outside, they never realize the work God is doing on the inside.

Yes, we hear news all day long of people’s lives being hurt by lawlessness. We hear of tragic weather events. But as we continue to pray and intercede for those in Hawaii, we must remember there are broken lives right in own neighborhoods.

Sometimes we look back in our neighborhoods and think of yester years. How so? Let me put it this way, has there ever been a time in your life when you took a nostalgic walk and looked at how things were in the past?

Today, all of us can relate to the ridiculous way prices have risen on everyday goods we purchase. What were those famous words by Superman, “Up, up, and away!” It seems Inflation has taken hard owned money and caused it sprout wings.

Does it seem like you’re spending more monthly than a couple of years ago? When something starts to inflate our currency market, virtually everything consumers buy goes up. Food, houses, cars, clothes, toys, gasoline, etc.

Because of this swelling or ballooning in this country, eventually something is going to burst. It’s pretty amazing too that when the dam starts to break, the fingers always come out and start pointing blame.

The pointing always goes back to the previous leaders. Looking back to blame is never a good thing. The only time looking back is good is when it can be helpful in making things better. I love looking back at nostalgic things I can smile about.

For example, since we all have to drink water and eat food, what was your favorite food in the 70s, 80s, or 90s? I understand many young members of “Try Jesus” were not around to see these great prices (Smile).

But In 1970 a pound of bacon cost 95 cents, a dozen eggs cost 60 cents, bread was priced at 24 cents, 10 pounds of potatoes was 90 cents, coffee was 91 cents and a gallon of orange juice cost 86 cents.

In 1970 a gallon of gas cost 36 cents. Imagine how many times those families who loved fast food could go to McDonalds and get French Fries for  $0.26, a Big Mac for $0.65, and a Coke for $0.15. How times have changed.

Those of you who loved to dress to impress could buy clothing without putting a dent in your clothing account. You could go on vacation, take your family to an amusement park, and still come home with pennies to spare.

Again, looking back can bring memories of smiles and laughter and how lives are impacted from previous generations. But my mother would always say, there’s always someone that’s going to come and mess everything up.

She knew firsthand by watching her own children come and mess things up when the house was filled with smiles and laughter. This typically happened when we were playing a family board game and one of the family members decided to cheat while playing the game.

I realize looking back is not good for everyone. Many of you would rather forget about the past you thought was supposed to be fun and loving but was disgusting and hurtful. This is the world we all were born into.

But looking back can be good for everyone. It just depends on what you went back to look at. For example, if you good go back in time, what year and what thing would you be doing?

Let me give you the answer this way. If you went back for anything associated with the world, you would still be disappointed. Why? Because since the fall of humanity (transgression against God) everything has been corrupted.

Before we open the word of God (the Bible) today, please allow me to give you one more example of what looking back my look like visually. Even though it’s a fiction story, the “Back to the Future” trilogy movie series gave realism to looking back.

The movie stars teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) who is blasted to 1955 in a DeLorean time machine created by the eccentric Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Notice the title again of the movie.

They find themselves mixed up in a time-shattering chain reaction that could vaporize their future and leave them trapped in the past. Nothing to get excited about, right?

When things finally get unraveled at the end of the third movie, you can hear Marty’s girlfriend ask Doc Brown a question about her blank paper.

Jennifer Parker: “Dr. Brown, I brought this note back from the future and now it’s erased.” Doc: “Of course it’s erased!”
Jennifer Parker: “But what does that mean?”

Doc: “It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So, make it a good one, both of you. Marty McFly: We will, Doc.

Again, the movie title is “Back to the Future.” They went back in order to get to where, the future. Why? because every time they went back, the same mishaps that happened in the past still happen in the future.

Each time they considered the ramifications of disturbing something in the past, it could have devastating results in the future. Each time they tried to fix something, something else got messed up.

Now let’s bring the full realism into today’s message. And in order to do that, you must bring the creator of all things into the picture. The Bible tells this in (Genesis 1:1).

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 KJV). The Bible also gives us more information about Almighty God (John 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6; Genesis 1:26-27; Hebrews 1:1-2; Isaiah 44:24; Psalm 104:29-30; Ephesians 3:9).

Jesus, the God-man is the only source we can look forward towards eternal life.
16} “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17} And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18} And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:16-18 KJV).

[Paul explained that all the thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities of both the spiritual and physical worlds were created by and are under the authority of Christ himself. This includes those who sit on seats of authority in our government.]

So, when we look at the physical world from any era without God in it, it always ends up in ruins. Yes, people like to carry titles like “The good ole days” or “Days gone by” to describe how things were in the past.

Looking back is ok if there’s something that’s just as good as it is in the future. Some might say, when I look back at meeting my spouse, it was good back then, and it’s even better now. Praise God! That’s something the Lord wants for your marriage.

But nothing on earth compares to a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said,
37} “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38} And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39} He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39 KJV).

His words tell us that loving anything more than God has empty value. Yes, husbands and wives should love each other. Yes, we should love our children and take care of those living gifts God gave to us.

We should even be good stewards over the things he has blessed us with. We just should not put any of these over our relationship with God. (Exodus 20:1-10; Deuteronomy 4:6-9).

Israel seemed to forget those powerful words God spoke to them about. The Bible tells us to set your affections on things above and not on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-3). Whenever Israel felt a little turbulent pressure, they wanted to run back to Egypt.

God had given Israel everything that needed. He met all their physical and spiritual needs. (Deuteronomy 29:2-6). And yet Israel kept looking back. So, how many times do you think Israel looked back?

Well, the answer can be found in (Numbers 14:20-24). Please remember my friends, the number of times in approximation is not as important as the condition of heart at the time of the offense.

God had spoken to them often about their rebellion, when there was a land flowing with milk and honey before their eyes ahead of them. Here’s God’s own words he spoke to Israel.

22} “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

23} Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

24} But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” (Numbers 14:22-24 KJV).

Notice the Bible says Caleb had another spirit. You can read Caleb’s own words he spoke to Joshua in (Joshua 14:6-10). Caleb followed God with all his heart and was rewarded for his obedience. He was wholehearted in his commitment to obey God?

God isa forward-looking God. Israel’s rebellion reminds me of my own rebellion as a preteen. It involved me and my brothers. My parents had just seen a new house and were making plans for us to relocate.

Of course like any child having to move away from friends is very difficult. You’re going to miss all your friends at school. When we finally moved to our new house there were many boxes that needed to be carried to our rooms.

My dad had told us at least three times to carry our marked boxes to our rooms and unpack our stuff. We just sat there reading our comic books and thinking about the school we just left. From then on, all I remember is hearing this swoosh.

It was our dad swinging is belt against our bare legs. Too bad we had on our basketball shorts (Smile). I never jumped so high in my life off a recliner. My dad’s belt was able to swat six pairs of legs and not miss once.

I guess he was tired of hearing himself talk. He gave us a chore to do, and ignoring it caused us some needed discipline. The same applied to Israel as well. God had spoken time and time again, but Israel kept looking back.

The Lord had been persevering with his people through countless illustrations of rebellious behavior, which was testing him. (Numbers 14:26-35). God is so long suffering with us. But sometimes enough is enough.

This also happened in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah. God had given instruction to Lot and his family to flee the area because God had pronounced judgement and was going to destroy it.

“For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord ; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19:13 KJV). God had promised to spare Sodom if only ten righteous people lived there (Genesis18:32).

But not even ten could be found, because the angels arrived to destroy the city. But you can see what happens when we get comfortable with corruption after a while. Sin is like blowing dust, it just sticks to everything.

When Lot tried to tell his family what was about to happen, his sons-in-law brushed him off and mocked as if to say, “Yeah right, whatever.” It’s bringing back memories of my poor thighs after disobeying my dad about moving the boxes.

But Lot’s family paid a much deeper price than my aching thighs. Because Lot lingered (as if to snuggle next to the abomination) The angels had to grab hold of his hands and his wife’s hands and the hands of his daughters. (Genesis 19:15-17).

The angels took outside the city limits and told them to not look back. But they should run to the mountains so they would not be consumed. It seems Lot just couldn’t get out of the way of himself.

Since the first choice he made with his uncle Abraham to choose which land he would take to choosing to run into a town named Zoar. But then after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah he was afraid and ran up into the mountains.

From there, things really take a disastrous turn in that gave with his two daughters who also reacted out of fear. (Genesis 19:30-38). Of course, in between that incident and the judgement of God, we cannot forget about Lot’s wife.

They were all told not to look back at the fire and brimstone destruction God was sending against Sodom and Gomorrah. What was so bad about looking at someone else’s demise?

“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26 KJV). Do you think the punishment was too harsh? What did she want to see that was so important? Was she thinking about her two sons-in-law?

Only God knew what lied in her heart. Many times, looking back at the wrath and power of God can be detrimental to your life. When Lot’s wife turned back to look at the burning city of Sodom, it seemed she must have been clinging to the past.

She was unwilling to turn completely away. Maybe she was too connected to some of her friends’ lifestyles. Maybe she felt comfortable with sinful pleasures and relationships while trying to move forward with God?

[You can’t make progress with God as long as you are holding on to pieces of your old life. Jesus said it this way in
(Matthew 6:24), “No one can serve two masters.” Light and darkness can never be one together.]

We are told to choose this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:14-16). Jesus even told us to consider the cost of follow him (Luke 14:25-33). There were always multitudes of people following Jesus.

But what were their reasons for following him? Many had motives that benefited themselves and no one else. Following Jesus for selfish reasons leaves you with nothing.

26} “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27} And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27 KJV).

[Jesus made this statement to get the crowds to think through their enthusiasm for him. He encouraged those who were superficial either to go deeper or to turn back. Following Jesus means totally submitting to him perhaps even to the point of death.]

Jesus made it clear that if he is not Lord of all, then he is not Lord at all. When God fills the space of something he engulfs it. He wants to fill your heart with his presence and love.

Jesus told those who were following to count the cost. It’s always wise to consider what your plan is before implementing it.
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28 KJV).

[When a builder doesn’t count the cost or estimates it inaccurately, the building may be left uncompleted. How many people do you know who started going to church but when the persecution got a little heavy, they went back to their worldly comfort zone.]

So, what is that cost in 2023? Christians may face loss of social status or wealth. They may have to give up control of their money, their time, or their careers. They may be hated, separated from their families, and even put to death.

The word “consider” (katanoeō) is found in 66 passages in the King James Version (KJV). It may be used in the Old Testament for a variety of Hebrew terms.

In (Luke 12:24), Jesus used the word consider in his parable to the crowds in regarding the dangers of laying up treasures of wealth. Consider means to observe fully. To behold, discover, remark, observe, understand. To consider attentively. To fix one’s eyes or mind upon something.

We are highly more valuable than the flying birds you see today. It’s important to know what God says about you in his word. Many times, people won’t consider becoming a true Christian because they feel they might have to give up things.

Solomon told his readers if you’re going to get something, then get understanding.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7 KJV).

If you’re not going to consider the gospel, and how it will affect you in the afterlife, you’ll just keep getting what you are getting on this side of life. Someone once said, “If you are doing what you are doing, you’ll keep getting what you are getting.”

🗣📢 Last words: Typically, in life, all things have a starting point, right? We start our day off making choices that either brighten our day or we make choices that can possibly darken our day and give a different outcome.

When we follow Jesus in faithful obedience to God from our hearts, this leads to genuine love for God and others. Jesus never gave excuses to those who reneged on their promises to follow him (Luke 9:57-61).

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 KJV). The phrase, “The cross before me, the world behind me” is still effective today.

Following Jesus does not mean having a trouble-free life. We must carefully count the cost of becoming his disciples so that we will firmly hold to our faith and won’t be tempted later to turn back.

Your response to today’s message should be to consider how you might put the Lord to the test in your own life. True born-again believers read about the Lord’s faithfulness in the Bible. 

They have seen his faithfulness in their lives. Yet, when they encounter their next difficulty, do they show evidence of belief in him, a belief that knows they can trust him through the difficulty?

Remember my beloved friends, Christ has no equal and no rival. He is the Lord of all. Consider, and then move forward without hesitation toward the prize (Philippians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

🛐 Here’s a prayer you can pray to surrender. “Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s message. Your word has turned my heart. Lord, take me by the right hand and lead me in paths of righteousness.

I find joy in following you, trying to place my feet in the footprints of my Father. I know there is a cost to discipleship. I’ll count the cost Lord, but when the cost is too great, I struggle.

You’re the only one that can fix me. Help me not to linger around people, places, or things that rob my joy and peace. Lord, the spirit is willing, but the flesh continues to show its rebellious ways.

Lord, my spirit doesn’t fear counting the cost of discipleship, but my flesh most certainly does. Counting the cost makes it real because you showed me how to face it. I know that the great reward in dying to self is you. You are my exceedingly great reward.

I know you want to be Lord of my life. I’ll count the cost, Lord. The cost of discipleship commands I die too self daily. But only if you’ll help me. I need your huge amounts of grace. I want to honor you with my life. I want to glorify your name.

Help me put aside all selfish ambitions to follow you wherever you may lead. Help me die to self, so I can see things through eternity’s lens. Lord, fill me up to overflowing with your love.

You have the love that impacts this hurting world. I identify with your cross, for your cross set me free. I need your strength to carry my own cross so that others may be set free, as well.

Jesus, help me to run this race well, to finally hear you say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done.” Until that time may others see you in me, In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

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“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
Pastor Todd Boxley Worship Center Ministry

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