- To ensure that we have done a good job of teaching and that our friends have done a good job of learning, prior to their baptism. We also want to emphasize the blessings that occur in our lives when we decide to follow Jesus.
COUNT THE COST
The Cost of Being a Disciple
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers, and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
- Jesus is very concerned that we count the cost of following him.
- He uses two parables to communicate his concerns—the tower builder and the
- We must be prepared to surrender absolutely to Jesus.
Q. Why do you want to become a disciple?
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
- People respond differently to God’s Word, even those who initially receive it with joy and enthusiasm (Luke 8:13).
- Like the rocky and thorny soils, many things can prevent us from continuing in the faith and stop us short of finishing the Christian race.
- Two things can derail our faith—pressures from outside and desires from within.
- The key to persevering in our faith is to hear, retain and obey the word.
The Costs: Items for Review and Discussion
Note: In this section, we will do a quick review of key points from each of the seven previous studies.
- Do you believe that the Bible is God’s Word? Are you willing to make it the standard for your life from this point on?
- What are some of the things that you most admire about Jesus?
- Is there any sin of which you are unwilling to repent? What will be your most daunting challenges in this area?
- What does the cross mean to you?
- Are you prepared to walk the narrow road and follow Jesus in specific ways? What do you think will be most challenging to you (openness, commitment to the body, evangelism, potential family conflict)?
- What is your understanding of baptism?
- Are you prepared to be fully committed to God’s family, the church? Do you have any questions or concerns about the normal church schedule?
The Blessings of Following Christ
Q. What do you see as the greatest blessings of following Christ?
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
- The complete forgiveness of every sin ever committed— a totally clean slate.
- The gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
- Power to live a new life (John 14:15-17).
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.
- Experiencing the immediate presence of God within us.
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
- Priceless truths from God’s Word—inspiration and practical direction for all aspects of our lives (Psalm 119:97-104)
97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you, yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
- Worship—praising God, communion, and fellowship.
- Daily relationships—deep and meaningful friendships.
Q. How have your relationships with disciples been a blessing up to this point?
Q. How do these relationships compare with those you have outside the church?
- Purpose in life—helping other people to find God.
Q. Who are the people you would like to share the good news with?
1 CORINTHIANS 15:50-57
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[a]
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[b]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The promise of resurrection from death—the hope of eternal immortality.
- A perfect, imperishable body.
- What is God’s plan of salvation?
- Is there any issue about which you are unclear?
- Do you understand that this is a lifelong decision?
- Do you have any reservations about following Jesus?
- When do you want to be baptized?