The Costs of Life (LHCOC)
|Sermon Series (Lake Hills church of Christ)|
|Shane Robinson 7/2008|
|The Costs of Life|
Table of Contents
The Costs of Life – Pt.1. 3
Conviction is costly. 3
The Costs of Life – Pt. 2. 5
Unity is costly. 5
The Costs of Life – Pt. 3. 8
Salvation is costly. 8
The Costs of Life – Pt. 4. 11
Knowledge is Costly. 11
The Costs of Life – Pt.1
Conviction is costly
1. Earlier last week I paid $4.05 for a gallon of 89 octane gasoline.
a. To look on the bright side, it does not take as long to pump 20 dollars worth into your vehicle, and you can easily do the math (5 gallons = $20).
b. To look at the reality of the situation, the nation’s economy is hurting because of the high gas prices.
2. We live in a world where prices are increasing in every area of life
a. As a result, many people are being more frugal with their money.
b. Or, on the other side of the coin, many people are wanting something for nothing.
3. We could spend all day discussing money, the economy, things of a physical/material nature, but we are not here to primarily discuss these issues.
4. In our lesson today we want to focus on the costs of life primarily in a spiritual way.
a. Everything of value comes with a cost.
b. Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and loose his own soul, and what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? (3x in NT; Mt.16:26; Mk.8:36; Lk.9:25)
c. So we conclude that the spiritual nature of man is much more valuable than the physical.
d. We understand this in some way or we would not be here today.
I. BEING CONVICTED CAN BE COSTLY
A. Three Hebrew boys paid the price for being convicted (Dan.3).
1. Their conviction led them to reject the king's commandment to bow down to the image (Dan. 3:14).
2. It took conviction to face the fiery furnace, yet this act of faithfulness was rewarded by God (Dan. 3:16-17).
B. Stephen paid the price for standing firm on his convictions (Acts 7).
1. Stephen had an opportunity to lie in order to save his life (Acts 6:8-7:1).
2. Stephen did not hold back the truth although he was in danger (Acts 7:51ff).
C. God does not always rescue His people from danger while they live on the earth, but will save them in the afterlife (Rev.2:10).
II. COMPROMISING IS MUCH MORE COSTLY
A. Compromise: to give or accept less than what was originally wanted.
1. E.g. selling our car/home for less than we wanted.
2. The Bible is full of examples of people who compromised Gods law and were punished (Cain, Lot’s wife, Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Anninas and Saphira). Let’s notice just a few examples.
B. Pilate (Matt.27; Mk.15; Lk.23; Jn.18)
1. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent yet he was too weak to do the right thing (Matt.27:11-26).
2. Pilate wanted to keep the peace, so he gave in to the people (Mk.15:8-15).
3. No doubt this decision cost him his conscience, and as far as we know, it cost him his soul.
C. The 10 virgins (Matt.25:1-13)
1. The 5 foolish virgins compromised what they thought would be enough (Matt.25:3).
2. The 5 foolish virgins took the advice of the other virgins and left. As a result gave up their opportunity to meet the bridegroom (Matt.25:8-10).
3. Even though the 5 foolish virgins pleaded, the outcome did not change (Matt.25:11-13).
D. Agrippa (Acts 26:24-32)
1. Agrippa knew the truth (Acts 26:27), but compromised it by not obeying the gospel (Acts 26:28).
2. Agrippa was almost persuaded, almost but lost.
a. How many people do we know who are just a couple of steps away from becoming a Christian, but for whatever reason do not make the final step of being baptized?
b. How many people do we know that a just a couple of steps away from confessing their sins and asking for the prayers of the church so they may be restored and for whatever reason walk out those doors and go about the life in an unsaved condition?
3. As my grandfather used to say, “there is no such thing as a half a Christian.”
a. I.e. you are either saved or you are not, there is no in-between.
b. People are not going to be able to just barely make it into heaven.
Conclusion: [What did we learn today?]
1. We learned that conviction can be costly.
a. If we are faithful, God will save us either here (as he did the three Hebrew boys)...
b. Or in the hereafter (as he did with Stephen).
2. We learned that compromising the truth is much more costly.
a. Not making the right decision can haunt us for the rest of our lives (Pilate).
b. If we go off what we think is acceptable to God and not upon what He has told us through His word then we will be disappointed in the Day of Judgment (5virgins).
c. If we compromise putting off getting right with God now, we may not have another chance (as with Agrippa).
3. Why do you wait dear brother, oh why do you tarry so long. Your savior is waiting to give you, a place in His sanctified throng.
a. Why do you wait dear brother, the harvest is passing away. The Savior is longing to bless you. There’s danger and death in delay.
b. Why not, why not, why not come to him now. Why not, why not, why not come to him now.
The Costs of Life – Pt. 2
Unity is costly
1. In Ephesians 4:1-6 Paul said…
a. No greater passage in the Bible could describe our topic this morning (unity).
b. Not only is the word unity used, the idea is proclaimed 7 times (one).
2. I want you to think for a moment about the very opposite meaning of the word unity… division.
a. Religious division existed during the time of Christ.
b. Pharisees (somewhat conservative); Sadducees (very liberal, the “modernists” of their day); Essenes (radical isolationists); Herodians, Zealots (political religionists)
3. Under the Law of Christ, Jesus did not make any provision for the division of His people into religious sects of parties (Jn.17:20-21).
a. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."
b. What a challenge before us today.
4. Our lesson today is part 2 of a series entitled, “The costs of life.” In our lesson we will notice how unity is necessary and costly, but division is much more costly.
I. UNITY CAN BE COSTLY
A. Unity: the condition of being one; in harmony of interest and opinion.
B. Unity has a high price tag.
1. It cost Christ His life (Eph.2:15ff).
2. It cost Paul much hardship (2 Cor.11:28; Acts 15:1-2).
a. In Corinthians 11, Paul lists a lot of physical suffering he endured for the church.
b. Paul had to leave Antioch to go to Jerusalem in order to unify the church worldwide.
3. It is a high cost for the physical family (Lk.12:51-53).
a. "Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law" - Luke 12:51-53.
b. To be unified with Christ, division in family will likely occur (esp. for 1st generation Christians).
4. It is a high cost for the spiritual family (Ps.133:1; Acts 4:32; Rom.12:16; 1 Pet.3:8).
a. Steadfastness – "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!" - Psalm 133:1.
b. Sacrifice – "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common" - Acts 4:32.
c. Submission – "Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion" - Romans 12:16.
d. Sincerity – "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous" - 1 Peter 3:8.
II. DIVISION IS MUCH MORE COSTLY
A. Division: to split up into parts; to disagree or divide.
B. Division can be disastrous in many different areas of life:
1. A nation that is divided will not stand.
a. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” (Mk.3:24).
b. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
2. A home that is divided we not last.
a. “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mk.3:25).
b. E.g. Mother and father not on the same page with discipline.
C. What division does:
1. Division weakens our influence (Jn.17:20-21).
a. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" - John 17:20-21.
b. Christians lose their influence when they are not unified.
2. Division cost souls (1 Cor.6:1-8).
a. "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?" - 1 Cor. 6:1. “But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!” – v.6
b. Many times when problems and conflicts arise people focus on the person(s) involved and do not pay any attention to those who are watching.
c. Parents, do your children not watch and pick up on everything you do? The same is true of the Christian and those in the world.
3. Division leads to confusion (1 Cor.14:33).
a. Someone looks at Christianity as the world portrays it to be and “says, what a bunch of hypocrites.” This is not what God wants.
b. "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." - 1 Cor.14:33.
D. What must be done to attain unity?
1. We must accept the same standard of authority (2 Tim3:16-17). (This is the first step toward religious unity)
a. The need for a standard can be easily illustrated (e.g. how long is football field? How do you know? How would you check?).
b. For Christians, the standard must be the Word of God as revealed through Jesus and His apostles.
i. Jesus received His authority from the Father (Mt.28:18).
ii. Jesus sent the Spirit to lead the apostles into all truth (Jn.15:26; 16:13).
iii. We must continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (Ac.2:42).
c. This requires putting away all other standards of authority.
i. Such as creeds, traditions of men, etc.
ii. Also personal or parental preferences and opinions.
d. The same standard of authority can quickly unify those willing to follow it
i. E.g., how many baptisms are there?
ii. Those seeking to maintain the unity of the Spirit will answer: "one baptism" - cf. Ep 4:3-6
2. We must develop the mind of Christ (1 Pet.4:1). (we must display Christ-like virtues as we seek the mind of Christ)
a. Lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love - Ep 4:1-3
b. A lack of selfish ambition or conceit, esteeming others better than ourselves - Ph 2:1-5
c. Patient, in humility correcting those in opposition - 2 Ti 2:24-26
3. We must not be wise in our own opinions (Rom.12:16).
a. Those who specialize in conflict resolution observe that most disputes among Christians do no arise form so called doctrinal issues.
b. When brethren do not get along it is most generally because they have different convictions in what we would style a matter of opinion or judgment.
1. You may feel there is little one can do with the problem of Division.
a. Denominationalism is so rampant.
b. Religious division has been around so long.
2. Yet two thoughts come to mind that encourage me to try...
a. I can at least save myself and those who hear me - cf. 1 Ti 4:16
b. Great things can have a small beginning - cf. Mt 13:31-33
The Costs of Life – Pt. 3
Salvation is costly
1. 1 Tim.2:4 – God desires for all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth…
a. …But God also wants us to come to Him on His terms (2 Pet.3:9).
b. Many today want to be saved, and maybe even think they are, but do not put in enough effort to be true disciples of Christ.
c. Many today start off very well in their Christian walk, but shortly drift away into apostasy.
d. While many reasons may be given to explain why someone does not want to become a Christian, or why someone would fall away from Christ, one of the biggest reasons would be because they have not (or did not) counted the cost.
2. When we talk about discipleship (following the commands/teachings of one’s master), we sometimes forget to count the cost of becoming and being a Christian.
a. This is one of the reasons why I do not pressure (I do try to persuade) anyone to become a Christian.
b. Consider what Jesus said in Luke 14:25-33…
c. I believe we can conclude from this passage that Jesus wants us to consider the cost before becoming one of His disciples?
3. Our lesson today, from the “Costs of life” series, is entitled: Salvation is costly.
a. Yes, while we are really feeling the effects of high gas prices today, we understand that those things of a spiritual nature are far more important.
b. Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and loose his own soul, and what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? (3x in NT; Mt.16:26; Mk.8:36; Lk.9:25)
I. THERE IS A PRICE TO PAY TO OBTAIN SALVATION
A. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins (Heb.2:9). While salvation is available free of charge to everyone who will come to God, in order to obtain this salvation, it cost Jesus His life.
1. As a result of this, God through His Son, through the Holy Spirit, through the apostles/prophets, and finally to the written word, made this salvation known.
2. God calls the shots; it is His plan, and can only be obtained upon His terms.
B. As you read through the gospels, you will find on more than one occasion where someone comes to Jesus indicating that they want to be one of His disciples.
1. In every case, those who desired to follow Christ came to Him on His terms.
a. The 12 disciples – follow me.
b. The occasion in Luke 9:57-62
2. We too must come to God upon His terms.
C. What does becoming a Christian consist of?
1. Accepting salvation on God’s terms consists of Hearing the word of God (Rom.10:17)…
2. believing that Jesus rose from the dead (Rom.10:9-10)…
3. Repenting of your sins (Lk.13:3)…
4. Confessing that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God (Ac.8:37)…
5. Being baptized for the remission of your sins (Ac.2:38),
6. and living faithfully for the rest of your life (Rev.2:10).
D. What does becoming a Christian involve (the positives)?
1. Just as there are some steps to take to become a Christian, there are also some steps to take conducive to remaining faithful:
2. Daily prayer (Mt.6:13ff).
3. Daily Bible study (Acts 17:11).
4. Frequent association with fellow Christians (Acts 2:44).
5. Attendance at the congregational assemblies (Heb.10:25).
6. Development of personal usefulness to the Lord (Jn.15:2).
7. Involvement in the work of the Lord (2 Thess.3:8).
8. Acceptance of correction, and repentance as necessary (2 Tim.2:24ff).
E. What does becoming a Christian involve (the negatives)?
1. Do not be conformed to the world (Rom.12:2).
2. Avoid those who practice sin (2 Cor.6:14).
3. Stand up against what is wrong (1 Thess.5:21).
II. REJECTING SALVATION IS FAR MORE COSTLY
A. It is by the grace of God, and through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son that have an opportunity to be saved.
1. To reject Jesus, who He is, what He did, what He offers, is to refuse salvation.
2. Jesus is the only way to the Father, not Mohammad, not Buddha, not Oprah, not the Dali Lama...but Jesus (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
B. Failing to obey the gospel bears eternal consequences (2 Thess.1:7-9).
1. Everyone here today has already heard the gospel of Christ. What would happen if you failed to obey, and left today without doing what God’s word says?
2. The answer is found in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9…
C. Failing to continue to obey the gospel will be even worse (2 Pet.2:20ff).
1. For those who are here today and have obeyed the gospel, we need to examine our life here for a moment.
a. “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”
i. If is a conditional word.
ii. To escape the pollutions of the world is a figurative way of saying, become a Christian.
b. …they are again entangled in them and overcome…
i. To be entangled in sin, will happen.
ii. To be overcome, will happen to some, and Peter says about them…
c. …the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
2. Truly it is a sad situation for those who have turned to God, but have turned away from God by turning to the world (like a dog returning to its vomit).
1. You may say, okay, what do I need to do if I want to become a Christian?
a. Come forward today, confess the precious name of Jesus…
b. and be baptized to have all of you sins away.
2. You may say, okay, what do I need to do if I have obeyed the gospel but need to have the same relationship with God that I once had, what do I do?
a. Come forward today, confess the precious name of Jesus by saying you have sinned and are willing to repent,
b. And you need His forgiveness.
The Costs of Life – Pt. 4
Knowledge is Costly
1. After becoming a nation, in the late 1700’s, the circulated currency for America was confusing, and becoming worthless. In efforts to establish a sound coin and paper currency, in the 1790’s the First United States Bank was erected in order to offer a positive solution to growing problem of Counterfeiting.
a. In the 1800’s (sometimes referred to as the “dark decades of American banking”) abuses of sound banking practices multiplied and counterfeiters flourished.
b. In the early 1900’s the Federal Reserve System was established to control the amount of money circulated.
c. Bank tellers were trained to know all about this new type of money in circulation. They spent countless hours of training observing every little detail of the notes.
d. The logic behind spending so much time knowing what the real currency looked, felt, and smelled like was so that they would be able to easily spot the counterfeit notes when they saw them.
2. I believe there is a great lesson we can learn from this part in our history.
a. The lesson is that if we know the truth, then we will be able to spot error when it comes our way.
b. We can study about denominational doctrines, we can learn about premillinelism, we can know what the church fathers wrote about, we can read about people like – Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, A. Campbell, B. Stone, etc, but FIRST AND FOREMOST WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS so when error comes we will be able to reject it.
3. It is a shame that we live in a generation that has the Bible more readily accessible than any other time in history, and yet we live in one of the most ignorant generations when it comes to the word of God.
4. Let’s look at our subject of the hour – Knowledge is costly.
a. Friends, there is no easy way to get an education.
b. Much time, money, patience, experience, persistence, is involved in a proper education.
I. AN EDUCATION CAN BE COSTLY
A. A Secular education can cost you.
1. It may cost your pocket book.
a. I would love to further my education, but in order for me to go to a sound Christian college and earn a Bible degree I would have to go about 80,000 in debt.
b. Would this be worth it? Someone once said, “The cost of an education is high, but it pays.”
2. It may cost you your faith.
a. Worldly teachers.
b. Worldly influences.
c. Away from home (new environment).
B. Biblical knowledge can cost you.
1. While beneficial, you do not have to go to a school to understand the Bible. My grandfather never did and he was a fine gospel preacher; the same could be said of Gus Nichols.
2. It will cost time – everyday (Acts 17:11).
3. It will take some effort – consistency (2 Tim.2:15).
4. It will cost some money – right tools.
a. A Good Study Bible (good size print; cross references; standard translation).
b. Notepad, pencil, and highlighters (I encourage marking in your Bible).
c. Concordance (I prefer a Bible program on the computer, but Young’s or Strong‘s work just fine).
d. Bible dictionary (tells about people, places, etc.)
e. English dictionary (a must)
5. It will take obedience – willingness to change (Jn.7:17).
II. IGNORANCE IS FAR MORE COSTLY
A. Without God’s word, we would not be able to understand what life on earth was truly about (Ecc.12:12).
B. Ignorance of God’s word will cost you (Eph.5:17; Hos.4:6).
C. Ignorance of God’s word will cost the church.
1. It will leave an open door for false teachers to creep in (2 Pet.2:1).
2. It will allow unqualified teachers to education its members (Heb.5:12-14).
3. It will eventually lead to apostasy for the weaker members (1 Tim.4:1-3).
1. May encourage everyone here to make an attempt to study your Bible more.
2. If we know the truth, we will know error when it comes our way.