John Oros was a church leader in Romania during the communist era . . . he talked about what it was like:Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 66.
During communism, many of us preached . . . and people came at the end of a service, and they said, "I have decided to become a Christian." We told them, "It's good that you want to become a Christian, but we would like to tell you that there is a price to be paid. Why don't you reconsider what you want do do, because many things can happen to you. You can lose, and you can lose big."John said that a high percentage of them chose to take part in a three month class to better understand the decision they were making. John says:
At the end of this period, many participants declared their desire to be baptized. Typically, I would respond, "It's really nice that you want to become a Christian, but when you give your testimony, there will be informers here who will jot down your name. Tomorrow the problems will start. Count the cost. Christianity is not easy. It's not cheap. You can be demoted. You can lose your job. You can lose your friends. You can lose your neighbors. You can lose your kids. You can lose even your own life."He wanted the people to get to a place where following Jesus was so important to them, that if they lost everything it would still be worth it.
That's a lot different than the invitation to which many of us responded. At the end of the sermon the preacher said something like, "I want everybody to bow their heads and close their eyes. If you want to become a Christian then just raise your hand . . . I see that hand . . . I see that hand . . . ." But Jesus makes it clear that you need to count the cost.
If following Jesus cost you everything, would it still be worth it?
For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather
Monday, December 19, 2011
Following Jesus Is Worth Everything!
Kyle Idleman writes: