The Stakes of the Gospel
Introduction. (Luke 14:27-33) Jesus teaches the importance of counting the cost of being
one of His disciples. By this He
deals with the importance of realizing what obedience to the Gospel will
require of a person before pledging their obedience to it. We might think of this as considering
what is at stake if we
should obey the Gospel. What
will it demand of us? What if we
choose not to follow Christ? For a few moments this morning let’s consider the stakes
of the gospel.
I. What Do You Have To Lose by
Obeying The Gospel?
A little time. Becoming a
Christian will require some time. You will need to commit yourself to
faithfulness in worship. You will need to devote time to study, serving others,
and surrender time you once devoted to sin. (1 Peter 4:1-3).
little fun. Don’t ever let
anyone tell you that being a sinner is not fun. It is! There is
pleasure in sin. Hebrews 11:25 speaks of the “passing pleasures of
sin” which must be forsaken. Becoming a Christian means turning away from
that. I say “a little fun” because the pleasure of sin is not
permanent—it is “passing.”
Some friends. (2
Corinthians 6:14-17) Our friends have great influence on us. If our friends are good Christians, that
influence can be positive. If not, being a Christian may demand that we lose
these friends. This may come either by our own choice to turn from them, or by
their choice when they don’t find our new lifestyle as fun to be with.
Some family. Luke 14:26
teaches “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.” While friends influence us, our families do even more.
Some times the same sacrifice is required if our family resists our new
commitment to Christ.
Some habits. (Colossians
3:5-11) A habit is a pattern of behavior. It is something we get used to
doing. These can be good things or
bad things. If you turn to Christ,
you are going to have to give up those habits which are wrong.
Some things. Being a
Christian may also mean that we give up some things. 1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things
in the world. If anyone loves the
world, the love of the Father is not in him.” In Christ, your priority can not be attaining things, but
Some choices. An honor of
maturity and freedom is the right of choice. A Christian does not have the same freedom of choice that
the sinner does. Matthew 16:24 teaches that anyone who comes to Christ must
“deny himself.” As a
Christian I cannot choose something I might want to do, if it is contrary to
the will of God in Christ.
II. What do you Have To Gain by
Obeying The Gospel?
In many cases, coming to Christ means that we gain
some new things that are comparable to those things we have lost.
Time spent well. All effort
that the Christian makes in glory to God is time well spent.
that is meaningful. One of the
fruits of the spirit is “joy” (Galatians 5:22). This is not “passing
pleasure” but joy that is full, enduring, and meaningful.
C. A fellowship of co-believers. (1 John 1:1-3). Those who come to true
obedient faith in Christ are in fellowship with all others who have done the
same. This offsets any lose of
friends we have.
A family of co-workers. 1
Corinthians 3:9 speaks of the Apostles and the Corinthians as “fellow
workers.” Ephesians 3:15 describes believers as “family.”
Whatever loss we have of family is more than compensated by this relationship
of scores of brethren.
Healthy habits. (1
Corinthians 16:15-16) The KJV speaks of those “addicted to the ministry
of the saints.” This is a good habit. There are many others good habits which Christians can (and
The things that are necessary.
We cannot love the things of the world, but Matthew 6:33 promises that
those who seek the kingdom will have the things which are needed in this life.
Eternal life with God.
(Revelation 21:3) This promises a time when believers will be allowed to
dwell together with God.
Eternal joy, peace and satisfaction. (Revelation 21:4) describes the
condition of the righteous as they dwell with God. The choices, relationships, pleasures, and possessions we
loose by coming to Christ, will seem as nothing at that time.
III. What Do
You Have To Lose by Not Obeying The Gospel?
These are some of the stakes (or costs) of
following Jesus, but we need to look at one other thing. What if we look at all this and
still turn away? We are
only looking at part of the picture if we just consider our gains and losses by
obedience to Christ. We must also ask what will be lost by not obeying
A. All time. (Revelation 14:9-11) We often speak of “having
time.” What we mean is that we have life, health, and choice concerning
how we use that time. This text speaks of the fate of those who worship the
beast. It probably referred to emperor worship and the sinful behavior of
worshipping something other than God. We do that when we reject God. We may
forfeit some time in serving Christ, but imagine a condition in which we loose
all time—not in the sense of annihilation (that would be
preferable)—but in the sense of losing all choice of how our time is
All joy. Matthew 24:51
describes the fate of the evil servant as assignment to a place where there
will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This is not a place of the
wicked partying for eternity. It
is a place where every pleasure you have ever known is absent! There is no relief—no
All friends and family. With
no joy will family relationships mean anything in Hell?
Luke 20:34-35 seems to indicate that after the resurrection there will
be no marriage relationships either in heaven or hell. Will it be better for
us to suffer with family in hell? No. Any comfort,
companionship, sense of belonging, and warmth family and friends brings will be
All choice. (Luke 16:19-31)
In this account of the sinner after death we see that all choices are
eliminated. The sinner cannot
change his location, he cannot relieve his pain, he cannot repent.
All things. Romans 8:32
promises the Christian “all things” yet 1 John 2:17 tells us the
world is “passing away.”
If this world is gone and the saved have “all things” what
does that leave for the sinner? He
will not have the blessing of “all things” but even those things he
had in this life will be lost.
God. Matthew 7:23 tells us
that when judgment comes the wicked will be told “depart from
Me.” I would contend that
the presence, provision, and blessing of God in this life is one of those
things which is so constant it is taken for granted. For example, what would
life be like if all of a sudden there was no air? The involvement of God in our life is more effectual than
air. Yet, one day, for the sinner
that will be gone. How
Your soul. (Matthew
16:26-27) Your soul is who you
really are. Your body will turn to
dust. Your mind can fade with
age. Your soul goes on. To lose your soul is to lose choice, to
lose influence over its condition and location. To lose your soul is to lose everything!
Kyle Pope 2009