Archive for discipleship

Influence of American Culture | Cost of Discipleship

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 25, 2010 by Mark Hanson

After looking at several different facets of American Culture and its influence such as Individualism, Materialism/Consumerism, Freedom/Liberty, and Happiness we really need to take a step back and evaluate:

  • Does the cost of true Christ following Discipleship fit with the “American Culture?”

Next we’ll look at a few passages where Christ plainly describes the kind of character and attitude a person should have if they were to really be one of His followers:

Luke 9:23-25 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Christ draws out the point of denying self and raises the ultimate question: what does this world profit? 

Luke 9:57-10:2 57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee wherever you go. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

This passage has often been preached out of its “discipleship” context which is the foundation for the missional conclusion. He emphasizes the lack of modern “comforts” not daily provision, but the lack of human comfort in the quest to follow. He then calls for the proclamation of His Gospel, His message. It must be a commitment of the whole person, its not a 50/50 deal. Relating this to semi-current American culture, people who took homesteads out West in the wilderness/territories often would never again see the family they left behind. Christ is looking for the same kind of commitment. One with many unknown dangers, discomforts, discouragements, and yet the the satisfaction of knowing that your whole person is invested 100% in the task before you with the potential for future gain.

Luke 14:25-35 25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 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. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is not fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

So here it is, are you willing to sacrifice everything that you are “comfortable” with to go through life following Christ? Have you really counted the cost? Some people didn’t have to give up much if all of their family has been saved, but many people have had their family and friends reject them for their commitment to Christ. So are there still things that might be holding you back from that kind of total commitment? Have you really sat down and counted the cost and put all you chips in to place your bet on Christ? Here in the end of this passage Christ asks the same question again: what profit is there in a thing that doesn’t accomplish is designed purpose. We are God’s salt, and we have a purpose. But are we trying to hold back part of our potential for our own gain? What does that profit?

  • So does American Culture promote or detract from Christ’s call to discipleship?
  • What are some ways we can be responding to and countering this influence?

In the end we need to be aware that our American culture is directly, antithetically opposed to Christ’s call of committed following. So choose wisely.