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Some look through religious rose colored glasses and see only Jesus' love, tolerance of wickedness, and the beauties of heaven. Opening the Bible and reading it produces a clearer vision of Jesus and heaven. Anyone hearing the Lord tell them to enter into the gates of heaven will have paid a high price in this life. Jesus speaks of the high cost of discipleship at Luke 14:25-33 (please do read all before going any further in this article). Jesus said, "28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? 29 Lest haply, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish" (Luke 14:28-30).
To illustrate the cost of discipleship Jesus considers a building project. Before one begins to build a tower he would be wise to check his financing, materials, and skill needed to complete it. Only a fool would begin building not knowing what was involved in such a project. Likewise, it would be foolish for one to obey the gospel expecting to receive salvation without considering or going through the cost of such discipleship. Far too many people become Christians and then continue their previous lives of sin expecting to be saved without paying the price of discipleship. Delusions of grandeur have taken hold of such a mind and will end in eternal destruction.
The cost of discipleship and a heavenly home will mean giving up old sinful habits (Romans 6:12-13), not being ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16), enduring persecution for living a life of truth (Hebrews 10:32-39), denying personal traditions and opinions (Proverbs 14:12), overcoming the pain of having a close family member reject you (Matthew 10:21, 34-39 and Luke 14:25-26) and many others hating you (Matthew 10:22). Before one decides to become a disciple of Jesus Christ through baptism for the remission of sins they should know what they are getting into and purpose to see the project through to its completion. To be baptized and turn around and be offended by the Lord's words and his people would be a shameful thing to do.
The words of Jesus are an excellent example of how much of the New Testament teaching is an antitype of the events in the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul said that the "4 things written aforetime were written for our learning that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4). One clear example of an antitype of New Testament teaching that is connected to the Old Testament is found at 1 Peter 3:20-21. The Apostle Peter tells us that baptism is the antitype of how Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives were saved by water. Jesus adds another of these types of salvation here at Luke 14. Jesus explains that it would be very foolish to begin a building project not considering the cost. Likewise, many people do not count the cost of discipleship before building upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and the apostles (i.e., truth) (see Ephesians 2:20). These words are the antitype of Zerubbabel's task to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem as recorded at Ezra chapters 1-6. Zerubbabel returns to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity and laid the foundation of the temple yet when persecution arises from the Samaritans the people became discouraged and stopped the building project (Ezra 4:45, 24). It would not be until fifteen years later that the people returned to the work of building the temple on the foundation after being encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (see Ezra 5:1; Haggai 1:4-9 and Zechariah 4:9; 8:9). Those that confess that Jesus is the Christ, repent of sins, and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will face much heartache in life as they serve the Lord. Are we willing to be slandered, mocked, persecuted, and even lose close family relationships for the sake of heaven? Those unwilling cannot be the Lord's disciples now and forevermore.
John C Robertson