Mobilize To Evangelize
  By Stephen F. Olford

    In Luke 14:25-35 the context is one of urgency. Jesus was on His way to the cross. His ministry had become so popular that great multitudes were following Him. But as always in the ministry of our Savior, He never attempted to enlist recruits under false pretenses. Turning to that great crowd, He laid down the terms of discipleship, describing the kind of person He wanted in His service. He called for:

Learners Who Will Follow at Any Cost

    "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. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple"; and again: "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (vv. 26-27, 33 NKJV). Three times in these verses the expression "My disciple" is used. In the Greek and Latin it simply means "pupil" or "learner."

    There were several lessons the Master wanted His followers to learn in the school of obedience. First, they had to be willing to sacrifice human relationships – cost what it will – in order that Jesus Christ might reign supreme in their lives.

    Second, they must be willing to die to their own reputations in order that Christ alone might have the glory; and, thirdly, they must be prepared to sacrifice whatever resources they possessed – to hold them lightly – in order to lead a life of discipline and dependence on Christ alone.

Builders Who Will Labor at Any Cost

    "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it" (v. 28). Jesus demanded that all who intend to "build a tower" to the pleasure of God should do so after careful thought and planning. They must have a set purpose in mind, being ready to count the cost to see that the project is brought to completion. Each of us is building for eternity. In order for our "tower" to stand the test at the judgment seat of Christ, we must ensure that our building is scripturally conceived – built upon the authority and specifications of the Word of God. It must be sacrificially constructed. Just as the Savior gave His time, energy, body, yes, and His very life’s blood for us and our salvation, so we must invest everything to erect a structure that is worthy of Him.

    Regrettably, far too many believers represent half-finished buildings because they have allowed indiscipline, incompatibility or immorality to gain the upper hand in their lives. They may have stood in a convention or conference, in response to some spiritual challenge; yet today they stand dormant, representing uncompleted tasks because of defective obedience.

Soldiers Who Will Battle at Any Cost

    "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?" (v. 31). Christianity is not only decisive, it is aggressive. The true soldier of Christ must take the offensive in the battle for truth. He must fight against the overwhelming forces of evil in "the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son."

    Paul reminds us, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31). No Christian has an excuse for failing in the battle of life because of the greater contingents of power, on the part of the enemy. He must refuse to flinch, never negotiating conditions of peace with his foe, for this inevitably leads to compromise. Someone has said, "It is not for you to reason why; it is for you to do or die."

Martyrs Who Will Witness at Any Cost

    "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Luke 14:34-35). Throughout Scripture salt is associated with sacrifice and is called "the covenant of your God" (see Lev. 2:13; Mark 9:49). Jesus was calling for martyr-witnesses who would covenant to endure sacrifice and death, if necessary, in order to make their influence for Jesus Christ known and felt in a corrupt generation.

    There are times when God calls for silent witness, such as the occasion of our Savior’s trial before Pilate (Mark 15:5). Later it was vocal, when He acknowledged that He was born a king – "For this cause...I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37). When our Christian stand is challenged we must never hesitate to speak "with grace, seasoned with salt" (Col. 4:6).

    The greatest need in the Church of Jesus Christ at the present time is for martyr-witnesses. Large crusades, radio and television programs, and even literature, will not accomplish the task. God’s supreme method is that every child of God should be a martyr-witness, operating as the early Christians did after the persecution of Stephen when they went everywhere sharing the Gospel (Acts 8:4). In a little over thirty years the then-known world had heard the message of a saving Christ.

    The Savior is looking for recruits to carry on His program. Will you be one of them? As you face your crucified, but risen Lord and gaze upon His glorified wounds, will you tell Him you are willing to serve Him anywhere, at any time, at any cost?

    Use the words of Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) as your response: "Grant us, O Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do Thy perfect will, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

    From "Angelos Messenger," Volume 1, Number 4. Used by permission. Dr. Stephen Olford (1918-2004) was founder of Olford Ministries International, P.O. Box 757800, Memphis TN 38175.