REAL DISCIPLESHIP TOPIC – Luke 14:25-35 ESV, Dr. Fred Fitzgerald, Teaching Team

REAL DISCIPLESHIP TOPIC – Luke 14:25-35 ESV, Dr. Fred Fitzgerald, Teaching Team

Summary: While all believers are called to discipleship, Jesus shows that many are not willing to pay the price.

ILLUSTRATION: Discipleship

Two long standing church members were in a boat fishing with a new Christian. 

Passing the time, each was talking about his fervent faith and devotion to God. 

As they were discussing their faith, one’s hat blew into the water.

So he stood up, calmly stepped onto the water, walked over to his hat, picked it up, brushed off the water, and walked backed to the boat. 

The new Christian was amazed how this Christian could seemingly walk on water. 

As the new Christian was pondering this, the other church member’s hat blew into the water.

He also very calmly stepped onto the water, walked over to his hat, picked it up & brushed off the water, and walked backed to the boat. 

The new Christian was overwhelmed at how spiritual these men must be to have walked on the water as they did.

Knowing of his new found love for the Lord, he thought, “Well, if these guys can do it, so can I”, and he “helped” his hat blow into the water. 

He very calmly stepped out of the boat and inhaled by water instantly. 

As he fought his way to the surface, gasping for breath, the two long-standing church members reached over to help him into the boat and turned to each other saying, “

I think we should have told him about the sandbar on this side of the boat.”

So many new Christians and excited Members make a decision for Christ and begin so strong for the Lord and his work. 

But then after awhile, this or this or this happens and they realize that this Christian walk or this Ministry or even lifestyle is not as easy as at first and you see them slowly disappear or their commitment begins to decay.

It’s as though they stepped out of the boat and were engulfed with satan’s hits and knocks and bruises. 

This morning I want to talk to you about The Cost of Discipleship. Our Text: Luke 14:25-35.


1. What IS Discipleship? 

(Dict.) “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another” 

– “a devout devoted” – ‘follower’ as one who is ‘sold out to a cause’.

2. Are you Listening? 

Do you CARE what the Bible says regarding this hard subject?

Jesus said it best:

READ LUKE 14:35 ‘he who has ears to hear, let him hear’

This phrase is found many times when Jesus was teaching a difficult passage to understand. 

We don’t like being told what we can and can’t do 

– especially when it comes to being dependent on another. 

So Jesus says ‘are you listening?’ – Do you care?

OUR TEXT: LUKE 14: 25-35

Setting: Jesus was invited to the house of one of the prominent Pharisees for a meal. 

While the Pharisees were trying to catch Jesus contradicting the teaching of the LAW, the crowds were really interested in what He was saying. 

Jesus began teaching regarding Salvation & Discipleship.

Theme: I think it important to understand the THEME of this lesson from Jesus. 

Notice in V. 25a we are told that “large crowds” are following Jesus. 

Yet , while teaching the topic of “being a disciple”, three times Jesus states that one cannot be his disciple UNLESS he does certain things:

Vs. 26 ‘he cannot be my disciple’; Vs. 27 ‘cannot be my disciple’; Vs. 33 ‘cannot be my disciple’

This says 2 THINGS:

1. Walking with Jesus is NOT the Same as Salvation

It’s pretty obvious that while the crowds may have been believers (and even excited), they WERE NOT REALLY SOLD OUT. 

Why did Jesus go to such lengths to explain there were certain conditions to be met to be a disciple?

In John 6, Jesus was teaching a group (at least 72) of disciples what it meant to be a follower. 

Jesus had been teaching who He was and why He was sent, what it took to be saved, as well as the performing of many miracles including the feeding of the 5,000.

Notice what takes place. READ JOHN 6:60-66.

They all wanted to walk with Jesus. 

They even believed in His message. 

But they couldn’t handle the cost. 

Perhaps YOU TOO have been going to church regularly and even do all the things that Christians ought, but yet you too have never really accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. 

You started believing but never really invited Jesus into your heart?


You can never be a real disciple until you do so. 

Do so today!

But there is yet another reason why Jesus would continue to make this warning.

2. Salvation Is NOT the Same as Discipleship

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 says;

14 “if what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 

15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

Notice Paul does say that “one in this state will himself be saved” – like one who leaves a life of sin, but never really begins to grow.

Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort”? 

(you begin with the Holy Spirit – whom Jesus calls our Comforter, Helper, Teacher – and now have reverted back to the flesh). 

The Galatians had obviously been saved – they began strong but it didn’t take much to pull them out of focus?

Discipleship only comes after salvation, but salvation doesn’t guarantee it.

So then WHAT DOES IT TAKE for one to be a DISCIPLE? 

Do you have EARS? 


Jesus describes 4 Parts of Discipleship



The word “hate” is NOT a LITERAL HATE. Jesus is simply saying, “If you are forced to pick your family or ME, I WIN”. 

Listen, family is just ONE example for Jesus is saying NOTHING can come in front of one’s love, dedication, and commitment.

Discipleship means putting Christ first allowing Him to take care of your family, relationships, friends, work, money and on and on. 

That’s a high cost to pay.





What does it mean to “carry his cross”? 

It means daily identification with Christ in surrender to His will. 

A “cross” is something we willingly accept from God as part of His will for our lives.

When the Roman Empire crucified a criminal or captive, the victim was often forced to carry his cross part of the way to the crucifixion site. 

Carrying his cross through the heart of the city was supposed to be an act of admission that the Roman Empire was correct in the sentence of death imposed on him which was an admission that Rome was right and he was wrong.

So when Jesus says one must carry their crosses and follow Him, He was referring to a public display before others that Jesus was right and that one was willing to follow Him at all costs including death. 

This is exactly what the religious leaders refused to do.

Notice that ‘carrying one’s cross’ is NOT a ONE TIME THING. 

8We look to and focus on the cross every moment – that’s the only way we can resist the devil and his bag of tricks. 

We live our lives as dead men in regard to sin.


READ 28-33

Notice that neither man finishes what he started. 

Part of the cost of discipleship is realizing that you don’t have what it takes to finish either. 

Rather, you are brought to a realization that total dependence on Jesus is required for reaching the finish line.

Jesus cautions those hearing his message that one must consider the cost of being a disciple. 

I believe this is what many have FAILED to consider from the beginning.

Discipleship means dying to and denying yourself every day. 

Learning what it means to be in submission to Christ. 

Learning what it means to completely depend on Jesus and His lifestyle.

It doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes but that you daily get up and continue to strive for Christ.


READ 34-35

“Salt” was used as a seasoning and as a preservative. 

The salt came mostly from the salt marshes in the area southwest of the Dead Sea. 

This impure salt was susceptible to deterioration and could lose its flavor, leaving only useless crystals. 

Such salt was simply ‘thrown away’.

Jesus’ question: how can it be made salty again? 

The answer was obvious but Jesus gave one they would understand, ‘it is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile’.

What’s the lesson? 

To be the flavor of life, one must be a disciple – one set apart for duty. 

So many Christians blend into the world and lose their flavor. Jesus says it’s the same as ‘salt losing its flavor and is worthless’.

Being the ‘Salt of the Earth’ means many things:

1. Giving the Discipline Necessary to Grow in Christ –

2. It means Totally Committing yourself to the Church God Called You to Serve allowing others to use their gift to help prepare you to be who God has chosen you to be.

3. It means Using Your Gift to help others be who God has chosen them to be.

It doesn’t take a lot of salt to season a bunch of food because salt has such a distinct flavor.


What is The Cost of Discipleship?

The Cost of Submission – Giving control of all of one’s possessions to Christ

The Cost of Life – daily dying to self and replacing that death with the joy of Christ

The Cost of Dependence – Realizing that you don’t have what it takes to be a disciple of Christ on your own.

The Cost of Distinction – the flavor of life by being who God has called you to be.

Jesus says: “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

So, are you listening?


We have a choice to make, do we hold on to what we have because we don’t believe there are better things in store for us, and settling for immediate satisfaction? 

Or do we pay the cost preparing to be a spiritually mature disciple of Christ pursuing the will of God to accomplish His purpose?

We need to pour in all the water, trust God with everything. 

Then once we have experienced what God has to offer, the living water, we need to tell other people, “Go ahead prime the pump, believe me it works”!

But there IS a cost! 

We will struggle as we have. 

There will be more days that seem to make no sense as there have been! 






We will look back especially at the cost, and will smile and say “WOW, WAS IT WORTH IT! LET’S PRIME THE PUMP FOR SOMEONE ELSE!”–
Fred Fitzgerald Ph.D.