United Presbyterian Church of West Orange


Date: September 4, 2022

Sermon Title: What is the Actual Cost?

By Minister Kimberly Braxton




Focus Scripture:   Luke14:25-33

What is the Actual Cost?


As I scan the room this morning it’s safe to say that most of us in here at one point in our lives have had to purchase a car. And if you haven’t had to buy one directly for yourself it would be safe to venture a guess that you were connected to someone that purchased a car. For those of us that have ventured into that third level of hell also known as a car dealership you know that car dealerships will quote one price that appears too good to be true in their advertisement and once you step foot into the showroom and encounter the salespeople that’s when the truth is gradually revealed. Oh they don’t tell it to you all at once. They play games and run numbers, talk to their managers and all manner of foolery. No one wonders into a car dealership just to spend time on the showroom floor and drink lukewarm Keurig coffee with non-dairy creamer. You are there for a purpose – shopping for an automobile.  And these salespeople are basically wasting your time and draining your patience. But as you ask questions, read the fine print and all the footnotes you began to discover all the concealed fees and conditions. And eventually you will arrive at the actual cost.


When I was in the market looking for a car I saw an advertisement that made it appear that I could  actually afford the Mercedes CLA 4matic in glacier white with the panoramic moonroof and with a leather interior so smooth that you can almost guarantee that your clothes will never wrinkle. ::sigh::. All for a mere $250* per month! But that $250 monthly payment has a little * star * after the price. And we all know what that means…


Fine print / Additional Fees / All the hidden costs


And we know that you need to pay attention to that fine print. Because most likely the car that you could get for $250 a month had a lot of “strange conditions” attached to it - - A credit score of 1170, a sketch of your recumbent DNA, a deposit of $40,000, and the promise to provide a working kidney. We all know, or should know, that before you sign anything you need to get the actual cost. Not only the fees hidden in the financing, but all the taxes, delivery, special customization, warranties, maintenance costs and finally your insurance costs. Once you add all those factors together and you will have the actual cost of the car. There’s no use in getting a Mercedes if you can’t afford the car insurance, maintenance and upkeep. Ask me how I know. After assessing the cost and comparing it to my budget I realized I suffered from a acute case of “Funds so low” disease. My funds were too low to buy that car.


Now you may be saying, “Preacher what does your desire for fine German engineering and your aspirational car budget have to do with today’s text?” Well, I’m so glad you asked.


And over the last two Sundays I’ve taught about 1) God being a consuming fire; 2) the supremacy of the new and everlasting covenant; 3) the importance of not forsaking God; and 4) the dangers of attempting to replace God Everything in the previous weeks lessons has been pointing us back to restoring relationship, surrendering to the Lord and being reconciled. Now this week we are getting to what the actual cost of being a disciple involves.


In verse 25 we discover that Jesus was traveling with large crowds. Why do you think these people were all following along with Him? Because they saw the miracles, signs and wonders He had been performing and they were drawn to Him. They wanted to follow Him to be a part of what was happening. However there is a difference between being a spectator of Jesus and being a disciple.


Just like there is a difference between coming to church to be entertained for an hour or so and actually being an active member of a community and cultivating your personal relationship with the Savior through prayer, reading your bible, and fasting. There is a difference and there is a cost associated with that difference. See when you are a spectator of Jesus you can just sit back, watch the miracles, signs and wonders and be amazed. It’s easy. There’s no accountability, no commitment. Like watching a megachurch pastor on a Sunday morning. But imma leave that right there.


So unlike our car salesperson Jesus wanted to let the people know up front what the actual cost of discipleship was. He wanted the people to know in advance how much of a commitment is required. He wasn’t trying to asterisk them into becoming a disciple. Telling them, “Oh, you only need to worship on high holy days, eat fish on Fridays and you’ll be good.” No, He was letting them know that when it comes to this faith walk the Lord must be your priority. Above, family, above possessions; above the struggle and the strain of daily life He must always come first. All these spectators knew who Jesus was but what does Matthew Chapter 7 verses 21 to 23 teach us “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”


See the spectators that were following Jesus had no connection to Him as a disciple. They were being entertained by Jesus but they weren’t living for Him. There’s no commitment, no relationship. It’s like when two people live together.



You may look like a married couple on the outside; however, if a major life event happens to one of the persons in the relationship you will not have the protections that marriage affords you. Hospital visitation - - family only. And don’t die without a will. All of your assets will revert to your next family member, instead of your life partner. So let’s briefly look at what the actual cost of being a disciple is.


Beginning at Verse 26 - “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” The word ‘hate’ is a bit off putting. However, let me flex a little bit this morning and earn those letters at the end of my name. The word choice in Greek for “Hate” here doesn’t mean, “to abhor, to detest” (think John 3:20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed.”). No, it actual means “to regard with less affection, love less, esteem less.” The word “mi-se-o” is used comparatively like hyperbole. So when you re-read the text with this insight it comes out as, “If anyone comes to me and does not esteem their father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters yes, even their life less than me. Jesus isn’t saying that you need to despise your loved ones in order to follow Him and be His disciple. You just have to put Him first.” You must be able to put the Lord first in everything you do. And this comes with a promise.


Matt 6:33,

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” And you know it’s serious if I’m quoting from the King James version.


You may be saying “This is too much! I’m not willing or able to pay the price of being a disciple” Before you resign yourself to a life of Christian Coasting, I want to remind you of 2 Corinthians 12:9, “ And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” When you first put your trust in Jesus it was an act of faith, and when walk with Him as a disciple it is an Act of Trust”


The next cost we need to consider is in Verse 27 – “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” Back in Jesus’ days when the Romans sentenced someone to cruxification that person had to carry the cross they were sentenced to die on as a final act of submission to authority. In the same way when Jesus was addressing these spectators He wanted to let them know the seriousness of their commitment and what would be required of them. Some people may have heard this word and thought, “I need to do better.” Other individuals may have thought, “Oh, that’s too much” and turned around to go home.


In our modern times we don’t have literal crosses to carry however discipleship requires transformation! You can’t come, listen to the Master’s teaching all the while leaving fundamental values, loyalties and manner of life unchanged. You are a disciple now. No longer a spectator. There should be a tangible need for transformation!!! If I had to think of a song that could sum this position up succinctly “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby. The way you acting lately makes me doubt” In other words, If you’re my ‘baby’ act like it. Now for people of my generation and cultural persuasion let me hit you with this… “Is it Oochie Wally or is it One Mic”



How can you look yourself in the eye and call yourself a disciple of Jesus and you don’t keep your vow to love, honor and cherish your spouse? How are you able to call yourself a disciple of Jesus when there are people in need all around you and you don’t have the slightest compulsion to help? How can you call yourself a disciple of Jesus if you are physically unable to make a stand, and tell the truth, under oath? How are you able to swim in the waters of moral ambiguity and outright deception and not feel an ounce, a milligram of conviction? No, you are not a disciple of Jesus you are a spectator!

But in closing today Jesus has laid out the cost again of being His disciple. The willingness to put Him first above all things, make Him the priority and be willing to follow Him even when its uncomfortable, inconvenient and just difficult. To stand up and do the right thing when everyone around you is taking shortcuts. To have those uncomfortable conversations with the people around you that confront and convict them. To make adjustments in your personal priorities so that you always give the Savior the best parts first. So at the end of your life you will hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”


If that’s you and after examining yourself you realize you’ve been a spectator. In our last altar call in this series I invite you to come down, with your masks on to receive prayer.