Split Sermon given 3 December 2016

Counting the Unexpected Cost

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

In 1961 my mother was baptised and she became then a member of God's Church. She was baptised in the River Tees; it was cold - rivers tend to be cold! I'm sure that during the baptismal counselling that she had - I'm not sure exactly what was covered, she didn't share that with me, I was only eleven years old at the time anyway - I'm sure that in the baptismal counselling to some degree, counting the cost would have been mentioned. Counting the cost is certainly something that all of us, when counselling for baptism, is something that needs to be covered. It needs to be thought about and considered very carefully.

Now at that particular time in 1961, the entire thrust of the work - as far as the anticipation of that thrust - revolved around 1975. I don't care what other people say, that it didn't revolve around 1975 - it did! '75 - and 72 being the time that we flee - was the anticipated end of the age. It was anticipated on several counts. It was anticipated because of the nineteen-year time cycles, and various other scriptures that had been found and they anticipated that would come to an end.

In fact, so acute was this feeling that people didn't get their teeth fixed because of this. There were several people that didn't do that. I know there were certain individuals which had a bad diet. I wonder how much that bad diet was in fact attributed to the fact that; "Oh well, I wouldn't grow old anyway, so it doesn't make any difference." Certainly, their long-term retirement plans were not thought of. They just were not considered.

Counting the cost therefore, was very much a case of death - premature death - being the case; putting your life on the line. Being prepared to stand up and die for what you believe. It didn't work out like that, did it? It didn't work out like that. Not yet, anyway! It may well yet, but it hasn't as of now. Something unexpected, instead. The cost was different. We've had to live through the ages of having our families, and then having grandchildren; having grandchildren pushing twenty even! Six foot three grandchildren pushing twenty even.

But you know, it is unexpected and when you think about counting costs, just imagine when you were in your twenties and you looked at a place that you fancied for a retirement home, and you counted the cost of the retirement home and you thought; "Well, I will go ahead and work very hard and save up the money for the retirement home" and then by the time you're 65, and you've saved up your 20,000 pounds the retirement home would have cost you, overlooking the bay with an acre of ground - and it was 20,000 pounds back in nineteen seventy something - and then you go into the estate agent and say; "Here's the 20,000 pounds." He says; "You've got to be joking! 300,000 is not going to buy that kind of property at this particular time." So, it is not unique to the Church, counting the unexpected cost is something that happens even in the world.

I would like to just spend this split sermon looking at the subject of counting the unexpected cost. 'Counting the Unexpected Cost' will be the title for the sermon. I think that the way of looking at it, and what we need to do is actually turn to the passage in which the phrase 'counting the cost' is found, and that is in Luke 14:28.

Putting the Kingdom of God First (PLAY FROM 4:20)

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28)

Based on that, counting the cost was part of the baptismal process, counselling for baptism. But what we need to do is to read some of the context, verse 25:

"And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 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. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:25-27)

So that is where the passage is actually derived from. But you see, verse 25 follows the preceding verses. If you just look at the preceding verses, let's pick it up in Luke 14:15:

"And when one of them that sat at meat with him [He had been invited, or He went to the house of the chief of the Pharisees on the Sabbath and He basically was having a meal with the Pharisees] heard these things [presumably, He would be discussing these things having already eaten, and had just come away from that particular place, and one of the people that was with Him saw Him discussing these things], he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many [imagine Him walking away from this meal and discussing this with this individual]: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready." (Luke 14:15-17)

It's talking about eating the food in the Kingdom of God, actually making it; having been part of that Kingdom. He obviously must have been discussing some of that at meal time. Luke 14:18:

"And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to [test] them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden [the ones that basically made excuses] shall taste of my supper. And there went a great multitude with him... " (Luke 14:18-25)

While this conversation was going on, He noticed a great multitude had gathered there also at that time and they were coming along with them while they were having this discussion. He turned and said to them in this context of making excuses, this context of eating in the very Kingdom of God, and the priceless opportunity that was offered to them. Luke 14:26:

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father...(Luke 14:26)

Now you say; "Surely this can't mean hate." Well, the actual word, (Strong's G3404), you look it up, the word is hate. You can look at every single time it's translated in the King James, it's hate. It's translated as hate. Keep a marker there and turn back to Matthew 10:34 you will see something similar; remember, what we are saying is counting an unexpected cost. How do you count the unexpected cost? How can you count the cost when you don't know what it's going to be? Here it says:

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:34-39)

So here, this phrase; as far as hating father and mother is not actually couched in that language. It is saying that he who loves father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. There is contention, basically. If we go back to Luke 14:26 again:

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother..."

I just wonder, looking at the phraseology of this. I know people try to make it; 'love less by comparison' and it is. If you put it in the context of something like Matthew 10, that is what it means. But I just wonder how much the meaning also would be that we are accused of hating. We are accused, in other words - are we, are you prepared to put up with being accused of hating father, or hating mother, hating son, hating daughter, because you won't put these individuals first in their lives. In fact, you are putting God first in your life. You are putting the truth first in your life.

Again, it has been talking about making excuses. It's been talking about eating in the Kingdom of God to come. As far as that is concerned, this is the context that is flowing into this particular verse where we are talking about counting the cost. So, when we look at this particular verse, and ask; "Well, what about the unexpected cost?" How do you count the unexpected cost? The verses around about are actually telling you. They are actually about to show each and every one of us how to count any cost, whatever the cost may be. It goes on and then says, in this particular section, in Luke 14:28:

"For which of you, intending to build a tower [notice what it says], sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 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? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise [now listen to this; this actual section about counting the costs is in this construction which is an example about counting the cost of building a tower, an example about going to war between kings], whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:28-33)

That's the focus of it. It's forsaking everything. Because whatever the cost is, it doesn't matter what the cost is; the cost is worth it. When we are looking at this context, we are looking at people making excuses. People making excuses when they are talking about the Kingdom of God and all that is involved. They say; "Look, you hate father, mother; you've got to be prepared to be labelled as hating father, mother, son, daughter and so on, and your own life also." It makes no difference that cost is good enough. Luke 14:33 says:

"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple [student]." (Luke 14:33)

Beyond Price (PLAY FROM 12:50)

Do you remember when Mr Armstrong talked about how you 'get' Christ; how you 'get' saved, how you 'get' to heaven or whatever? What did he say? How he 'gave' himself to Christ. And so again its turning the thing on its head. Let's turn over to Matthew 13. And it says in verse 44:

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth ALL that he hath, and buyeth that field." (Matthew 13:44)

So, counting the unexpected cost? When you really appreciate what it is that we been given, there is no cost that can be high enough. There is absolutely none. Whatever it takes; whatever it costs, that is the price that you are willing to pay. Matthew 13:45:

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold ALL that he had, and bought it." (Matthew 13:45-46)

Again, counting the unexpected cost; we have got to be looking at it in a different way. The view of our appreciation of what has been given has got to be different. Turn over to Matthew 20. We used to read this particular section back in the 1960's. We used to look at ourselves as being the ones that snuck in under the wire, as it were:

"For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour [about 9 o'clock in the morning, presumably 6 o'clock in the morning he initially went out], and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth [12:00 noon] and ninth hour [3 o'clock in the afternoon, and sunset in the area around Jerusalem is about 6 o'clock], and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour [5 o'clock, with just one hour to go] he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive." (Matthew 20:1-7)

So we looked at ourselves, with 1972 and 1975 being the date, we were in there at the eleventh hour. The eleventh hour had come and then the life that we had would be cut short, and the cost that we had to pay was for having our life cut short. But it didn't work out that way. That was not the unexpected cost. That is not what happened. That is not the way it worked, and we need to have a look and see some of these scriptures and just recognize what in fact Christ and God the Father is telling us. Matthew 20:8:

"So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?" Matthew 20:8-15)

Remember this parable and what He says in the preceding chapter; "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." (Matthew 19:30). And then He gives this parable and says in Matthew 20:16:

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." (Matthew 20:16)

The word 'chosen' actually is 'eklektos', (Strong's G1588) you may be elected. It is the same word you find in; "...but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22). Made part of the very Church of God. We looked at this short, sharp endurance, and we expected a relatively straight run. Yet that is not the way it worked. That's not what actually happened. The unexpected was a full life; the unexpected was having to deal with teenage children; the unexpected was having to deal with two teenage grandchildren and having children that are having their own problems. The problems we looked upon of life, we looked upon ourselves having these problems, but it's not. It goes into the children and the children's children.

God and Jesus Christ are Totally Committed (PLAY FROM 18:52)

But the thing that we need to keep in mind, is that God and Jesus Christ are totally, totally committed. So when we look at this subject of counting the unexpected cost, we can therefore have faith in that total commitment. We can make sure as we go through this life and we see unexpected things come our way - we are not out of the woods yet - what lies ahead of us is unexpected, but it is not unexpected to God. He can see the end from the beginning. He knows what is coming. He is totally committed. It talks about Jesus Christ, offered from the foundation of the world. The sacrifice of Christ; "... the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8). The classic verse, John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

So again; He gave His only begotten Son, He is totally committed. That Christ, from the foundation of the world was due to be offered. God the Father gave His only begotten Son that you shall not perish, but have everlasting life. So again, that total commitment is seen. Luke 12:32:

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

Just to illustrate what Christ Himself was prepared to do, Christ was prepared to fast forty days and forty nights just to meet Satan. Why? So that He would actually make it. He would make it and be able to defeat Satan.

When we see this total commitment within both God the Father and Jesus Christ, then we can have confidence; we can have full assurance right the way through to the end. Again, counting the unexpected cost – the cost is immaterial. Whatever it takes. It is a pearl of great price. It is a treasure in the field. You go out and you sell everything. They have just discovered a gold kind of belt thing, they are not quite sure what it's for, but it's the biggest one they've found. They reckon it's either a sash or it might be for an animal, or it might be for a pregnant woman, but they just discovered this thing. It was found in a field in Cambridgeshire, by a treasure hunter. If the rules are the same as they used to be back then, the treasure hunter that found it, that discovered this thing, he would probably have buried it again and then bought the field. You can imagine him doing that. But here in Hebrews 4:14 it says:

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities [He knows what we are going through; what we have gone through and what we will go through. They are totally, utterly committed, both He and the Father, totally, utterly committed to the Plan that they have drawn up, of having beings that are the same as them, that think the same as them; that act the same as them, that are sons of the very Godhead]; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Again, counting the unexpected cost - part of that process is to understand that God and Christ Himself are totally committed. Turn over to Romans 5:1 it says:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)

That's the total commitment of Christ and the Father and the glory of God, that their sons will actually be resurrected to glory. And in Romans 5:5, talking about this hope, the same hope, it says:

"And hope [this hope of the glory of God] maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts [the very character of God is shed abroad in our hearts] by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5)

That character of God, that love of God as it saya in verse 8:

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

So, you know, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that you shall not perish but have everlasting life. So, God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:9:

"Much more then, being now justified by his blood [forgiving the sins that are past by His blood; and reconciling to the Father], we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:9)

Remember, when my mother was baptised, part of that baptismal process was to whether she would be accepting Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. Every single one of us should have had that as a crucial question. A personal Saviour does not mean you are saved by the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ doesn't save anybody as Mr Armstrong said. We are saved by His life as he goes on and says. Romans 5:10:

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10)

He will live His life again, through us with the total commitment that God and Christ will have. Counting the unexpected cost, whatever the unexpected cost may be, makes no difference. It is a pearl of great price. It is a treasure in a field. It is a treasure in a field where you sell everything and go ahead and get the field. You sell everything that you own to get one pearl.

Faith and a Clear Goal (PLAY FROM 26:36)

So really the answer is to the question, how do we count the unexpected cost? The two things that we need are; faith and also God's clear goal. Making that clear goal of God - something that God and Jesus Christ are totally committed to; making that goal ours as well. So we can trust Him with whatever may come. Turn over to Matthew 10:26 it says:

"Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness [you almost can hear Winston Churchill saying this], that speak ye in light [fight them on the landing ground; fight them on the beaches and so on]: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul [the breathing creature that we are]: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in [Gehenna]. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father [notice, it's not just without God, it's without 'your' Father]. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered [the hairs of 'your' head are all numbered]. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:26-31)

It sounds a bit trite, but it's absolutely true. When you think about it, God is described as knowing the name of every star "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names." (Psalm 147:4). I don't know if you remember this passage that came from "The World Tomorrow, Why Were You Born? Part 1." It says: {1}

"Now listen: do you for one moment [this is what Mr Armstrong said] suppose that a God great enough to have planned, have designed, have created, imparted life to all that is living, all that we see; do you suppose that He is unaware of your personal existence? A God with the all-encompassing intelligence - the limitless power to have designed and created all of the millions of different forms of animal and plant life, the myriad stars and heavenly bodies and to have created force and energy and everything that moves, is a God of such infinite capacity that He is very much aware of you - you as a person, you as one individual and of your personal life."

He was saying that to the world. He was saying that to people outside in the world. How much more within the Church? We're watching the Attenborough series, the Planet series anyway, on jungles. That was quite fascinating. The variety of birds of paradise. Presumably there was just one basic fundamental bird of paradise that was created or something of that genus. Yet from there, each particular kind, the bird of paradise kind, then you would have the species. You would then divert from there.

I was looking at a box the other day. You know, one of these storage boxes, cardboard boxes that you store bits and pieces in, your files? You fold them in a certain way. If you don't get them folded right, they fall apart in your hand. I always have to think twice and fold once to remind myself how to fold the things. Yet I was thinking at looking at that, this particular box had a bunch of seeds in them; I thought, the seeds inside there, they have got to be folded. The DNA expresses the protein. The protein string then comes out and goes into a certain machine and the machine then folds it into a shape that can be used, be it a motor, whatever the bit, be it an eyelash, be it a nose, or a lip or whatever it might be, it's got to be folded into that particular shape to be used. The complexity of that compared to the complexity of that cardboard box, there is no comparison, no comparison whatsoever.

Mr Armstrong says, here is a God with all-encompassing intelligence and limitless power who designed and created all the millions of different life forms. Mr Armstrong knew only the half of it quite frankly, because at the time he wrote those words, or when he said those words, we didn't understand about the protein synthesis of DNA and the machinery that is in the cell.

The machinery in the cell is phenomenal! It's not just that the information has got to be there of the car, like a car plant. It is not the information has to be there for defining the car, which it certainly does. It's defining the machines that actually makes the car. These machines are within the cell and they are required to make everything, every bit of us, be it in the womb, and then repair it throughout our lives. It is an absolutely astounding process, yet as Mr Armstrong points out, here is this Being who knows the stars by name and the limitless power to have designed and created and hold and constructed all that we see.

How much more does He know? When you are looking at counting the unexpected cost. The unexpected cost it is not unknown, not unexpected to God. He knows you and me individually very personally, very personally.

So, when we are looking at counting the cost and the problems that we have within the life that we have now is unexpected, compared to what it was. And the life that we will have in two years time or a year's time or whatever, is again perhaps going to be unexpected. We don't know what's coming. But we don't need to fear it. We don't need to worry about it. We can pay the price for the pearl of great price - which is everything. We can pay the price to buy the field so the treasure is there - which is everything. It makes no difference. It's worth every single penny.

Turn over to I Corinthians 10. Now this particular piece of scripture is found within a context, as all pieces of scripture are, the context that we find here is the subject of not clean and unclean meats by any stretch at all, it is meat that is offered to idols. It is common, made common by being offered to an idol. This particular passage of scripture, Paul is about to go into the solution that he wants to give. He talks about how they are all baptised, and all ate the spiritual meat and they all drank the spiritual drink, and how they were overthrown in the wilderness and were examples for us:

"Neither be ye idolaters... [Verse 8]Neither let us commit fornication... [Verse 9]Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted... [Verse 10]Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured..." (I Corinthians 10:7-10)

Don't go down that route, because quite frankly as I Corinthians 10:11 says:

"Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the [age] are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no [trial] taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful [notice; God is faithful, God is totally committed to having sons and daughters in the future ], who will not [allow] you to be [tried] above that ye are able; but will with the [trial] also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:11-13)

This Being who knows each of us individually, who has the creative power that we see within the birds of paradise, the bodies that we have ourselves, the creative power that is exhibited within the very cells themselves. This Being, he says that; "...with the [trial] also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:13). So, counting the unexpected cost is not unexpected to God and because it is not unexpected to God, He is quite capable of giving us what we need to go through whatever the trial may be. So, counting the cost is a process which is necessary which we do need to go through. As it says, to forsake all that we have and sell all that we have to possess that pearl; everything that we have to get hold of that field because we know the value that is there.

The Unexpected is Unexpected (PLAY FROM 37:44)

We may find that the prophecies - our understanding of prophecies - is different. Our understanding of prophecy has been different from the 1975 ideas that we had before. I don't know - I just do not know. The unexpected is the unexpected. You don't expect the unexpected.

If you look at the prophecies being different, you are still committed to a way of life because that is what God and Jesus Christ are committed to. They are totally committed to the way of life ; They are totally committed to the fact that they will be having sons and daughters, that also think the way they do, live the way they do, that are the way they are. It is interesting in Acts 1:6:

"...Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)

They were expecting it to come at that time. Then in Acts 2:44 it talks about how:

"And all that believed were together, and had all things common;" (Acts 2:44)

They were expecting Christ to come back at any time. That was in the early days of the Church. Paul himself said in I Thessalonians 4:15:

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not [precede] them which are asleep." (I Thessalonians 4:15)

And yet he talks about how; "...that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first..." (II Thessalonians 2:3). So, he is basically pointing out that these ideas have to be changed; have to be modified. He later talks about "...I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." (II Timothy 4:6). He didn't expect that. It was the unexpected. Yet he counted the unexpected cost..

Just think for a minute about the Jews that went with Peter and when Cornelius was baptised. Peter went to see Cornelius. They were astounded, they were absolutely astounded! It was not expected, this is not the way it was supposed to work out, but it wasn't unexpected to God. Whatever comes, it doesn't make any difference what comes. It is not unexpected to God, and that we can have absolute and utter faith in. It is making sure that we keep the goals clear. Turn over to Matthew 13:18 which goes into the parable of the sower. He also explains why He talked to them in parables. To the multitude, He gave them the parable of the sower, and then in verse 18, He was in private with His disciples:

"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side [the birds and they take the seeds]. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but [endures] for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." (Matthew 13:18-21)

Now, no root in himself. The trials, as I say, counting the unexpected cost. The cost is not unexpected to God. So, what about the problems of our health? I have problems with my health, and again, that problem is not unexpected to God. It was unexpected to me. It is not what I expected, nor did I anticipate it at all. I didn't get sick, but it is not unexpected to God.

What about finances? We are entering a time as far as the world is concerned, of incredible insecurity financially. What happens if you are in a situation where you have £20,000 saved up, but that £20,000, with the kind of inflation that occurred in Germany or the kind of inflation that occurred in Argentina, it could happen here; but it is not going to be unexpected to God.

You sell all that you have to go ahead and get that one field, to get that one pearl. The point is that he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself. That's the key; we don't have a root - we try and do these things on our own. What about our jobs? Again, we know what is going to come is the Mark of the Beast, and people will not be able to buy or sell except they have the mark. How much of that will overlap with the time we find ourselves in today? We don't know that.

The relationships – again, in all these problems, in all these difficulties, we have got to make sure that we understand that it is not unexpected to God and He will actually help us through the problems we are facing. Luke 9:62:

"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

In counting the unexpected cost, it doesn't matter what the cost is, it is worth it. We can trust God. We have the faith in God the Father and in Jesus Christ, who are totally committed to having us within the Kingdom, making sure that we make it. Turn over to Hebrews 12:1 it says:

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith..." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The word 'our' isn't even in there. He is the author and finisher of faith. It is where we go for faith; "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). As we have read from many scriptures counting the unexpected cost; it is not unexpected to God. He is quite capable of helping us through it. He gives the clear indication that He intends to help us through it. Hebrews 12:2 notice:

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

What was the joy that was set before Him? Was that joy just simply for His own benefit? The fact that He would be the ruler in the World Tomorrow? That's not the joy. He talks about; "... I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10). While we are here in Hebrews let's look in the next chapter in Hebrews 13:5 and let's just remind ourselves what it says:

"Let your [conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Again, we are going into an uncertain time. The world is an uncertain place financially, and in fact in every way. This is part of the Word and we hang onto it. He will never leave us or forsake us. But more than that, turn over to John 17:20 the joy set before Christ was not just His own joy. It was not a selfish joy. It was a joy as it says here:

"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word [this was the night He was about to suffer the things He had to suffer, yet He focus was totally committed; the joy set before Him was the fact that we would be there with Him as well, that we would have the position that we have been promised]; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me [again notice His focus is on us; these that believe on Me through their word], that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:20-24)

That glory, as it says in Philippians 3:21:

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Philippians 3:21)

It's also something that we will have. We will be made like unto His glorious body. the glory will be given to us. So, in conclusion counting the unexpected cost - let's turn over to Daniel 12:1:

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book [whatever unexpected cost may come along it doesn't make any difference - the help will be given which is made available to us]. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:1-3)

So, yes the joy that was set before Christ, includes us; but the joy that is set before us, includes those that we will therefore teach; the turning many to righteousness is part of the process. Let's just turn over to Malachi 3:16:

"Then they that feared the [Eternal] spake often one to another: and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels..." (Malachi 3:16-17)

So, counting the unexpected cost - we put our trust totally, utterly, 110 percent in God the Father and Jesus Christ. They are totally, utterly committed to this plan that they have. That is the clear goal. The clear goal is to have sons and daughters. The clear goal is to have us sharing in their joy yes; but then we ourselves also share the same joy. What was the same joy? Giving to others and we are able to make the discernment necessary. Malachi 3:17:

"...and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." (Malachi 3:16-18)


Footnote:

{1} The transcript for this quote is found on https://members.cogiw.org/articles/#/articles/transcripts/hwaWT_163WhyBorn1.html