Mat 13 (A Costly Pearl)
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Luke 8 (Parable of the Sower)
4 When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: 5 “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled underfoot and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. 8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
Luke 14 (Disciples Tested)
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. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
If you care to notice, the 3 pieces of scripture mentioned above are saying the same thing, that is if you are coming to faith you must be prepared to give up anything and everything, if that is the price you have pay to come to faith, that is provided if you want to, which is provided if God is drawing you to believe in His Son Jesus Christ (Jn 6:44). Take a look at the Parable of the Sower, the first lot are those who couldn’t care less about God’s word because they are so full of themselves from their self-idolatry. The second lot are those who are surprised to go under fiery trial for their faith (1Pet 4:12) because they are looking for an easier way out in life, but surprisingly for them, believing in the Gospel did not accommodate their sloth, and so their faith turned out to be nothing more than a damn farse. The third lot are sitting on the fence type, they do not know whether to put what the Lord thinks of them first or whether to consider what the world thinks of them first. So, they are never able to live out their faith, as their lives are something like being Ferdinand, that highly self-conscious bull in a bone-china crockery store. The fourth lot are the true believers, who put God first in their lives before everything, their family, friends & themselves. It so happens, they love the Lord so much that though they are given to selflessly love and be concerned about the people around them (Mat 22:36-40), the love they have for their neighbour and themselves is like hatred (Mark 10:28-30/John 12:25) compared to the love and zeal they have for the Lord (Luke 14:26).
O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
1 Pet 2
3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,”
8 and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
The above 2 pieces of scripture are provided for those who may argue that the seed which fell among the thorns are genuine Christians. The Word of God on the contrary says, these seeds never bear fruit because they are choked between two contradicting lifestyles… a biblical one & a worldly one, and so in their attempt to please the world and serve their own interest, Christ is not the rock on which their lives are founded and so they bear no fruit, fruit which serves as the evidence of the saving grace by which a person is saved through faith in Jesus Christ.
John 15 (Jesus speaking)
14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Luke 22 (Jesus is Speaking)
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Further, I would like to say that when the Bible informs the believer to count the cost, it is not from the perspective of the believer earning his/her way unto salvation. Salvation is 100% the finished work of Jesus Christ in the life of every believer, Jesus paid it all. So, when the Bible says one must count the cost, it is simply Jesus keeping us informed about the kind of life we are to expect in this fallen world. So, those who stick with Jesus (John 6:65-66) are only those whom God-the-Father has decreed to know him (Heb 8:11). Another consequence a practicing Christian faces is being handed over to Satan to be sifted, like Peter was, Job was sifted too, but they endured… how? It’s because Jesus was interceding for them (Rom 8:34) and God the Holy Spirit who was in them was greater than the god (Satan) of this world (1John 4:4). In this manner the Bible draws a picture of the Church that is built at the gates of this world/hades (Mat 16:18), because the spirit of Jesus that lives in the believer, is like the stronger man who plunders the house of Satan (Luke 11:21-22), and so the Church is pictured at the gates attacking a fortress built on a foundation of sand (Mat 7:26 & 21:44).
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
2 Cor 4
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Like it says in Luke 22:35, when Jesus sent out the 72 to preach the Gospel among wolves, they did not lack anything. So also, for the believer whom God has called unto Himself from the foundation of the world, he/she is gifted with the Perseverance of the Saints to pay every price in meeting that standard of the worshiper who worships God in Spirit & Truth (John 4:23-24). This is made possible for the believer, only in Jesus Christ for who’s name sake the believer willingly suffers but his/her affliction is momentary, preparing the believer for the eternal weight of heaven’s glory that is beyond all comparison. For in Christ, we are heirs of God and like Mat 13:44 says, we are willing to risk everything, even our lives for the glory of God and His beautiful Gospel.