What is the cost of discipleship?

The following outline my notes that I used when speaking at a conference on discipleship. Please feel free to use them and modify them. Discipleship is an important aspect of the Christian church as well as the Christian believer. 


  1. The cross was not a spectacle, a mere event where a man died a gruesome death.  It was the most important event in history.  It is where God in flesh bore our sins and died for us so that we might be redeemed, and escape the consequences of our sins.  This simple truth needs to not only be understood but experienced.  Once experienced, it should have an effect on you.
  2. It should motivate you to action.
    1. Don’t sit down and do nothing just as the Roman soldiers did.
      1. “And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there,” (Matt. 27:35-36).
  3. Discipleship means action. 
    1. Unbelievers know about Jesus, but it does not change their lives. 
    2. Believers know Jesus and their lives are changed.
  4. Discipleship is a decision.  It is a way of life.
    1. To follow Jesus, to be like him, is to decide to follow Jesus, to decide to be like him.
  5. Being a disciple of Jesus means to count the cost.
    1. “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:26-27).
      1. Asking God to change you
      2. Asking God to use you
      3. The difficulty associated with God doing it.
      4. It means knowing what you're getting into for the long term as you commit yourself to Christ in all areas for your entire life.
  6. Surrendering to the preeminence of Jesus
    1. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me,” (Matthew 10:37).
      1. Jesus must be the one who is most important in all areas.
  7. Dying to yourself
    1. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24).
      1. This denial, if complete, is a high cost.
      2. if we follow Jesus, we follow him to the cross where he died.
      3. Some deny themselves just a little. Some deny themselves a great deal. Some deny themselves completely.
  8. Suffering
    1. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” (1 Pet. 2:21).
    2. Suffering is never comfortable. We seek the opposite of suffering. Yet, Christ tells us to follow in his steps mean that we may very well suffer as well.
  9. Giving up your possessions
    1. “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions,” (Luke 14:33).
      1. It means to be willing to give up everything.
      2. To consider all your possessions as belonging to God
        1. Easier to give them up.
      3. This includes your money.
  10. Being active in making disciples
    1. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19).
      1. thing a disciple of Jesus does not mean sitting around and doing nothing. It means being active, making disciples.
      2. Making disciples can be through Bible study, open-air evangelism,  praying for those who witness, etc.
      3. There are different levels and means by which the Christian body can support discipleship activity.


The cost of discipleship means giving up on your own desires as you submit them to the will of God through the person of Jesus. It means that you do what is right in his eyes even if it costs you here on earth. Furthermore, every Christian should count the cost of what it means to be a disciple and not just a so-called Christian that gets lip-service to the Christian faith.



About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.