Take up your CROSS
The most critical point in Discipleship with Jesus is when you Take up your Cross and Follow Jesus.
Mark 8:31 ESV, And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?
1. Why did Jesus add “Take your cross?”
First: We must deny ourselves;
Second: We must take up our cross.
To deny ourselves is to say “No!”
We must say “No” to our insistent, demanding, self-assertive ego. Living the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane: “Not My will, but Yours, be done.”
What is our CROSS? When our WILL God’s WILL CROSSES.
A. W. Tozer, “A notable heresy has come into being throughout evangelical Christian circles—the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need him as Savior and that we have the right to postpone our obedience to him as Lord as long as we want to!”
Dallas Willard, Great Omission, “vampire Christian.” One in effect says to Jesus, “I’d like a little of your blood, please. But I don’t care to be your student or have your character. In fact, won’t you just excuse me while I get on with my life, and I’ll see you in heaven.”
This teaching secession was do intense and so shocking that Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. Jesus said get behind me Satan. Peter had just said, "Spare yourself," and Jesus is saying, Peter that's a philosophy of hell.
Philippians 3:12-14, Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
2. The Philosophy of Satan
Peter in one moment has a divine revelation. The next moment is expressing
Take the easy way.
Take the easy path.
Escape the cross.
Matthew 4:8 NKJV, Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Satan is not saying, sing a song to me. Worship is such more than singing. Worship means that I give myself to Jesus. I serve Jesus. Still Satan's philosophy today, you don't need the cross. You don't need to deny yourself.
The path of discipleship is the path of self-denial.
The path of discipleship is the path of the cross.
I must come to the cross in my own life.
JOHN 21:18-19 ESV, "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, 'Follow me.'”
2 Timothy 4:10 “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”
Matthew 7:13-14 NLT, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
I'm not asking you to go on a walk in the park. I'm starting a revolution. You must take up your cross to follow me.
3. The Value of your Soul
Mark 8:36-37, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?”
Basic problem Humans is that we do not realize how valuable we are. Consequently, we make the most tragic mistakes. We are like a person who is legally heir to a vast fortune, but we sell off our entire inheritance for something incomparably less valuable:
To fully appreciate our real value as human beings, consider the unique and wonderful way in which Adam—the ancestor of our race—was created.
Genesis 2:7 TLB, “The Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person.”
The human was lifeless dirt until the BREATH OF GOD. Then the dirt was transformed into living flesh. His soul produced by uniting the spirit and body, became a unique, individual with personality. Capable of making decisions. I will or I will not with a body, soul, and spirit representing the TRIUNE GOD on Earth . .
You are VALUABLE.
4. The Miracle of Christ’s Redemption
James 4:5 NAS, “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”
Adam’s disobedience was terrible in its consequences but it brought to light nature that would otherwise never have been fully revealed: The depth of His love.
God has never given up on Adam and his descendants. He longs to bring us back to Himself.
Matthew 13:45 ESV, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
The merchant in this story is God. You are the Pearl of great value. Remember, it cost Jesus everything he had to buy you back to Himself.
2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV, For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
MAYBE you have never seen yourself as important.
Do you have a poor self-image?
Do you look back on a life of pain and disappointment?
Did you have a deprived and unhappy childhood?
Did you have a marriage that ended in divorce?
A Career that never materialized,
OR, Years wasted on drugs and alcohol.
Does your past and your future both convey the same message: FAILURE! Not to Jesus! He loved you so much that He gave up everything to redeem you.
Galatians 2:20 ESV, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Now see yourself as that pearl held in the nail-scarred hand of Jesus.
Now as far as God is concerned, your soul is worth more than the whole world.
That is why Jesus could say:
Take up your Cross.
Deny Yourself. Follow me.
Be obedient to me.
You are valuable.
What are you selling your soul for?
Until Jesus returns,