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. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
We must not have a Christianity where Christ does all the dying. ~ A.W. Tozer
Have you ever sat through a sermon feeling like the Pastor prepared and wrote it just for you?
That was my experience yesterday.
I was already thrilled to be 'home' again after a few weeks of traveling and worshiping with believers in another church. I was craving worship through song, encouragement from the body, and a sermon that would knock me off my feet. And the Lord did not disappoint!
Some moments found me writing furiously in my journal while others had me staring intently at my pastor as I absorbed every word, every verse, and every truth spoken. How I needed this message!
I am highlighting some of my notes here, and trust the Lord will use them to encourage someone who needs to hear this as much as I did!
The nature and cost of true discipleship.
Deny - Debate - Declare
Jesus humbled Himself unto death, so He calls His people to do the same.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8
The Chrisitan life is not about US!
It is about JESUS!
SIN = an assertion of self against God and rejection of the Lordship of Jesus.
Sin says, "You can't tell me what to do!"
Salvation takes the "I" away because we are no longer orbiting around SELF, but have our eyes fixed wholly on the Savior.
*** "I" "I" "I" canNOT be the vocabulary of the believer! ***
DENY = Refusal to be driven by self, denial of autonomy and self-sufficiency
"Take up your cross and follow Me."
It is a daily martyrdom.
We must deny self - our desires and demands - in order to follow God wholeheartedly without distraction or wavering.
"Lord, today I give You my body, my mind, and my heart. Do with me what YOU will!" - this must be our daily prayer!
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1,2
"The problem with a living sacrifice is that it is always trying to crawl OFF of the altar!"
When Self tries to win the far of flesh vs. spirit, we have to fight with TRUTH.
The battle is often fought in the MIND.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ ... II Corinthians 10:3-5
*** PREACH TO YOURSELF! ***
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
Biblical discipleship is BOLD and demonstrative!
Live your Christianity without shame or fear!
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38
We must stand FIRM for the truth of the Gospel.
We must DEFEND the Gospel.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Romans 1:16
We are children of The KING!
So we must ACT LIKE ROYALTY!
I Peter 2:9