Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Luke 14:27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Jesus is truly the son of God who offers eternal life. He invites us to follow but if we do so He remains God. He expects that we relate to Him as God and not our personal Santa Clause. God calls us to have enough faith in Jesus to follow Him even if it costs our lives.
Those who began to follow after the resurrection had it tough. To follow Jesus meant living in the fallout of what other family & neighbors thought of Jesus. It meant a change of values and habits that came with the teaching Jesus wanted his followers to embrace. Initial followers were beaten, jailed, threatened, silenced and killed. Would they embrace His leadership enough to live the way he asked in the face of opposition?
Some religions look to kill those who disagree. Not true followers of Jesus. We follow Jesus not to make others pay, but with a willingness to pay ourselves. Last week we looked at the price Jesus requires of all who follow Him. Here are the main points:
CORE TRUTH: Following Jesus Requires Embracing a Life of Ultimate Sacrifice
Embrace the Death of Your Old Life.
Romans 6:6-7 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
Cross bearing means dying to the old life of sin. Baptism symbolizes this reality. In that moment we publicly acknowledge the our sinful life without Jesus is dead and buried through His sacrifice. We come out of the water symbolizing our new resurrection life in Him. Keep Following… as Jesus Confront & Kills sin in your life.
Embrace the Death of Your Acceptance & Achievement in this World.
Gal 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Cross bearing involves enduring rejection & opposition. Like the awkward person in the room, we find that we no longer fully fit in this world’s culture. Jesus transforms the driving passions and values of our heart. We become dogs in a cat lover’s world. Embrace your identity in Christ without compromising to gain the world’s affirmations. Keep Following… when other reject, shame or resist you.
Embrace the Cross of Difficulty, Loss & Death.
Phil. 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 2:17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
Cross bearing means enduring hardship. Following Jesus is a to the death commitment. In a time when religious liberty is shrinking in our own country many will be tempted to compromise Jesus’ place in their life. 2015 saw more Christian killed around the planet because of their faith than any year we know of in recorded history. Jesus told us to be ready for this. Keep following in the face of difficulty and life threatening danger.
Trust the Life Jesus Gives through the Cross.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies…” Cf. Gal. 2:20
Following Jesus is so worth it! The valley of the shadow of death comes before the table prepared in the presence of enemies and dwelling in the house of the Lord forever! Death precedes resurrection. The cross is where sin if broken, forgiven, cleansed. Cross is where wounds are healed. Cross is where mercy and grace overcome shame & brokenness. The cross is where Gods’ holiness is satisfied and people receive new life. The cross is where we are made new, born again.
My life is not of this world or in this world. I do not seek to find life here. I must so trust Jesus’ life that I am unhindered in following Him no matter what resistance, rejection or push back that comes as a result. I must set my heart, mind and life direction so fully on Jesus, that nothing draws me off course, slows me down or stops me from following Christ. Though none go with me, I still will follow! Will you join me?
Join us this coming weekend as we look at another Mark of a Jesus Follower.