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Oct 09, 2022

Take Up Your Cross

Take Up Your Cross

Passage: Luke 14:25-27

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Wisdom Of The Master

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: truth, heaven, worship, prayer, faith, jesus, sunday, god, sermon, cross, bible, gospel, hope, word, theology, grace, suffering, where is god, pain, spirit, the cross, believe, spirituality, study, jesus christ, the bible, lord, holy, bad things, bible study, grief, who is god, gods plan, book of luke, live music, follow god, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, burnt hickory worship, take up your cross and follow jesus, how are you

What does it mean to be a true follower of Jesus? We dive into scripture as we continue our sermon series in Luke looking at the wisdom of the master. We study Jesus’ teachings about carrying our cross and following him in order to be his disciple. What does it mean to take up my cross? We see that our beliefs need to be inline with Jesus and our will has to be aligned with his. We have to fully embrace the great commission and we must accept Jesus’ mission as our own as we are called to follow him. What does a life of full surrender look like for you? Where are your beliefs and will in light of Jesus’ teachings and desires? Are you following Jesus for comfort or for the cross? As always, we’d love to connect with you and answer any questions you have, take time to pray with you, and help you take the next step in your faith journey – burnthickory.com/next

Right now, just start praying. Our New York mission team is coming back today. They've had a great weekend. They've been up since Thursday at one of our church planters there. And it's been a really, really, really good trip for them to be with one of our supporting church plants there. Well, look, if you got a copy of scripture, I want you to jump with me back to the Book of Luke today. We're going to be in Luke 14 and Luke 9 today. Starting in Luke 14, ending in Luke nine. And we're going to jump back into some of the wisdom from the master. We've been in a series looking at these teachings of Jesus, looking at some of these miracles of Jesus, where He gives us some incredible wisdom, whether it be through a miracle or a teaching, for us to step out in our faith. So far through the Book of Luke, if you haven't been with us every week, that's okay. They're all standalone. We've watched Jesus define the difference between what it would look like to just have a self-righteous religious movement versus a true following of Jesus. That was week one. And we said, that really boils down to what is your foundation on? If your foundation is attached to Christ and He is what you're standing on, then your relationship will flourish. If it's on anything else, we said that you're on sinking sand. Week two, we dove into the idea of grace. And we said, grace is the unmerited favor of God and its grace that God gives us. We don't deserve it. It's nothing we've done. But we've now been called to live out of that grace and to be grace givers. We said that on week two. Week three, we saw Jesus in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. And I love this picture of Jesus just showing the disciples that He is the Lord overall. And He's not just Jesus. He is God, and he's the controller of all things, and we're all to live with this holy, reverent fear, as well as this intimate love of him. And we saw both of these sides just stand out with Jesus. And then last week we rolled into just the touch of Jesus, and we saw this healing and this resurrection last week where Jesus steps into the scene and shows that while we're broken, while we're sick, while we deserve death, that he is the giver of life.

Well, this week we're going to catch up with Jesus at one of the most popular times in Jesus's ministry. We're going to see this moment, but we're actually going to look at one of the hardest words or one of the biggest challenges that Jesus ever gives us. So, I want you to, in your mind, to be ready that we're going to see an incredibly hard challenge, but a warm invitation to follow him. And I want to lay it out before we get there. That that at the end of this message, I'm going to actually ask you to search your heart and to ask yourself if you have responded to this invitation. Have I responded to the invitation that Christ is about to give in what we're talking to? And if no, you haven't responded to this invitation, then I'm going to do everything but beg you to respond to becoming a follower of Jesus. But if you have responded to Jesus, I'm going to ask you through walking through this text to reexamine your lives and to see where you stand in some of the things that Jesus tells us here. And here's why I'm going to do this. Because if you fast forward to the end of Luke 14, Jesus gives an invitation to follow him.

Remember, we say this all the time that Christianity is a response of faith, something that Christ calls and we walk. All right, so here we go. Luke, 14, we're going to jump into the context. Luke 14 we're going to start in verse 25, just going to walk through some text. I'm going to give you some points and some questions. That's all we're going to do. Here we go. Luke 14:25 It says large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Now stop right there, because Jesus looks around and he sees that there was a lot of people around him, which this is encouraging for people that preach the gospel. Amen. When there's a lot of people and there's a lot of energy, you feed off that energy. Well, Jesus is doing this at the scene. You got to think in this picture, there's not hundreds of people around Jesus, Jesus. There’re thousands of people around Jesus in these small little town. There’re thousands of people that are following Jesus. In fact, this is one of the most popular times in Jesus's life. Jesus’ ministry is catching on. His message is being, Proclaim his reputation for miracles. We've already walked through a bunch of them, right? Has been just growing. And this crowd is gathering with him wherever he goes. He's like a superstar, athletic superstar or pro athlete or movie star. He can't go anywhere without a lot of people following after him. Also, one of the things I want to just note in this is that not only is Jesus a superstar, his message is catching on.

Now, the first 18 months Jesus dealt with his disciples, they were basically just followers of Jesus. They just follow Jesus everywhere Jesus went. Jesus did the work. Jesus did the miracles, Jesus did the talking, Jesus did the feeding. Jesus did everything they got themselves in trouble by not understanding a lot. But at about the 18-month mark, as they were walking with Jesus, Jesus sends them out on their first mission, let's call it their first intern mission, because it was kind of one of those “trial basis” for the disciples. He's like, Hey, you guys, listen, here's some power, here's some ability to do some things. You go out, preach my name, preach what we're saying here, then come back and talk to me. Well, they did that, and it worked. People followed so much so that Jesus sends them out with some other people again in a larger group. And it worked. So, all of this together, I want you to think about this. When Jesus was doing ministry alone, Jesus had to be in a place to preach the message for people to trust. Now the disciples are speaking on his behalf. The larger group of people that have been sent are speaking on his behalf. The miracles are catching on. And we have this huge popularity growth of who Jesus is. Everywhere Jesus goes, His approval rating is rising. Right? He's trending on Twitter. I mean, he's getting good coverage in the news. His stock price is up; however, you want to put it. That's what's happening right here on the scene. Keep going in verse 25, it says and turning to them, Jesus said, watch this. If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers, sisters, yes, even their own life. Such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Now that's heavy. That's not like Jesus is just like poof - be well, right? That's not like Jesus just calming a storm. That's not like Jesus giving us some love and some grace talk. This is heavy stuff. I told you, this is a tough challenge today.

Keep going in verse 33 and we're going to talk about it. Don't worry. He says this again in the same way. Those of you who do not give up, I like the word renounce there. Some of the, some of the versions use that. Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Now look, if you've got to copy scripture and you're an underliner, underline that phrase, everything you have. In fact, star the word everything. If you've got a digital copy, sorry, you've got to do the whole verse at once. I don't know what it is, but it's just how it works, right? Here's what that means. Simply put, I want you to write this principle down. Mothing is excluded from the rule of Jesus over his true followers. That's what that means. You can boil all of that down into the idea that nothing is excluded from the rule of Jesus of our lives if we're his true followers. Pretty self-explanatory, right? If Jesus is Lord, we follow Jesus. But let's look at that statement a little bit closer, and I want you to look at it through the lens of the disciples. Okay. We've done this almost every week where we're kind of peering over the disciple’s shoulders because it's important to know what Jesus is telling them. You have to know based on what I just said about going on in the context, you have to know when Jesus pulled this message, right? You have to know when Jesus said this, that the disciple was looked at Jesus and they were like, What are you doing? What are you doing? Think about it with me just for a minute. The biggest time at the biggest point at the most popular. At the best ministry, at the most fruit being produced. Jesus turns around and looks at the crowd and goes, You've got to hate people. You've got to hate people. You know, at this moment, the disciples are thinking, Wait a minute, Jesus, there is no way that we can keep up this momentum. There's no way we can keep up this movement. There's no way we can do this. If you keep telling people to hate their father, mother, brother, sister, wife, kids, siblings and even themselves. You know the disciples are in their minds, they're going, Jesus, we can't rally the troops to team Jesus if you're telling people to hate people. Just keep healing people, right? Just keep doing good. Just keep feeding people. Just keep doing miracles. Jesus, you cannot ask people to renounce their loyalties. That's crazy talk. But here's the thing. Jesus wasn't trying to sell anything. In fact, Jesus wasn't trying to win a popularity contest.

In fact, Jesus wasn't trying to build a surface level mega church following of people that did not know him and did not love him and did not walk with him. Quite simply, Jesus has a message. Listen close and he has an offer for salvation that is more valuable than anything else on this earth. And he offers it. But here's the deal. He offers it under his terms, and he offers it under his guidance. You see, Jesus is offering for people to follow him to truly follow him. So, here's my question for the day. What do you think it means to be Jesus' follower? What do you think it means to be Jesus' follower? And I want you to hold on to that question in your mind, because that's what Jesus is talking about in this text. What do you think it means to be his follower? Now, I have to ask that because in America, particularly in the South, we have most assuredly adopted some reduced form of Christianity or Jesus following. And for many of us becoming a Christian, quite simply just means that we just embrace a code of ethics or some morals or a lifestyle, and we're acting on some religious principles. But for Jesus, in this text, what He is showing us is that following him is so radical, it's so complete, that in comparison, everything else seems like hate. Now, stay with me, because this is important. By the way, I know the phrase hate father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, even your own life. I know that gets up in our craw a little bit. I know it does. And it did mine too, for years until I absolutely understood what Jesus meant here. See, what you've got to see here is Jesus is not telling you to hate anyone. Jesus is speaking comparatively. We know that Jesus’s nature is to love. His nature is to forgive. His nature is to give life. So, Jesus is not going to go against that nature. Jesus is speaking comparatively. He's using comparative language. And what Jesus is saying here is this in comparison to your relationship with him, your loyalty, your devotion should be so strong to him. Catch this, that every other relationship, if it were defined properly, would almost seem as if you hated them. Does that make sense? That you love him so much that everything else is so far down here, that from the outside looking in, somebody could go, Man, do you hate them? Because you give so much to that. You give so much to what it is.

Let me see if I can clear this up a little bit. How many of you how many of you have a pet? How many have a pet? I'm not talking about a cat. I'm talking about a real pet. How many of you have a pet? Right. Anybody? Anybody have a pet? All right. How many of your spouses have a pet? That's me, right? I don't have a pet. Melissa has a pet, right. Now, how many of you love your pet? You me be honest. You love your pet. A lot of people love pets. It's great. How many of you would say in comparison, though? I mean, you sacrifice for your pet, right? You give to your pet. Some of you do some major surgeries for your pet. Some of you fly to other states to buy pets. They've got them at the flea market. I don't understand. How many of you? How many of you would say that I got a pet and I love my pet? But in comparison to my love of my wife and my kids and my best friend, my pet doesn't even come close to that level of love. Now look, if you got to think about that, we got a whole other issue, right? How many of you would say, but in comparison, there's no comparison? Do you feel kind of what I'm stepping in right there, right?

That's what Jesus is saying here. That you can love these people, you can love, and you can do whatever with these people. But in comparison, it doesn't even come close. So, Jesus is saying that's the love, that's the commitment, that's the loyalty that I demand. That you and I, our devotion, catch this. Our devotion for Christ should be so high that even our kid's relationship with us could seem like hate. Even our spouse relationship could seem like hate. Now I know that gets all up in our little West Cobb, North Paulding kind of deal in our lives, right? Because a lot of our kids rule the house and that's just a whole other day, right? But here's what I'm saying. When people look at us, they should see that our relationship with Christ is so far above everything else in our life that there is no comparison to what we're loving. Jesus says that's how love is, and that's not where it is. Then, then we probably don't have any business saying that we're his followers. I told you this is strong. All right, we're following the text. Don't blame me. Blame the one who wrote it. All right. Luke, 14. Keep going, though, because Jesus clarifies this even more. Jesus says this, and whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 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? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying this person began to build and was not able to finish. Jesus looks at them. He looks at us. He says, Hey, listen, before you come to me, you need to count the cost. You need to ask yourself, Am I willing to go all the way? Do you know why? Because coming to Jesus is not something you do just to feel better about yourself. It's not something you do just to feel good or solve a problem or to fill a missing little space in your life.

We have to ask ourselves, am I ready to go the distance with the savior of the world? And I have to say this, because back then and today, there are many people that just follow Jesus so that he can help their marriage or save their thing or step into a situation and look all that is fabulous. That is great. That is an amazing byproduct of what Christ does. But it's not primary. Our relationship with him is primary. Do you? And here's why it has to be primary because you do realize that at some point in your relationship with Jesus, it's going to take you in a direction that your heart is telling you not to go? It's going to take you in a place where the rest of the crowd is not going. And at that point, you are going to ask yourself, am I ready to follow him then? Am I ready to walk with him then? And notice what Jesus says to kind of really sear this into our soul. And this is we're going to spend the most of our time today. Jesus says that following him means taking up our cross. It means taking over cross. Now, Jesus doesn't say it means taking up his teachings. It doesn't say taking up your moral code. It doesn't say taking up your best life now. Jesus says, if you want to be my disciple, you have to take up your cross and you have to take it up and you have to follow me.

So, what does that mean? I've heard that my whole life and up until not too long ago in my life, I'm not sure I really knew what it meant to take up a cross. I mean, did that mean I'm strapping on the four by fours and dragging down Due West Road? I don't know. But here's what I want to do this morning. I want to see what does it mean to take up our crosses. If that is a prerequisite to being a disciple, which is what we're reading, what does that mean for me? What does it mean for you? before we do that, though, we've got to see what it meant for the people that it was being written to. You see, for the first century Christians, when Jesus said, You've got to take up your cross, this was big news. This was big news. And here's why. Because at this point in the story, the cross was not a pretty ornament that you wore around your neck. It was not a symbol on your wall. It was not something in a stained glass. It was not something that gave us hope. The cross at this point was nothing but a tool of death. It was the electric chamber of the day. That's all that it was, right? It was. It was all it was is it was for death. So, when Jesus said, you've got to take up your cross, it meant something to these people. And it also wasn't symbolic language. This is not like this. Oh, yeah. You know, kind of take up your cross. No, it was literal. And here's how we know it was literal, because Christianity is built on a world of Christians being put to death on crosses. Jesus especially. Amen? So, when he said, Take up your cross, that was an incredibly scary task for these people. That was wrong. This is why the disciples were like, We're not winning a popularity contest if you are talking like this. Think about it. Nero, who was probably Caesar when Luke wrote this. Nero hated Christians so much that he arrested them, hung them on crosses, set their bodies on fire to illuminate his gardens at nighttime. Vespasian, the next Caesar, he sent troops in to desecrate the temple and he literally arrested so many Christians and put them on crosses. That history tells us, that for miles leading into Jerusalem, all you saw was one after another, after another, after another. Christians on crosses leading into Jerusalem. Think about the worst of them, Domitian. He was the next Caesar. He went into villages knowing that people would not bow down to him as Christians and purposely would go in and pop in just so he could arrest Christians, put them on crosses, or throw them into the Colosseum for sport. That's the context that Jesus is saying to these people, take up your cross. And here's what it meant to them. It meant, quite frankly, they could possibly lose every single thing they have in life, even their life.

But here's what Jesus is saying. It's worth it. It's worth it. Why is it worth it? Because we're looking at a little bitty blip on the radar of eternity, of what we're given for what Jesus is giving us. And you see, faithful believers have been doing this for 2000 years, and thanks be to God, they have. You know why? Because most of us are standing on their shoulders today of the sacrifices that they have made for us. So, when Jesus looks at them and says, take up your cross, it meant something. It meant something in their life. It wasn't just a pithy saying to them, it wasn't at all. But I feel the tension. Well, Matt, that was history. And it's not like that now, thanks be to God that it's not like that now. But I'll tell you this, the commitment Jesus is asking is not any different than the commitment He was asking. But for some reason we have slipped into the mindset of that commitment Jesus was asking those Christians is a little bit more than what He's asking of us. To which, Jesus would go, you're not getting the point. So, what does it mean for me and you to take up our cross? Man, I'm glad you asked that question, because I want to give you two things, right? Number one, write this one down. To take up my cross, means a complete self-surrender myself to who Jesus is. It's required of me, self-surrender. You say Matt, that's not matching up in my mind. Okay, let's do some work. All right, let's talk about the literal cross of Jesus. What did Jesus do to go on to the cross? He surrendered his will and became a sacrifice for my sins. The cross equals surrender, it equals surrender. Could Jesus had taken himself off the cross? That's the question. Could he? Yes. Could Jesus have called down legions of angels and destroyed everybody around him? Yes. Could Jesus have totally gone a different direction? Yes. But in the garden, what did Jesus do? He surrendered his will so that he could be the sacrifice for you. Now, in turn, what is he asking of us when he tells us to take up our cross?

He is asking me and you to live a life of self-surrender. Now I need to say this because man, I talked to so many people who say things like this. Yes, I believe Jesus is Lord. But Matt, I just for whatever reason, I just don't believe that that's what that's what this says. And when something in the Bible offends them, they come up with language like, well, yeah, you know what? I believe Jesus is Lord, but I just don't believe that. To which I just say. I don't say it, but I want to say it. I just should look at them and go, Then you don't understand what Lordship means. Because here's the deal. If Jesus is Lord, then I believe what He says. It's quite simple, right? And when I believe what he says, it means, I'm totally surrendering my life to Jesus.

So let me ask you this. Does that describe your relationship with Jesus? Is your relationship with Jesus described as, hey, listen, Jesus I'm yours? Here we go. Is there anything that is not from Jesus that you are not looking at Jesus going, Yes, here, I'm giving it back to you, Jesus. Let me, let me give you two things that kind of clarify this in your minds. Number one, have you brought all of your beliefs in line with Jesus' teaching? Have you brought all of your beliefs in line with Jesus' teaching? Now this one's tough. Just what I was just saying, right? Because sometimes we come upon things, it's just like, man, I just don't know if I can swallow that. But that's lordship. You see, if Jesus is Lord, I need to believe what He says, regardless of my feelings. You. You know that our feelings are irrelevant when it comes to what Jesus has asked us to believe? Do you know our family history is irrelevant when it comes to what Jesus asks us to believe? You know that our stance is irrelevant when it comes to what Jesus has asked us to believe. That's what Lordship means, how I feel about it. If I disagree with it, if I'm even angered by it, it's irrelevant in my life. Look, I've been a Christian for 38 years. 38 years, I've been a Christian so long that I get sore when I sleep now. Has anybody crossed this this thing in your lives? I didn't even do anything yesterday and I was sore when I woke up this morning.

38 years I've been studying this book, 38 years I've been in gatherings like this. 38 years I've been to school to learn this book for 27 years. Listen to me, I'm going to be vulnerable. I've been teaching this book, but there's still so much in this book that I don't fully get. I'm just going to be vulnerable. I know it's pastor appreciation and this may bring your view of me way lower, but I'm okay with that because this makes a point. There's even so much in this book that gets under my skin that I just look at God and go, God, I don't think I'd have done it that way. There's so much in this book. This one's going to. This is going get me disinvited from lunch today. Here it is. There's so much in this book that sometimes it just makes me mad. I'm just being honest. It makes me mad. But the question I've got to ask myself is, is he lord? Is he Lord or is he not? And can I get to the point where I trust Jesus even in the question? Can I just say yeah, I don't know, but this is you? This is going to affect everything, but this is you. Have you brought all of your beliefs in line with Jesus' teaching? Here's a second one. Have I brought my will in line with Jesus' desires? Have I brought my will in line? You see if I can get my beliefs and then if I can get my will in line, then my life is going to be pointing in that direction. Here's how I describe will most of the time. I described it in the past a lot by just saying, Hey, Jesus, I'm putting my yes on the table before you even ask. Before I even say it, yes, God, today I'm entering into your presence. I'm stepping in. I'm praying, spending my time in the Word and God here. Here is my yes today before you even ask it, I'm going to say yes.

That's what it means to submit your will to God. That's it. My will. Does it matter? Yes, Lord. Here I am. Another way that we've put this in the past is have I given Jesus a blank check for my life? Now, I know that's a dated thing. All right, you kids ask your parents what a check is right later on. But here's what a check is. You remember back in the day when you didn't know how much something cost and you trusted that other person, like really trusted them? What would you do? You would write out the check to their name, you'd sign the bottom of the check, and you would hand them the blank check, right? If you really trusted the person, I might add, right? And you tell them something like, Hey, just let me know when you fill it in. That's what God is asking of us. Do you know why? Because that person could have filled in the full amount for your bank account if they wanted to. You have surrendered your will to them. That's what God is asking us to do. But here's what most of us do. We go down to the CVS and we pick up a $25 gift card and we offer that to God, and we say, God, when you have used all of this money, that's all I got for you. You see the difference of will versus I'm giving it all to you. Jesus says, That's what I demand. That's what I want. That's what I desire. A blank check to your heart. And then Jesus says this going to cost you when you do this. In fact, go with me to Luke, Chapter nine. I want you to see some of these questions that Jesus asks. Luke 9 verse 57 says this As they were walking down the road, a man said to him, I will follow you talking to Jesus wherever you go. Jesus said, Well, foxes have dens and birds have nest, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head. Like I said, many people just follow Jesus for the miracle. Many people today are in that same boat following Jesus just for that stance.

But what if following Jesus leads you away from the earthly blessings? That's what He's saying right here. In fact, write this question down. Are you following Jesus for comfort, or are you following Jesus for the cross? Are you following him for comfort, or you following him for the cross? Jesus says to them, What if following me leads you to a place that you don't even have anywhere to sleep? Will you go now? Will you understand that I'm enough now? Man, I get it. This is not easy believeism. Probably going to have 100 plus people next week. But look, this is where it is, right? Jesus is looking at them and he's saying, Hey, am I enough? Am I enough? Even if you think you have the worst life, am I enough? Am I enough?

Well, it keeps going as if it could get worse. It does. Watch, he said to another man. Follow me. But he replied, First, Lord, first let me go bury my father. Jesus said him, Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God. Now it seems kind of harsh, right? The guy's like, Hey, let me at least give my father a proper burial. But that's not what it's saying. What it is saying, scholars tell us, is that this has nothing to do with paying respects or immediate burial. This guy's describing a guy that was afraid if he left his family home and went and followed Jesus before his father died, that his father would remove him from the inheritance and the inheritance, or the financial blessing was worth more than the invitation for eternal security with Christ. That's what he's saying. See this man saw his security in his finances well, well, well above his relationship with who Jesus is. Which led me to ask myself this week man, is there anything I'm putting my obedience, kind of well, am I limiting it in this? Is there anything I'm saying Jesus, I can't walk away from that? That's the point.

Is there anything Jesus has told me to stop doing that I'm just like, God, I don't know if I could stop that right now? We would be in trouble if we did that. Is there anything else telling me that I need to start doing that I'm not doing? This is the point that Jesus is making here. A true follower of Jesus will stop when Jesus says stop, will start when Jesus says start. Realizing that I am trusting Him with the results. That's what it means to take up your cross. Well, yes, even better. As if it can. It does, watch. Still another one said, I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family. Jesus replied. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service and the Kingdom of God. Again, it seems harsh, but Jesus is not saying, Hey, don't go say buy to your family so they don't send a search party out. Verse 62 is showing us this, there's a hesitation of not trusting that God is going to take you to a place that fulfills you more so than where your past was. That's what he's talking about right here. There's a concern here in this person that if they could just delay just a little bit and try to figure out what God's calling him to, then they could figure it out. But listen, delayed obedience is no obedience at all. We talked about this a couple of months ago in a whole message. So, let me just ask you today, are you living a life of delayed obedience?

Are you thinking things like, hey, when I get older, then I can follow him? When I get to this next stage, then I can follow him. When my kids get out of this season, then I can follow him. When I'm out of this financial situation, then I can follow him. That's looking back, right? That's looking at the present. And listen, Jesus says, hey, you can you can't have me and have delayed obedience. Think about it like marriage.

Let me see if I can drive this point home, then we'll move on. What if, when I asked Melissa to marry me right the first like eight months leading to the wedding, everything was fabulous. What if, like one month before the wedding I looked at Melissa, back 22 years ago and said, Hey, babe, listen, everything's great, everything's fabulous. I love you. But for the first three years of our marriage, I'm not going to live with you. You know what, I want to kind of keep my options open. I still got game. I want to keep things going right. I want to keep this thing. I want to keep some options open. What if I looked at her and said, but after that first three years, if nothing shakes out, maybe right? After that first three years, I'm going to move in with you then. And then I'm going to come in. Then we're going to be okay. Is that cool with you, Melissa? What do you think Melissa would have said to me, after hiring the hitman? What do you think she would've said? Right? She'd have been like. No. See you later. But here's the shame in this. That's where many of us live our life with Jesus. That's it, right? But I walked an aisle when I was seven. I went to church when I was this. I went to VBS when I was this. And God, you know what? There will be a day that I choose to buddy back up with you. He's like, Now we're not buddies right now. You see, Lordship is me looking at him going, I'm surrendered to you.

Number one, taking up your cross requires complete surrender. That's what Jesus did for us on the cross. But number two, taking up your cross, and this one's a lot faster, by the way. Taking up your cross means fully embracing the great commission. Means fully embracing the Great Commission. You say Matt, how are you tying this in with the cross? What was the cross? The cross was Jesus's way to save the world. And now when he looks at us and says, Take up your cross. It means this. I'm so fully submitted to him that now I am joining into his mission. You do realize that surrender is not a passive surrender. It is a surrender when you say I'm yours Lord, you are following after Jesus and the cross was the instrument to bring the Great Commission. Write this principle down, following Jesus means accepting his mission as your mission. Taking up your cross means you're accepting His mission as your mission. That's the mission. What's the mission? Jesus's mission was to save separated sinners. 2 Peter 3:9. Right. The Lord is not slow and keeping his promise as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all everyone to come to repentance.

Listen, that's God's will. That's God's will for Jesus and that's God's will for us. It is to bring people to a place that they can meet the resurrected Jesus. God doesn't look at this and just say, Hey, go live your life however you want to. No. When we're carrying our cross, we are submitted to him as Lord, and we are submitted to His mission as our mission. This is Matthew 28. Then Jesus said came to them and said, All authority on earth has been given to me. Therefore, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here's the deal. We cannot be fully submitted to Christ and not see that the Gospel has to be preached to the nations. I got it. I get it. Not every one of you are called to do what I do. But you're called to do something. Called to do something, and that something is to tell others about the saving grace of Jesus. The cross demands it. The cross demands it. Will you take up your cross? Some of you, for years and years and years and years you have heard that phrase take up your cross, take up your cross, take up your cross. But today the prayer is that the wisdom from the master seers into your soul, and you realize it's a surrender to him and it's a surrender to his mission. So, here's what I'm asking you to choose today. I'm asking you to choose between nominal crowd Christianity. That was the crowd. Or cross carrying Christianity. That's the disciples.

That's the disciples. That's what I'm asking. That is the invitation of Jesus today. Will you take up your cross? Will you choose to be true worshipers of Jesus? That are committed to your daily worship, committed to the public gathering of saints. Will I submit my will to that? Will I choose to be a witness for him using my talents and using my platform and using my gifts and my family and my workplace and my friends? Will I choose to be a servant? A cross carrying servant. Say yes Lord, here am I. Will I choose to be a steward and give what he so richly giving to me? Above all this, I ask you, will you surrender to Jesus? Look, I know some of you do not have a relationship with Jesus, and that is doesn't anger me. It just makes me plead because I want you to know what I know. And I want you to have what I have. And I want you to meet this Jesus that can give you life.

Dear Lord, today, God, we want to surrender to you. Lord Jesus, I just pray today that we take a step from nominal so-called quote, Christianity into cross carrying disciples that are following Jesus. God in these next moments of invitation God, I'm going to ask you just to ask you to sear some things into our souls. God, first of all, I just pray for people to meet you. I pray that all over this building that people are dealing with your Holy Spirit right now and you are calling them to a relationship. There is a place in their heart that knows they need to submit to you, to acknowledge Your Lordship, to allow you just to forgive them. God, there's people that need to take that step today. In just a second, I'm going to be standing over here to their right, my left, and God, I just pray for boldness in them. That as soon as they stand up, they would just walk over to myself or one of these other counselors. As we worship, we're not going anywhere for a few minutes. And they would just say Matt, I need Jesus. God, we'll do the rest. We'll walk them through what it looks like to surrender to you.

But God, I also know there's some others here that are just in some deep stuff. They need somebody just to lift them up to pray over them. God, we would love that opportunity today as well to do that. But God, there's many today just need to examine and ask themselves, am I carry my cross? Or am I just living cultural nominal Christianity? Thank you, Jesus. Challenge us in these next couple of minutes. It's in your name. We pray.

Amen.

Follow Along with the Message


Take Up Your Cross

October 9, 2022

Luke 14:25
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus…
Luke 14:25–27
…and turning to them he said: 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.
Luke 14:33
In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

PRINCIPLE: Nothing is excluded from the of Jesus over His true followers.

QUESTION: What do you think it means to be Jesus’ ?

Luke 14:27–30
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.’”

What Does It Require to Take Up My Cross?

1. Complete self .


Have You Brought All Your…

1. in line with Jesus’ teaching?

2. in line with Jesus’ desires?


Luke 9:57–58
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

QUESTION: Are you following Jesus for or a cross?

Luke 9:59–60
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:61–62
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

2. Fully the Great Commission.

PRINCIPLE: Jesus means accepting His mission as your mission.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Matthew 28:18–20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

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