Have you ever really wondered, what does God really want from me? I mean, what does it mean to be a disciple, a follower of Christ?
I mean, the way that Jesus would define it? Well, that's today. You don't want to miss it. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. I'm Dave Drury, and we're in the middle of our series, Real Discipleship, how Jesus chose to change the world. Chip's been walking us through the Gospel of Mark, revealing what Jesus had to say about genuine, authentic disciples. So if you missed any part of this series, catch up anytime at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. Now, before we begin, I want to remind you, this is a classic Living on the Edge series that Chip taught many years ago.
So he's going to sound a little different than what you're used to. With that, let's join Chip for part two of his talk. So here's the temptation. Peter was being used by Satan to tempt Christ, to tempt Jesus to come up with a plan that would eliminate the cross. When's the last time that anyone offered Jesus the kingdom and followership minus the cross?
Remember when it happened? Satan did it. Remember, he said, hey, look at all these kingdoms.
Tell you what, let's forget God's plan. You know, you dying, that's not really a good deal. I'll tell you what, I'll have them all worship you if you'll only do what? And Jesus said, no way.
I don't cut deals. See, if you really want to get down to how this affects us, you know what Peter really wanted? Peter had a true salvation knowledge of Christ. He knew who he was, and you know what he wanted? He wanted Jesus to now, as his new Savior, come in and fulfill Peter's agenda. Isn't that really what he's asking? What he wants is, I want Jesus without the cross.
And trust me, it sells. See, I want you to make me a head honcho over the Romans. I want you to make my marriage work out. I want you to straighten out my struggling children. I want you to help me through these difficult issues. I want you to get my finances back in order.
I want you to make me happy and fulfilled. And Jesus says, you know, I've been God of the universe for some time now. And see, the way this works, Peter, is I say what happens, and I tell you where I'm going, and you get the choice of whether following me or not. And where I'm going, there's a cross. There's also crowns. But I'm not going to lie to you. To get to the crowns, you've got to go through the crosses.
They always go together. And what Peter basically was saying was, I want you, Jesus, but I don't want the road that has crosses and suffering and rejection and possibly death. I don't want that part of Christianity.
And Jesus rebukes him with the hardest rebuke in the New Testament and says, there is no other Christianity, there's no other road, any place, that has to do with the real Jesus Christ that doesn't have crosses. And we would be good to hear that today. The same girl that I thought I might marry at one time, you know, we got pretty serious. You never know how serious it is, but you know, you're 20 and seems real serious then. And, you know, she visited my house and I visited her house and she came up with this idea. She said, you know, that house right across from my folks has a white picket fence and my dad rents that out and we've talked and I've told him we're serious and his plan is that we could come to this small town and we could live there happily ever after and you wouldn't have to worry and he's, you know, kind of a big guy in the community and you could get a good job.
It's kind of a nice package deal. And then she said, you know, this thing about being a Christian, do you have to be a disciple? Now this is the same year where my spiritual leader is saying, are you willing to go for broke or not? And then the girl that at least as best I can say I love is saying, you know, let's eliminate the cross. You know, let's just have this nice, happy, comfortable life. Let's get out of the commitment side of Christianity. And, you know, we went our separate ways and we never had a big argument.
We never had a big fight. I had to choose between the Jesus with the cross or playing like I had Jesus without it. Where are you at? Where are you tempted? Do you want the Jesus who can just kind of work your life out and make things nice or do you really want the Jesus who says, if you really want real crowns, supernatural power and impact and intimacy with me, it means you'll suffer.
It means you'll be rejected and it means in many parts of the world and possibly here later that you may die. I wonder if the average Christian were Star Trek transported into China today. And if we had to line up and they said, okay, how many Christians are there? Oh, maybe we'd all raise our hands.
Great. You line up against this wall. We shoot you.
The people are not Christians. Get in this wall. Which, which wall would you get up?
It's not hypothetical. Which wall would you line up against? Jesus is saying on the front end, you want to be my follower? Push all the chips to the front of the table.
This is a Fisher cut bait. You've seen the miracles. You know, I love you. You know, I have power.
You've seen, I care for you. You know, I'll feed you. I'll come to you. When your life's in a storm, I'll come.
I'll do. But this is a call to lordship. Now, notice how the call intensifies now. The third question, now we know where he's going. Peter's not real excited about it.
Quite honestly, a lot of times neither are we. And he asked you and I, are you willing to follow me? Are you willing to follow me on this road? There's not a lot of Christians that want to go down this road.
See, we falsely think our way is a better way. Let's listen because he's going to give us three requirements to follow him and then he's going to give us three of the greatest reasons you'll ever hear to follow him with all your heart. Let's start with the requirements.
He outlines them in verse 35 through 38. For whoever wants to save his life, not his physical life, that would be bios, we get our word biology from it, but this is whoever wants to save his inner life, his real life, the seed of emotions, we get our word for psychology, suke is the word here. Whoever would want to save your life, your real life, the real you, will lose it. But whoever, he goes on to say, will lose his life for my sake, will save it.
Now, just before that, that goes on to the reasons, but listen to the requirement. If anyone would come after me, you want to follow, the word means to desire, look at the requirements before we get into the other. He must A, negative command, deny himself.
It's generic. It means for a woman, deny herself. This word means to say no to self-interest, to say no to selfish ambition, to say no to earthly security. It is to deny yourself, contrary, contrary word. It means sacrificially, say no to you being the center of your world and making decisions through the grid of, will this make me happier, healthier, wealthier, wiser, which is how we tend to make our decisions. Will this make me more secure, more successful?
Will this give me greater prestige? He says, you and I have to say no to that. That's tough because unconsciously we say, I've got to have this. I've got to be here. I've got to have this kind of influence. I've got to be married or not married.
I've got to have so many kids in order for me to be happy. And he says, you and I need to call a major time out, get serious with God and say, look God, I choose willfully. It's a tense that says at a point in time.
I choose at this point in time in my life to say no to my dreams and agendas for my life. And now the positive and take up your cross. Also, the tense is at a point in time and that's the positive to say no to self-interest and to say yes to your agenda and your will for my life. Notice he didn't say to take up his cross. You don't need to go get a cross and walk around and hope you die from it.
This isn't some masochistic text. What was the cross for Jesus? It was the will of God.
That was God's will for his life. He wants you to take up your cross. You know what your cross is? It's not, you know, dealing with an aching back. It's not a mother-in-law that is giving you problems.
It's not financial setbacks. Your cross is the will of God. The cross is I want to do God's agenda instead of orchestrate life to get my agenda.
That's what the cross is. And he says negatively you have to say no to that and you have to say yes to him. It's like writing a check and you put your name on the bottom. For me, I write Chip Ingram and on the top I say God you fill it in. You fill in whether you want me married or not. You fill in where you want me to live. You fill in what kind of job. You fill in my cars or lack of cars. You fill in the relationships. You do whatever you want to do. I trust you.
I trust you. He's saying absolute loyal commitment to me and my agenda. Take up your cross for what? For me and the sake of the gospel.
These are strong words people. And then the next part is in the present continual tense and follow me. It means to start following and continue to follow on with him. And you know I did a little research on this.
What's interesting? This is not a picture of following behind him. He's saying follow me on this road in fellowship together and walking side by side. Come and make a decision to follow the path that I'm on.
And what was the path that Jesus was on? God, I don't want to go to this cross but nevertheless not my will but yours. Choose to do God's will like I've chosen to do the Father's will.
My presence, my intimacy, my empowering will be with you all along the way. This is a radical call to sacrifice and commitment of one's absolute life to the person and the purpose of Jesus Christ. It is not unlike the marriage commitment that we make. Isn't that basically what we do in a marriage? Isn't that what it is? Don't you say I make a radical commitment?
Say no to all others? It's for life. It's out of love. It's to one person and it's for better or for worse.
This is what Jesus is asking if you would desire to come after him. Had a good friend. In fact, he was the best man in my wedding.
Good guy. He's been a pastor in a small little community church in the rural parts of Ohio and it's really been frustrating. He come from an ethnic background and he just does not fit there and he's got the kind of background and education that there are ministries that God could use this guy in a mega way. And so he's dealing with that and we got talking and as we were talking he says, Chip, you know, gosh, I'm going to relocate. I said, what do you think God wants you to do?
And I'll pray. He said, well, I can only relocate to the southeastern part of the United States. So what do you mean? He said, well, my in-laws are real close to their daughter and now that we have a baby and they only live an hour away and we can never move beyond this area here or move this area here or that area here because they have to be so close to him. And, you know, I wouldn't say this to someone off the street. I know this guy.
I love this guy. And I looked him straight in the eye and said, I said, brother, you got a lordship problem. I said, you don't ever come to God and you tell him what part of the United States you want to live. You don't ever come to God and tell him whether you're going to be married or not. You don't ever come to God and tell him you have to have this job, this job, this job, or this kind of house. You don't ever come to God and call the shots. I said, brother, if you want to hear from God, you better come to him with your hat in your hand and say, Lord, I'm willing to do and go wherever. And until you get there, you won't hear because that is what Jesus is talking about.
Now, hopefully at some of this point, some of you are saying, oh my gosh, this sounds kind of scary. Now, let's think this through. He's asking for absolute commitment, just like to a marriage partner, but he's the God of the universe. Man, alive.
Here's the reasons. Verse 35, for whoever wants to save his life, and I've already explained this because I jumped ahead, will lose it. But whoever will lose his life will save it. He's saying, here's a philosophy of life.
Here's a practical illustration. If you try and orchestrate your own life and live out your own agenda and get all you can, he said, what you're going to end up is a loser. He said that if you will absolutely follow me and give your life away and serve sacrificially and let me call the shots, you'll be a winner. He's saying the only road to ultimate fulfillment is this way.
It's a paradox. The way up is down. The way to get is to give is to be a radical, sacrificial Christian.
He said that's where true fulfillment is. If you don't believe it, go to a rest home. There's only three kind of people in rest homes. People who don't know why they're there and don't know much about life and it's very sad. And there are people who've given their life away and they're rich, winsome, and the great majority of them are believers. And they have this peace and energy and they are people who visit them and there's people who've tried to get all their life and they've manipulated children and they've guarded money and they've been selfish. They are bitter, wicked, angry people in rest homes. If you've ever never been around an old, bitter person, you have never lived.
And you know what you need to understand? If you try and do it your way, you will end an old, bitter person. You'll lose your life. If you give it away, if you follow him with unreserved passion, you will find your life. Second reason.
First one's practical. This is logical. He says, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, become financially well off, and yet forfeit his soul, his inner man, his real life, his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
He uses three commercial economic terms there. And here he's saying is that it's the wisest road in light of eternity. When you get an eternal perspective and see that your life is going to be balanced not by how much you own or what you have or what people think or how much prestige or how you dress, all that jazz that we're all convinced is really pretty important down deep. When you can look at that in light of eternity, he says, like how much is eternal life worth? When you stand before God on judgment day, would you give a million for it? Two million, five million, 50 cents? He's saying, look at this.
The wisest step you'll ever take both now and for later is what? Absolute radical commitment to him. Boy, the picture of that, I don't know how many have seen, have you ever seen the Howard Hughes, story of Howard Hughes? You talk about a guy who gained the whole world and lost his. Man, he was a weird dude.
And by the very end he was in the dark and had these long fingernails and couldn't touch anybody and he had no relationships and died a decrepit man who owned probably more than anyone. That's the picture the Bible paints. Third reason is this. First is practical, the next is logical, and the last one is an issue of the future. If any man or anyone is ashamed, shrinks back, unwilling, is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the world that we live in, the Son of Man, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels. The reason to follow Christ, it's the only road to ultimate fulfillment. It's the wisest road in light of eternity. And this last one, it's the essential road in view of future judgment. The day will come people when you and I will stand before the Messiah. And what do we start out saying?
You will make some decisions that will significantly affect the entire outcome of your life. And you're going to stand before Jesus and I'm going to stand before Jesus and he is coming back and he's going to look you in the eye and he's going to say not just, did you know me? But he's going to ask you, what did you do with your life? And for some people, this is not going to be a happy meeting because they were ashamed and they shrunk back and they lived their agenda instead of God's. And Jesus will be ashamed of you.
That's a scary thought. If Jesus Christ would walk up to you today and look you in the eye and say, who do you say that I am? Can you say you're my Savior? If not, pray right now and say, come into my life.
Forgive me. I've sinned. Second question is if he asked you, well, you've heard if you follow me, there'll be suffering, rejection and possibly death, but a crown, are you willing to follow on my road with me? Are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross for me and the gospel? What are you going to do?
What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Before we go any farther today, I want to pause and just take a moment with you very privately. You know, this question of the Lordship of Christ, being willing to follow him no matter what has become actually more critical in the days that we're living in than ever before. You know, as little as a few years ago, you could say, yes, I love Jesus and I follow him and it really matters to me.
And actually, no one gave you a hard time. But now you identify as a Christian and just for saying that you love Jesus, just for saying some things that Jesus said about marriage or gender or life, you can be called a hater and be persecuted. So let me ask you, are you wavering or are you committed? Do you believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life? And if so, does your behavior say that? Does your time say that?
Does your money say that? This isn't a guilt trip. This is the God of the universe, as you heard today, promising a life that's really life and giving a reward that's beyond measure both now and forever. But there is a price to pay. There is no crown without the cross. Jesus' will for your life is that you would be committed to him without reservation, that you'd be all in, that whatever he would say, the answer is already a yes, Lord, I'm willing. Doesn't mean that it feels good.
Doesn't mean that you won't be afraid. But if you've been wrestling with this, I'm going to ask you right now, wherever you are, and if possible, to even bow your head and close your eyes and respond to the truth. Lord Jesus, I need you desperately. I know that I'm a follower of yours, but I know you're not the Lord of my life.
You're a part of my life, but I'm running my life right now, and I want to stop. And I want to tell you on this day that whatever you want me to do, I will do it. Wherever you want me to go, I will go. I'm committed to you and your plan as outlined in your word. Lord, I'm committed to your church. I'm committed to making you the center of my life and boldly and courageously sharing with others that I love you, that I believe in you, and that my hope is in you both now and forever. Great word, Chip.
Thanks. Well, if you're looking for some help in recommitting your life to Jesus and developing a deeper relationship with him, we have a great resource for you. It's Chip's series, True Spirituality, Becoming a Romans 12 Christian. Through his teaching, you'll discover a clear blueprint to become a genuine follower of Christ. And besides the broadcast, let me encourage you to order the book or get the small group resources.
There's a lot of ways to experience the foundational truths found in Romans Chapter 12. To learn more about all the series resources for True Spirituality, go to specialoffersatlivingontheedge.org or on the Chip Ingram app. Well Chip, on that same idea of helping us grow deeper in our faith, could you talk a little bit about a resource we developed back in 2020 called Daily Discipleship with Chip? I think it would really encourage our listeners to hear how this tool is impacting lives everywhere.
I'd be glad to, Dave. Boy, what a privilege it was to literally walk through whole chapters of the Bible and do it virtually and do it personally. Now as I consider the impact of those two years, I'm grateful for Living on the Edge team and the supporting technology that allowed the Daily Discipleship to become possible and successful.
We had over 150,000 people participate so far. Second, I'm humbled by the testimonies of people experiencing spiritual renewal, of addressing issues in their lives, rebuilding marriages. I got to hear stories of people gathering their kids around or streaming with other people from other cities as I got a chance to mentor them in God's Word. And third, I'm invigorated by the magnitude of God's grace and power as He birthed this tool at a time of great necessity. When people's lives were shut down, when they didn't know what to do, it just blew my mind to meet with them personally and hear that instead of just podcast or teaching or thanks for the information, they were getting into God's Word for themselves and they began to write me and share with me how they're hearing God's voice, they're walking with God, they're making decisions.
But for us to continue with this level of technology and investment, it's extraordinarily expensive. And here's my request. If you did any of the Daily Discipleships or if you've met someone that's made a difference in their life, would you just pray about giving a gift today so we can keep doing what we've been doing to mentor people one on one? And right now, there couldn't be a better time because every gift that you give from now to July 7th will be doubled dollar for dollar. I can't wait to make the next Daily Discipleship, and I sure need your help.
Thanks so much. Well, if God's been ministering to you through Living on the Edge and you want to get in on supporting us, now would be a perfect time because thanks to the generosity of a group of ministry partners, every gift we receive will be doubled between now and July 7th. To send a donation, call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003, or go to livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap donate, and thanks in advance for doing whatever God leads you to do. As we close, you know a great way to get plugged in with all of our resources here at Living on the Edge is through the Chip Ingram app. There you can listen to past series, sign up for Daily Discipleship, and much more. Let us help you experience God in a new personal way, starting today with the Chip Ingram app. Well, until next time, this is Dave Drewy saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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