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All In - Mark 8:34-38 - Mercy Hill

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church
The Truth Network Radio
April 1, 2023 8:00 am

All In - Mark 8:34-38 - Mercy Hill

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church

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April 1, 2023 8:00 am

When it comes to following Christ, are we all in? If we are being honest, many of us want what we perceive are the benefits of Jesus without the cost of what it means to follow Him.


All right, we praise God again at all of our campus for what he's doing through Port City Church. You know at Mercy Hill, we are a church that believes that we want to make an impact for the sake of the gospel across the nations. We believe that in order to do that, that the church is God's plan A for reaching the nations with the gospel and there is no plan B. Which means that if we're gonna get the gospel to the ends of the earth, it's gonna go on the backs of people that are willing to be sent out and go and plant a church and go somewhere they've never been to be able to share the gospel with people who may have never heard. So we praise God for people that are willing to go for over 200 people here in the gospel this past weekend in a place where last week 200 those 200 people may not have been. And so we praise God for what he'll do in the future and we want to continue to pray for Pastor Jeremy and their team up there. Hey, if you got your Bibles today, if you want to turn to Mark chapter 8, Mark chapter 8, we just finished our series last week, Jesus is Better. And so we're jumping into a new text that's just for this weekend.

We'll be here together for just a few minutes today. So if you got your Bibles, if you turn there, the concept that we're talking about today is being all in. It's being all in. Now a question for you, maybe you don't need to answer this, but if you're like me, I wonder how many of us tend to do things halfway? How many of us have had moments where we're like, man, I'm really doing this halfway. I think for me this this shows up in some some different areas of my life. Specifically, you know, there's this tension that I kind of live in in that I enjoy traveling with my wife. I enjoy going and like finding some new places to go and just kind of, you know, getting out there and exploring and, you know, just new experiences and stuff, but I'm also really cheap. And so there there's like a balance in that of like, okay, we want to go places, but we don't want to pay to stay there.

And so, you know, we're we're like trying to figure out. So finally, you know, for Christmas last year I got her tickets to a concert in Tennessee. And so over the last week we went to this this concert in Tennessee and I found this place.

I'm not gonna name it because you don't want to know the name. But the last part of it said Lodge and Retreat Center and I'm looking online. I'm like Lodge and Retreat Center.

It's got to be great. It's up in the mountains. This Lodge and Retreat Center had a couple of pictures that looked kind of vague, but looks great from from what they were, right? And so I'm looking at it. I'm like, man, this is this is a great deal.

It's a great deal and I booked this this place, this Lodge and Retreat Center. We get up there, we get in the lobby and there's this couple that they start looking at us. They're like, man, give us this weird look. And they lean over. They're like, have you checked in yet?

And I'm like, no. And they said, check your room for bedbugs. And I'm like, so there are two rooms. She's like, we have two rooms that have had bedbugs in them. And the guy comes in there, the manager walks in, starts talking to the guy that's there. This husband is just like irate, angry.

He's like, everybody's going to know this and everything. And I need a refund. There's bedbugs. The manager tells him this. He says, sir, we cannot give you a refund until we confirm that those are indeed bedbugs. And I'm like, he tells me, he says, sir, I don't care. I don't care if it's an anthill or scorpion or bedbugs.

It's bugs in my room. I want a refund. So we immediately we immediately walk out the door. I was like, we've lost our money. We're not getting this back.

We end up spending a lot more money on a place, because when you're trying to find a place without bedbugs, it seemingly costs more for some reason. But I learned my lesson of you can't do some things halfway, right? You can't be half in on things. Now, I say that I think there's things in our lives that we do halfway. How many unfinished books do y'all have laying around? How many interests do you have? Hobbies that have flamed out, right? You think about this, how many diets? And we don't need to raise our hand on this, right?

Diets that have not hit their goal. OK, but think about this, how it also spills over into our spiritual life. Think about thoughts about God that get distracted by social media. Think about going to church when we feel like it.

Think about serving if it's not too tiring. Reading our Bible if I don't sleep late. Considering placing faith in Christ or considering baptism, but it's always someday.

Living as a good person without letting our co-workers know that we're Christian. You see, we have, if we're not careful, we have this tendency to live this halfway life, this life that acknowledges Jesus in eternity and his church, but fails to experience the fullness of it because we failed to commit fully to him. If we're being honest, many of us, we want what we perceive are the benefits of relationship with Jesus without the cost of following him. In the Bible, we actually see a radically different call. We see that following Jesus is costly, but it's worth it.

It's costly, but it's worth it. The concept we're going to see is there's no halfway toe in the water salvation. You don't see that in scripture. Jesus calls us to be all in. And my hope for you, some of you are here and you say, hey, I've been a believer for a long time.

I trusted in Jesus years and years ago. And maybe that's your story. My hope for you is that this may reawaken something in you, maybe reawaken.

Hey, there's a cost to this, but it's worth it and remind us of the fact that it's worth it. And maybe some of us are here and you're like, hey, I'm here and I'm just considering the claims of Christ. And I've been thinking about it.

I'm not really sure what I believe about it. Well, my hope is that this would maybe awaken something in you, awaken something that would change your life forever. So turn with me in your Bibles again, Mark Chapter eight, we're going to jump in. We're going to read the whole text through eight thirty four to thirty eight. And then I'm going to give a little bit of context as to what's going on. We got two points that we'll walk through as we walk through the text and then we'll have an application for our time this weekend. Let's read Mark eight thirty four. The words will be on the screen.

You can read along with me. And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself. Somebody say deny and take up his cross. Somebody say cross and follow me forever would save his life, will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospels will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Someone say soul. For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the son of man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy angels.

All right. So we're dropping right here in the middle of Mark Chapter eight. OK, so I want to give us a little bit of context because I'm assuming that maybe you're not in your Bible reading plan where you just finished Mark Chapter eight and you know where everything is, what's going on here. So throughout the book of Mark, right, everybody is trying to figure out what is going on with this guy named Jesus. OK, who is Jesus?

Right. He's doing these miracles. He says he forgives sins and people don't know what to make of Jesus. You know, some people, they say he's a prophet. Some people say he's a blasphemer. But Jesus gets to this point and he's trying to he's asking his disciples and getting them to the point of asking this question. Who do you say that I am?

It's a question we all have to answer. Who do we say that Christ is? So Peter, you know, the boldest knucklehead of the group.

Right. Peter says you are the Christ. You are the Christ, the son of the living God. And Jesus says, Peter, you are right in this Christ, meaning the promised Messiah, the one who would make all things right, the one who would establish God's kingdom with his people. Peter gets it right.

But what happens next is a bit surprising. You see, Peter assumes that if Jesus is king, then that means power. That means victory, specifically likely victory over the Romans who were ruling at that time. Peter's thinking about what it will be like to rule with Jesus over Jerusalem after they raise up an army and they kick Rome's butt.

That's what he's trying to do. He's trying to think, hey, I can I can conquest here. But Jesus turns his thoughts upside down. He tells the disciples that the path to victory is not through conquest, it's through suffering.

It's through suffering. And then Peter, the knucklehead that he is, just like the rest of us, he has the ignorant boldness to rebuke Jesus, right, to basically just tell Jesus, hey, you don't know what you're talking about, Jesus. I actually know better here. I'm like, that is really bold.

I don't think I'm that bold. All right. Jesus corrects him. He rebukes him, right? And he tells him that he needs a whole new way of thinking, not man's way, but God's way, right? As we think about this, the problem is that Peter was actually taking what he thought he knew of Jesus and making a plan for how Jesus would operate based on his ideas.

We're not guilty of that already, right? The problem is that his ideas of Jesus didn't align with the actual plan of Jesus. It wasn't what he thought it was going to be. Have you ever had that moment where you're like, this is not what I thought I was getting into? I'm not going to ask you to raise your hand, but if you've ever signed up for a free vacation that you only had to do a timeshare with, like a timeshare little talk with, you signed up for something that you really didn't know you were getting into, right?

You know, they're not letting you out of there without like half your wallet, you know? So as you think about that, there's a lot of times we've gotten to things we didn't realize we were getting into, didn't know it was going to be this way. You see, when we come to Jesus with these preconceived notions of what it's like to follow him, often these thoughts are ideas that we've been fed by bad theology, by consumerism in America. We think if we go to church, if we give some money to God, that he'll bless our lives with comforts, with promotions, with a family that just sits around in the fire and sings Kumbaya.

Like if we just do that, then that's what we got to get back, right? And then life hits us, a ton of bricks, and we think, well, this isn't the Jesus that I signed up for. And this is one of the reasons why it's so important to understand the call of Jesus so we don't get mad at Jesus by holding him to a promise that he never made.

And we have a realistic expectation of what life with him looks like. And this lands us in the passage right here, Mark, chapter eight, where Jesus calls the crowd over and he's beginning to tell them to consider the call. Consider the call. OK, he's calling us as well today. Consider the call.

This is what it looks like to follow me. I'm calling you in. Verse 34 says, in 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.

So anyone would, if anyone would, the call is to all of us. The call is to the crowd. It's not just to the religious elite. He doesn't just say this to the 12. He calls everyone in.

It's not just for the ones who look like they have it all together. It's not for the ones who deal with what you think are minor sins. Jesus invites us to come, all of us, every one of us, broken, battered, addicted, forgotten. The call is for you, no matter your race, your economic status, your family history. Jesus invites you to come. Not only that, Jesus says in another passage, whoever comes to me, I will never cast out. So he says to you and I, come to me, and I'll hold on to you.

Okay? We need to get that before we get into, hey, what this call looks like and what it looks like in our life, we have to realize it's a privilege to be called. Like it's an opportunity that we didn't deserve, that God calls us in. He invites us in. Jesus invites us all to come, but then he gives this really hard statement, all right, really hard statement. He basically says, if you're going to come to me, this is what it's going to look like. It's not going to look like victory on the battlefield.

It's not going to look like splendor of royalty here on earth. No, it's going to look like you denying yourself and you picking up a cross. So let's look at the parts. We're going to look at what these two things mean, this concept of self-denial, this concept of cross-bearing and what it means for our lives today. See, self-denial, self-denial is as anti-consumerism as it gets, right?

It's an anti, almost Americanism as it gets, right? We live in Burger King, have it your way kind of world, okay? We live in billions of dollars spent every year, every year trying by companies that are trying to get your attention to make you desire something to buy from them so that they can make profit off of you.

America is the richest country in the world and at the same time has the most consumer credit card debt in the world. We want what we want in our hands the moment we realize we want it, right? Amazon's built an entire business plan off of this, an entire business plan, right? It's how fast can we get it to you? And it used to be like, man, if I sign up for Amazon, I can get something within like four or five days. And now it's like, oh, two-day shipping. And now it's like, oh, same-day shipping. Oh, hey, I can have it in an hour.

That's incredible. And what is it? It's, well, I want this, I want it now, and you can give it to me right now. And that's the culture that we live in.

We don't live in a culture of self-denial, but it's not only possessions, it's fame. 2018, language experts, they chose the word influencer as the word of the year. For those of us who are over 30, I would say because, you know, I didn't grow up with this, but the concept is of an influencer is that through social media platforms, people actually make tons of money by getting you to like their post and follow their accounts, all right? Didn't exist when I was a kid.

We didn't even have smartphones when I was a kid, all right? Now all of a sudden, all these, you know, you got 14-year-olds, 12-year-olds making millions of dollars through becoming influencers, right? What's the purpose? The purpose is getting everybody to like me, what I'm doing, who I am, self.

While the instantaneous news on our iPhone and the 24-7 access to social media, it really has changed our patterns, it's changed our rhythms of life, it really hasn't changed our hearts. Think about this, isn't the student that's hooked on their peer's opinion and the adult sinking in debt from overspending the same issue? It's the kingdom of self. It's the desire for self-satisfaction above all things. The pursuit of whatever it takes to get it. And here's where the call of Jesus grinds against our self-nature.

Because Jesus says the path to coming after him is denying yourself. So let's clarify terms for a minute. I like to clarify terms, okay? I like making sure we know what we're talking about, okay?

I like making sure I know what I'm talking about, because a lot of times I don't. But let's clarify terms, okay? What is self-denial, what is not self-denial, okay? What isn't self-denial? So self-denial is not this, okay? These two things, self-denial is not. Self-denial, just to make sure we know what we're talking about. It is not denying yourself of something, okay?

When we're thinking of self-denial in this context, it is not simply denying yourself of something. He doesn't mean have a little bit of self-discipline in an area of your life. It's not just like, hey, you know, I've been eating a little too much, so I'm just gonna stop eating Cheetos.

You know, and I'm still, whatever I want to, but like, you know, I'm just not gonna eat Cheetos specifically anymore, right? It's not, hey, I'm just having a little bit of self-discipline in this area. It's not denying yourself of something. It's also not ignoring yourself, okay? It's not ignoring yourself. It's not saying, hey, I'm in self-denial, so I don't, you know, I don't take showers, I don't do anything to self-care, I haven't got a haircut in 40 years, and, you know, this is the way I'm living because I'm denying myself, right?

It's not that you don't have desires. It's not that you don't make plans. It's not that you say, hey, well, I'm just denying myself, so, you know, I don't make plans.

I may be at work tomorrow, I may not. We'll see, you know, I'm just kind of denying myself. So that's not how that works. It's not denying yourself of something. It's not ignoring yourself. It is moving yourself out of the center, okay?

It is moving yourself out of the center. You say it like this, self-denial means that your life is first and foremost lived for another. It is first and foremost lived for another. So when Jesus calls us, He calls us to put Him at the center of our life, center of our life, that every other pursuit in this life falls under Him being in the center, okay? It's not that He gets a piece of the pie, it's that He is the pie.

Everything else is under Him. Cross-bearing, cross-bearing. So I think sometimes some of this we've been kind of inoculated to what cross-bearing actually is and the meaning of a cross because we see them all over the place. And I'm not knocking, hey, this, you know, all over the place in terms of, you know, tattoos or jewelry or in your house or whatever.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. But I think what can happen is we forget about the brutality of what the cross represents. When Jesus said this to the crowd, they knew. They knew. They had seen crucifixions all over the place.

They had seen people carry their cross. They knew what it meant. It meant public shaming. It meant torture. It meant death. Taking up your cross means complete submission and identification with Jesus. Complete submission and identification with Jesus. It means being all in. Once a criminal picks up their cross, there's no turning back.

There's no redo. It's full submission to the lordship of Jesus. Y'all, I don't know if anybody's told you this, but being a Christian is hard sometimes. It's hard. It's hard. It's hard to submit to Jesus sometimes. Sometimes I don't feel like being patient. Sometimes I don't want to love.

Sometimes I get angry when someone cuts me off on the road and I want to cut them off again, right? It's hard. It's hard to avoid sin and pursue what is good. In the moment, it's easier just to give in. Paul even struggled with this.

Paul talked about this in Romans. He says, the things I want to do, I can't seem to do them. And the things I don't want to do, I end up actually doing. I'm like, if Paul's struggling with this, y'all, we struggle with this too. It's hard to put away sin. It's hard to pursue good, but not only do we have to deal with our own problems and submitting to Jesus in our own hearts, but as Christians, we have to deal with the fact that identifying with Jesus may actually mean persecution and being misunderstood by those around us. You know, when a student says, hey, I'm not going to compromise my sexuality, my sexual ethics, and therefore the boyfriend or the girlfriend breaks up with them and tries to ridicule them around the school. That's hard.

When your coworkers are upset with you because you won't join them in the gossip train going around about your boss. Listen, don't let that televangelist fool you who says, trust in Jesus and expect millions by Monday, right? Jesus calls us to consider the call. He calls us to deny ourselves, to take up our cross, to follow Him. He calls us, though, to count the cost. He calls us to count the cost, to evaluate the call that He places before us with what it means for our lives.

Let's check out verse 35 to 38. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? What can a man gain in return for his soul?

For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of the Father with his angels. So, when you think about this, counting the cost, Jesus starts talking about life and He starts talking about it interchangeably and it can be a little bit puzzling at first read, okay? He says, if you save your life, you're gonna lose it. If you lose your life, you're gonna save it and it may leave us really, really confused, but He's actually talking, He's using the same word and talking about two different types of life, okay? He's talking about life as we know it and life as it was meant to be.

Life as we know it and life as it was meant to be or eternal life, eternal life. Life as we know it, the daily grind we live in, the daily grind we live in of work and all the different things that we have going on that we think is just ordinary, but it's actually really broken by the fall. We see poverty, we see war, we see this at a macro level, right? Across our world, we see the brokenness and we say, all of us would say, hey, life shouldn't be this way.

But it's not just the macro issues that plague us. We know we're actually broken too. We chase money, think it's gonna bring endless joy only to find out time and time again it doesn't.

We chase popularity by doing what we think others around us want only to realize their opinions change quicker than a commercial break. We seek ultimate fulfillment in relationships, ultimate only to be broken hearted once again. You see, Jesus contrasts this life, this life, ordinary life, broken life, fallen life with life eternal. Life as it was meant to be.

You see, it wasn't meant to be this way. It was broken by the fall and in the beginning, God created all things and He said they're good and we were meant to walk with Him, to do life with Him, to rule over the earth, to love one another, to have peace and joy and harmony with one another and with the Lord and with creation that He has created. But we broke it and we're living in the results of that and Jesus in His great love for us and God's plan, He came to earth to make a way to bring that new life back again.

To bring what was originally meant to be back in an even greater way. And so Jesus made a way for us on the cross by Him taking His, Him taking our death that we deserve, the payment of sin, Him paying for our sins on the cross and then rising from the grave to give us life. And Jesus tells us what life is in John 17, 3. He says this, He says, eternal life is knowing the Father and Himself. It is living with Him, it is joy, it is peace. He talks about it in John 10, 10, He says, it's life abundant, it's overflowing, okay? In John 14, 6, and He makes it really clear, He says, I am the way and the truth and the life.

I'm the pathway to life. The point is this, true life is not found in chasing temporary pleasures, but in surrendering to an eternal Savior. It's not found in the temporary. It's not found in thinking, oh, if I can just get this, then I'll be happy. I'll be satisfied.

It's found in surrender. I give it all to Him. He's got it all. The thing is, you can't have two lords in your life. We each have a choice to make. Jesus is setting up this contrast, right? Whoever would save his life, life as we know it, temporary, will actually lose it, right?

Whoever loses his life, temporary, treasures, will actually find it. He's making a trade. He's setting it up almost as if like scales on the balance.

Scales on the balance. And then He says this, in the next verses, He says, what is it profit if you gain the whole world? All of these things. You gain them.

What does it profit? What does it gain you if you get that and you lose your soul? So let's think about this for a second.

Let's think about this for a second. In Mark chapter 10, Jesus meets a man, comes and talks to him. He says, Jesus, what do I have to do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus says, hey, you need to just follow all the law, basically. He says, are you following all the law? And he says, yes, I've been doing that my entire life, which I don't buy. But then He says, well, go sell all your possessions.

Go sell all your possessions. And what does it say? He says, the man walked away very sad.

Why? Because Jesus, in knowing this man's heart, knew what was Lord. And He said, hey, you want to follow me, surrender, surrender. So my question for you is if you were to walk up to Jesus, what would He ask you to give up to follow Him?

What's that one thing that you wouldn't give away? Jesus is calling us to count the cost. He is worth it. He is worth it. He's worth it because if you lose life as we know it, the temporary, and you say, hey, this is not my God anymore. This is not my Lord anymore. He is my Lord.

You actually find life eternal. Jim Elliott said this, he's a missionary that was actually killed trying to get the gospel to people who had never heard it. He said this, he said, he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose. To give up what he can't keep. You can't keep it.

How long are you going to live in this life, 30 to 90 years, maybe? You can't keep it. Give what you cannot keep. Gain what you cannot lose. Following Jesus is costly, but it's worth it.

It's worth it. Life eternal, new life in Him, joy, peace, hope. So what are we to do with this? What does it mean for our life? Okay, how do we apply this into our life today? Jesus' words in verse 38 are really hard.

But I think it helps us, it lays out what we're to do about this. Jesus says, essentially, if we're ashamed of Him, then He'll be ashamed of us. And that's really hard to hear, but that's the reciprocal nature of our response to God.

He has made the offer, He's provided the way, He said, come to me. But our response makes all the difference. How you respond to Jesus is the most important thing you will ever do in your life.

If we accept, He accepts, if we reject, He rejects. But here Jesus makes the point that identification matters. If you're ashamed, I'm ashamed. Identification matters.

If you identify with me, I identify with you. It's actually an outflowing of a life surrendered to Jesus. It's the taking up of the cross, right?

You can't take up the cross in an in-public way, a non-public way. You think about this, if you were on a basketball team, but you said, hey, I'm not gonna wear the jersey anymore. It's like, well, okay, like, I'm not really sure you're part of the basketball team if you're not gonna wear the jersey.

It's like an outflowing of being part of the basketball team is that you would wear the jersey. So the application is pretty simple. Go public with your faith. Go public with your faith. Presenter to Christ is not this privately lived out, quiet faith that no one knows about. In fact, in verse 35, Jesus said we would lose our lives not only for His sake, but for the gospel's sake.

He's making the jump that true life in Him is lived out on mission for Him in a public way. Listen, private, unknown Christianity, it may be a thing, but it's not a Bible thing. In fact, the public nature of our faith actually stirs us on to live for Him, to live less and less for self and more and more for Him. When we go across the street and share the gospel with our neighbors, we're strengthening our faith. When we go on mission trips to share the gospel with people who have never heard the name of Jesus, you know what happens when people come back? They're strengthened in their faith. When we invite our friends and family members to come to church with us, we are identifying with Jesus.

We're reminded to live out our faith in front of them. Listen, there's a student in our student ministry. He's been a believer for a while, but he's kind of grown a bit apathetic towards following Jesus until he joined one of our discipleship making initiatives, intensives, and spent time, he spent time sharing the gospel with people to the point where he was so excited about it that he's actually inviting people to go with him to go share the gospel with people.

Why? When you start identifying with Jesus publicly, it grows you and your passion for Him. You're identifying with Him. Believers in the room, I want to ask you a few tough questions here. Do your co-workers know the gospel? Do your classmates know where you go to church or even that you go to church?

Have you ever served your neighbors and told them why? Going public with your faith, it may come with risk. Honestly, in this culture, it's risk of jobs, risk of social status, but the point is that Jesus is worth it.

He's worth it. We can't create this dichotomy in our lives between spiritual and secular. Jesus doesn't get a piece of the pie.

He is the pie. Believers, let's be on mission. Let's surrender whatever may be holding us back and let's identify with Christ. Even this week, who are you inviting to Easter? Maybe somebody who even maybe right now doesn't know you're a Christian.

Maybe that's who you need to invite. Lastly, there's some of y'all here and you've never gone public with your faith to begin with. And maybe you've actually even today, maybe this weekend, you've heard the gospel and you said, hey, listen, I see that the call is difficult, but I see that Jesus is worth it and I want to place faith in Jesus. I believe he's done everything to save me and I want to follow him as Lord of my life.

I see that he gives life abundant and I want that life. Well, I would encourage you, it's time to go public with your faith. It's time to go public with the decision that God has called you into. It's time to be baptized. Some of y'all are here and you're like, man, I've been a believer for a long time.

I've been a believer for maybe years and years of my life. But man, I haven't, I haven't gone public. I haven't been baptized. I haven't given God the glory in my life publicly before the congregation that he is my Lord, that I'm his and he is mine. Listen, y'all, baptism doesn't save you. Baptism doesn't save you, but it sure does show others that you are saved, right? It's like a wedding ring.

Wedding ring doesn't, doesn't make me married, but it shows people I am and God has called us, Christ has called us into obedience in baptism, proclaiming publicly and giving him glory what he has done in our heart of saving us. And maybe you're here and you're like, man, I've never done that and I can't figure out why. I'm not really sure if I want to share the gospel with my coworkers and I'm not really sure why. Like, I don't feel like I can tell other people about Jesus.

You got to take the first step, y'all. Step in the waters, declare your faith in Jesus publicly. Listen, y'all, in Muslim nations around the world, many families are, they're not really concerned about somebody who says, hey, I want to read a Bible a little bit. Hey, I want to join a Bible study.

Hey, I'm kind of exploring Jesus. It's once they're baptized that many are excommunicated from their families, persecuted, even killed. One missionary said this, baptism is the point of no return.

No turning back, no turning back. Just putting a stake in the ground and saying, hey, new life, I'm his, he's mine, proclaimed publicly before the people that all the world may know. So maybe you're here and guys, in all of our campuses, in all of our seats, there's a card that you came in with. It says, I want to get baptized.

Pretty simple, right? I want to get baptized. And maybe you're here and you're like, hey, it is my time to get baptized. I feel the spirit moving in my life.

I feel his conviction. He is calling me to publicly proclaim what he's done in my heart. Don't put it off.

Don't delay. Fill it out. Fill it out and give God glory. We got baptisms coming up in the next two weeks and people would love to talk with you about what it means to be baptized, about your life, about placing faith in Jesus, about publicly declaring that. Listen, y'all, we got a short video that we're going to watch of some missionaries that are sharing what it's like in their culture, what's going on in terms of baptisms there.

I believe it'll strengthen us. But after you're watching that video, if you're here and you're like, hey, I am under conviction right now. I need to be baptized. Don't delay.

Fill it out. Even as that video goes on, turn your attention to the screen. Hey guys, my name is Abby and in a few months I have the opportunity to move overseas and join a team in the Middle East that works with displaced peoples and refugees of Muslim backgrounds. And recently the team came to a situation where there was a young married couple who came to faith and they were faced with what obedience looks like. For them, their next step of obedience was to be baptized, but baptism came at a cost. It meant being disowned by their family and exiled from their community back home. But they chose to look at the cross and say that their obedience was worth it, that Jesus was worth their obedience. And so they were baptized and in that they decided to also take the next step and tell others about who Jesus is in the gospel. And in doing so, they chose to go back home to their closed country where it's illegal to be a Christian and it's illegal to share the gospel. And so they went back to tell their family. Well, their family reported them to the authorities and what that meant for them was that they were executed. And so their obedience meant death. You guys, we have brothers and sisters across the world who are choosing obedience and sometimes that means execution, sometimes that means persecution, sometimes that means being in jail. And you guys, we have the chance right now to step in obedience and be baptized.

Don't let the fear of embarrassment stop you. Hey Mercy Hill, this is Ben Nihart serving in East Africa and I wanted to just share something briefly. As we've been serving over the last five years, we've seen a lot of different stories and a lot of different things relating to baptism, but specifically in East Africa, we're experiencing the worst drought we've seen in almost 40 years.

And so with that comes certain parts of the country that are extremely dry. And so we saw a man that we train, a pastor that we train, he went out and planted a church in a very rural village. And after many, many people came to faith over a year of his laboring and sharing these stories with these people, we actually had 37 people come to faith, but they were not able to actually be baptized right away. And so they had to wait for months and months and months and wait until the rains came and there was a dry river bed that fills up with water whenever the heavy rains come.

And so they had to wait for months until they were all able to be baptized. And so we want to thank God for that. Hey Mercy Hill Church.

This is Coryn Cameron serving in South Asia. And we're so excited to hear that many of you are walking in obedience to Jesus to take baptism. And the verse that we use is Romans 6, 4, which talks about if we've been baptized with Christ into his death, surely we will walk in newness of life as Jesus has been raised from the dead. So the decision is simple. It's just obedience, but it's not easy because there's a cost to baptism as many of our partners here in South Asia have discovered. Especially here, there's a high cost of making that decision, especially for women, single women.

It can forfeit your ability to be married. We were thankful to see our house helper count that cost and despite fear of persecution from her family, despite fear of inability to get married one day, she still decided to make that decision. And we've seen huge growth in her life because of that. So we encourage you to count the cost as our partners to South Asia have. Thanks Mercy Hill Hey everybody, at the end of each of our services, we do three things.

We pray, we bring, and we sing. And as we heard in that video of what God is doing and how he's moving in so many people's lives across the nations, people are counting the cost and they're saying, Hey, you know what? Jesus is worth it.

He's worth it. And I think for us this weekend, we need to also count the costs and we need to think about what is Jesus worth to us? Can we let go of this life?

Can we hold on to him? And I think across all of our campuses this weekend, I think we need to consider is it a moment for us to come up and pray a moment for us to come up and, and really maybe re-surrender something to God that maybe we pick back up in our lives and maybe we've, we've kind of made into a God. Maybe we're here and we like, Hey, I need to, I need to identify with Christ. I'm here and I haven't shared the gospel in years. I'm here and my coworkers don't know who Jesus is and I haven't told them. Maybe there's somebody you need to pray that would come next weekend to our Easter services and you need to come to the altar and you need to plead for their life, plead that they would define true life, life as it was meant to be. Maybe you're here and you're saying, Hey, I'm really struggling with this thing right here.

I'm really struggling with taking the step. Well, I'd encourage you, the altar's open. Come and pray. Come and ask God, what are you calling me to do? Are you calling me into this? Are you leading me into this? And if he is, delayed obedience is disobedience. Follow him.

Take the step. We also bring, we bring, guys, as we think about, we've been talking about new life in Christ. We've been talking about true life in Christ, life eternal. God has given everything in his own son for us. Jesus gave his life that we may have life in him. There's nothing we can give to repay that, but we can give out of a heart of being given to, realizing all the gratitude that we can have for what he's done for us and giving in return.

There's three ways to give on the screen. We'd love for you to partner with what God is doing here at Mercy Hill for the kingdom. The last thing we do is we sing. We sing, we sing praise to God. God has given us true life, new life in him. He's called us to be all in. Let's be all in with our voices this weekend as we praise the Lord together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-01 16:11:12 / 2023-04-01 16:28:41 / 17

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