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Take Up Your Cross

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2021 4:09 pm

Take Up Your Cross

The Verdict / John Munro

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May 17, 2021 4:09 pm

Dr. John H. Munro May 16, 2021 Matthew 16:24-28

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One of the one of the notes I have received received management but probably some of the most heart wrenching and encouraging notes that we received have come from children.

So thank you parents Sunday school teachers, youth leadership encouraged children students to write to us, but one third-grader wrote this to us, and I find this really summarizes a lot of truth is that God is with you.

We believe that God is with you and then he says, and so is the rest of the church and I thought that that is true that we as brothers brothers and sister together with us in our sorrow and suffering. God is with well mission at Calvary is as we been singing and reflecting as we know, if you come to Calvin's anytime I mission I Calvary is to be inmate authentic followers of Jesus Christ. That is, those saved by the grace of God, called to follow Jesus are called to be his disciples that is were not only to confess Jesus with her lips were not just a single minded and speak about it, but we are to follow Christ with all of our hearts, and with all of our lives following Jesus then involves not only learning what Jesus taught. We must learn what you taught, but it also means living what he taught so as not just head knowledge is not just being able to answer all of the questions and the likely been impressed people with her knowledge of the Scripture. That's not it, that this teaching this following of Christ impacts us in every part of our lives in this challenge to follow Jesus is very radical, very distinctive. It is can I say counter cultural. I think we've lost that that the church of Jesus Christ is becoming more and more like society rather than us as a followers of Christ going into the world and being sold and light reviewed K's were challenged. You take seriously the call of Jesus to follow him your life. Yes, your life and your world will be turned upside down today were continuing in our study of Matthew's gospel and the majority are the words of Jesus which are wonderful but also very convicting, and to help us were going to deal with four seasons which may help us to remember there is a call that is the challenge the commitment and the consequence very simple outline the call to challenge the commitment and the consequent someone aside alliteration is a device which lends this beauty is heir of logic to otherwise unconnected statement of so that reason I'm not being a big alliteration. Because of this very very for smaller pictures with alliteration in the first two points are located in the second point is you get that.

Hopefully that's not the case today. There's a call challenge the commitment and the consequence.

Matthew chapter 16 verse 24 you been with us over the weeks you know the context then Jesus told his disciples.

We listen if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it for what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul or what shall a man give in return for his soul for the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his father and then he will repay each person according to what is done.

Truly I say to you that are some standing here who will not case that until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. First of all call. The call to follow Jesus's personal we together the call to follow Jesus's personal we saw back in verse 15, as Jesus had first asked his disciples, who do people say that I am and to give these very sensors and then he says in verse 15, but who do you say that I have that's the question we thought of three weeks ago and I ask it again to you. Who do you say that Jesus is what answer do you go and how important it is that what differences that make in your life when you answer that question.

Who do you say that I am notice, then the call is personal question is personal. Jesus is personally asking his disciples. And when Jesus calls his disciples he calls them individually calls them personally. Andrew Peter, James, John, Matthew follow me. The call comes to you personally call to follow Jesus's personal Jesus and his teaching in John 10 of the good Shepherd. He says the good Shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

How wonderful that our Lord Jesus calls us by name.

He knows your name. If you were to ask me to go through the sanctuary and say the names of everyone here I would be able to do some of you I know your middle names, but I don't know everyone's name here and some names that I should know we put me on the spot.

I probably get it wrong and that there's just a few hundred here this morning.

Think of this, that the Lord Jesus knows your name. The masking do you hear him calling so often are there so many distractions. The life is so busy and so selfish that we don't hear the call of Jesus Christ.

Notice what Jesus says if anyone would come after me. Notice that the call is to follow Jesus personally. That is true Christianity authentic Christianity is explained in a personal relationship to Jesus. This is where so many people get it wrong. We get wrapped up in what we do in the church, attending church originals Sacramento ordinances of the church. The ministries of the church and people can do all of that and mystified that the call is to follow Jesus personally true Christianity opposed to church and they oppose the Christendom true Christianity is you following Jesus.

I John Monroe and to follow Jesus, the call is not to follow the credo to cause but to follow the person of Jesus's revolving we be honest, can you say that you're following Jesus. Notice the call is to follow Jesus cults follow their celebrity leaders from people.

The finder Christianity on an individual on the church. Yes, God raises up people to help us and praise God for the church of Jesus Christ. But this is what it begins as the individual hearing the call of Jesus responding to the call of Jesus and following him little boy though the person the joy yesterday appointing a man to the Lord. Hearing the call and the man prays to receive Christ see true discipleship is never to be passive or stagnant ritualistic true Christianity is a relationship with Jesus and Jesus is issuing an amazing invitation to you, weaving, studying in Matthew's Gospel Jesus says Matthew to Matthew tells us to the words of Peter who are here. You're the Christ the son of the living God is God incarnate, coming to us coming to save us coming to transform us. He calls us by name John Joan Frank Margaret follow me is what he says, after anyone would come after me. I'm always to keep my eyes on Jesus, we follow Jesus. The call to follow him then is personal. Second challenge to follow Jesus is constantly this will get very convicting, doesn't it.

The call is personal challenge to follow Jesus is costly.

The challenge is first in your noggin like this and I don't like it is to deny self will anyone would come after me, number one, let him deny self. I just confess that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God and the disciples view of the Messiah as it is going to overthrow the Romans and they're going to be put in these great positions of power and prestige and praying with the Messiah is going to set up this kingdom right there.

What a shock it was for them as Jesus told them in verse 21 from that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and on the third day the race Jesus comes then as a man of sorrows it comes to suffering comes to die. He comes to give his life as a ransom for us. What does it mean then when I begin to follow Jesus. I hear his call. The call comes to me John. I want you to follow me, I'm calling you come to me and I'll give you everlasting life, and I come and I begin to follow Jesus and Jesus is not saying this is what you must do, you must deny self no central now this is not so much of the denial of things to ourselves. It is that is more radical. It is a radical denial of self is the renunciation of yourself as the authority in your life is on pronunciation abuse.

Stop having the focus of attention in your life that your life is not what you want is not your desires is not your goals is not your agenda. It is all Christ.

I am did not die so this is the very opposite of our selfishness, self-seeking self-promotion, self absorption, self will who's the one who's calling us one who's calling. I said I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent Jesus says in John eight verse 50. Yet I do not seek my own glory. The Lord of glory comes not seek his own glory, and so those who follow him.

Can you be seeking your glory, your life is all about you, what people think of you and I'm here going to deal with life know it is so this is the challenge is costly love of self love of sin are the greatest stumbling blocks in following masking you to put aside your desires, your agenda, your missions following Jesus is the very antithesis of the life of self determination so I remember as a young man thinking this is what you do is sketch out my goals wonderful to be ambitious, wonderful job goals. Sadly, the Christian is to be hard-working is not to be lazy or passive.

We are involved actively in following Jesus, but all of my desires all of my agenda was must be put to Christ. I am to deny self I'm going to nines the right to do things my way to I don't tell people what to do my own thing is not true of all of us. I am to deny self price. I belong to Christ. He's my creator. He's my Redeemer is my friend.

He's the one who, with whom I'll spend all of eternity.

I belong to him.

I am not my own. I'm a slave of Jesus Christ and as a slave of Christ.

I am to deny so secondly, in this challenge. I'm to take up my cross verse 24 anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take his note to self, and yes to Jesus by doing this is very important. We have to take up on cross not taking up the cross of Christ were to take up our cross turn to Luke chapter 14 where in the similar passage. Luke says that expressly Luke chapter 14 verse 27 saying what you think about on cross, not Christ's. Luke 1427 whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple to take up my cross and follow Jesus of your thinking up your cross and the first century across wasn't a cute piece of jewelry. What was across Jerusalem and do you see a man counting his cross, his own cross criminal carrying his cross to the place of execution symbolized that he was under the power under the authority of Rome under the jurisdiction of Rome. He was showing his submission to that authority.

They again switch it previously rebelled. He was carrying his own cross was this mean for you taking up your cross, we need the part of the spirit, deny self taking up my cross is voluntarily living a life of obedience to Jesus doing God's will. Yes, wonderful. The plans wonderful to be ambitious, wonderful to plan ahead, but I did take all of that and bring it to Christ. I am to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all of my life.

All of my possessions all of my dreams. All of my future. All of my family is all under the Lordship of Jesus Christ was challenged with her circumstances beyond their control and become sometimes a devastating way way you never ever predicted that you never thought would happen in the New Testament on the cross. The cross of Christ is a symbol of all that Christ has for praise God for the cross of Christ weave on the ceiling that is central to our faith as we think of Christ cross I think of all the Jesus Christ did all that he did for my salvation that he did it all and it's offered to me freely as an act of grace but no, I did take up my cross symbol of the Lord Jesus of following the Lord Jesus in every area of life.

Dying to self. You doing his will on the cross.

Then we take up his cross as we took our brother everyone cross is the symbol of identifying with Jesus in his suffering. Remember the one who calls you the one that your following is known not as a man of laughter by the man of sorrows you think that you follow Jesus.

Jesus said to the disciples that they didn't like it. I'm going to suffering figure would be killed across those who follow Jesus and those who humbly follow Jesus will know about suffering the following Jesus Christ.

While at one level is the most exhilarating thing at the other level is the most difficult thing concerned about pleasing yourself.

We were concerned with your psychological well-being or you follow Christ because following Christ taking up your cross is not easy in the world which is increasingly hostile to the Lord Jesus increasingly hostile to those of us who believe this book and that's why say, if you take this challenge seriously to follow Jesus Christ.

Your world is to become an upside down. We expect costly challenge recall his personal challenge is costly. Thirdly, the commitment to follow Jesus is continuous. The commitment to follow Jesus is continuous. Notice again.

Verse 24, Jesus told his disciples of anyone would come after me to come after Jesus said that sounds pretty good. Okay, deny self, take up your cross and follow all of my life. I'm going to follow but some commitment isn't that a job doesn't work I could I could change your through some difficult circumstances, it like I can I can change that you moved to Charlotte you don't like it you think I moved to Timbuktu the make many changes in life, we adjust our lives to adjust our priorities but also with Jesus for all of my life. I'm going to follow Jesus, follow me. Verse 24 is in the present tense, even you non-Americans can understand the present tense, emphasizing that this following of Jesus is continuous present tense is a lifetime of following Jesus. Luke makes that clear in his follow passage in Luke chapter 9 verse 23 Luke nine verse 23 he said to them, his disciples, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. As implied in Matthew, I would've followed every day. But Luke is making it very very clear that this is a daily process. Today I'm to follow Jesus tomorrow, live and to follow Jesus relevant not develop another 10 or 20 years. Whatever it is I'm still to follow Jesus and to take up my cross daily following Jesus as it begins with a decisive commitment in life we call that conversion. We call that being say.

So it begins with this decisive commitment. When we, as a center to the cross of Jesus Christ and we turn from our sin and would receive Christ as our Savior and were gloriously saved with all of our sins are forgiven wonderful experience of salvation. I trust you being say this is what it begins with this decisive commitment is the point. It is continuous relationship throughout all of life, always following Jesus always learn every day. I did get my eyes on Jesus with. It is a good day or whether some bad day. Everything in life. Yes, everything in life, close from this commitment to Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 633 seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Don't make the secondary the priority date. Your priority day every day. Whatever the circumstances, however difficult or hard it is, however hostile it is however tired you are, however disappointed and ill treated.

You are every single day to follow Jesus some commitment.

Commitment to follow Jesus is continuous. This is not an experiment on a passing fad or a hobby. So like joining a club and and and your flight with people or are you you you don't like something about the club and you you leverage. I started this is a total commitment. We talked today about being all in with all of the dabblers in the Christian faith only dabblers of following Jesus. This does not eliminate difficulties, problems and discouragement.

Sometimes as we follow Jesus like is more difficult tempted to quit. Spoke to someone recently said they had wandered away from the Lord for a couple years easy done this devoted to something, you get discursively sufficient, is just that you stop coming to church in its unitive stop looking to Christ. See we have an animated is in the attached, especially if you're serious about following Jesus doesn't like us and he distracts us and he harasses us and that when difficulties come from the times we think that this is unfair. What one student here. A girl wrote to us regarding the passing of her son that she said to us pastor you and your wife don't deserve this. Well, I don't how you answer that that's that's in the providence of God is what she's saying is I think are you are following God, you are teaching the word of God. This seems so unfair. Your phone treated you unfairly you ever think we should not happen didn't you walk by us only one son, Lord, why would why would you take him. Why would you take me in and leave my son when you go through these struggles as many of you have. It's easy to get your eyes off Jesus is is easy for a bit of self-pity. This easy.

I think for people to retreats and to isolate ourselves and to think this is too tough to go we we we need we need to just go away from us. This is too tiring.

This is too awful, but we can do that currently is good and talked and prayed about these things keep serving the Lord with an acute glorifying why because our commitment is every day. Yes, in the toughest day of her life.

Other commitment I trust is your commitment is to keep your eyes on Jesus is to follow Jesus there. We understand his ways.

No, we don't talk and we understand God's inscrutable but God's ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts, but we do know he's our heavenly father who loves us and who cares for us and in the way that only he can.

He's working everything for our good. Yes, he moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. Yes life is often very bitter and we bite into the bitterness of life and we go into the valley that is true but he continues to lead us because they promise. Go you walk through the valley of the shadow of that you will fear no evil by what you are. We believe that you believe. I believe that I have proof that on the mountaintops of life in life is been absolutely brilliant and experience it in the valley of life. I want us.

October church to be committed Christians committed Christians is following Christ to be committed as cultural Christians they can say that I things they can answer the question they they they sometimes come to the church and if you speak to them about Jesus all we know Jesus guy I Jesus is my Savior about is not a fan think is it doesn't really impact how they think I and then there's a kind of convenient Christianity is in the what I'm going to follow Jesus. Some days, and among them followed other time and the on on Sunday morning if I'm kind of tired and just wanted me at home and I watch the live stream in my pajamas with a cup of coffee. I do that right.

Why bother going to church and Christianity then becomes like a fringe benefit in our life when we wanted and they wait one price we leave him in the course when the emergency comes alive we come to him on that kind of faith easy to get into that. We all know that the voice of extended Java convenient Christ is a very weak crisis.

I want to follow a strong Christ. I want to follow Christ, who has promised me that he is the same yesterday today and forever, and that we will not go back.

Jesus says no man putting his hand to the plug goes back no were not going to look back when going to continue with the grace of God and the strength of God. This commitment is continuous in all of life and every day.

In the worst day of my life and the most brilliant day of my life. I will follow Jesus.

Jesus once not with the same and follow the last one. The consequences is as wonderful as the consequences of following Jesus of eternal yet that the consequences of following Jesus of eternal notice as I read the verses again, notice the followers which begin in verse 25, 26 and 27 three gives a statement. The challenge invest 24. The following verse 25 for whoever would save his life will lose it. Verse 26 for what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul. Verse 27 for the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his father to get this but of the consequences that are eternal and by putting it in the negative consequences of not following Jesus is to lose your life life rather than following Jesus.

You may choose to follow your own dreams, your own desires you think you're wiser than God you find this to difficult apologies as you want to follow the crowd. I give you what you want to be this person that everyone likes and he just kind of go along with everything in follow your ideas of success, but a life not following Jesus was consequences, restlessness, despair, utility, pointlessness, meaninglessness, and ultimate Jesus is saying something very profound is in the if you try to save your life elusive. But if you lose your life for the sake of the gospel to find one of the many paradoxes of the teaching of Jesus tighten things right upside the I want to gain my life arises.

Jesus will begin your life you need to and following individual then says no. I can make it on my own. I don't really need Jesus to have a convenient Jesus rather than a commitment to Jesus, if you do that you lose your life for all the profit if you gain the whole world and lose you so by that stuff you just trying to was you gain your dreams with this quarterback for the Steelers making these guys make millions.

A lot is a lot hello that is a reason that lessons great to meet you.

If I was a highschooler playing playing football, throwing a ball.

Supposing you get delusional. So with the agreement and in business is to be a multimillionaire. Okay, you become a billionaire is pretty impressive. You you pharmacist on the other. The hotshot people look to you.

You can buy anything you want if I give so much money you could buy me a Ferrari and give it to me right in the multi millionaires are just a thought to myself does not include denying yourself up about if someone gives it to you. I do not have to pay by about one right but you get the point you get your dream all of us are thinking and experience. Maybe apart from very young.

Many of us have had the experience of really wanting something I and you get it and some have the molesters borne off. If you find that sometimes you want some you dream about something, perhaps promotion, perhaps it is a car you know and and and you get this and that kind of becomes a bit sour.

Don't build your self-worth on billiard identity and what you have a what UGG it's how it said the real measure of our wealth is how much we would be worth it. We lost all of her money.

What would be your life.

If you'd zero possessions to following Jesus is unity. Your soul is saying Jesus is saying there is no profit in the world. What are you giving what you prepared to give an attorney for your soJesus is saying to follow me is to save your life. But the world thinks is crazy.

The world of things this doesn't make sense. That's true preaching of the cross is full looseness of the unbeliever living when were crazy. I remember when I was called for my law practice are some people who said to me, including a well-known judge noted that Monroe this is the crazy thing to do is getting towards the top of his profession.

Would you soften, suggesting everyone leave their work and become a pacifist. My point but my point is this that when God calls you when you know God is direct to you.

You are to obey him because nothing in the world compares with following Jesus is not right. Many people spend years of their work. Some human notice you working work for the company did very very well and you go in one day and is restructured and you like the door was life. Someone is a dream of being this wonderful athletes than the first day with a new team that injured the life seems over with life with eternal perspective. This is a life of trust you trust Jesus chose Jesus so much that you can follow him so much about what I worry about these things that this commitment is continuous and the consequences of it on eternal Jesus. The term is not you what's profit and loss and Jesus is verse 27 I'm coming back.

Yes is coming will be time of a kind thing. Furthermore, you can be called into the presence of God at any moment. I'm to live my life with this eternal perspective another night blooming lugubrious way. Not at all to be joyful as I follow Jesus Christ.

When I follow Jesus Christ with the realization that Jesus Christ is coming back and I can happen at any moment and I want to be ready for that. Secondly, I can die at any moment and be in the presence of God. Therefore, live life with an eternal perspective in the life to come. All that you've accomplished in this world means absolutely nothing. All of your possessions.

All of the things that you thought were worth. Where were so important meet. Absolutely nothing for what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul yesterday of accountability is coming. Revelation 22 verse 12 old and coming quickly and my reward is with me. He's coming and he's coming quickly and his reward is with him and those who try to save their life will discover the loss on those who lost their life for the sake of the gospel will find CS Lewis writes about yourself and you will find your real self lose your life and you'll save it submitted that the death of your ambitions and vivid wishes.

Every day on the death of your body. In the end, submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life to back nothing, nothing that you're not giving away will be really yours. Nothing in you that is not died will ever be raised from the dead.

Look for yourself and you'll find the long run, only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage would indicate look for Christ and you'll find him and with him everything else to the promise. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to God is faithful God is going to provide for you guys going to take care of you guys going to give me all of the strength, all of the help that I need. I will do the same for you as we follow him as Christ is a consuming passion of our life today. I'm asking you to follow Jesus because personal follow the challenges cross-linked thyself, pick up your cross, the commitment is continuous.

Yes, follow me every day. The consequences are eternal.

Yes, your soul is lost or gained.

Jonathan Edwards says resolve to follow God with all my heart result. Also, whether others do it or not, I will is one thing today I don't making a fresh commitment of personal concentration divulges Ashley to use a long time since we've invited people to come for because of covert witnessing beautiful, beautiful. One of our favorites.

So it's a fairly recent one. You know it, but it's a beautiful, and the spirit of God is text you. You are coming forward and saying yes I'm going to deny self and take up my cross and follow him. I wondered straight that spiritually flabby. From this day I'm going to follow. I'm going to pray Lord you are in charge of my life. I want your will to be my will organize my own selfish plans and purposes say I will follow whatever he leads, whatever, whatever the cost. I will follow up was to do that in his name, you hear Jesus today is still calling was he saying if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow signs to make a response and sing this God is moved you just come forward act of consecration saying I will follow

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