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Taking Up the Cross

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2022 7:00 pm

Taking Up the Cross

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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August 28, 2022 7:00 pm

Join us as we worship our Triune God- For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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Revolves with this morning. Turn with me if you would Mark chapter 8 and really look at verses 34 of the 38 calling the crowd to him with his disciples.

He said to them, 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. Whoever loses his life for my sake. The Gospels will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul for what can a man give in return for his soul for whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation of PM. The Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy angels that with me as we got our Lord in prayer. Heavenly father were dealing with the subject of discipleship today. These verses were not spoken by Jesus to make me comfortable that were written by Mark to convict me and to challenge me and they do Jesus tells me to take up the cross my mind goes back to his crucifixion crosses the instrument of execution for Jesus. He died on the cross he gave his all on the cross. Is that what I'm being called to it may be the big could be a call not to just be physically murdered, but to purposely intentionally data sales father. There's one statement in this passage them asking you to plaster across our minds. Jesus said, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul by that question ruminate in our hearts today.

Please be glorified in this message. Help me to feed your people with the word of God which is in the precious name of Jesus that I pray, amen may be seated on a begin today by speaking to you some verses of Scripture that speak very powerfully about how God saves us. Second Corinthians chapter 5 or 17 if any man be in Christ he is a new creation.

All things are passed away behold all things are become you.

Ephesians 289 for by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast. Romans chapter 5 in verse eight that that says for God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. John 316 for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believe it in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Romans chapter 6 verse 23 that that says the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Ephesians chapter 2 and verse one. This is for you has he quickened were dead in trespasses and sins, but those verses encapsulate the gospel and they teach us that we are saved by grace through faith plus nothing was it made big. In trespasses and sins with the Scripture says that we are before we converted is the main physical death. No before I was converted I was very much physically alive.

I can walk I could talk I could I could speak I could breathe. I could eat I could sleep could work. I can play very much physically alive. What part of me is dead is my soul.

The soul is the real me until I am as a person is my my mind I will and my motions was that dad before I was saved.

Absolutely not very much alive.

What was it that was dated it was my human spirit that was dated.

That's the part of us that God communicates with John chapter 3 in verse three Nicodemus to come to Jesus by night and Jesus said to Nicodemus, except a man be born again, he shall not see the kingdom of God word see in that passage is a word that means to perceive or to understand when a person is born again, God God raises up his day in spirit and gives that Dan spirit life so that he can understand that Jesus Christ is our only hope for salvation, but when this is something that we we deeply need to understand a man does not express faith in order to be born again, but he's born again in order that he might express faith. Jesus told us that.

And in John chapter 10 and in verse 26 when Jesus said you believe not because you are not of my sheep listen to that carefully Jesus doesn't say you're not mushy because you don't believe says you don't believe because you're not mushy.

In other words, God is in total, sovereign control of of our salvation.

And so what does Paul tell me he says there's a result of that.

Don't brag, don't think that your something special. Don't think that you're wiser, more spiritual or better than others. Give God the glory. It was God who did go to before the foundation of the world.

God declared our salvation and then 2000 years ago Jesus died on the cross to purchase our salvation in the and in time God accomplished and activated our salvation through regeneration and what we call the new birth is what Paul was talking about Titus chapter 3 verse five what when Paul said, not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy he has saved us the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. So my salvation is a gift of God once understand that what questions I need to ask myself think. Francis Schaeffer got it right when he asked this question, how should we then live. How many of you know people right now that call themselves Christians. And you look at their life and you can't see anything but the world they don't look anything different than people who are unbelievers. I care very little for church. Their Bible sits on the shelf collecting dust there. Their motivation is materialism in fleshly indulgence and popularity, and yet they got this feeling inside.

They are perfectly safe for all of eternity.

Jesus had a word for them over in Matthew chapter 7 verse 21 when he said not every one that saith to me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but some the passages that we are looking at today. Jesus shares truth with us.

That should shake us all away down to our bootstraps the passage in no way that we are looking at today says that we are saved by works.

We are not saved by works. We are saved by grace. And that's it. We are saved by grace but if you genuinely been born again.

There should be proof. There should be evidence there should be fruit and there will be and what is that is discipleship you should be his disciple.

I got three points on share with you today .1 is the principal look at the again in verse 34 calling the crowd to him with his disciples. He said to them if anyone would come after me letting him deny himself and take up the cross and follow me and the verses immediately before the us. Jesus told the disciples at the time was soon coming when he was going to suffer on the cross that it would be brutal but it would be painful that it would be very torturous that he was going to the cross he was going to die.

Peter didn't like that and Peter got mad when he said that in rebuke Jesus said no no no Lord does not happen, don't worry about that working to protect you will let anything happen to you. In other words, the cross is not really necessary, and Jesus rebuked Peter to get the behind me Satan get the behind me Satan. Peter did not understand that the cross is a great, great part of God's plan of salvation for us. Peter and the disciples were looking for a king, an earthly king.

That would rule over Jerusalem king that would break the yoke of Roman oppression and exalt the Jewish people. Jesus said Peter my my kingdom is not of this world. I will have to go to the cross and suffer the hail for every person who goes to heaven. Then Jesus gathered the disciples close to wing it gathered the crowd into him so they could hearing and hear exactly what he was saying. And Jesus said this.

Anyone come after me letting him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Jesus lays out three things here for true disciples. Three things that true disciples must embrace brothers and sisters. I want you to know that I'm not just preaching to you as a congregation this morning. I'm preaching to Doug.

Doug needs to hear what Jesus is saying here and I've know that I'm confessing you that I fall far short of what Jesus is asking us and what he is commanding us to do. I don't need to be braggadocio's in any way shape or form. I need to give God the glory for what he does and cry out for his mercy. So folks what we have here is no greasy grace or sloppy agape are easy believe is him what we have here is a call to discipleship and it's extremely important.

Well, the first command is self-denial if you're a true disciple of Christ you will deny self and what does that mean it means to just own completely.

This is the word that we choose to describe Peter's denials of Christ and of the night for the crucifixion three times people come to Peter and and I say to Peter, Peter, we know you. You're one of the disciples your follower of Jesus, and he reached out to no no no, I'm not.

And finally, a little girl came and said to Peter, you're one of the disciples we saw you with Jesus and and and Peterson cursed and swore that he did not know Jesus.

It was a distant unlearning of Christ. He said I don't know who Jesus is. I don't know the man.

I don't know what you're talking about PDS Jesus.

Later he went out, he wept bitterly because he realized what he had done.

Just own Christ.

That's what this word means. So what is it that we are supposed to be denying our self-love or think first of all self-righteousness and an amp ambition. This is what love the Pharisees were guilty of.

They believe that by their own works, and by their own personal goodness. They had right standing with God and God said no known no none they were field with selfish pride denying sales means.

I know that I've sinned and come short of God's glory. I know that I have no righteousness of my own. I know that I would die and go to hail if it is not been for Jesus taken my CN washing it with his precious blood and then giving his righteousness to me. I realize that and I know that I tell you what I am shocked today to see all the people who claim to be Christians who see themselves as almost sinless before God. But if that's what you're feeling today. Let me tell you something, then you don't understand the holiness of God or you don't understand your own heart.

Years ago Charles Spurgeon was preaching the Bible conference.

He was preaching to preachers and even his message that day was that preachers need to repent and after the sermon was over, one of the preachers came up to Spurgeon and he said reference Spurgeon. I just want you know something he said I have not seen in years, and Spurgeon immediately begin the quote to him first John chapter 1 verses 8 to 10 that says if we say that we have no sin, and we have deceived ourselves and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have no CN we declare God a liar and his truth is not in us. In a man, rolled his eyes back, he said. Reference Spurgeon, I assure you I have not seen in years will little bit later on. They were all the pastors were having lunch around this table. Spurgeon walked right up behind this man as he was eating he took a glass of cold milk and reported right ever say and that man jumped up and screamed and cursed and and since threatened Charles Spurgeon reason why did you do that. Spurgeon said I did that to assure you that you are indeed a sinner and Andy said not only that, but that sin that you committed a day of cursing and and losing your temper is nothing compared to the pride you are exuding every single day and John catches devotional book on revival. He said the following. After one of DL Moody's August conferences, a man approached him and boasted of his own holiness and piety. Why not seen in years. He bragged, haven't you replied Moody. Well before I shall accept your word for it.

I should like the testimony of your wife, Moody son later described the man's response. The perfectionist thereupon gave such an exhibition of temper as to warrant the spectator sympathy for his wife and Moody skepticism is seen that many have forgotten what sin is. We think it is only wrong if we get caught or we think that if if everyone else does it, it surely okay. First John 517 gives a simple, succinct definition.

All unrighteousness is sin, the standard for righteousness is not your neighbor, your boss or even your pastor. The only righteous one is God and I get a million. Self-denial necessitates repentance your flash tips you to CN but your love for Jesus says denying it, denying it, but we have deceived our sales if we as husbands and fathers stand up in our homes and say it's not really my responsibility to be the spiritual leader in my home, we deceive ourselves AAF if we say it's okay for me just to get angry and lose my temper and just blow a gasket, we deceive ourselves AAF with we think it's okay that that we gaze at a scantily clad lady at the mall, we deceive ourselves as we think it's okay because we had a rough day to get a little bit intoxicated with drink or drugs, but it's not okay. The disciple of Christ denies himself, so that Christ will be honored is what Paul was talking about. Galatians 220 went when he said this, he said I'm crucified with Christ.

Nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Denies self like the second command is cross bearing cross bearing the cross was an instrument of suffering and shame and execution during Jesus's lifetime. The Romans were executing people who stood against them by crucifixion was what was going on and that would do it publicly. Most the time they would crucify people on the street right right beside the road so that everybody could see what happens to those who stand against the Imperial authority of the Caesar during Jesus's lifetime. There were over 30,000 Jews that were crucified in Jerusalem. So everybody they are new exactly what Jesus is talking about when he said to them, to take up the cross, only ask you this what what does that mean if you were to fall down and scrape your knee would you say well that's just come across to Bayer known as not across physical suffering happens and we are to trust Jesus through it, but physical suffering itself is not the cross we may share with you what can't you say and I think he explained it whale. He said the cross is for all who follow Christ. Christ leaves the procession carrying his cross, and we as followers trailing his steps bearing our own crosses.

We marched to death.

What are our crosses. They are not simply trials or hardships is typical to think of the nutty balls were an unfair teacher. Abbasi mother-in-law is our crawls, but they are not. Neither can we probably call an illness or handicap across across customs pacifically walking in Christ steps embracing his life to come from bearing disdain because we are embracing life because I'm leaving out the business and sexual ethics of Christ in the marketplace in the world. It comes from embracing weakness instead of power that comes from extending oneself in difficult circumstances for the sake of the gospel.

Our crosses come from and are proportionate to our dedication to Christ. Difficulties are not an indication of cross bearing difficulties for Christ sake are. We need to ask our sale. If we have any difficulties because were following close after Christ the point that Jesus was making was this people hating and people that follow Jesus are hated his whale what religions are persecuted. Islam is not persecuted. Hinduism, Shintoism, Confucianism, even Satanism they're not persecuted is to Christians were persecuted and why, because Christianity is truth and they don't like the exclusivity of the gospel. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the father but by me books. This country is not what it was 20 years ago.

There is an unbelievable divide in this country and secular America today is viewing Christianity as its greatest enemy that they know that we don't stand with them concerning the LGB QT movement that we don't stand with them when they want to bring in drag queens into our elementary schools and kindergartens to teach and entertain our children that we don't stand with them when it comes to abortion that we stand against those things and we as Christians have a joy in our heart to go out and share the gospel with those who don't know what books we are hindering their agenda and their hatred of us in their desire to cancel us in their desire to persecute us. That is the crawls that Jesus is talking about. John MacArthur said this, not every believer will die as a martyr. Every faithful follower of Jesus will love Christ so fully that even death is not too high a price for eternal joy. All believers inevitably suffer to some degree because the world hates those who belong to him.

Thus, to take up the cross as a metaphor for being willing to pay any price for the glorious gift of life that he the third requirement is loyal obedience.

Jesus simply said, follow me, and in John chapter 10 verse 27 Jesus said my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me, that we can't follow Jesus like Peter, James and John did. They were with him they could get behind him and see exactly what he was doing it and were with him day by day went. We can't do that. So what can we do, we can follow the example of Jesus that he gave us in his word. For example, did Jesus make money and idol note. Jesus revel in debauchery known did Jesus compromise his convictions known did Jesus lie in order to save himself in trouble. Known did Jesus care for the poor and helpless. Yeah. Did Jesus take spiritual warfare seriously. Yes.

Did Jesus know and love the word of God. Yes. Did Jesus make prayer priority. GS how you follow Jesus you take who Jesus was. What Jesus did and you follow that point to the paradox with them.

In verse 35 to 37 so whosoever would save his life will lose it, whosoever 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 lose his own soul for what can a man give in return for his soul. Listen carefully. Those unwilling to surrender their lives to Christ, choosing instead to cling to sin, selfish ambition, and acceptance by the world will one day lose their souls to everlasting death, but those willing to abandon everything for the sake of Christ will receive eternal life.

Listeners parable Jesus taught in Matthew chapter 13 verse 44 the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field question man found and covered up then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field out your picture a man is going to work. He goes out of his own property walks across another man's property walks across his field. There's a little wooded area varies going through that to get to work and as his walk and he stumbles over something he can't figure out what that is.

He reaches down.

It's the little tip of the handle that he is until he gets down to his knees. He starts digging and he realizes the handle of a chest NEA digs further and he takes a chest and he opens it up and he can't believe it is filled with treasure gold and silver coins and diamonds and all this stuff coming. The wealth is just unbelievable in the chest, probably over 300 years old. Nobody has any idea that it's there, the CEC and so what is he do. He takes a chest. He covers it back up with dirt and then he puts leaves and dried Liam's over the top of it so nobody will have any idea that he's even been through their and then he runs back home and what is he doing sales as Halsey sales of property.

The sales everything that he has and he takes that money runs to the field owner and he buys that field from him. What was that man spent everything that he has everything that that he owns what is he do that in order that he might buy the field.

He does that, because the treasure is in the field and the treasure is worth everything that he hates was how important is that Jesus said that's the way were supposed to think Jesus is worth more than anything and everything that we have and when we get Jesus in heaven is just a side benefit, just a side been put to say that because the person of heaven is greater than the place of heaven. Martin Luther said this, he said I'd rather be a hail with Christ and be in heaven with outing and there's a reason for that because heaven without Christ is not heaven. The joy that the man in Jesus parable had over the treasure that he found in the field is a picture of the hunger that we should have in our hearts, for heaven.

And why should we hunger for heaven because Jesus Christ is there, folks would get excited when we see the streets of gold, and we all once all inspiring will really have the biscuits knocked off our table quit when we see the gates of pearl that is nothing compared to what is going to be when we see Jesus Christ. He is the priority of heaven. And we held a hunger for that not only hungry for Christ in heaven, but also hungering for all those who love Christ, who were already there.

CS Lewis said this creatures are not born with desires less satisfaction for those desires exist. A baby feels hunger will there such a thing as food a duckling wants to swim well there such a thing as water man feel sexual desire there such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy most probable explanation is that it was made for another world.

A few weeks ago I was sitting on Bob Reynolds back porch with Bob Reynolds and Randy Presley both of these men over the past few months experience the death of their wives. They knew that their wives have moved away from this earth, and they are in glory there with the Lord Jesus. I know these two men whale. They love the Lord. They love the Bible I love this church. I love their wives. The home-going otherwise has done something to these man's heart. They could not quit talking about heaven. They knew that their wives were in the very presence of the King of Kings and Lord of lords, and they also know that one day they're going to be with them and they're going to be in glory with Jesus in heaven for ever and ever and ever. So they that they got a joy in their heart a joy in their heart that that that it not because they know what's coming and that the the thing that they're saying I think more than anything else. Is this take the whole world and give me Jesus else to look at another verse here thing is very important since what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and to lose his own soul when I was in college I went every day to the University post office and in the way I do in colleges.

I got 5 million post office boxes. There were numbers all the members gotta keep going to get your mail first time I went into the University post office right above my particular box is a white wall somebody take a magic marker and written across in bold letters this past this this very verse the this very verse it says, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul, it would not there because the. The post office put it up there somebody eroded a player but nobody took his name. Nobody washed it off.

Nobody painted over it in for a year I had to look at that now is not a Christian at that time I didn't know was in Mark chapter 8. I didn't know was in Matthew chapter 16, I was a churchgoer, but I was not yet a Christian and I member the first day I walked up and I looked at that verse and I mean it hit me like a ton of bricks. What's worth keeping to keep me away from Jesus.

If I have everything this world has to offer. For a few short years, Patty compared that to knowing Christ in heaven for all of eternity. It was a yearly couple years later that I put my trusting in Christ. There was conviction every single day when I walked into that post office and I saw that great verse.

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul.

I didn't have the whole world. I wasn't rich.

I wasn't wasn't famous. I didn't live in a mansion. I didn't even own much property at Volkswagen. It had 200,000 miles on it 10 years old is on its last leg and a catchers mitt tennis racket had a few books couple pair pants and couple shirt about it. I didn't have the whole world had just a little and I was heaven. I asked myself while do I want to hold on to this stuff so much that I'm willing to give up a relationship and fellowship with Christ. The day came to a plot on Monday morning I was down on my knees, knowing that I needed Jesus mourn anything in the world to o'clock in the morning chips willing to share the gospel with me. I went through those verses that is gospel versus and then it hit me once again. This particular verse. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul and I need this at that point in time is great as I've ever known. It there is nothing that is more important your relationship with Jesus Christ .3 is the punishment. Look at verse 38 for whoever is ashamed of me of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of Hamel, the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Jesus said whoever is ashamed of me and my words was that mean what you mean by that. The word ashamed is a comes from a Greek word that means to despise, to reject, to refuse to accept Jesus said if that your attitude toward him or toward his word that he will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glorious second coming as serious as that. I think of all these work pastors in our world today who are compromising with the word of God in order to accommodate the culture I think.

Not only are they denying the word but they are actually arguing that God's infallible and errant word is wrong and that people don't need to obey it, and that people don't need to buy all before his word.

Nothing to myself.

My goodness had they not read this verse is a not know what Jesus is said here today not know what will happen at the final judgment. There will be a rejection of the condemnation of those who compromise with the word of God and or and Jesus said that he be ashamed of them. Listen, this very carefully to be ashamed of his word is to be ashamed of him to be ashamed of Jesus word, the Bible is to be ashamed of him, but they say what we don't want to be canceled by Facebook and we don't want to be rejected by Instagram and we don't want the culture to think were just old-fashioned fuddy-duddies who don't love their agenda.

We we just don't want that. But discipleship means going against the flow image taken of the cross and dying to self. Many churches in America are rejecting those commands right now. I'll be honest with you were not doing that Grace Church were not rejecting those commands we don't stand with the LGB QT movement we we don't stand with bringing in people to teach non-shrews in our public education systems. We don't we don't stand for abortion. We stand against all those things.

My question is this.

Although we don't stand for those things.

Are we guilty if we remain silent. Are we guilty if we remain silent. I think we have a call in this passage that we are to love the word of God proclaim the word of God and see people saved by the word of God or close with paragraph by John MacArthur. He said for unbelievers. The certainty of final judgment is a terrifying reality. As the Scripture declares it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment on that day. Those who refused to abandon their sin were trusted in their self-righteous efforts will be irrevocably and eternally condemned to hail with those who obeyed the invitation of the gospel, embracing the Lord Jesus Christ and humble, repentant faith will not be put to shame, having abandon this world for the sake of Christ. They will live with him forever in the world to come as a Lord himself promised. Speaking of the glories of the new earth. He will overcome. He who overcomes will inherit these things. I will be his God.

He will be my child, the spring heavenly father.

This passage is tough to read stuff to embrace stuff to carry out it was tough to preach. Father I pray that everyone in this congregation understands that.

I understand how far short I come and be in Christ to cycling help all of us to be challenged by your words but not devastated by them.

Help us all to realize that if grace is real, then we must take these words of yours to heart is in Jesus name I pray a man


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