Sermon:
Series: Demands of Christ
TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME
Matthew 16:24-27

(John Hamby, Sermon: The Demands of Discipleship, Mt16:24-27,SermonCentral)
We live in a day of "casual Christianity." I heard someone recently say that the average church could drop one fourth of its members from the membership roll and neither the church nor the dropped members would notice any difference.
Casual Christians are those who want to be numbered among the Flock, but could care less about following the Shepherd. They want the forgiveness the cross of Christ brings but never intend to carry their own cross. They want warm, fuzzy moments on Sunday mornings but offer no commitment to Jesus on Monday mornings. In short, they want the crown without the cross.

--We are not allowed to come to God on our own terms we must come to Him on His terms.

---“Jesus, through His direct instruction during His earthly ministry and through His apostles in the rest of the New Testament, repeatedly makes clear that there must be a cross before the crown, suffering before glory, sacrifice before reward. The heart of Christian discipleship is giving before gaining, losing before winning.”
(The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, © Moody Press & John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2005.)

I. DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP

1) True Disciples are Called to Lay Something Down
“let him deny himself”

aparneomai: 1) to deny 1a) to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone (Thayer Definition)

(Gal 2:20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The disciple is to utterly disown himself, to
refuse to acknowledge the self of the old man.

•We are to count the old man as being dead, (Rom. 6:11).
•We are to make no provision for the flesh.
(Rom. 13:14).
•To deny oneself means to follow the example set forth by the Lord Jesus Himself in coming to this world. (Phil. 2:5-8).
•We are to live our lives as one alive to God, but dead to sin and to the world, Gal. 2:20.


2) True Disciples are Called to Pick Something Up
“take up his cross”

To fully understand the power of Jesus’ words “take up thy cross” we must first examine what he is not saying. The cross is not just bearing the difficulties and pains of life. Our cross is not a cantankerous husband or nagging wife; it is not that wayward child or that arthritic hip. Folks, we all have problems. Those who are saved and unsaved. That is a part of life.
When Jesus spoke of the cross He spoke of death: dying to ourselves that we might follow Christ wherever He leads us. He is a picture of literally giving everything up for Him even our lives. Remember Jesus in the Garden saying, “not my will but thine will be done.?

The people of Jesus’ day were very concrete thinkers. When He spoke of the cross they knew exactly