Summary: Wear the label 'Loser' proudly, when it comes by confessing Jesus and following him as you deny yourself and take up your cross.
Text: Luke 9:18-24
Theme: Be a Loser for Christ
A. By confessing him with your words
B. By following him in your life
Season: Pentecost 5c -- God's Names
Date: June 27, 2010
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/Be-a-Loser-for-Christ-Luke9_18-24.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit draws us to Jesus is recorded in Luke 9
"And it happened when [Jesus] was praying alone that the disciples were with him. He asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"
"They replied, "John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. And others that one of the prophets of old has risen."
"He said to them, "But you, who do you say I am?"
"Peter replied, "The Christ of God."
"He warned and commanded them not to tell this to anyone. He said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, be rejected by the elders, high priests, and scribes, be killed, and on the third day be raised."
"Then he said to all, "If anyone is determined to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross each day and follow me. For whoever is determined to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me, he will save it.
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
He was in his late teens, entering into all the glory of youthful manhood. He had the looks and the build, the youthful hormones surging through his system. Work was going well. And now an influential lady had taken an interest in him, much more than a Platonic interest. However, she was married, and her husband had put a lot of trust in this young man. But maybe she could open different doors for him? What was he to do?
Despite the sexual drive of youth, he refused her advances. He refused not because of possible risk, but because this would betray his God. How could he do such a wicked thing and sin against God?
But one day she caught him alone, grabbed him by his coat, and said, "Come to bed with me!" He got out of there as fast as he could, but she still had his coat in her hand. What was his reward for doing the right thing? She accused him of attempted rape, and he was sent away to prison. What a loser!
You know the rest of the story. You can read about it in Genesis 39-41. After a couple of years Joseph was brought out of prison and placed in charge of all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But Joseph didn't know that was going to happen. He did know that his brothers had sold him as a slave and that when his life took a turn for the better as a servant in Potiphar's house, then he ends up falsely accused and in prison. Might he not have felt like a loser?
That's the world's goal. When you do the right thing for the right reason, when you do it for Jesus as Joseph did, the world wants to make you feel like a loser. It's so tempting to focus on not turning out as a loser in this life, that we lose sight of why we are here. Jesus warns us, "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it" (Luke 9:24 NIV). So be a loser for Christ. Be a loser for Christ by confessing him with your mouth and by following him in your life
A. By confessing him with your words
1. Confess who he is
Jesus asked his disciples who the crowds were saying he was. The people held a pretty high opinion of him. Some thought he was the recent great preacher John the Baptist, whom Herod had beheaded. Others though he was one of the prophets of old, maybe even Elijah. Rather high praise.
Still today many people have high opinions of Jesus. For example, in this book that ranks the 100 most influential people, Jesus ranks well above men like Caesar Augustus, George Washington, or Thomas Edison. In fact, Jesus makes number three on his list. Only Muhammad and Isaac Newton beat him out. High praise. And at Christmas especially, you'll here people say good things about Jesus. He was a good man, a great teacher, an excellent example for us to model our life after asking, "What would Jesus do?" See his goodness, his kindness, his love, his humbleness! High praise.
The world says, "That's fine. You can think highly of Jesus. Everyone has their own opinions." The world won't make you feel like a loser for placing Jesus among the great.