Summary: True discipleship involves our deep commitment to our Lord and Saviour, allowing His life to infuse our own, so that we become more like Him. Are you fully committed to following the commands and precepts of our Lord and Saviour?
Our theme for 2016 is Dynamic Disciples and this morning I want us to consider our commitment to being a disciple of Christ.
In the New Testament the word Disciple is used to describe the people who are committed to following Jesus Christ.
To be a true disciple of Jesus requires real commitment.
True discipleship involves our deep commitment to our Lord and Saviour, allowing His life to infuse our own, so that we become more like Him.
We have been called to live according to God’s plan and purpose, we have been chosen, set apart, forgiven and saved to live for Christ.
A commitment to following Christ and His teaching is central to our faith.
Are you fully committed to following the commands and precepts of our Lord and Saviour?
Are you fully commited or is something or someone holding you back from real commitment to Christ?
Are you stopping yourself from being a fully committed disciple of Christ?
This is a command of Jesus that requires real commitment from us His disciples.
A commitment to consider God’s ways more important than our own.
A commitment to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Let me put this verse into context for you.
Jesus had begun to to prepare His disciples for the crucifixion He knew what would soon happen to Him.
At this point in time, the disciples didn’t really understand what was going to happen, they could not reconcile death on a cross with a triumphant king, with a triumphant Messiah.
Jesus tells them that they, too, must willing go to the cross.
Listen to Mark 8:34 – 38:
Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34 – 38
Powerful words, perhaps painful words, but they are words that demand our full promise of commitment.
All of our sin can be traced to a love for self.
Sins of the flesh, sins of the spirit, sins of omission and sins of commission.
We sin because, by our very nature, we care more about our wants, our needs, our desires, than being obedient to God’s will and commands for our life.
The world we live in proclaims, you have rights, you should have what you want - when you want it,
it’s all about self-gratification, its about feeding our desires, our ego, our love of self.
We live in a greedy, selfish, sin-sick world.
Yet Jesus tells us, don’t be selfish.
You could gain the whole world and destroy your soul in the process.
Nothing is more important than your eternal soul.
Except perhaps where a soul will spend eternity, in Heaven or in Hell.
In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus spoke these words:
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
Sobering words, ignore God, reject Jesus as Saviour, follow the broad ways of the world to hell or obey God, accept Jesus as Saviour and be assured of salvation and a place in Heaven.
The Good News is that Jesus has paid the price for our sin, for all who believe in Him there is the free offer of salvation for eternity.
We can be saved, we can be set free, we can be redeemed and we can be assured of a place in Heaven because of what Christ has done.
When we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour we can no longer live however we want.
We can no longer behave however we want.
In John 14 verses 23-24 Jesus said “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.”