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Summary: Jesus said that whoever desires to come after Him must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him. What does that look like in our world today?

FOLLOWING JESUS

OPENING: My personal testimony of salvation experience and following Jesus today.

KEY TEXT:

“Jesus said, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38).

THE BIG IDEA: Jesus said that whoever desires to come after Him must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him. What does that look like in our world today?

• Jesus gives us two choices:

o Save your life (and you will lose it) or lose your life (and you will save it).

• If we want to follow Jesus, then we must take up our own cross (ILLUSTRATE)

THE RICH YOUNG RULER’S STORY:

“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ’Do not commit adultery,’ ’Do not murder,’ ’Do not steal,’ ’Do not bear false witness,’ ’Do not defraud,’ ’Honor your father and your mother.’ " And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22).

• Here was a man who came to Jesus and had done everything right – on the outside.

• Someone said once, “If Jesus isn’t Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all.”

• You can’t say:

o I just don’t feel like reading my Bible today

o I’m not in a mood to pray

o I don’t want to go to church

o I’m not going to forgive them…

• If you’re going to follow Jesus, we need to submit to His will: Loving others!

• It’s not easy always looking for ways to bless others, instead of being “me first!”

THE SECOND PART OF THE STORY:

“Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time--houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-31).

• Notice that there are benefits and rewards to following Jesus, but Jesus didn’t use this to try to talk people into following Him!

PRAYER: “God, I pray, light these idle sticks of my life, and may I burn up for thee. Consume my life my God for it is thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one like Yours.” (Jim Elliott).

• Let’s make a commitment to live to love and bless others!

DWIGHT MOODY STORY:

One evening, American preacher Dwight Moody noticed a man leaning against a lamppost and asked him if he was a Christian. The man snorted back, "Mind your own business!" Moody responded, "I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, but this is my business." The man responded, “Then sir, you must be Dwight Moody!”

CLOSING TEXT: WATER BAPTISM

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life.” (Romans 6:1-8).

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