Summary: Tired of just "hanging on" to life - ready to live life to the extreme? This is for you!
Title: Hanging on to Life
Objective: Every person must follow Christ to live a life of purpose.
I recently saw an old 1980s bumper sticker you may remember; it said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
I am convinced that so many people in our performance driven culture live their lives by that motto: either consciously or sub-consciously.
“He who dies with the most toys wins.”
We spend our efforts pursuing beauty, wealth, power and fame all to increase our comfort in this life.
So many of us here this morning are hard-working, morally good, and giving people who have found a purpose in acquiring toys.
I want to talk to you this morning about another point of view about living a life of purpose.
Maybe, just maybe, that bumper sticker isn’t right.
I want to share with you what one man said over two-thousand years ago about the pursuit of wealth and comfort.
I’d like to talk to you about simply hanging onto life or living life to the extreme.
I. The Futility of Hanging on
II. The Freedom in Losing
III. The Finale of Choosing
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he 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.”
I. The Futility of Hanging On
vs. 34 – 35a
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he 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.
Many people have spoken at great length on this topic of “taking up your cross.”
People will sometimes say “well, that’s just my cross to bear in my life”, about something painful or disappointing in their circumstances.
Jesus was actually using a cultural symbol to get a point across to his listeners.
You see, Israel was under Roman rule during that time, and the most popular form of Roman capital punishment was death by crucifixion.
The Romans would force convicted Jews to carry their own cross, their own instrument of death on their shoulder to the place of execution to signify that person’s complete and total surrender to Rome.
It was a message to everybody else that Rome was completely in charge!
Jesus was using the picture of carrying your cross to illustrate the ultimate submission that is required to follow Him.
Jesus was not against pleasure.
And He wasn’t teaching us that we should needlessly seek pain in order to please Him.
Jesus was teaching the point that it requires an HEROIC effort to really follow Him.
It requires complete and total submission to Him as King to help us win the battles in our lives moment by moment.
He was showing us that it takes extreme dedication and complete devotion to Him to do His will even when life gets difficult or the future looks bleak.
Just like the convicted criminal carrying his cross as a symbol of complete surrender to the Roman rule, Christ demands us to completely surrender to Him as King!
That’s what it means to take up your cross. Nothing more, nothing less.
Jesus said to not only take up your cross, but to follow Him.
Jesus said, “If you want to be my follower”. SO the question is, do you even want to be His follower or are you happy with living a life trying to hang on to all your stuff?
Are you hanging on to your hobbies, hanging on to your paycheck, hanging on to your pension?
Maybe you are hanging on to your idea of what it takes to be “good enough to make it in to heaven.”
Are you just living your life for the weekend and hoping that you just might live long enough to enjoy retirement?
I want you to know that Jesus has a better way to live.
He said that if you continue to hang on to all your stuff and deny Him as Lord, you will ultimately end up losing your life!