Summary: Fourth in a series designed for a giving campaign, "Get In The Game!"
We are continuing in our consideration of the things that need to be true of us, as the people of God, if we are going to make sure that we "Get In The Game" for God and live lives that count for Christ. We said that we can know we’ve "Got Game" if we: Go for the gold; Aim for excellence; Make the commitment; & Expect God to work.
We have talked about "going for the gold," and how we need to live our lives with "one eye on eternity," living in light of the fact that one day we will give account of ourselves to Christ.
We have talked about "Aiming For Excellence" by seeking to be like Christ in the way we live - seeking to be where Christ is working and joining Him there.
Now today, I want us to think about the need for each of us to "Make The Commitment." Specifically, the commitment Jesus calls on every to make who would follow Him.
Jesus calls on us to make the commitment to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Last week, we made the point that if we are going to be where Jesus is working and join Him in what He is doing, it will require our being willing to deny our selves and make sacrifices. This is a commitment that our Lord calls us to make daily.
"Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me.’" - Luke 9:23 (NLT)
What does it mean to daily make the commitment to deny self and take up our cross?
1. It means embracing God’s will - v. 34
The cross was the Father’s will for the life of Jesus. How did Jesus "take up His cross?"
A. By saying "no" to sin -
This is the point of our Lord’s temptation by Satan. In His being tempted, Jesus chose to say "no" to sin, in order to be able to offer Himself as a sinless substitute for us.
B. By saying "no" to self -
"Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, ‘My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?’" - Matthew 26:39 (The Message)
C. By saying "yes" to submission -
"Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him."
- Hebrews 5:8-9 (NLT)
D. By saying "yes" to sacrifice -
"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
- Mark 10:45 (NASB)
Our Savior’s embracing the will of the Father is the theme of a wonderful passage found in Philippians 2:
"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT)
Our Lord’s embracing of the Father’s will was an expression of His loving the Father with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is what we are also called to do.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." - Mark 12:30 (NIV)
How can I make sure I am embracing God’s will for my life?
Acts 11:1-18 - "Six Secrets To Knowing God’s Will"
#1. Spend time in prayer with God - v. 5
"I was in the city of Joppa praying"
#2. Receive a personal vision from God - v. 5
"I saw a vision"
#3. Look for opportunities given by God - v. 11
"Right then three men who had been sent to me from
Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying."
#4. Listen to the voice of the Spirit of God - v. 12
"The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them."
#5. Enlist advice from men and women of God - v. 12