Summary: Salvation is free; discipleship will cost everything we have
Mushrooms or Maple Trees:
Spiritual Growth as God Intended
Sermon Objective: Being a Christ-follower requires one to surrender themselves to God’s will for their lives.
Last week we began a Bible series called Mushrooms and Maple Trees. Mushrooms sprout up overnight and then wither away in a matter of days. Maple trees grow gradually while learning to withstand the forces of nature that threaten their existence. They result in a majestic fruit bearing entity that lasts for generations.
So it is with people who follow Christ too. Unfortunately some, wither away very rapidly; but others grow deep and strong and produce the fruit of life that God designed for them.
In chapter 8 and 9 of Mark we are discovering eight elements of a Christ-follower that produce this depth and substance to life.
Just as Jesus was preparing and grooming the first disciples to be Maple Trees so we will discover that as we apply the lessons to our lives we too will grow in kind. Maple Tree style followers live lives that please God.
Read Mark 8:27 – 38
Last week we discovered that the first component of a life that pleases God is:
1. A LIFE THAT FOLLOWS HIM PERSONALLY (8:27-33)
We cannot follow just any image of Jesus … the journey begins with:
(i) an accurate understand of Jesus as the suffering servant who died for our sins and
(ii) our willingness to accept Him as Savior
To begin anywhere else circumvents the process. It nullifies all other attempts to please God because we are still at odds with Him … we are not yet His children apart from a born-again experience.
The true disciple will follow Jesus because He is the Son of God.
And as we will see today … true disciples will follow Jesus regardless of what this life offers.
A life that pleases God is:
2. A LIFE THAT FOLLOWS HIM IN FULL SURRENDER (8:34-38)
Mk 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mk 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mk 8:36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Mk 8:37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mk 8:38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Billy Graham said, “Salvation is free; discipleship will cost everything we have.” As we carry on our sermon series from Mark 8 & 9 called “Mushrooms or Maple Trees” it will serve us well to keep that thought in mind.
It is worth noting that Jesus addresses the crowd as well as his disciples. The requirements for following him are not just for the Twelve but for all Christians … to you.
As I see it, LIVING A LIFE IN FULL SURRENDER has three components. Let us focus our attention now on these simple but very crucial words of Jesus, whereby he gives us the process of discipleship.
#1. DENY YOURSELF –Wave Your Sovereignty
By denial of self, Jesus does not mean to deny oneself something like some do during Lent (i.e. “I won’t eat chocolate for forty days.”) He means to renounce yourself—to cease to make self the object of one’s life and actions.
This involves a fundamental reorientation of the principle of life. God, not self, must be at the center of life. In fact, verse 35 suggests that Jesus becomes the object of your affection!
The word "deny" means to "disavow any connection with something; to state that you are not connected in any way with whatever is in view."
Interestingly enough, it is the very word used to refer to Peter’s denial of Jesus a little later on. Peter denied that he had any connection with Jesus
• Denying self means that we set aside our right to ourselves, our right to run our own lives.
• We are to deny that we own ourselves.
• We surender the final right to decide what we are going to do, or where we are going to go.
• It strikes right at the heart of your very existence, because the one thing that we, as human beings, value and covet and protect above anything else is the right to make ultimate decisions for ourselves.
o Deny our self-trust
o Deny our self-sufficiency
o Deny our feeling that we are able to handle life by ourselves and run everything to suit ourselves.