Summary: A Christian must carry the cross
Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later
1. Walk in any pharmacy. Most popular product is painkillers. Ibuprofen,
Acetaminophen, Aspirin, Aleve, Anacin. Tablets or caplets. Huge bottles
holding 250, 500 pills or pocket-size of 8. Some combined with decongest
to kill two pains with one pill. Rub-on pain relief like Ben-Gay. Herbal
remedies. Chemical ice packs & heating pads. Pain relief is big business in
America. We spend billions alleviating our hurts every yr. Want pain free
life. Comfort very important.
2. Unfortunately true in our Christian walk as well. Many people want to
follow Christ as long as it is comfortable to do so.
3. In 2 Timothy, Paul encourages us to join him in his sufferings. In Phil.
he says You win. You get to join Christ in His sufferings. Why? Why is he
saying pain & suffering is a good thing? What good purpose could that
serve? We must realize that suffering is not optional for the Christian who
truly wants to follow Christ. Persecution is not something you pass by on
the buffet table of discipleship. No - Christians are going to suffer.
4. The Lord knew the path of godliness is filled with hardships, criticisms,
and persecution. Jesus never asked any of His followers to do anything He
would not do. Jesus understood the full implication of the phrase, “Taking
up your cross” to mean self sacrifice. To take up your cross means you fully
identified with a cause to the point of giving everything you have to that
commitment. Jesus wants all of His disciples to be prepared to endure the
hardships & disappointments for His name’s sake.
5. Jesus wants all of His followers to know that they will probably be abused
for taking up their cross. Taking up one’s cross will involve discomfort,
while immature or carnal Christians enjoy comfortable lifestyles. Might
involve public humiliation or embarrassment.
6. We become Christians, we are told Jesus died for our sins & we are to
believe in Him. Maybe no one said we had to deny ourselves and take up
the cross ourselves. Sooner or later the world will offer us a cross. Just as
Christians are in the business of following Jesus, the world is in the business
of offering crosses.
7. What does it mean to take up the cross? It doesn’t mean saying in a whiny
voice, “Well, I guess this is just my cross I have to bear.” You see, the Cross
is more than an event in history. The Cross is a way of life. In Luke’s
Gospel He adds the word “daily”. That means a daily commitment to live for
Him, a daily commitment to follow Jesus.
8. Jesus says in v. 34 “If anyone wishes to come after me..” heed what follows.
“Let him deny himself.” Not deny himself “something” simply deny yourself.
Simply quit living for self. “And take up his cross.” When Jesus died on
the cross, He gave up his life for us. When we bear our cross, we lay down
our life for Him.
9. To bear one’s cross was a public admission of guilt. The cross we bear.....
what exactly is that cross? It’s not being bald, having a relative in prison,
it’s not having arthritis, poor eyesight or hearing. It’s not cancer, diabetes,
a cold or the flu. It’s not a personal disability or a disabled child. It’s not an
unhappy marriage or being stuck in a lousy job.
10. Our cross is the suffering we are called to bear because of our relation-
ship to and with Jesus Christ. The cross we bear is faith, not in a superhero
Savior who overthrows the government, then lives and reigns forever. No
a donkey-riding Savior who overturns the moneychangers tables, curses a
fig tree and then goes to his innocent death on the cross.
11. Read Verse 38 “Pay me now or pay me later.” Taking up our cross
means how & why we make our daily choices. What is easy & self-serving
or right and good and loving.
12. Young man majored in business. Company’s executive training program.
Went to Nat’l convention. Heavy drinking & hookers. Told to drink & pick
a woman. Refused. Boss called him on carpet. Told boss couldn’t do that,
he was a Christian. Fired 3 weeks later. He had taken up his cross.
13. Trade called Futures trading betting on future events & staking all you
have on outcome of things to come. When it comes to our soul, we’re not
talking about tomorrow or 6 months from now, but we’re trading on eternity.
Jesus could say to us, “pay me now or pay me later.”