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.”

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