Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is coming soon. praise the lord
Story: As we all know what happened to our formal graduates last week. Pastor Prabhan along with few more pastors went for evangelization, place called jalore in Rajasthan district. They responded to God's great commission which we all know I hope. And step into a new place to catch for the kingdom of God. While they were sharing the good news to a particular village, quickly they were attacked by those villages. Around two and a half hours they were persecuting them with sticks, stones etc. even though they knew that there is always chance for persecution but still they took the step to share the word of God because they knew, they are a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is not an easy task to become a disciple. Disciples have to forsake anything that would stand in the way of acceptance Christ with our full commitment. So I am proud of them because they are the true disciples of Jesus, that’s what they were ready to face any challenges in their lives.
Such powerful commitments lord wants from his disciples. Yes I am sure that we are the true disciples of Jesus Christ.
Today morning I would like to draw your attention to the gospel according to Luke 9:23-27
Background of the book
This gospel has written around 70 A.D. by Dr. Luke (Colo. 4:14) who is also author of the book of Acts. Mainly he wrote this Gospel for Gentiles and God-fearer people. He is explaining about Jesus birth and his ministry openly. The main theme in this Gospel is that Jesus is the salvation of the whole world. As we read from Luke 9:23-27 here Jesus called the crowd to him along with his disciples (mark 8:34), and started teaching them about true discipleship. Keeping all these things in your mind I would like to entitle my sermon as:
Title: “ True discipleship”
What does mean by the true discipleship?
True discipleship means the process of becoming more like the master.
Do you want to be a true disciple of Jesus? How do we become a true disciple? What are the conditions for that? Let’s move forward we will learn together from this text.
I. the condition of true Disciple (v.23)
What must be condition of discipleship? Verse 23 ,This verse is giving choice if anyone wants to come after me first deny himself, second take up their cross daily and follow Jesus. This means all are called to be disciples. But if we want to become a true disciple, we tend to follow certain conditions. Such as:
Deny himself (23a)
What does it mean to deny himself?
The word “deny” is not easy to avoid. It is very sharp and clear. It is the same word used of Peter's denial of Jesus. It means “let him make himself a stranger” to himself. Self-denial is a common use of the term but it’s something deeper.
Jesus says in verse 23a, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself.” The meaning of deny himself means giving up our best hopes and desires (comfortable, pleasure and luxuries life). This leads to self-development. Many people say “I want to follow Christ”, but in the end they do not follow Him, why? Because people wants to live his life in comfort and pleasure. But through denying ourselves we develop new hopes, which reflect Jesus plan for us and this world. And plan which Jesus has a plan for us is to take up His cross and follow Him.
Take up his cross daily (23b)
What does it mean taking cross daily life? Why does Jesus say take up your cross daily? In ancient times the cross was sign for the criminal. The criminal used be punished by death of cross. Once the cross was given to a person, he can’t be rescued from the death. Leon Morris, said when a man from one of their villages took up a cross and went off with a little band of roman soldiers he was on a one way journey but he had not be back. Taking up the cross meant the utmost in self-denial, it meant the very death of self. So here Jesus knew that He is going to take cross for the sinner. It means he was ready to suffer for the people, and die. So He is giving a model for disciple to suffer daily for the Christ. Which Jesus meansis, he has to understand and involve with his suffering, sadness, pain and hardship to glorify with Christ to the living God. Here Luke is mentioning the word cross, it was the custom of Roman empire that if a person has done something wrong then he had to carry his cross with much pain and hardship. He was supposed to take that cross to the place where he would be hanged on cross. That same cross here Jesus is speaking about himself. He will carry the sins of the world, he will endure the pain on the cross. In the same way if anyone wants to follow Him. He has to carry his cross and endure pain, suffering, and struggles in his life, even face death for the sake of the gospel. A true disciple must be ready to face all these challenges. (John 15:19; 2 Timothy 3:12) Sufferings and persecutions can come to us it can challenge us but still we can face and overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit.
So this morning let me encourage you that, prepare yourself to carry his cross and follow Jesus and ready to face any adversities. Don’t give up, rely on God. The Bible says God is our ever present help in times of need. He is the one you can run to and ask for help any time, any day, anywhere you might be and any purpose you might need.
Let’s go to the next fact
Follow him (was 23c)
What does follow means?
Those who accompanied with Jesus while He lived were scarcely in danger of losing their lives. After His death persecution threatened the lives of Christians, and, while the Christian life became more dangerous, the real and Christian living grew more rigid, and the denying of self, which was required by the circumstances of our Lord’s day, grew and expanded until it was made to mean that all bodily delights and joys of the senses and affections were either positively wrong or infirmities which should be discouraged. This was the situation of the original audience.
Jesus was calling his followers to wholehearted discipleship. Disciple of Jesus must deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow him all the way to the cross. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is not something you do one time at the start of your Christian life. It is moment by moment commitment to follow Jesus, Regardless of the cost. That means that you are willing to experience suffering, rejection and even death in your commitment to follow Jesus.
Application: we are called to follow Jesus with our whole heart. Regardless of the cost. Let me challenge you in this very morning, there are trials and problems can challenge us in the coming days. So will you quit the ministry or still follow Christ? I hope everyone who sitting here will follow Christ among all adversities.
II. Suffer for Jesus Christ (24, 25)
Why do we need to suffer for Christ?
Because Jesus is demanding from his disciples to save people for His kingdom. It is not an easy task. Without suffering it is not possible to fulfill His demand. When Jesus Christ was on the earth He suffered. So that we must suffer for Christ. Many people wanted to follow Jesus Christ, but they were not ready to deny their worldly things like pleasure, comforts and possessions etc.
Jesus said whoever wants to save their life will lose it, and whoever denies Jesus Christ to save their life (to gain happiness, respect, and physical life) will lose the life of eternity. But whoever loses their life for Christ that means denying worldly things will save his life. He will receive eternal life. Worldly life and the spiritual life are very different from each other; the more we try to gain things from this world, the more we lose heavenly things. We can find pleasure in this world. But we need to know, we will not take these things with us. Because to gain happiness, respect and physical life which we gain in the world will be short time. But when we suffer for Christ glory we will get eternal life.
In MP there is a servant of God, who was before accepting Jesus Christ worshiping idols. In 1988 he faced an illness in his body on that time he thought the worldly gods will heal him. He was waited for that but nothing happened. After some days he met with a servant of Jesus Christ. And he told all the things about himself, by hearing these things that servant of Jesus prayed for him. Through the prayer he healed. Then he went to a servant of Jesus. He asked him about his god. Through him he knew about Jesus Christ. And he understood Jesus Christ is the only one God in this world. Then he denied himself from all previous things and decided to follow Jesus Christ. Through the ministry of Jesus Christ. He faced suffering, persecutions and difficulties in his life. Many people put cases against him and some of the case are still going on in court. But still he is proclaiming the word of God. And doing a great ministry in Alirajpur district that is my father.
So my dear friends being in this world we may suffer. But if we decided to follow Jesus Christ there will be sufferings. But we should not stop proclaiming the words of God in the suffering.
III. Proclaim the word of God (26-27)
In the same way a true disciple must proclaim the word of God teach the word of God without any fear and shame, Paul says in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes in Christ.” We have to proclaim the word of God, because it has the power to change the lives of people. If we are ashamed to proclaim His words to the people of this world, and if we deny him, than Jesus will also deny us, when He comes in His father’s glory with the holy angels He will be ashamed of us. As Jesus asked his disciples to proclaim His word and today this same message has to be spread. And Jesus said to his disciples in (Matthew 28:18-20) Go and preach the gospel, it was their task so, it also must be ours today.
Today, God is asking us to go and proclaim His word; if we are ashamed of His gospel then Jesus will reject us in front of the Father (Matt. 10:32,33)
I would like to encourage you all in this morning be ready to preach the gospel at any situations. Be ready to take up the cross, deny yourself for the kingdom of God. Take as a challenge this morning; don’t turn back by looking at the present situation.
But the question is, are we ready to deny ourselves? Are we ready to take up the cross? Are we ready to follow Him, when people against us? Are we ready to suffer for his sake? Are we ready to proclaim His words? These questions are challenging us in this morning, so would you take a decision today morning based on the word spoken to us very clearly.