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Summary: Part two of a series discussing the need to live for Jesus ahead of ourselves.

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Putting Jesus’ Agenda First (Part 2)

Matthew 16:21-28

March 11, 2007

I think if we were all honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit that we all want a life with meaning to it, right?

We want to know that our life actually counts for something beyond just our ability to consume oxygen and create carbon dioxide.

We want a life that’s fulfilling. A life filled with significance and meaning. Because a life filled with these things brings happiness, and while I don’t think Scripture says that happiness is what we’re supposed to strive for as the ultimate goal of life, the lack of happiness in life can have devastating consequences.

One of the loudest cries of our society is the cry for a life of meaning and significance.

Have you ever gone to Amazon.com to find books and stuff?

It’s probably the largest on-line seller of books in the world, and they’ve expanded to other lines as well. You can toys, books, DVDs, and all sorts of stuff.

I found a tool that allows you to smash your car window and cut your seat belt so you won’t be trapped if you’re in an accident.

I wonder if they offer a refund if you’re in an accident but your arms are broken and you can’t use it…

They even have a “Kids and Baby” section. I’m not sure that’s legal, but oh well…

If you were to go to Amazon.com, you would find almost 76,000 different titles just in their self-help section, ranging in topics from spirituality to having successful relationships to enjoying your work, to becoming rich.

Why would there be so many of these books? Because these are where most people look to find meaning and fulfillment in their life.

People will pay huge bucks for books, retreats, seminars, and all sorts of things to help them find meaning and fulfillment.

People join cults because they think that the leader and his followers offer real meaning in life.

People want their lives to be full and mean something. We all want that.

And when we don’t find fulfillment in life, we can easily slip into despair and hopelessness. And no one wants that.

I’ve mentioned in the past how I struggled early in my adult life with wondering if my life would really count for anything when it was all said and done.

And I thank God that He has shown me that my life does count.

But it’s not because of anything like my job or even the fact that I’m a husband and father.

It’s because of what Christ has done in me – He has given me a life worth living. A life filled with significance and meaning.

Our Scripture passage for today addresses the question, “How do I find a life filled with meaning and significance?”

As you will see as we go through the passage, the answer is found in putting Jesus’ agenda ahead of our own. In other words, living for Jesus instead of ourselves.

Matthew 16:21-28 (p. 694) –

The focus of our time today is found starting in verse 24, but I want to start at verse 21 so we can keep in mind what had just happened before Jesus spoke these words.

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

There is so much in these verses, and there’s no way we can cover it all today, so we’ll be revisiting it next week, and possibly the week after that before going into Easter Week.

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