Summary: Last in 3-part series about living in submission to the purposes of Christ instead of living for ourselves.

Putting Jesus’ Agenda First (Part 3)

Matthew 16:24-28

March 18, 2007

This is going to be one of the shortest messages you’ve ever heard from me.

I’m not feeling well at all, and I’m simply wiped out.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that I was trying to get everything ready for the meeting on Friday night, then had to drive our consultant down to Sioux Falls that night so she could meet with another church down there yesterday.

So I’m a bit run down and I’ve picked up one of the worst head colds I can ever remember having.

That means a short message, and it also means that I won’t be giving out any big smooches as you leave, okay? I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is!

But I didn’t want to just slough through this message either, so I got to thinking, “What can I say that can really put across the point of this passage in a short amount of time? What do I really want them to take away from it?”

And I few thoughts that I want to pass on that I think capture the heart of what Jesus is trying to communicate, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in the next little bit.

Do you all know what this means? (“L” on forehead). It means “Loser.”

I don’t know anyone who likes being a loser. And I don’t know that anyone would intentionally decide to be a loser, although many people become losers by default.

In other words, they give up. They quit trying. And that’s sad. Or they continually make decisions that bring defeat instead of success. Whether that’s in relationships, finances, careers, or whatever.

My heart breaks when I see that. Because it simply doesn’t have to be that, according the Word of God – according to Jesus.

Jesus tells us that we can win in life, and that if we seek to win on earth according to His formula, then we can not only have the full and abundant life He promised, but we can leave this life as winners instead of losers.

Matthew 16:24-28 (p. 694) –

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."

I gave you a formula last week and I want to give it to you again.

Live for yourself, you lose. Die to yourself, you gain. Live for Jesus, you win.

Jesus says that if we live for ourselves, seeking after all the stuff the world has to offer, and even if we get it all, it’s nothing when it comes right down to it.

And if we get to the end of our lives, having all that, yet neglected to get things squared away for our souls by living for Jesus, then we’ve lost it all.

There are two things in particular that I think of when it comes to pondering what the world has to offer that most people would probably want.

1. Money.

Who is the richest person in the world?

Bill Gates. His net worth is $56 billion. That’s not money tied up in land or anything like that. It’s free and clear money that he can get to anytime.

From what I can tell, he’s a nice guy. He gives a lot of money away and has a huge foundation to help other people.

But you know what? In spite of all his money, if he dies without Jesus, then in reality, he’s one of these (“L”).

You’ve heard about the rich guy who died, and at his funeral, another guy asked, “How much did he leave?” And another guy answered, “All of it.”

Because money doesn’t buy you heaven, and it cannot substitute what Jesus can give you.

Jesus says in our passage that you can’t exchange it for your soul.

2. Fame.

Name some famous people – people that we’ve probably all heard of.

Yup, those are famous people. And everyone knows their names.

But what happens when they die? Does their fame get them into heaven? Nope.

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