Summary: To be ashamed of Jesus in this life is to forfeit knowing HIM in the Life to COME!
SELF-HELP IS NO HELP AT ALL
FEBRURAY 11, 2001
INTRODUCTION: I was almost your person today, LORD. Then I thought what it would have been like if Jesus had done the same thing. What if God had almost revealed himself in Jesus Christ? What if Christ were almost born and almost lived and almost died? What if he would have said, “Ask and it will almost be given you; seek and you will almost find; knock and it will almost be opened to you.” What if he would have said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will almost give you rest.” And what if Jesus had told his disciples, “For whosoever would save his life will lose it, and whosoever loses his life for my sake will almost find it.” My almost Christianity took on a much different light. I realized how many times I had played the game of being one of Jesus’ almost disciples. I recalled how many times I had prayed almost believing and walked through my days as if he were almost risen. It was not a question of theology. It was a question of lifestyle. Whether or not I had a lifestyle that could match what I said I believed, whether or not, as some had said, I could walk my talk.” Tim Hansel, When I Relax I Feel Guilty, p.51
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for this day shares the idea of being all for Jesus, or of not having any part of HIM. Paul was trying to encourage his son in the faith. The key term in this Passage is “ASHAMED.” Another passage highligts that same Word, “ASHAMED.” Hear what Jesus has to say as LUKE writes in chapter 9 of his Gospel. READ LUKE 9:23-27!
THESIS SENTENCE: To be ashamed of Jesus in this life is to forfeit knowing HIM in the Life to COME!
WHAT IS JESUS POINT OF VIEW REGARDING HOW WE LIVE CONCERNING HIM?
I. JESUS GETS INTENSE (verse 23)
A. A DEATH TO DIE
1. Jesus has just shared that HE is on the way out. He must suffer!
2. Why must Jesus suffer, CHRISTIANITY 101, HE IS THE MESSIAH! HE HAS COME TO RANSOME US FROM OUR SIN!
B. A CROSS TO BEAR
1. The text gets interesting here. Luke writes that Jesus speaks to all!
2. Who is the all? Was it the Crowd? Was it the Disciples? OR WAS IT INTENDED TO BE READ BY US?
C. WHAT IS THE CROSS WE ARE TO BEAR?
1. Is it about Martyrdom? What do you do with the term “Daily?”
2. Is it about Arthritis, poor grades, an unhappy marriage, or a child on drugs? Are not these Crosses that must be borne? WHAT THEN WOULD WE DO WITH THE TERM “TAKE UP?”
3. To “take up” is a voluntary term, as in having a choice to take up or leave lying around. 4. The CROSS we are called to bear is the CROSS OF JESUS.
5. Which begs the question, “what was the Cross of Jesus?”
6. The “Cross of Jesus” refers to his sacrificial death and life. He was ransomed for us. He voluntarily chose to live and die to accomplish, “YET NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE (LUKE 22:42).”
7. The Cross we are to bear is a life, as long as we live LIFE, of living GOD’S WILL NOT OURS. And that translates into meeting human needs, is on a path along which there are crosses, prices to be paid, pain and hurt to be accepted, which is ultimately translated “OBEDIENCE” to the reign of GOD. For a definition of the REIGN OF GOD, we only need to look at the ministry of JESUS.
ILLUSTRATION: Book of worship quote, CS Lewis on mud pies verses a day at the beach.
NOT ONLY DOES JESUS GET INTENSE, THE SITUATION WARRANTED INTENSITY, BUT...
II. HE GETS PROVERBIAL (verses 24-26)
A. THREE PARALLEL SAYINGS: Each of these sayings has a proverb quality about it and therefore contains a kind of truth drawn from experience and observation that can circulate in any culture as wisdom!
1. Hear how the “MESSAGE” translates the first parallel passage in verse 24: “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding your self, your true self.”
a. Verse 24 carries a general truth: self-centeredness is finally counter-productive and destructive.
b. When we serve self, we sever ourselves from the resources that give life. 2. Hear verse 25: “What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?”
a. How many folks have worked a life-time to gain wealth and in the process lost their family or ended up with a big bank account and cancer to boot. Jack Smith & Mr. McKinney worked all their lives and retired and died within a year!