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Summary: Inspired by "The Passion of the Christ" demonstrates how because of Christ’s suffering our life is not our own--and we must die to self, sin, and this world.

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Take Up Your Cross

Having recently seen the movie the Passion of the Christ several times, I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of the Passion. Of course, I know that the purpose of Christ’s death was to bring forgiveness of sin. But at the same time, I wondered what the purpose could be in reflecting on the Passion. What kind of application does it have for me to watch such a violent and graphic movie.

I. And the second time through I was overwhelmed with a particular sensation. It suddenly made sense and was all relevant. The message of the Passion was simple.

2 Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Here is the relevance—that because he suffered—my life is no longer my own.

II. Not only is the relevance that my life is not my own—but the way in which it is not my own—is that I too must die—that is I must partake in his Passion in a very real way.

Philippians 3:10,11 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

The thing which hit me is that I looked at the blood lying on the stone floor and what I realized was that God requires this of me—maybe not in a literal, physical sense—but in a very real spiritual sense—I must be put to death.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

III. Death is not optional for the Christian—it may be unpleasant—but we must come to terms with the requirements—so we can pray like Jesus—“let the cup pass from me, but your will be done.”

Luke 9:23,25 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

This sentiment was spoken of by Jesus on more than one occasion. And is recorded in all 4 Gospels.

This is a willing death—and also a continual death—a constant decision to put to death the Old Man.

IV. We must die to sin and the desires of the flesh.

Romans 6:6-7,10-11 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

A. This is a two-sided fact:

a. It is because of the death of Christ—and the subsequent death that it brought to our Old Man—the flesh—that we have the power to live free from sin.

b. But it is also the way we must continually remain free from sin—by identifying daily, regularly, over and over, with that death.

B. Death is a definite thing:

There is no wishy-washiness in death. There is no grey area. It’s either alive or dead.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. …

By saying to put sin to death, we see the idea of having nothing to do with sin—not playing around with sin—not toeing the line. The Bible doesn’t say to keep sin weak or controllable. But it says to put sin to death.

C. We die to sin by the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,

V. We must die for others—that is willingly pour our lives out for others—as a drink offering.

A. Christ’s life was a life poured out for others.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

What does Paul mean when he says this? That to live is suffering—but suffering that is worth it because it for the sake of others. To die is a cherished reward—but he continues to say he knows he will live—for he is called, as we are, to suffer for others.

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