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Summary: Jesus’ teaching on true discipleship separates the serious from the satisfied. Not many will step forward and stand out...how about you? Link included to formatted text and PowerPoint Template.

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The Candidate, Commitment, & Criteria

Matthew 16:21-26

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/CandidateCommitmentCriteria.html

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(Mat 16:24) "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

INTRODUCTION: The passage of scripture just prior to this is a highlight in the life of Peter. He has proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answers him with (Mat 16:17) "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Just two or three verses later Peter makes one of the greatest mistakes of his life. He rebukes the Lord. He places himself in the way of the Lord fulfilling His mission on earth. Jesus then has to rebuke Peter and get him straightened out. Peter goes from one of the highest pinnacles of his life to the lowest position. Why? How could this happen? If it happened to Peter, then surely you and I can expect to see the same thing take place in our lives. Is there something in this passage of inspired scripture that will direct our paths around such a mistake?

When this happens to you, what will you do? How will you get out of this valley of the shadow of death?

Let’s examine it and see.

(Mat 16:24) "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

I. IF ANY MAN - THE CANDIDATE

Who is the Lord talking to here? “Any man.” That’s true, but He is looking straight at Peter. They are eye ball to eye ball. He is saying, “Peter, if any man will come after me....”

He is using Peter as an example for our sakes.

He is telling Peter how to be raised from the low spiritual place he has gotten himself into. He wants Peter to know that he has just committed a terrible sin, and now the way to avoid future reoccurrence is to do what He is about to tell Peter.

This means that you can be in the same place Peter was. You may be in a very low state of Christian happiness. You may have denied Christ as severely this week as did Peter. Your victory may have gone out the window. You may be so low spiritually that you have to stretch to taste dirt.

It’s not often that you see Christians in a real place of victory. They normally are walking around in the spiritual dumps, blaming everyone, and everything. The solution lies within the formula that the Lord gave Peter.

Jesus puts you and I in this same category. He knows that we will all fail. He knows that we are all human.

Psalms 78:37-39

37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. 38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. 39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

He told Peter that flesh and blood did not reveal to him the strong spiritual things that were discussed in Vs. 17.

Notice that Jesus uses the singular “man”, not “men”. This would indicate that not many will proceed in this matter. There are not many people alive today who can say, “I am doing what Jesus told Peter to do.” There are not many who will pay the price. I also believe it is singular so we will apply it to ourselves. If plural, then we apply it to others, assuming someone else will, but none will if not you!

I believe that God is pleading for you today. You are that “any man”. Will you be an active candidate? Will you be the candidate of action?

You meet the requirements. “Any man”. That means “any person”, any man, any woman, any young person, any boy, any girl, and any person.” You are a candidate to be the person Jesus is talking about.

So please don’t exclude yourself from these instructions.

II. WILL FOLLOW ME - THE COMMITMENT

A. Must come from man’s will. (“...will follow me.”)

Has to be a surrendered will.

Rom 12:1-2

I think of the time somewhere in eternity past when God looked for the Sacrifice for Man and Jesus said, “I will.”

A will yielded to the spirit. You will not accomplish this in the flesh. Your flesh must be totally surrendered to the will of the Spirit, and then allowing the Spirit to work within and through you.

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