Summary: The cross is not a call to passive acceptance, it is a call to salvation as a gift and faithful obedience in loving response.
The Cross Dynamic of Discipleship Development
(16) ¡§You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (17) This is my command: Love each other.
(18) ¡§If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (19) If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (20) Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.¡¦ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. (21) They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. (22) If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. (23) He who hates me hates my Father as well. (24) If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. (25) But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: `They hated me without reason.¡¦
(26) When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (27) And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.¡¨
INTRODUCTION: For the love of it all.
One of the hottest commercials of the 1990¡¦s has been the one of the guy who tries to bum a free beer from his friend. Perhaps you remember it starts with a bunch of fishing buddies sitting around the campfire ¡§bonding¡¨ over their experience. Suddenly one of the guys grows tearful and confesses. Coming close to one of his friends around the fire, he throws his arms around him and reveals in a tough guy but choky voice, ¡§I love you, man!¡¨ But instead of being touched, his friend sees right through the flood of tears.
¡§That¡¦s great, man,¡¨ his friend agrees, ¡§But you still aren¡¦t getting my Budweiser.¡¨
Love as way to get a free beer -- that seems so Madision Avenue, and so much like us as people, declare our love to accomplish our own objective. How different is God¡¦s love. For the love of it all, for the love of you and me, God sends His Son to die on a cross that we might have life, that we might be His own, and that there would be a dynamic at work in our hearts that will build us as God¡¦s people. Today we want to look at the cross dynamic of discipleship development. The dynamic at work at what God accomplishes at the cross is the dynamic God is at work in our hearts and our lives.
The Cross Dynamic
DYNAMIC 1) The key to the cross is moving from DEATH to LIFE. Jesus says in Mark 8:34,35, ¡§Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ¡¥If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.¡¦¡¨
This Lent, while the supplies lasted, we have invited people to carry a cross in their pocket. Another reminder that churches use is to pass out a nail. The nail reminds us of our great worth to God. His blood paid the price for my sins. His sacrifice makes me precious in God¡¦s eyes.
The nail remind us to take up our own cross daily and to follow him. You see, it wasn¡¦t the nail that held Jesus to the cross. It was His love for you and me.
The first dynamic is to realize the key of the cross is moving from death to life. Christ died that we might live. Christ also calls us to die our own selfish needs, that we might live to Him and to reach out to others, so that they might be touched with the love of God.
DYNAMIC 2) The bridge moving from the suffering side of the cross to the mission side of the cross is the HOLY SPIRIT. Jesus says in,
„h John 16:7, ¡§But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.¡¨