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Summary: Jesus wants us to know the truth about being one of His disciples. He wants all of us to count the cost, so in vs. 24 the Lord tells us three things we must do.

The Truth about Discipleship

Matthew 16:20-25

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - March 22, 2009

*I read about a little boy who was trying to memorize some Scripture. He accidentally got two verses jumbled together. It came out this way: “A lie is an abomination unto the Lord. -- And a very present help in trouble.” (1)

*Some people live like that’s a real verse from the Bible. Do you always tell the truth? Jesus does. And in these verses where He calls us to be His disciples, He doesn’t sugar-coat it. Jesus wants us to know the truth about being one of His disciples. He wants all of us to count the cost, so in vs. 24 the Lord tells us three things we must do.

1. First, we must say “no” to selfishness.

*Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself.” Why does the Lord ask us to deny our self? One of the main reasons why is because we have a self to deny. It’s that part of us that pulls away from the things of God.

-The part that gets grumpy, grouchy, gripey and whiny.

-That looks out for number one.

-That has to get its way.

*It’s the part that has to get the last word.

-That is so quick to criticize others.

-That only cares about me.

-That gets in the way of what the Lord is trying to do.

*Paul was talking about this selfish, sinful nature in Rom 7 when he said, “I know that in my flesh dwells no good thing.” We have a self to deny.

*Self was part of the reason why Peter began to argue with the Lord in vs. 22. Of course, Peter cared about Jesus, and did not want the Lord to suffer. But Peter didn’t want Peter to suffer either! These disciples wanted to throw out the Romans and rule Israel with Jesus. Peter needed to deny himself. He did not realize that he was actually opposing God’s plan for His Kingdom. That’s why Jesus gave Peter such a strong rebuke in vs. 23: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

*“Satan” -- not what I want to hear the Lord calling me! -- So every one of us who believes in Jesus needs to deny our self. We must say “no” to selfishness. Nell Mohney found this out years ago on an airplane flight to Jackson. Nell was flying to Jackson, Tennessee, to give a lecture at Lambuth College. She thought it was odd that no one was at the airport to meet her.

*Nell then went to a phone booth to call the college and found that there was no Lambuth College in the book. When she called the operator to ask for the college, the operator asked, “Where do you think you are?” “Jackson, Tennessee,” she replied, and the operator answered, “No! -- You are in Jackson, Mississippi.”

*The airline had made the mistake and five others were in the same situation. Delta provided a small plane and flew them to Jackson, Tennessee. It was a terribly hot day; the plane was bumpy; sweat was pouring down everybody’s face.

*You can imagine how aggravated those five people were. But Nell could not help but notice that the young girl who shared the seat with her was crying. She looked like she had a terrible problem. Nell was a good counselor, but at that moment, she was tired, sick, and frustrated. She turned to the window and actually whispered this prayer, “No, Lord, I’m sick. I just can’t get involved.”

*But Nell could find no peace, so she whispered again, “Okay, Lord, I’ll talk to her.” She turned and said to the girl, “Is there something wrong? Can I help?” The girl then poured out a pathetic story. Everything was wrong. She ended her story by saying, “There is no hope.”

*“That’s where you are all wrong,” Nell replied. “God loves you, Christ loves you, and I love you. There is hope! God can straighten anything out, if you let him.” Then Nell asked, “Can you turn yourself, your life, your problems over to him now?”

*By the grace of God she did! And everyone on that plane could tell that something good had had happened to that young woman. As they approached the right airport, Nell followed up by giving the girl the address and phone number of someone in Jackson, Tennessee who could encourage and help her.

Then as they were getting ready to leave the plane, the girl turned to Nell and said, “I want to show you something” She opened her purse, showed Nell a gun and a suicide note and then said, “I was going to a motel and kill myself. Jackson was the only place where they would know what to do with my body.” (2)

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