Summary: Examines what true discipleship is supposed to look like.

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This past Wednesday, many across our country and others, went to their local churches to have ashes placed on their foreheads, as a sign of repentance. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period that many “give-up” something in preparation for the coming of Easter.

In the French Quarter and other parts of New Orleans, Ash Wednesday starts at 12 am, Wednesday morning when police, mounted on horseback, drive the revelers and partiers from the streets after a week of feasting and celebrations. This partying culminates in Fat Tuesday, or in French “Mardi Gras”. Fat Tuesday is celebrated with parades in a growing number of cities in the US, and with parades and parties in many parts of Europe and South America.

As we think about this past week and as we think about Easter on its way, and as we think about Jesus and His disciples,

the question begs to be asked, “Is this what it means to be a Christian? Is feasting before fasting, parades and parties, and ashes on our foreheads what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Would Jesus even recognize many of the things we do in His name and many of the people who profess to be His followers today? What does a Christian look like? Let me tell you, being a Christian is both easy and hard.

- Matthew 16:13-20


- v16

Peter said “You are the Son of the Living God.” …

Was God doing a work here? Yes! Did God reveal this to Peter? Yes! Jesus said He did.

> John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

God was doing a work in Peter’s life. He opened his eyes to who Jesus really was.

A Christian begins his walk with the Lord with an understanding and a profession.

> Romans 10:9-10 if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.

Sadly, though, many misunderstand these verses and believe that if they say the right thing, or pray the right prayer, or if they’re baptized, that they have their ticket and are on their way to heaven. They misunderstand what it means to be a Christian. It is not merely saying the right words or believing the right thing.

> James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.

- Matthew 7:13-23

Sadly, in this case, Peter too misunderstood what it meant to be a Christ-Follower.


- Matthew 16:21-23

Peter thought you could be a Christ-follower without cost.

Jesus explained what was coming.

Peter didn’t like that. He had the audacity to correct his teacher, to correct Jesus and to tell Him that He had it wrong. Surely being the Messiah meant better things than that.

Disciple was supposed to be behind his teacher. Jesus turned around, faced Peter, and told him, “You’re not following like you’re supposed to. You do not understand what’s involved and what’s going on. Get behind Me. Get back in your right place. Quit talking to Me like the Devil.

Why? He was saying the same thing the Devil had said to Jesus in the wilderness.

> Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”

You can be the Ruler of the world without cost, without sacrifice, without pain, without suffering. You can have the kingdom without the cross.

The Devil has influenced this world so deeply that the world’s values are quit often the Devil’s values. Sadly, these values have often found their way into the church as well.

Think of how many in our churches prefer comfort to the cross. Think of how many are incorrectly taught that being a Christian means that your problems will all be taken care of or that God will heal everything.

- Timothy – Wine for your stomach


- Matthew 16:24-28

Realizing that the other disciples and the rest of the crowd there (according to Mark 8:34), had the same misunderstanding as Peter, Jesus begins preaching the doctrine of the cross to them and lets them know that they must prepare for persecutions, sufferings, and death.

Taking up your cross in the old days didn’t mean simply putting up with an annoying spouse or having to live with ingrown toenails. It meant marching on the way to one’s execution, shamefully carrying the heavy horizontal beam of one’s own death-instrument through a jeering mob. Taking up your cross in those days meant ridicule. It meant pain and suffering. It meant embarrassment for your family in the community.

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