Summary: Many people claim to be a Christian, but few really know what it means to live a Christian Life.
From the Desk of Pastor Toby Powers
Truth Baptist Church
What Does It Mean To Live A Christian Life?
Intro: In this passage Jesus begins to tell the disciples about the will of the Father for his life. He goes further also to tell them about the will of God for their lives as followers of him. As his life involved sacrifice, their lives for him would involve sacrifice, and our lives, if lived for Christ, will involve sacrifice. He truly instructs these men and informs us through the witness of his Word on how to live a Christian life. I want to preach with God’s help today on “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE A CHRISTIAN LIFE?” To live a Christian life you must live a:
I. Crucified Life: The believer must understand that being a witness for Christ requires that he take up his cross and follow Christ. The cross of Christ represents the will of God for his life, and the cross of the Christian represents the will of God in the saint’s life. The crucifixion of Christ led to the salvation of the world, and the crucified life of the saint will result in the leading of sinners to saving knowledge in Christ as well. The cross of the Christian represents the sacrifices necessary to be successful. God’s will is not an environment of comfort to the flesh. It is linked with the crucifixion of the flesh. To be successful for Christ, we must bear the cross we are given.
v. 24 says a man must “deny himself.” This word deny is “apareomai (ap-ar-neh’-om-ahee)”, which means to deny utterly, to disown, totally abstain, to forget oneself, to lose sight on oneself and one’s own interests. Can you say with Paul in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ”? The crucified life is a life of denial. Are you living in denial? You must deny:
A. Possessions: To the rich young ruler Jesus said in Mark 10:21-23, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” Here we see a lesson in priorities. There is nothing wrong with having possessions, but you can’t let possessions have you! His “stuff” was his god. He served his riches instead of the Lord, and no man can serve two masters. POSESSIONS CAN KEEP YOU FROM BEARING THE CROSS!
B. People: Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” The word "hate" means to “love less.” Again it is a lesson in priorities. We are to love Christ supremely! In our text in verse 21, Christ begins to reveal the will of the Father for his life. In verse 22, Peter rebukes him and tried to restrain him. In verse 23, Jesus turns his back to Peter. Jesus still loved Peter greatly, but he did not love him supremely! People who you love can be the same type of hindrance to you in your walk with God sometimes. People can keep you from bearing your cross.
Illustrate: Abraham dwelt in the wicked place of Haran because of his Father. Haran means to “sit down.” Abraham was sitting down on the journey God had for his life because of his Father, but he had to love God supremely and follow him. The song “Brethren, We Have Met To Worship” says appropriately in the last verse, “Let us love our God supremely; let us love each other too!”
Illustrate: Job’s wife tried to get him to curse God and die!
Illustrate: Amnon’s friend and cousin Jonadab talked him into rebelling against all that is right in deceiving and defiling his own sister!
PEOPLE CAN KEEP YOU FROM LIVING A CRUCIFIED LIFE IF YOU DO NOT LOVE GOD SUPREMELY!
C. Pride: The cross is not always a popular thing. Serving God is not always a popular activity. The believer should expect some opposition to his witness. The believer must be willing to accept the criticism of the lost with a sense of humility. I Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The word foolishness is the Greek word “moria (mo-ree’-ah)” and is equated with silliness or absurdity. This world considers Christians to be weird. True followers of Christ are often viewed with disgust and contempt. Don’t be surprised. The cross is an emblem of suffering and shame to those who bear it.