Take Up Your Cross

Text: Luke 14:25-32

 

I.         Many people see religion as something done out of convenience.

            A.        They attend when there isn’t something important going on

            B.        They select a church to attend because it is close, or because of the events going on, or if there are kids for my kid to play with.

II.        Being a true Christian isn’t always easy

            A.        Jesus told his disciples about the hardships they would face as they teach the gospel

                        1.         Don’t fear when people try to kill you - Matthew 10:28-31

                        2.         Instead, be bold to confess Christ - Matthew 10:32-33

                        3.         Your own family may turn against you - Matthew 10:34-36

                        4.         Even so, you have to take up your cross - Matthew 10:37-39

            B.        Jesus foretold his death

                        1.         Peter refused to believe it - Matthew 16:21-23

                        2.         If you are going to follow Christ, you have to take up your cross - Matthew 16:24-26

            C.        After a confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus talked to the crowd following him

                        1.         You have to put Christ before family - Luke 14:25-26

                        2.         You have to carry your own cross - Luke 14:27

                        3.         Discipleship comes with a cost. Are you able to pay it fully? - Luke 14:28-30

                        4.         But not becoming a disciple also comes with a cost that has to be paid - Luke 14:31-32

            D.        The level of commitment for all disciples, not just the apostles, is large

                        1.         Too many people approach religion with the question: What’s in it for me?

                        2.         They won’t follow a way of life unless it promises them benefits.

                        3.         There are benefits to being a Christian and in some ways life is easier, but there is no promise of an easy life

III.       Life as a Christian can be difficult

            A.        There will be persecution - Matthew 5:10-12

            B.        There will be tribulation - John 16:33

            C.        The cross was the most gruesome form of death in the time of Jesus

                        1.         Those about to be crucified were made to carry the crossbeam of their cross to the place where they wold be crucified.

            D.        To carry your cross is to go where you don’t want to go and do what you don’t want to do

                        1.         Paul wanted the Philippians to be shining examples and Paul was willing to give of himself to that end - Philippians 2:14-18

                        2.         He knew he would be release from jail soon, but he would be willing to die if necessary - Philippians 1:19-20

                        3.         Paul had love for the Thessalonians - I Thessalonians 2:8

                        4.         Paul even loved the Corinthians with all their problems - II Corinthians 12:15

IV.      Jesus’ example

            A.        Jesus did not look forward to the cross, even though he knew the need and the good that would result from it - John 12:27

            B.        Yet, despite the dread, Jesus went voluntarily

            C.        We are to follow his example - I Peter 2:21-24

            D.        That is the level of commitment Jesus is asking from each of his followers

V.        Christianity is not about me. It is about serving God and my fellow man.

            A.        We should be willing to give all for the brethren - I John 3:16

            B.        We are not searching out problems, but we understand that problems will find us, just because of who we are and what we stand for.

            C.        Are you willing to take up your cross and follow Christ?