-by brother Sekhar
Jesus asked to disciples that who do people say that the son of man is ? and they responded saying some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, some say Jeremiah and other say one of the prophets then Jesus asked them who do you say that I am ? . From this we looked at our understand about Jesus and identity in him .
In Matthew 16:21-28,
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Jesus is talking to disciples and explaining them what is going to happen.
who are basically disciples, whoever accepts Jesus as personal savior, he/she is disciple of Christ.
Every believer is a disciple of Christ.
Disciple is a follower of Master but who is our master?
Many times, we all have wrong understanding of discipleship, some may think , theology study is required to become disciple . some many think once we become then only we are disciple of Christ. Some think I am disciple of Christ because I am participating in ministry and other stuff , others are not disciples .
This understand is wrong , we need to basically understand how we got saved .
We are Saved by Grace:
When we accept Jesus as our personal savior, His righteousness is upon us. By Faith we are justified. God looks at us through Christ as if we are holy.
That doesn’t mean that we do not need to strive to be Holy. If we have understood God’s grace which led us to believe in Him and made Him His Children, as His Children we cannot stay away from wanting to please God.
But, a wrong understanding of Grace leads to the other extreme of following our own desires leaving our Master behind.
Costly Grace that leads to saving faith:
We are saved by Grace. True. God has offered this Grace for free. But it cost Him His only Son Jesus Christ. We who are brought into the relationship by this Grace are called to Follow our Master.
If our Master has to go through all the sufferings and pain for the Glory of God, what do we expect in our lives if we have to follow Him.
You know that none of the Apostles except one had natural death. All were martyrs for gospel
If you read church history, whenever there’s more persecution the Christianity has spread more. whenever there’s no persecution and Christianity has diluted, we don’t see much growth. This is history. Not my imagination.
When there was no persecution, false teachings have crept in to dilute the understanding of God’s Grace and Christ’s work on the Cross.
During Hitler’s time a Luthern Pastor named DietrichBonhoeffer wrote a Christian classic The Cost of Discipleship. After hitler’s time he mentioned how church again has fallen into trap of a kind of grace called, cheap grace.
Cheap grace is
•The preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,
•Baptism without church discipline.
•Communion without confession.
•Grace without discipleship,
•Grace without the cross,
•Grace without Jesus Christ.
Or, to put it even more clearly, the Gospel has preached as follows: “Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness.”
Its very sad to see many Christian poachers in our times are twisting the gospel for their own self benefits.
That’s very wrong idea or understanding of what the Bible teaches about God’s Grace
•God justified sinner not sin
•God’s Grace is free but its not cheap. It costs us. It does demand our lives
Costly Grace is Grace of Christian Discipleship
It is costly because it calls us to follow
It is costly because it costs us our very life
It is costly because it condemns sin
It is grace because when we are called to follow, it is to follow Jesus
It is grace because although it costs our life, it is also the source of the only true and complete life
It is grace because although it condemns sin, it justifies sinner
True understanding of God’s Grace drives us to deny ourselves and carry our cross.
Scripture tells us that we are justified by faith. But It nowhere tells us that we are sanctified by faith.
True understanding of God’s grace drives us to follow Him.
As we read in the scripture Matthew 16:21-28, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.
There are four imperatives for those who want to follow Jesus:
a) If He/ She desires to come after me
b) He/ She must deny himself / Herself.
c) He must take up his cross – Death
d) He must follow Me. – Devotion
He must deny himself and Take up HIS cross:
a.Accepting that we are weak and sinners
b.If you are alive, sin pricks you.
c.Dead man will not feel the pain.
d.If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be. – Charles Spurgeon
Denying is basically leaving all our selfish or self-centereddesires and following him at the cost of our lives.
What are the areas that we need to deny ourselves and carry our cross? Every aspect of our lives.
Our work place – How do we work? Our daily life – What are our values? Are we paying the taxes? Traffic signals?Copyrights for movies and books? wrong relationships?
Our involvement in Church activities, fellowships, care cells,evangelism – It costs us our time, money, friendships.
Christianity is a battlefield. It is always a struggle between two natures in us,
Martin Luther said “We are both sinners and Saints at a time”. Paul had such struggle “He says, he had two laws in him. One to serve the flesh and one to serve God”
If we are not having such struggles within us, we probably need to check. Because the Bible is very clear that we are not perfect and we are in the process of being transformed by Holy Spiritinto the image of God.
A person who saved by True faith cannot enjoy sin, cannot take sin lightly. He will sin, but he will not enjoy it anymore as he did before.
The cross was the symbol of great suffering and shame. TheRomans used it to humiliate people and dared anyone to take up the cross if they wanted to rebel. The cross represented the most painful death, hanging on three nails for 6 to 30 hours bleeding to death, naked in the public for everyone to see.
When Jesus commanded his followers to take up the cross, he gave the ultimate challenge to us to give up everything to follow him.
Jesus said, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt 10:38)
In verse 24. To deny yourself, take up the cross and follow me.
The verb is in present tense. It means a daily following.
Following Jesus does not mean saying no to just one thing or two things. It means a lifestyle of saying no to yourself. It means taking up the cross daily. To follow Jesus is to make the daily decision of devoting yourself to Christ.
11 You must do the same thing! Think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But now you have new life because of Jesus Christ our Lord. You are living this new life for God.
14 Let every part of you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not allow your weak thoughts to lead you into sinful actions.
5 Think as Christ Jesus thought. 6 Jesus has always been as God is. But He did not hold to His rights as God. 7 He put aside everything that belonged to Him and made Himself the same as a servant who is owned by someone. He became human by being born as a man. 8 After He became a man, He gave up His important place and obeyed by dying on a cross.
Jesus himself obeyed to Father and died for us, is it difficult for us to deny our self and follow Jesus?
Do we know what God has offered in for us? He has offered us everlasting life/relationship with God Himself.
In the history we know many Christian evangelists and leaders who denied themselves and sacrifice their lives for the gospellike William Carey, John Wesley, Adoniram Judson . recently John Chau martyred by sharing the gospel to the tribes of an island.
Question we have to ask our self is , am I really following Jesus ? Am I sharing the gospel to the others ? Am I displaying the Christ likeness life style every where ? Am I able to impact people in my workplace or community ?