“The Cost of Being Christ’s Disciple”
- Note verse 27) And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi (approximately 80 miles North of Jerusalem): and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? 28) And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
- Now forgive me for being so dogmatic on details, but I find it interesting and somewhat irritating of how the disciples (people following Jesus of this ministry tour) answer this question Jesus asked.
- Stop and think. Looking at this journey in brief from the beginning.
- Jesus starts in Mark 3, when the Pharisees plot to kill Jesus. Jesus then departs from Jerusalem to the coasts. He had healed many (vrs.10).
- In Mark 3:11, they acknowledge Jesus as being the “Son of God.” He also warns them not to tell others about Him (For fear that they will try to make Him ruler by “force” not the “will of God.”
- They go to Cana where He turns the water into wine at the wedding.
- They go NE to Capernaum where Jesus heals Peter’s mother in law, heal two men that were paralyzed, and raises a dead daughter of ruler.
- Then they trek east to Bethsaida, where Jesus feeds the 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.
- Jesus then delivers His sermon on the mount.
- Jesus calms the storm, walks on the water.
- They go to the city of Cain, and raise a widow’s son from the dead.
- Now they just finished witnessing Jesus heal the blind man in Bethsaida (Mark 3:22).
- After witnessing all these miracles and recognizing Him as “The Son of God” they have doubt in their mind as to who He is. I don’t get it.
- Here is my point… There are many people who claim to be “a disciple” a follower of Christ and don’t really know who He is.
- They are basing what they know of Christ on what other people say and not what God says.
- 29) And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
- God wants to know… “Who do you say I am?”
- 30) And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. (This is a repeat of Mark 3:11…)
I. Put Away The Desires of Men
A) Put On the desires of God
- Note now verses Mark 8:31…And he began to teach them, that the Son of man (Jesus) must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
- In verse 31, we see Jesus explaining to the disciples about His suffering (tried by the courts, stripping of clothing and dignity, scourging with a whip), His rejection of the church leaders, His death, Burial and Resurrection.
- Verse 32a) And he spake that saying openly. This means that Jesus did not speak in a parable but rather quite clearly that a child could understand.
- Verse 32b)…And Peter took him, and began to rebuke First of all note that Peter “took Him.” This means that he pulled Jesus to the side away from others as to not make Jesus look bad.
- Then we see that Peter rebuked Him. So, what was Peter’s rebuke?
- We see this story paralleled in Matthew 16, and note verse 22…Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
- I believe that Peter (and possibly the others) had a hard time understanding that the messiah that God had sent would be destructible. Remember, they were informed by the prophets that the Messiah to come would have His own Kingdom, baptizing with fire and the Holy Spirit, and His kingdom would be forever! Death? Not hardly. No way.
- Now if I may point out something Peter done here… Did you notice that Peter pulled Christ over to the side to rebuke Him, not in front of the others. Men, deacons, trustees, or just laymen of God, when you want to rebuke your pastor, or anyone for that matter… pull them off to the side. Peter learned this from Christ.
- 33) But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
- So what “things” was Peter “savoring” that was of men?
- Peter did not want Jesus to die. He (as well as the other Jews) could not comprehend that a messiah sent by God would be allowed to die.
- Christ may have sensed some “selfishness” in Peter’s voice wanting Christ to remain here on earth longer, forever perhaps.
- I looked up the word “savor” in the dictionary and it said this…. To enjoy with appreciation; dwell on with delight.
- In light of the definition given by Webster, Jesus was saying here… “Don’t let Satan cause you to be like other men and dwell on the present enjoyment of Christ, but rather allow Christ to do as God has willed.
- I believe that we are all guilty of focusing on the present fun we are having and fail to live for Christ focusing of the will of God in our lives being accomplished.
II. There Must Be A Desire To Follow Christ
A) True love… means you must deny self
- Now back to our text in Mark 8:34… And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
- “come after me” means to follow Christ in all that He is, and does.
- “Whosoever will” is talking about anyone that wishes and has a desire to follow Him. They must believe in Him to the point of dying to self. (We’ll explain that shortly)
- Some people are like Peter in that they want to have Christ in them or around them for entertainment purposes or self wealth and recognition.
III. There Must Be A Denial of Self
A) Kick out selfish thinking
- If you want to know what it means to “deny self” the best way to describe it is to kick out of your mind and heart selfish thoughts and activity.
- Many marriages end because both husband and wife cannot “deny self.” They each want their own way. They are both stubborn.
- To be a disciple of Christ, you must deny self. If you do not deny self, Christ said you are not His disciple.
- When you become married, your bank account becomes your wife’s bank account too. 50%-50%. Your body becomes your spouses’ body. Your house becomes your spouses and so on. Everything is split right down the middle.
- This also applies to your spiritual life. When you become a follower of Jesus Christ, then you split your money, time and talents with God.
- Remember verse 31 of Mark 8, Jesus had been predicting His death. Peter rebuked Him, and Jesus responded to Peter.
- They actually tie back to the points He was discussing before Peter interrupted Him. He had said He must die. Peter had shown a desire to follow his own will regarding this, instead of God’s will. So Jesus showed how His death proves we must not follow our own desires, as Peter had just done.
- Denying self requires us to give up anything that we would want or seek that would hinder our doing the will of God.
- We must be willing to give up anything in life in order to please God. (Rom. 12:1, 2; Matt. 6:33; Luke 14:25-33; II Cor. 5:14, 15.)
IV. You Must Take Up Your Cross
A) What does this mean?
- Many people think this means bearing burdens and suffering hardships for the Lord.
- This is partly true. There will be hardships and burdens required.
B) What is the cross for?
- It was not just a burden to be borne.
- It was an instrument of death and total sacrifice.
- Jesus said take up our cross and follow Him. He bore a cross and we must bear our cross and follow Him.
- But where was He going with His cross? He had just said He was going to die.
- In the next verse Jesus said we must give our lives for Him. Then He asked what good our lives would be to us, if we are unacceptable at the judgment.
- So, “taking up your cross” refers to giving your whole life to God, as Jesus was about to give His life for us.
- This involves bearing burdens, but it is deeper than that.
- It is a total dedication of life. Our whole life is given to His service in anything He says.
- This will lead us to willingly deny self. Following Him then requires us to live as He lived His life (I Pet. 2:21; Matt. 10:34, 35; I Cor. 11:1).
- Luke adds “take up your cross daily” (Luke 9:23). This means a daily total sacrifice of self to do the will of Jesus. Whatever He wants with my life is what must be done with it. What I want no longer matters, but I give myself for Him, just as He gave Himself for me.
- To deny self is to REPENT. We cannot be saved without repenting of our sins.
V. You Must Follow Christ
A) Be baptized in Christ
- Do you remember our study on Wednesday night about the word “baptize?”
- It has really two meanings.
- To be covered with water.
- To take on fully the character or personification of something else or someone else.
- Christ said in verse 34…And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
- Christ said follow me, meaning to be “baptized” with Him.
- Everything in life that you do, ask Jesus in prayer… “Is this what you want me to do?”
- Everything you say, ask Jesus… “Is this what you want me to say? Would this please God?”
- To follow Christ does not mean to second guess your decision after you decide to do it. Trust God in your decision that He will provide and help you to carry out His will in your life.
- Christ when facing the cross, carried the cross, faced the soldiers driving the nails in his hands, death, and trusted that God would resurrect His body.
- We must also learn to TRUST. Trust Jesus. I love that old hymn that goes… “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word.”
- Let me ask you this morning…
“Are you Christ’s disciple?”
“Have you denied self?”
“Do you trust in Jesus?”