I. The Invitation To Follow Jesus V. 24a
A. Jesus Frequently Invited People To Follow Him
1. More than follow in a physical, philosophical, ethical sense.
2. Jesus invited people to commit their lives to Him
B. The Invitations & Blessings Of Following Jesus
1. Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus offers rest for a person’s soul
2. Matthew 16:18 Jesus says that He will build His church (called out ones)
3. Matthew 16:20 Jesus has a church & a kingdom, and you can be in them
4. John 3:16 Jesus invites people to believe on Him and receive everlasting life
5. John 8:12 Whoever follows Him would not walk in darkness , but in light of life
II. The Cost Of Following Jesus
Considering all the blessings that come when one follows Jesus, we have to ask:
What keeps people from following Jesus?
Jesus pointed out that people were unwilling to come to Him.
John 5:40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
There is a cost involved if you want to follow Jesus. There is the cost of discipleship.
A. Deny Yourself V.24 b
1. We recognize and admire self-denial in so many areas of life
a. The discipline & self denial of professional sports
b. Successful businessmen and women- focused on only work
c. Academic achievements- deny self social life in order to succeed
d. This kind of self-denial is generally self directed, and not biblical in nature
2. Self denial in following Jesus is entirely different
a. It is not self directed, but directed by God. The object is directed by God
b. It is not for personal gain, but for God’s glory
c. It is not for personal advancement, but to advance the cause of Jesus
d. It is not human in its wisdom logic, or understanding
i. Peter sought to force his logic onto Jesus
ii. Peter’s logic was humanly & usable by Satan
iii. Peter needed to deny himself the forthcoming pain of Jesus’ death
3. Summary of biblical self denial
a. It isn’t mine to determine what things I shall give up; I am directed
b. It isn’t mine to choose what I shall suffer; it is directed
c. I deny myself the right to choose what I will deny myself
4. What will God ask you to deny yourself of?
a. Things that will hinder you or destroy you
b. Things that will keep you from choosing to follow Jesus
c. Things that may bring short term satisfaction, but prevent long term joy
i. Philippine method of catching wild monkeys with coconuts & rice
ii. So many choose the “rice” instead of choosing life
5. Will you deny yourself the right to be self directed?
B. Pick Up Your Cross V. 24 c
1. The cross was the Roman instrument of execution & death
2. A person on a cross was no longer in control of his life: end of self directedness
3. 99.99% of crucifixion victims were just that: unwilling victims
4. Jesus chose the cross: Jesus died as He lived: not self directed, but God directed
5. Misconceptions about “picking up our crosses”
a. We sometimes consider illness, bad situations: “our crosses to bear”
b. Biblically, a cross is something we choose, not something we are stuck with
i. We “pick up our cross” when we commit the situation to God
ii. When we are not self directed w/our situation, but God directed
c. Remember Jesus’ struggle in Gethsemane? He asked to avoid the cross, but ultimately submitted to the Father re. the cross
6. We do not “pick up our cross” unless we have the ability to not pick it up
7. Are you willing you submit to Jesus in all areas of life?
C. Follow Jesus V. 24 d
1. To “deny yourself” is to choose to not be self-directed
2. To “pick up your cross” is to actually submit to be directed by God
3. To “follow Jesus” means to take steps #1 & #2, and not turn back
III. The Rationale Of Following Jesus
A. Are You Saving Your Life, Or Losing It?
1. Whatever you strive to gain temporally, cannot be taken with you when you die
2. You may succeed in your own ambitions; the end is still disappointment
3. You never hear a dying man say “I wish I had more stuff”
B. Profit & Loss V. 26
1. True profits are not really known until you compare them against the losses
2. This may not be your ambition.
3. “I don’t want the whole world just a good chunk”.
C. “What will you give in exchange for your soul?”
1. If you are not following Jesus, you are losing your life, both presently & eternally
2. For what price or prize are you selling your soul?
3. Hebrews 11:24-26
a. Moses kept an eternal perspective
b. Moses could have enjoyed 80 years of riches, but lost the blessings of God
c. Instead, Moses, so far, has enjoyed 2300 years of blessings with God
d. How do you think Moses now feels about the choice he made?
4. Many people bow to Satan in order to receive short term gains
5. People do things spiritually that they would never do financially: gains & losses
6. Power of sin is its promise to please, but it never fully satisfies, & costs so much
7. The reality of sin can never match the fantasy of sin
8. In Christianity there is always a cross, for it is the religion of the cross