The Cost of Discipleship

19 November 2017 AM – Mark 8:34-38 – Mr17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Some believe that Jesus was speaking of salvation in this section. While much of it fits that interpretation, salvation is not of works and self-denial, carrying a cross and following can be viewed as works. Therefore, we are going to interpret it as applying to discipleship.

Transition: This morning I want us to look at Jesus’ three requirements for becoming one of His committed disciples.

1st requirement for discipleship is …

1.        Deny Self (v.34)

a.         Self-denial is living for eternity not self
1)         It is saying “NO” to selfish choices in this life.
a)         (Romans 12:19) “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
b)          (1 Corinthians 9:27) “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
c)         (Ephesians 4:22) “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;”
d)         (Colossians 3:2) “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
e)         (Colossians 3:5) “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
f)          (1 Timothy 6:10-11) “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things…”
g)         (2 Timothy 2:22) “Flee also youthful lusts: …”
h)         (Titus 2:12) “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
i)            (1 Peter 2:11) “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”
j)           (1 John 2:15) “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. …”
²  Jim Elliot, one of the martyred missionaries in Ecuador, caught the spirit of Jesus’ words when he wrote in his diary, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

2)         You cannot be surrendered to Christ and selfish at the same time.
b.         Self-denial is a wise choice.
1)         God created humans to glorify Him. (1 Corinthians 10:31) “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
2)         Self-denial is wisely choosing God’s will over your own. It is resisting the temptation to do what your sinful flesh wants to do.
a)         Those who try to save their lives [for themselves] will lose their lives [from God’s perspective].
b)         Those who lose their life [to serve God] will save their life [from God’s perspective].
2nd requirement for discipleship is …

2.        To Bear Your Cross (v.34)

O  “Carrying your cross for Christ is not enduring providential hardships with patience, but deliberately choosing a course that is sure to bring trouble upon you, because trouble lies in the path of following Christ.” Fortner

a.         The cross symbolized hardship and suffering
1)         To carry a cross may mean rejection and crucifixion.
a)         This is what it meant for Christ.
b)         Many dedicated disciples down through the ages have lost their lives for Christ as well.
2)         To carry a cross can also mean enduring hardships.
a)         Your cross may be enduring ridicule or slander because of your testimony for Christ.
b)         It may mean rejection by unsaved family.
c)         It could mean ministering in a primitive country without the luxuries of our culture.
d)         It may simply mean doing what is difficult and contrary to your flesh to honour the Lord.
b.         Here are some examples of crosses we must bear.
1)         Your cross may be persecution.
a)         (2 Timothy 3:12) “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
b)         (James 1:12) “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
c)         (1 Peter 2:19) “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”
2)         Your cross may be replacing selfishness.
a)         (Romans 1:16) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
b)          (Romans 13:14) “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
c)         (1 Timothy 6:8) “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
d)         (1 Timothy 6:12) “Fight the good fight of faith, …”
e)         (2 Timothy 2:15) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
f)          Hebrews 12:1) “… let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
g)          (Jude 1:21) “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
3rd requirement for discipleship is …

3.        To Follow Christ

a.         Following Christ is following His teachings
1)         God’s word must be our supreme and ultimate guide for doctrine and practice. (Psalm 119:105) “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
2)         Disciples must be doers not just hearers. (James 1:22) “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”  Followers obey.
b.         Following Christ is living like He lived
1)         (Ephesians 4:32) “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
2)         (Ephesians 5:2) “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, …”
3)         (Ephesians 5:25) “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
4)         (Philippians 1:27) “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: …”
5)         (Hebrews 12:2) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; …”
6)          (1 John 1:6) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Conclusion: Are you a committed disciple of Christ?  Are you denying self and living for eternity? Are you daily taking up your cross? Carrying a cross is never easy, but it is needful. Are you following Christ? Do you daily study what He said in the Bible and seek to live like He lived?

These are tough questions but Christ never said being a committed disciple would be easy.  Let’s not be ashamed of Christ.

Perhaps you are not positive you are a Christian. You cannot be Christ’s disciple until you are a Christian. Trusting Christ to forgive your sin and give you eternal life, is your greatest need this morning.  There is no better time than now to settle the issue.

Song: Take My Life and Let – 393