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“The Cross: A disciple's radical commitment” by Pastor Sam Falade

Pastor Sam Falade


Text: Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-35


INTRODUCTION:

·   We will look at the cross as a symbol of radical commitment. And not just in theory. 
·   Many of us have faced painful choices where we have struggled to obey God. Breaking off a cherished relationship with an unbeliever. Giving up a good well paying career to enter Bible College and Christian work. Separation from family for the sake of the gospel. Financial hardship. Isolation. Fear of ridicule. These all play their part. Being a Christian is a difficult and often expensive commitment.
·   If this life alone were to be considered then we are crazy to follow Christ, for persecution is inevitable (1 Cor. 15:19; 2 Tim. 3:12).
·   Firstly, we will look at what the cross meant in terms of radical commitment for Jesus, then what it means in terms of radical commitment for us.


1.            WHAT THE CROSS MEANT IN TERMS OF RADICAL COMMITMENT FOR JESUS (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 12:2)
·   The cross was for Jesus
o A movement from kingly authority in Heaven to a servant nature on earth.
o A letting go of His rightful status (as God) without feeling "robbed" or ripped off.
o A humbling of Himself in obedience.
o A suffering of death on behalf of others.
o Something deeply shameful and humiliating.
o Something to be endured.

·   He answered the challenge the cross presented by:
o Looking to "the joy set before Him"—the reward from God.
o Perfectly obeying.
o Enduring shame.
o Completing the task He began as the "Author" of our faith and the "Finisher" as well.


2.            WHAT THE CROSS MEANS IN TERMS OF RADICAL COMMITMENT FOR THE CHRISTIAN (Luke 9:23-27)
·   Here we see what the cross involves for us... Self-denial; Daily humble obedience; Following Jesus; Losing our lives—throwing them away for Jesus' sake. Weighing up the long-term consequences. Not being ashamed of God—willing to suffer shame in this world for glory in the next.

·   This can be very costly and Jesus spells it out for us in Luke 14:25-35.


·   The costs Jesus mentions include: Family relationships; Your own life; Bearing the cross; Coming after Jesus—suffering His fate in identification with Him; Carefully thinking through the cost; Forsaking all; Not compromising and so losing one's flavour and "bite".

·   From time to time, the earliest Christians struggled with their lot and the sheer exhaustion of the sacrifices they were making—including confiscation of property, imprisonment and martyrdom (Heb. 12:1-3).


·   They were called to make Jesus their example at such time and indeed we can see the similarity between what the cross meant for Jesus and what it means for us.

THE CROSS FOR JESUS
THE CROSS FOR US
Letting go of His status of God
Deny ourselves...
Death on a cross
Not loving our own life, "losing our life"
Taking the form of a servant
Daily humble obedience "take up our cross daily".
Endured the cross
Do not become weary or discouraged
For the joy set before Him
Counting the cost of discipleship, factoring in eternity
Obedient unto death...
No compromise, remain "salty"
Despising the shame
Not being ashamed of Jesus but confessing Him before men
The "finisher" of our faith
Run with endurance the race set before us - until the end
Endured hostility from sinners against himself
All who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
·   As we take the cross into our own lives, we take on board a special relationship with God as well (Phil. 3:10-11; Col. 1:24-25).

·   In Colossians 1:24, Paul writes of Christ's sufferings as "lacking.” He does not mean that they lacked in redemptive power. The wonderful redemptive power of the cross was Paul's gospel, and he knew he could not add to that! Rather the "lack" is in the delivery of that good news to the world. Christ suffered to purchase men from sin. Paul suffers to get them to understand what Jesus Christ has done for their forgiveness.


·   The sufferings of Christ need to be "added to" by the sufferings of Paul and other preachers of the gospel, if the church is to be built. We are like people on a relief mission with food for the hungry—being waylaid by opportunistic bandits and profiteers—the forces of darkness (Eph 6:12).

·   So our cross works with Christ's Cross to produce the Church.
o Christ's cross wins the victory for souls; our cross applies that victory to souls.
o Christ's cross brings reconciliation with God; our cross makes us ambassadors of Christ and ministers of that reconciliation.

·   God has tied the power of his gospel and the fate of His church to the preparedness of His saints to suffer, take up their crosses daily, and follow Him.


·   Lets finish with Paul's exhortation to Timothy, a fellow minister of Christ (2 Tim. 1:8-12).

Pastor Sam Falade 
Assistant Director of Sunday School,
CAC Worldwide.

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