Faithlife Sermons

Here's Your Cross

Who Is This Man?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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When it comes to following Jesus, you're either all-in or all-out; there is no middle ground. You either deny Him or deny yourself. You either take up your cross and follow Jesus, or pursue your own agenda in life. Here's your cross. Will you follow Jesus?

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Introduction

Jim Elliot story
In 1952, a 24-year-old missionary named Jim Elliot and his friend Pete Fleming arrived in Ecuador on a mission to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to an unreached people group. As they began learning the language and looking for gospel-opportunities, they learned of a tribe of Indians living in the jungle who’d never heard the gospel. These were the Huaorani, also known as the Aucas.
No one had ever made contact with the Huaorani and lived to tell the tale. This was a completely unreached people group, an aggressive and violent tribe for whom killing was a way of life. And this was the people group God called these men to reach.
In October of 1953, Jim married Elisabeth, who was also a missionary in Ecuador, and they had a little girl named Valerie in 1955, the same year the missionaries first made friendly contact with the Huaorani. However, things soon took a turn for the worse… or so it seemed.
On January 8, 1956, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Flemming, and Roger Youderian were speared to death by a raiding party of the Huaorani on a sandbar in the Curaray River of Ecuador. And then something incredible happened.
No one had ever made contact with the Huaorani and lived to tell the tale. This was a completely unreached people group, an aggressive and violent tribe for whom killing was a way of life. And this was the people group God called these men and women to reach.
Elisabeth Elliot joined the Huaorani tribe with her 10-month-old daughter and continued to teach them about Jesus. Rachel Saint, a sister to one of the missionaries, also joined tribe. As a result of their forgiveness and the message of the gospel, most of the Huaorani came to faith in Jesus Christ. Over time, they escaped the cycle of violence and killings and experienced freedom, love, and peace in Christ. All because these women continued to show love and share the message of Jesus with the people who killed their husband and brother.
Personal
Do you have that kind of commitment to Jesus and to the gospel? Do you have that level of passion for the things of God–that you’d be willing to give up anything, including your own life, to follow Jesus? If we’re really honest, most of us struggle to sacrifice much of anything in order to follow Jesus. We think that since salvation is the free gift of God, being a disciple of Jesus shouldn’t cost us anything. We like to hear sermons all about the good things we get when we follow Jesus: love, joy, peace, patience, forgiveness, mercy, grace, freedom, and everlasting life. Sure, we might be willing to give up some bad habits that aren’t really healthy anyway (e.g., alcoholism, substance abuse, temper problems, etc.), but don’t ask us to make any real sacrifices in order follow Christ. Don’t ask us to quit our jobs, or move to a new city, to end a friendship, or to be embarrassed in front of our friends because we’re Christians.
Following Jesus isn’t supposed to be about what I give up, it’s supposed to be about what I get from God. Isn’t that true?
Or do you find yourself thinking about Jesus only when it’s convenient? Is Jesus primary in your life? Or secondary?
What is the cost of being a disciple Jesus? What will you have to sacrifice to follow Jesus?
Biblical
This is exactly the question Jesus addresses in our passage this morning. He has a conflict with one of His own disciples who didn’t like the message Jesus was teaching. This disciple was no doubt embarrassed by what Jesus was saying, and probably a little concerned for himself, too. If what Jesus was teaching was true, then what did that mean for His disciples? If the message of the gospel was going to cost Jesus His own life, what was it going to cost them?
We’ve spent the first half of the Gospel of Mark asking the question: Who is this man? And Mark has answered the question pretty clearly: He’s the Messiah, the Son of God who brings the Kingdom of God near.
But following Jesus isn’t a self-help program. We’ve spent the first half of the Gospel of Mark asking the question: Who is this man? Jesus has walked on water, healed the sick, cast out demons, opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, made the lame walk, made the mute speak, taught the Scriptures with the authority of God, and has even brought the dead back to life. Who is this Man? He’s the Messiah: the Son of God who brings the Kingdom of God near.
But following Jesus isn’t a self-help program. We’ve spent the first half of the Gospel of Mark asking the question: Who is this man? Jesus has walked on water, healed the sick, cast out demons, opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, made the lame walk, made the mute speak, taught the Scriptures with the authority of God, and has even brought the dead back to life. Who is this Man? He’s the Messiah: the Son of God who brings the Kingdom of God near.
We’ve spent the first half of the Gospel of Mark asking the question: Who is this man? Jesus has walked on water, healed the sick, cast out demons, opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, made the lame walk, made the mute speak, taught the Scriptures with the authority of God, and has even brought the dead back to life. Who is this Man? He’s the Messiah: the Son of God who brings the Kingdom of God near.
If that’s true, then we’re faced with another question. What are we going to do about Jesus? Are we going to receive Him as Lord? And if so, what’s that going to cost us?
Turn in your Bible to .
What is the cost of being a disciple of Jesus? What will you have to sacrifice to follow Jesus?

The Passage

Mark 8:27–9:1 NIV
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” 1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
Mark 8:31–9:1 NIV
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” 1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

Big Idea

The cost of being a disciple of Jesus is your life. You will have to sacrifice everything in order to follow Jesus.
You might not be called to die for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, like Jim Elliot was. But you are called to live for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, like Elisabeth Elliot was.

Implications (quotes from Jim Elliot)

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Mark 8:34–35 NIV
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

To bear the cross means to accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him.

Foll
Exposition
Following Jesus will cost you (love your enemies, turn the other cheek, love & respect in marriage, sharing your faith, confessing your sin, ending relationships, facing rejection…)
Application
There can’t be any conditions on our faith. We either accept Jesus as Lord and fully surrender to Him or reject Him altogether. There’s no middle ground.
Following Jesus is not a both/and choice—both Christ and your own life. It is an either/or choice. Either you surrender your life to Jesus or you turn away from Him and follow your own path. There is no compromise, no middle ground, no workaround.
Following Jesus will cost you. You can’t follow Jesus and save face in a sinful culture. You can’t reinterpret God’s Word so that it’s not offensive. It is offensive. It is hard. It makes me uncomfortable. There are things in the Bible I wish weren’t there. There are aspects of following Jesus I wish were different. It’s not easy. Loving our enemies and praying for them is hard. Turning the other cheek is challenging. Loving my wife as Christ loves the Church, and giving myself up for her—that’s a high calling that I don’t know if I can live up to. A wife submitting the spiritual leadership of her husband is very hard. It’s not easy to teach my kids the Bible, and it can be downright terrifying to go across the street and talk to my neighbor about Jesus.
If we say, “I will follow Jesus as long as ______________.” Then we will never follow Jesus. There can’t be any conditions on our faith. We either accept Jesus as Lord and fully surrender to Him or reject Him altogether. There’s no middle ground.
“I will follow Jesus as long as ______________.”
“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.”
Mark 8:36
Mark 8:36–37 NIV
36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Exposition
We think we know what’s best for ourselves, but we don’t. God does; and we need to trust Him and leave the choice with Him.
Illustration
In college I was offered a job by the Missouri Department of Conservation to catch, measure, tag, and track flathead catfish movements in certain tributaries of the Mississippi River.
“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
In college I was offered a job by the Missouri Department of Conservation to catch, measure, tag, and track flathead catfish movements in certain tributaries of the Mississippi River.
Application
Do you trust God enough to leave the choice with Him?
“Make me a fork...”
“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”
“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”
Mark 8:38 NIV
38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:38 NIV
38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Exposition
Billy Graham
Many Christians today are embarrassed by God’s Word… May that never be true of us! If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Illustration
If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Many Christians today
Oh, that God would make me a fork (which requires being rejected by the world)!
Application
“I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.”
“I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.”
Mark 9:1 NIV
1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
Transfiguration… resurrection… ascension… Revelation
“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
If you will be all in, sold out, completely and fully surrendered to God for the sake of Jesus Christ and His gospel, then you will see and experience God’s power in ways that defy human explanation.

Conclusion

When it comes to following Jesus, you’re either all in or all out… Are you all in?
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