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TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME!

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Sacrifices For The Cause Of Jesus Christ

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Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me!

Kevin and Ryan, ages five and three, were waiting for breakfast one Saturday morning. As their mother was preparing some pancakes, the boys began to argue loudly over who would get the first one from the griddle.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson and said, “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.”
Kevin the older brother immediately turned to his younger brother and said, “Okay, Ryan, you be Jesus.”
Turn your bibles too.
Matthew 16:24–27 KJV 1900
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Pray
Matthew 16:24–28 KJV 1900
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
:
This morning I will be preaching on. “What does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus.”
In other words. What does it truly mean to Sacrifice for the cause of Jesus Christ.
In the beginning verse of our text this morning.
It say, “Take up your Cross and Follow Me.”
Matthew 16:24 KJV 1900
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

I. What Is Our Cross?

Many people interpret “The Cross” as some burden, they must carry in their lives:
A Stranded Relationship
A Thankless Job
A Physical Illness
Let’s first look at what our cross Is Not:
It’s not your burdens.
It’s not the circumstances in your life.
It’s not your diseases.
It’s is not your heartaches.
This is not what Jesus meant.
When Jesus carried His cross up to Golgotha to be crucified,
No one was thinking of the cross as a symbolic symbol of a burden to carry.
To a person in the first century. The cross meant one thing only.
A death by the most painful and humiliating means a human being could suffer.
Two thousand years later Christians viewed the cross as a cherished symbol of;
Atonement
Forgiveness
Grace
Love
Jesus did not say, “Take up your burdens and follow me.”

II. What Is The Cross?

It is the Redemptive Suffering.
Suffering for someone else.
Suffering what you do not deserve, for someone else.
Jesus Suffered:
The Perfect - for the imperfect.
The Holy - for the unholy.
Here is the definition of the cross.
It is suffering in the place for someone who deserves to suffer for it.
Most do not know what New Testament Christianity is.
They think it means: Quit Your;
Drinking,
Cursing,
Immorality,
Smoking,
Lying.
That is only part of it, but it’s more than that.
God wants us to suffer for each other.
Take up your cross and follow me means:
You are willing to die in order to follow Jesus.
This is called “Dying to Self.”
Absolute Surrender.
Following Jesus is easy when life runs smoothly.
Our true commitment to Him is revealed during our trails.
Jesus assured us that trail will come to His followers.
John 16:33 KJV 1900
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
e. Discipleship demands Sacrifices!
Jesus never hid the cost.
Luke 9:57–62 KJV 1900
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
: 57
2. We see three people willing to follow Jesus.
When questioned:
There commitment was half-hearted.
They failed to count the cost of following the Lord.
3. Commitment to Jesus Christ means: Taking up your cross;
Daily
Giving up your dreams
Giving up your possessions
Even your life if need be for the cause of Christ.
4. The only true way to be the Lord’s disciple is to be willing to take up your cross and follow Him.
Luke 14:27 KJV 1900
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Luke
5. There is no such thing as a halfway disciple.
6. There is no such thing as a lukewarm Christian.
Revelation 3:16 KJV 1900
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

III. So, What Is The Cross?

I Want To Look At 3 Things.
It is the redemptive work.
Romans 9:1–3 KJV 1900
1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
The word accursed means,
Willing to go to Hell to save my people.
That is when we are willing to suffer the guilt for others.
You say, “Preacher you don’t know what that person did to me.”
That tells me you are not willing to pick up your cross and follow Jesus.
The cross is redemptive.
It is when you innocently suffer for the guilty and you choose to do so.
Isn’t that what Jesus did?
2. The cross is - Suffering for those guilty against me.
Somebody attacked you, somebody hurt you.
Exodus 32:32 KJV 1900
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
You say, “Don’t punish them, punish me.”
You say, “That’s not natural.”
You are right,
It’s above supernatural
It’s Christ Nature.
When you have been done an injustice,
Right then is when you decide whether you take up your cross.
Jesus died on the cross for those that killed Him.
1 Corinthians 6:1 KJV 1900
1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
1 Corinthians 6:7 KJV 1900
7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
1 Corinthians
“Defraud” means to cheat you.
God is saying, “If he is your brother, let him cheat you.”
He is your brother, let Him cheat you.”
“If he owes you money and won’t pay you, let him cheat you.”
Deny yourself, deny yourself, deny yourself.
Be willing to suffer for the one that defrauds you.
d. “Take up your cross” - Suffer as I suffer.
Act
Acts 7:57–60 KJV 1900
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen (a deacon) is saying, “While I’m dying let me pay for what you have done to me.”
That’s taking up the cross.
e. You want to follow Jesus?
Deny Yourself
Deny Yourself
Quit thinking about yourself, and follow Him.
3. The cross means, Declaring that He has not sinned at all.
That’s what He meant when He said, “Take up your cross.”
Have you ever confessed a sin to God, and then went back and confessed it again?
God says, “I don’t remember it.”
Acts 7:60 KJV 1900
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
A
That means, don’t look at it.
Don’t witness it.
Don’t put that on their record.
I am paying for it.
Self says, “He’s not treating me right.”
Jesus says, “Deny yourself.”
You say, “Thank God my sins are gone.”
How about those that have sinned against you, are there sins gone?

IV. Are You Ready To Take Up Your Cross And Follow Jesus?

Matthew 16:24 KJV 1900
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Are you willing to follow Jesus:
If it means losing your closes friend?
If it means alienation from your family?
If it means losing your job?
If it means losing your life.
Are you ready to sacrifice for the cause of Jesus Christ?
What are you willing to give up everything you hold dear?
Every head bowed.
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