Bearing My Cross
Everywhere Jesus went there were crowds of people. These folks had heard that Jesus’ followers always had plenty to eat. Why, He could take a loaf of bread or a few fishes and feed thousands. Many were infirm and wanted to be healed while others were interested in seeing miracles. Because it was His nature to feel compassion, Jesus would heal the sick, feed the hungry, and bless any that asked. But this was not His reason for coming. He had only three years to teach those that followed Him how to live by faith and to establish the Church.
Very often the things Jesus said were difficult to hear. He realized that of the hundreds following Him there were only a few willing to commit to the difficult life of a true disciple. Jesus used very strong language to indicate that loyalty and service to Him must take precedence over every other claim. There were only a few with faith and determination enough to stick it out.
Things have not really changed so much since that day. Many have accepted His salvation without a full understanding of what they have done. Christianity is a full-life, life-long commitment! God expects to have a relationship with us that touches every aspect of our lives. We human beings tend to compartmentalize our lives. We work and we play. We have hobbies and we enter into relationships. We jealously guard our time and other resources. God demands to be a significant part of every aspect of our lives.
Salvation is a gift. It is free and without obligation. But if you wish to make the very most of it you must accept some responsibility with it! We may choose Christ and still never make the most of the Gift.
I. We Are Commanded, “Take Up Your Cross”
A. To take it is to accept personal guilt
1. Identifying with Jesus
2. A lightening rod as He was
B. The cross is personal
1. It is yours and yours alone- none other may bear it and it will not pass from you short of death
2. Your cross may be enduring reproach
3. Your cross may mean giving up hopes and dreams
4. Your cross could lead to imprisonment even death
5. Your cross definitely means consecrating all that you are/have to the Lord
II. What We Are To Do With Our Cross
A. To deliberately take it up
1. Not to choose a cross or plead for another
2. Not to complain at the cross you’ve been given
3. Not to make it heavier by dragging it
4. Not to faint under it or to stop short of His goal for your life
5. Not to cast it aside and/or run from it
B. To patiently endure it for the journey is short
C. Cheerfully carry it knowing that it identifies me as His
III. There Are Encouragements
A. Need! You cannot be a disciple without a cross
1. No soldier ever forgets his rifle
2. It is not just the cause of trial, it is the source of strength and Divine blessing
B. Faith! God has promised grace to match any task
C. Expectation! God will exchange the cross for a crown
D. Assurance! Jesus has borne the cross before us. He doesn’t point to some lonely place and say, “Go!” He says, “Follow Me.”
IV. Let Us Count the Cost
A. Is it worthwhile to follow Him?
Those that say yes and do are the most blessed of all!