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Experiencing God 16 - Joining God Requires Major Adjustments

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Reading Luke 9:18-27
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23 (NIV)

I.   Who do You say that I am?

     A.  The most Important question

           1.  An important question:

                 a.  Who do other people say I am

           2.  The important question:

                 a.  Who do you say I am

           3.  Who you believe Jesus is, has everything to do with how you respond to him.

     B.  Is He worth Dying for?

           1.  Is Jesus someone you would die for?

                 a.  I don’t just mean: “if someone put a gun to your head. . .”

                 b.  Would you let your way of life die?

                 c.  Who would Jesus have to be before you would be willing to do that?

           2.  10 of these disciples would die for Him.

                 a.  One killed himself out of profound sorrow for betraying him.

                 b.  One died exiled onto an island.

                 c.  The rest were all killed for their faith.

           3.  Cassie Bernall of Columbine did too.

                 a.  She once embraced violence, hatred and even Satan himself.

                 b.  But she turned her life over to God.

                 c.  When the killers asked if she believed in God she said yes and they killed her.

     C.  He is the Suffering Savior

           1.  He is a savior who suffers with us

                 a.  He is able to sympathize with us in our weakness (Hebrews )

                 b.  He is with us in our suffering.

           2.  He is a savior who suffers for us

                 a.  He will go the distance for our sake.

                 b.  He won’t give up when it gets hard.

II.  Losing is Winning (?!)

     A.  Are you a Dead man walking?

           1.  Did you pick up your electric chair, or your lethal injection today?

                 a.  A cross is a tool for execution.

                 b.  We’re supposed to pick ours up daily.

           2.  In Jesus’ day someone carrying his cross would be jeered by those who observed.

                 a.  Part of our cross bearing is enduring public ridicule for following faithfully

           3.  Following Jesus means following him to the cross.

                 a.  Phil.2 As Jesus obeyed God to the point of Death on the cross.

                 b.  As Jesus loved us to the point of dying for us on the cross.

     B.  To win, Give Up

           1.  Here is one of Life’s great paradoxes

                 a.  To save your life you must loose it.

                 b.  [A man grabbed a branch: “Let go”]

           2.  If you could trade in an old, beat up car for a brand new one, would you?

                 a.  What if some eccentric rich man was giving away new cars, would you?

                 b.  Well, what about a beat up old life that doesn’t run very well?

           3.  Give up your shabby life for Jesus’ abundant life.

                 a.  Jesus comes to model and to give abundant life to us.

                 b.  Want some?

     C.  Have no Shame

           1.  How we stutter and back-pedal and avoid

                 a.  Cassie Bernall didn’t stutter with a gun pointed at her.

                 b.  Still, we do when all we have pointed at us is a smirk.

           2.  We are told in our culture that religion is supposed to be a private thing.

                 a.  People don’t want to know what we believe, if we believe it strongly.

                 b.  It seems a cultural faux pas to say “Jesus Christ” unless we’re swearing.

           3.  Be an open and shameless follower of Jesus Christ.

                 a.  Following Jesus completely, means doing it shamelessly.

III. Look and See the Kingdom of God

     A.  Adjust our Vision

           1.  The Kingdom—where God is King—is all around us.

                 a.  We don’t see because we don’t look.

                 b.  We don’t see because we’re looking in the wrong place.

           2.  God’s Kingdom is coming in its fullness, but it’s here for us already.

                 a.  Don’t pray “Thy Kingdom Come,” unless you’re ready for God to answer!

                 b.  God is continuously answering that prayer “the Kingdom is among us.”

     B.  Embrace the Life

           1.  We enter the Kingdom by following Jesus

                 a.  The Kingdom is the reign of God.

                 b.  When you subject yourself to his reign, you’re in the kingdom.

           2.  We let go of our life.

                 a.  We get off of our toy throne.

                 b.  We let go of the kingdom of self, or of fleeting pleasure, or accumulation, etc.

           3.  We embrace the life he taught us to live

                 a.  Not simply learn what he taught, live how he taught us to live.

                 b.  Love God with your whole self and your neighbor as yourself.

     C.  Follow the King

           1.  Follow the suffering King to a new joy

                 a.  There is no privilege as great as serving a great King

                 b.  There is no joy so great as to live for a great purpose.

           2.  Follow the obedient King to new life

                 a.  The promise of eternal life is a gift.

                 b.  Yet it comes only when we trust that God alone gives life.

           3.  Following the King means big adjustments!

                 a.  It means giving up our plans for his.

                 b.  I means giving up our lives for the Life he gives.

The Bottom Line:

Give up Anything and Everything to gain the Only thing worth living for. Follow Jesus.

Blue #456 Jesus I My Cross Have Taken

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