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As Lambs to the Slaughter

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Mark 8:31-38 (NIV)
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and 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 things of God, but the things of men.”
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life a will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his 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 him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.

I.        Introduction:

        Look at the crowds! Look at the People! Follow Jesus! Up with Jesus! Up with our Messiah! Down with the Romans! Hurray Israel! Victory is at Hand!
        Then Jesus said “I am going to Jerusalem to die. I am going to be put to shame. No one will stand with me, because I am going as a Lamb to the slaughter.”
        Jesus could not have found a more effective method of turning off the crowds, and the support and taking the wind out of the sails of this movement.    Today, we face the same Challenge. The message we hear sounds good to us at first. “Join the crowd, look at the blessings, look at the healing, and did you see how he made bread enough for everyone?” These are the kinds of things we like  to hear, but then he says “follow me,” as a lamb to the slaughter. You must die” We look at each other, and suddenly it is not so attractive. Wow Jesus, you really know how to suck the life out of a party! Lighten up. In John chapter 6, it tells us that many of the disciples turned from following Jesus. Unless we want to count ourselves in the number that turn from following Christ and end up without Him, we had better take to heart he message Jesus has for us here.

II.      Identify The Way Of Suffering

A.      The Route is Explained

1.       The Necessary Path of Pain

2.       The Necessary Path of Rejection

3.       The Necessary Path of Death

4.       The Necessary Path to Victory

B.      The Revelation Proclaimed

1.       A Scriptural Proclamation

2.       A Straightforward Proclamation

C.      The Report Disdained

1.       Through Restraint

2.       Through Rebuke

III.   Impede The Wiles of Satan

A.     Recognize the Adversary

Illust.: Masks of Holloween are the opposite of the devil. Instead of our little angels dressing up as devils, the devil comes disguised as one we know and love and then whispers, “I don’t want you to take the hard road, take this shortcut around the sacrifice, around the pain.” And there is where the danger lies.

B.      Repel the Advance

C.      Review the Attitude

1.       An Earth-bound Mentality

2.       A Heaven-sent  Mentality

IV.    Imitate The Work Of Sacrifice

A.      The Call to Follow

1.      Give in to self-denial

Illust.: At a church meeting a very wealthy man rose to tell the rest of those present about his Christian faith. "I'm a millionaire," he said, "and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I remember that turning point in my faith. I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and had to either give it all to God's work or nothing at all. So at that moment I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today."
He finished and there was an awed silence at his testimony as he moved toward his seat. As he sat down a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said to him: "I dare you to do it again."
   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 458

When we come to the end of life, the question will be, "How much have you given?" not "How much have you gotten?"

2.       Give self over to death

Quote: If the cross suited us, it would no longer be a cross, and if we refuse those that hurt us, we will refuse all crosses. The cross which God sends us must of necessity always be humiliating, painful, paralyzing, difficult. The cross is precisely what hurts us in that place where we are most disarmed and vulnerable.
--- Louis Evely (1910- )

3.       Give up self-determination

·         Give up the right to my own path, my own future, my plans and desires.

B.      The Caution of Avoidance

·         No way around it, Either you give up your life, or you give up your life.

C.      The Compensation of  sacrifice

You get what he paid for. He paid for your life, and if you take to heart that your life is not your own, it is His, then you willget what He paid for, your life.

V.      Inspect The Wisdom Of Surrender

A.      Surrender acquires the greater value from your life

“He is no fool who gives what he can’t keep to gain what he can’t loose” – James Elliot

B.      Surrender avoids the greatest shame of your life

Illust.: In a Rolling Stone interview, Tanya Donelly, lead singer of Grammy-nominated alternative rock band Belly, notes, "For some reason, God is embarrassing to people. It doesn't embarrass somebody to talk about how they got completely bombed the night before and puked all over themselves, but God is a really embarrassing subject, and that's kind of strange."

Illust.: Many believers are "rabbit hole" Christians. In the morning they pop out of their safe Christian homes, hold their breath at work, scurry home to their families and then off to their Bible studies, and finally end the day praying for the unbelievers they safely avoided all day.
---Jan Johnson in Moody Monthly (Nov. 1987). Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 8

VI.    Conclusion:

Your life is not about you.

Quote: The most important thing my dad ever taught me is that there are more important things than me.
-- John Ashcroft, United States senator. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.

A candle lights others and consumes itself.

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