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Fairview Baptist Church

Message 2- Take Up Your Cross Daily

Series: Disciple of Jesus Christ – The Job Description

Message 2- Take Up Your Cross Daily

Scriptures: Luke 9:23 / Mark 8:34 / Matthew 10:38

Introduction: Last week we began to introduce the concept of the job description Jesus gives us concerning following Him as a disciple. The three steps Jesus gave us build upon one another. We consider first the meaning of denying self. To deny self is an internal work done in our minds and in our will. This is a choice to renounce a self-centered lifestyle and to place Jesus’ Kingdom and His righteousness in first place

This choice of denying self prepares our hearts for the next step which is to take up your cross daily. To understand this second aspect of the job description we will break down the statement seeking the Holy Spirit to lead us to truth.

  1. Take up
    • These words speak of action being taken based upon willful choice. This action is based upon a passion.
    • To take up is to embrace the cross. Whatever ministry God calls us too we embrace it with passion no matter the cost
    • To take up is to count the cost and to choose to go forward and to persevere. It is to be determined to finish the race.
    • To take up is to accept the responsibility fully, willingly, and obediently

                                                                                                                                                                     

  1. His or Her
    • Here Jesus is making it a personal call – the cross must be carried yourself by the grace of God. Each person will be a part of the larger group because all ministries are a part of the Body of Christ. However, each person must carry his or her own load. To take up the cross is a personal decision.

 

  • The cross is uniquely design for each person
    1. Based upon the person’s talents and spiritual gifts
    2. Based upon God’s design for character development
    3. Based upon God’s sovereign choices

 

  • No comparisons are logical or permitted
    1. If the cross is personal and God called, God ordained, God designed , and unique for each person then it makes no sense to compare one person’s journey to another’s.
    2. Someone’s journey with God will always seem lighter or heavier than the one you are called to carry at that time.
    3. To compare requires take our eyes off of Jesus. To look at others with jealousy or envy is the opposite of denying self and embracing your cross. Comparing hinders our ability to follow. (Illustration. : Peter & John)
    4. We must be careful not to compare circumstances, trials, results of efforts, gifts, fruitfulness, personal liberty in Jesus Christ or possessions. We must each take up our own cross to be able to follow Jesus.
  1. Cross

 

  • The cross is a symbol of warfare
    1. God’s Kingdom is the enemy of this world system. To choose willingly to commit your life to serve Jesus Christ and His Kingdom first is declare war against Satan and this world system
    2. To live out this commitment you will have to die to self. Therefore the cross is an appropriate symbol. Each of us will have to die to our old life and the world more and more to fulfill God’s call upon our lives.
    3. 1 John 2:15 – “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him
    4. James 4:4 – “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility towards God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God”.
    5. One cannot take up the cross and follow Jesus without also choosing holiness, purity, and godliness as a lifestyle
    6. 1 John 3:1-3 – Read from Bible
    7. There is great danger when we seek to follow Jesus without taking up the cross. This can lead to converts who become mere spectators needing constant entertainment. This further leads to a generation of believers who grumble and lead a lifestyle of one foot in the world and one foot in the narrow way. This cross less attempt to follow Jesus is powerless
    8. Have we never stopped to ask why we can see an auditorium filled with people paying for tickets to see a Christian music artist and not be close to filling up a small church when a call is made to come for prayer?
    9. Those who embrace the cross discipline themselves and see God create in them a hunger for God’s presence, a passion for holiness, and a longing for fruitfulness for God’s kingdom.

 

  • The cross is a symbol of sacrifice
    1. Not only is the cross a symbol of warfare, it is a symbol of sacrifice
    2. Our unique cross is the ministry into which God has called us to serve for His Kingdom.

 

  1. This ministry will require that we give our natural talents, our spiritual gifts, our passions, our focus, our priorities, our energy, our comforts, our possessions, our relationships, our livelihoods and even if necessary our lives.
  2. We will each give an account to Jesus, face to face, before His throne concerning how we took up His cross. Jesus demands our trust and our dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s power for all that is to be accomplished in His Name. We are to be willing vessels through which His Spirit can work.
  3. We take up this symbol of sacrifice simply because we love Jesus
  4. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we are called to be living sacrifices
  1. Daily
    • The final word in this powerful phrase is daily. Jesus is reminding us that this decision to take up our cross (our ministry) is not a one-time choice.
    • Just as in the step of denying self, we choose daily to take up the cross as we follow Jesus through each day.
    • Each day means we pick it up no matter what our circumstances may be at that moment. We pick it up no matter the level of opposition, no matter how our emotions are reacting, no matter our level of fear, or our physical condition. We are to give all we have the capacity to give each day as long as we can for the one who gave His all for us.
    • Let us remember that Jesus lives and intercedes for us thus each day He is praying for us and cheering us on.

 

 

 

 

Application:

 

  1. Jesus took up His cross to die for your sins so that He could offer you forgiveness and an eternal relationship with God. Every day Jesus took up the cross as He walked in obedience to God His Father. Each day moved Him closer to His literal cross. How will you respond to this kind of love? We only have two options: To embrace His love or to reject His love. To embrace His love is to acknowledge your sin and need of forgiveness. It is to trust Jesus alone for your salvation. To reject His love is to risk spending eternity separated from His presence

 

  1. Jesus embraced His cross. Will we as God’s children embrace our cross?

 

  • I know the cross (the ministry) to which God has called me and I renew my commitment to take it up daily

 

  • God is revealing to me how He desires to work in and through me. I surrender my life to Him. I will take up my cross. I am ready to follow.

 

  • I am committed to seek the Lord concerning the cross He has for me. I am ready to die to self and to take up whatever cross He has for me. I will be faithful in the areas where God has already revealed His desires for me. (Worship, witnessing, encouraging others, etc.) I know God will make His unique plan for me known as I pray and spend time in His Word listening for His direction.

 

  • Accept His gift of salvation, follow Him in baptism, become a member of His local church family, renew your commitment

 

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