*Pastor’s Note: Are we truly following after Jesus? Are we truly disciples? He told us that the student was no greater than the teacher or the servant greater than the master and that if the teacher went through things, the student would too. Here’s a great teaching by Sue Love from Run With It website on just that aspect of following in the footsteps of Jesus.
Also, please stop by and let them know you appreciate their ministry for us as well as for the Lord. While you’re there, check out their other articles. Remember, these teachings and exhortations are a sacrifice of praise and worship to the Lord! Give them a like and some encouragement!
Matthew 16:24 ESV
See also Matthew 10:38; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’.”
In the Luke passage it says, “take up his cross daily (or every day).”
This is the essence of the message of the gospel of our salvation, that since Jesus Christ denied himself and took up his cross, and he put our sins to death with him on that cross so that we could die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, we are to deny ourselves and daily die to sin and live for our Lord in obedience to his commands. For Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us.
Now, daily dying to sin doesn’t mean sinning daily and then admitting to God that we sinned. That is not putting sin to death. If daily we are dying to sin, then daily we are resisting the devil and we are fleeing temptation to sin and we are drawing near to God in full assurance of faith and we are not giving in to sin. Sin is to no longer have mastery over our lives to where we are obeying its sinful desires. Now we are to walk in righteousness and holiness.
For if we have truly repented of our sins, and we have had a change of mind and heart resulting in a change of behaviors, and we have been turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, and so we have received forgiveness of sins, and we’ve been sanctified and made holy by the blood of Christ, although we may still be tempted to sin, at times, sin should no longer be our desire. It should no longer be what we crave.
Now our longing should be for our Lord to please him in every way. Our desire should be to walk in obedience to his commands and to daily say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return. His desires should now be our desires. And I am not saying we will be absolutely perfect, but lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for deliberate and habitual sin.
Matthew 16:25-26 ESV
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
If we save our own lives it means we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self and we do not surrender our lives over to our Lord to be lived for him and for his righteousness. And if we do that, and we do not deny self and daily die to sin and follow (obey) Jesus, then we are going to lose our lives for eternity. We will not inherit eternal life with God. For if we live in deliberate and habitual sin we will die in our sins.
But if we lose our lives, meaning that we do deny self and we daily die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, for the sake of Jesus Christ, then we will have life in Christ eternal. And what this says to us is that our salvation is not something that happens one time in our lives and then we are good to go and we can then live however we want and one day when we die we will get to go to heaven.
Our salvation is a process of a lifetime. It is the process of sanctification in our lives. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns for his bride, which is when our salvation will be completed provided that we remained steadfast in our walks of faith until the very end in obedience to our Lord and that we did not continue to walk in deliberate and habitual sin against our Lord.
[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]
Matthew 16:27 ESV
“For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”
This is critical that we understand and that we believe what this is saying. For we are not saved from our sins and guaranteed eternal life with God based on a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith, which comes from God, and which is gifted to us by God, and which is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, is a holy faith which dies with Christ to sin and which lives to him and to his righteousness daily.
We also need to know and believe that, even if we profess faith in Jesus Christ, that we must not continue in deliberate and habitual sin against our Lord or we will not have the hope of eternal life with God. For we are all going to be judged by God according to what we do in this life. For not everyone saying, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven but only the ones DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]