Text: Mark 8:34-38 | January 26, 2020
In our text today, we studied Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, the cost of following Him, and the folly of not following Him. Unlike what many believe, following Christ comes at a high cost. In fact, it will cost everything. We are told that anyone who desires to follow Christ deny himself (8:34). Self-denial is not easy for us because we are—by nature—self-centered, and our society promotes self-centeredness. The idea of self-denial is to put Him first. We abandon our personal aspirations and ambitions and fully submit to His plan for our lives.
Furthermore, the person who follows Christ must take up his cross and follow Him (8:34). The cross is a symbol of suffering and agonizing death. Though we will suffer and be persecuted (John 15:20; 2 Tim. 3:12), not everyone will face martyrdom for Christ, but even death is not too high of a price for following Him. We must also obey Him and His Word when we follow Him.
Christians should expect difficulty, suffering, persecution, and maybe even martyrdom, but this high cost of giving up everything to follow Him also comes with the great reward of eternal life. It is foolish to cling to this world and forfeit the soul (8:36). Even if we amass all the wealth in the world, we still cannot exchange that for eternal life (8:37). Though following Christ is not the easy path (Matt. 7:13-14), we can trust that He will provide us with the ability to live in a way that honors and glorifies Him, even in times of trials and hardship.
For the entirety of the lesson, please see the attached manuscript of the message.
- The world is temporary. We cannot take our possessions, wealth, fame, or power with us into eternity. Jesus told the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21. Read that passage and notice how foolish it is to work only for what is temporary. Also notice how quickly death came, and all that he owned is no longer his. Let us be diligent in being rich toward God because no one knows how long we have to live.
- Jesus said in Mark 8:38, “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” In what ways are you ashamed of Christ? Are you ashamed of the gospel? Are you ashamed to be identified as a Christian? Are you ashamed of the Word of God? We must not prefer popularity or acceptance above our love for Christ. Let us carefully heed the warning in Mark 8:38 and ask God to give us the strength and courage to love Him above all else.