The Cost & Encouragement of Following Christ, part 2 (Mark 8:35-38)

Sunday, October 20th, 2013
Sermon Series: Mark

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The Cost and Encouragement in Following Christ

The Gospel of Mark 8:34 to 38–part 2

 

Open your Bibles to Mark 8:34 to 38. A while back, I read another sermon on this passage. I rarely ever listen to sermons, even more rare the same passage I am preaching on, but one of our TC grads suggested it, so I did. I printed it off and read it word for word. I had heard a lot about this preacher–he’s really hip and popular. He’s super humorous, really creative, had a lot of pastoral heart, but in no way did he accurately exposit the text. He taught truth, but not from this passage–it was actually horrible.

I am not sure you would feel the same way, but I hope someday you do. Why was it really awful? Because he made the passage teach what he wanted it to say. He did not teach the author’s intended message. What he said was not what the gospel writer, Mark, intended to communicate or emphasize–it did not honor the truth of Mark. Oh, he taught some biblical truth, some of it insightful and needed. But he missed the author’s intended message altogether.

Sadly, there are many listeners who don’t care about this—and my prayer is that none of you would ever be so indifferent or undiscerning. If a guy is funny, passionate, loves his people, teaches from the Bible, and doesn’t contradict sound theology, then who cares whether he is actually honoring the author’s intended message? Why should I care?

Answer: because God cares, which means you should care. The Spirit of God meant one thing when He wrote each passage of Scripture through His prophets or apostles. He did not intend the Word of God to be used any way we want, but only the way He intended. God did not intend His Word to be used as a platform to teach what you want to say, even if it’s good doctrine. The only way to honor God is to teach God’s Word in such a way as to make it clear what the author meant to say, when he said it, to the people he communicated to, in their culture, at that time, in that language. Then after that, apply it!

Expository preaching begins with a preacher’s determination to present and explain the text of the Bible to his congregation. Sadly, that today is rare and radical–why? Because today many preachers assume they must begin with a human problem or a pithy question, then work backward to find a biblical text that might work. Many today believe the goal is to move a congregation with emotional stories, or creative truths, and layer all that on a passage for credibility. The difference is, they are putting their ideas into the Bible. But true Bible expositional teaching is drawing truth out of the Bible.

Expository preaching begins with the text, and works from the text to apply its truth to the lives of believers. My job is to get you God’s food from His kitchen to your table without messing it up. But if I make the Bible say what I want it to say, then I’m no different than an unsaved scholar who abuses the Bible, or the creative communicator who teaches truth, but merely uses the Bible to get his point across.

Do you have a conviction about honoring the author’s intended message with the Bible, or will you continue to listen to preachers who make the Bible say what they want? What does God say? Nehemiah 8:8 says, “They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.” They only drew out what God meant, and then explained it. Second Peter 1:20, “… no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

God is the author of the Bible, therefore we better not mess with His Word. And His Word is so exact, so technical, so specific that whether a word in Greek is plural or singular genuinely matters. Galatians 3:16 says, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.” Each and every Word is inspired.

It is very trendy to be topical, but watch out–sometimes men who teach topically hit home-runs biblically, but the overall diet often falls short, and the approach, wrong. So what is happening in Mark 8? The Lord is preparing His men for His coming sacrifice for sin, so He communicates His person, His coming passion, the price to be His follower, then finally the proof. It’s all true in chapter 9.

As you know, Jesus started calling His men blind and deaf in chapter 8, performing a rare two-phase miracle on a blind man, where the Lord shows His disciples they’re not seeing Him clearly. Then the Lord asked His men directly, “Who do you say I am?” in 8:29. And Peter, speaking for the rest, declared, “You are the Christ.”

“Christ” is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew title “Messiah”, and means “Anointed One.” This is the One Israel had been waiting for since the time of David—a superhuman leader who would overthrow Israel’s enemies, re-gather God’s people and make Jerusalem the center of the world, establishing God’s rule on earth. The twelve all believed it, and Jesus warned them not to tell anyone, since the Lord knew the Jews would think of Christ only as a political deliverer over Rome, and not a Passover lamb over sin.

Then the Lord taught them a truth they would never have dreamt in their wildest imaginations. What was it? Jesus, their Messiah, would suffer, die and rise again in verses 31 to 32.Jesus described His coming sufferings, even mentioning those who would officially reject Him like a counterfeit coin, then kill Him. But to the disciples, it was crazy–they were appalled. But they all kept their silence except for one.

Verse 32b says, “And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.” With an air of protective superiority, Peter may have even put his arm around Jesus and with a whisper said, “Come here, Jesus. You’re the Messiah, but you’ve got to stop this talk about suffering and dying. No, Lord, the true Messiah conquers and rules.”

Now Jesus was appalled. As he spun to face Peter, He saw that the other disciples were agreeing with Peter, and so His rebuke was for all of them.  Verse 33, “But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan.’” Or, “Get outta my sight, Satan, for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” The harshest words Jesus ever spoke to a devoted, well-meaning heart, Peter had become the unwitting carrier of demonic doctrine.

Sadly, Peter was thinking intuitively, trusting in his own thinking, relying on his own gut instead of listening to Christ’s word. “Listen to me, Jesus–do it my way. I’ve got this, Jesus.” And the Lord said, “No, Peter–you are thinking man’s way, not God’s way.” We are to think according to the Bible, and long for God’s will, obey God’s truth, and not listen to our own intuition.

Peter, you need to live Proverbs 3:5 to 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Now Christ needs His men to know that soul-saving salvation could only come through a suffering Messiah (verse 31)–there was no other way. The God-man had to die for sin, to satisfy God and be our substitute.

Why were the disciples rejecting Jesus as a suffering Messiah? Because the idea was completely out of sync with human reasoning. Who would ever design a method of saving the world that would include disaster, despair, and death? No one. That’s why Israel misinterpreted its own Scriptures, which told of a coming suffering Messiah. Natural reason says a Savior must come with position and power.

But Jesus said if you think that way, you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s. If we’re to confess Christ, we must embrace a suffering Messiah. The One Isaiah 53 predicted would suffer by being pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

Then Christ shocks His men and the listening crowd with an alarming statement of cost–starting in verse 34, not only is the Messiah going to the cross to die, but all those who follow Him will go to crosses to die. That just as the Christ will go to the cross to die, all His genuine followers will carry crosses to their execution too. Just as Christ denied Himself, all His children will deny themselves. Confessing Christ means following Him all the way to crucifixion.

Mark has revealed Christ, the coming cross and now the cost in verse 34, “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” This is uncomfortable stuff–these verses empty churches. What I am about to say is very important. Jesus is not saying you have to perform perfectly to be a Christian. But if you truly take the name of Christ, you will embrace what He teaches. And it will not be convenient.  There’s a reason the disciples threw up their hands later and asked, “Then who can be saved?”

True conversion means you have come to a time and place when you embrace God’s demands in verse 34, “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” Three commands: deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow. Jesus is not describing how one becomes a Christian in verse 34–you come to Christ by grace through faith. But once you are born again and in Christ, your faith will be shown by works. When Christ saves you, you will have a heart that lives out verse 34 to 38.

Whoever belongs to Jesus the Savior will do what Jesus the Master says. What is that? Verse 34 again, “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” The first two commands are general qualities of an authentic believer, and the last command is an ongoing continual action of a believer.

To deny oneself is to see a radical change from an all-consuming interest in self to a selfless serving of Christ. To take up your cross is a willingness to enter into a humiliating death march, where your life is exchanged for Christ’s life. To follow Christ is more than imitating Christ as a way of life, but also that of suffering even to the point of death.

All three commands tell us all genuine believers will turn from self-idolatry, accept the shame and suffering which comes as a believer, and maintain a continuing, intimate relationship with Jesus. As we arrive at today’s passage, notice two things.

First, it seems verse 34 is the summary verse, and verses 35 to 38 expand our understanding of verse 34. So when you break up the three main commands of verse 34—1) to deny yourself, 2) lift up your cross, and 3) follow Christ, they seem to be explained in more detail in verses 35 to 38. And second, these amazing verses not only describe the cost of following Christ, but the benefits and blessings of being his child.

There is motivation and encouragement in verses 35 to 38. They speak of life, eternity, escaping Hell and judgment, and gaining eternal glory. When confronted by the cost of following Christ, one might shrink back at such a high price, so verses 35 to 38 give us reasons for paying the cost. What are they? Read 35 to 38, “’For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For 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.’”

Jesus says there is salvation, wisdom, earthly blessing, and eternal reward in paying the price of following Christ. So whether you are counting the cost prior to surrendering your life to Christ today, or as Christ’s disciple now embracing the price you’re each called to pay for following Him, in both cases, Christ is encouraging you to act today.

See how the verses breakdown. Verse 34 contains three commands. Then it appears that these three commands are expanded in 35 to 38. Verse 35 expands “deny himself,” starting with a “for whoever.” Verse 36 and 37 expands cross bearing starting with a “for what.” Then Verse 38 expands follow Christ with a “for whoever.” So own these three commands of cost, and offers of encouragement.

#1  Genuine Christians will Deny Themselves

The Lord is asking you today, “Who are you living for?” In verse 35, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Whoever wishes stresses that this choice is a matter of the individual will. Anyone here can decide to save his life, meaning you live the way you choose, and do what you want. You do this by keeping distant from Christ and ignoring His self-sacrificing demands.

Like Frank, you sing, “I did it my way.” I’m my own God. The certain result will be you “lose your life”—“will lose it,” meaning destroy your life. Living life your way will only result in destroying (losing) any hope of abundant life and eternal assurance. So why would you deny yourself? Jesus says in verse 35, “for My sake and the gospel’s.”

FOR MY SAKE–this tells us Christ was aware of His unique supremacy, so He justly calls for the absolute allegiance of His disciples, “for My sake.”

AND THE GOSPEL’S–points to the good news which every genuine disciple accepts and propagates, at the cost of himself, and the gospel’s.”

Christ is known to us only through the Gospel. Plus our adherence to the Gospel shows our loyalty to Him. What is at stake here? Only your life–life and soul and self are synonymous with each other in these verses. All three words represent the total you–body and spirit, a living soul. Live your way and you lose the real you now and will be lost in Hell for eternity. Live God’s way, by God’s Word, and you will gain the real you now and be secure in heaven for eternity.

Read verse 35 again, “’For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.’” What seems to be a complex idea is really quite simple. The Lord is saying that whoever lives only to save his earthly, physical life–his ease and comfort and acceptance by the world, will lose his opportunity for eternal life. But whoever is willing to give up his earthly, worldly life and to suffer and die, if necessary, for Christ’s sake, will find eternal life.

Every person in this room has a choice. You can “go for it” now and lose it forever, or you can forsake it now, and gain it forever. God’s Word describes so-called, false, make-believers who initially seem to be on fire for Christ, love the Gospel and obey the Word. But in their soul they’ve not let go of the world, and later show they were never really saved in the first place.

They’re the plant which springs up in the bad soil loaded with weeds, which eventually chokes out any hope of genuine spiritual life. You can’t serve two masters–you can’t follow Christ and live for yourself or this world. A true disciple is willing to pay any cost. Faithfulness to the Lord requires that the price may mean suffering martyrdom like Paul did, or enduring physical exhaustion and illness in Christ’s service as Epaphroditus did.

A genuine Christian is willing to abandon safety, security, personal resources, health, friends, job, and even his life for Christ. Why? Genuine Christians have new hearts that want to obey Christ. Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.” You can “go for it” now and lose it forever, or you can forsake it now and gain it forever. Are you willing to deny yourself in order to gain life forever?

#2  Genuine Christians are willing to give up all for Christ

The Lord is asking you today, “What do you value in this life?” Verse 36 continues, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” Using the profit and loss ledger, the Lord asks if the acquisition of all the earth would balance out the loss of one’s life–your eternal soul. This is the ultimate hyperbole.

Jesus says, “Imagine, if you can, what it would be like to somehow possess the whole world. You have everything you ever wanted–all the possessions, money, fame, power and pleasure you’ve ever desired for 60 to 90 years. You finally have your large, convertible Mercedes, your two-mast sailing yacht, and giant world-travel motor yacht, enjoy perpetual vacation to all the great dive spots around the globe, relax in your designed and managed homes set on select, secluded beaches and are refreshed as you tour first-class anytime you want, to any location you want, anywhere around the world.”

I wonder who might like that? Paint your own picture. Jesus says, “Imagine you have all you could ever want, all of it!” Then the Lord asks, “Of what lasting benefit would that be, if in gaining the entire world–all you ever wanted from this life, you forfeited your soul, your eternal life?”

Look carefully at what the Lord says in verse 36. PROFIT–“For what does it profit a man,” asking, “what help or aid or benefit or accomplishment do you gain–to gain the whole world?” What gain or advantage is there in owning, controlling, having all there is, if you ultimately forfeit–forfeit his soul? Forfeit is a painful word in Greek–it means destroy, damage, suffer penalty, and experience punishment of your soul. Literally, in Greek Jesus says, “What helping or benefiting a man to gain the whole world and to be destroying his soul?”

Soul is used four times in these verses. You are made up of body and spirit–material and immaterial. The soul can be used synonymously for both spirit and body, but soul is most often (like here) used to describe both body and spirit–all of you. You lose all of you. If you try to gain the world or the things of the world, you’ll lose everything that matters.

What if, after acquiring all you’ve ever wanted, and getting all there is in this world, and becoming the most important person on Earth for eighty years or so–what good is that, if at the moment of your death, you spend all of eternity in the torment, burning, darkness of Hell forever–a waste! Don’t be Lazarus’ rich man, whose barns were full of grain, but whose heart was self-sufficient and eternally bankrupt.

Christianity demands you forfeit this world in order to receive Christ’s life. Christ clarifies in verse 37, “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Jesus continues, “What could possibly be worth having in this life if, to gain it, you would have to sell, lose or trade your soul?” You’ve seen it all the time–I have got to get the house, make more money, drive the nice car, be recognized, be secure and more.

Students feel this battle the first time as they’re tempted to exchange popularity for their soul. Some sell their soul for sex in order to feel loved. Others exchange their soul to gain the pride of achievement in school, in a club, an organization, in sports, music or in acting. Still others, it’s to gain the car, clothes or the newest electronic gizmo, yet not one of those is worth your soul. People sell their soul all the time, but the Lord points out–to gain every possession possible in this world, and yet be without Christ is to be bankrupt forever.

If you lose your soul now, and lose it forever, what do you have? Zero. But to abandon everything in this world for the sake of Christ is to be rich now and wealthy forever. The cost you pay for following Christ is big, but the payoff is huge. To gain Christ’s life now and His life forever is the greatest joy, and the highest source of true satisfaction. Even today, John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Is there anything worth more than your soul? The expected answer is nothing. Nothing is as valuable as the soul. Nothing could ever compensate for its eternal loss. Verse 37, “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Say you’re Bill Gates and you own the world–what is that, if in the end you lose your soul for all eternity? If your life is a ten out of ten in every category–family, happiness, kids, education, profession, admiration from others, health, and you enjoy every last drop for 79.7 years . . . but you lose your soul forever. Have you truly gained anything in proportion to your gain?  Because what you forsook was eternal bliss and heavenly glory, and earned eternal punishment in Hell instead.

Say you lose everything, the economy collapses—it’s all gone! No retirement, no cash, no savings, no food, no gas–nothing! Yet what is that, compared to your eternal destiny. Picture people entering eternity in a plane crash–before the crash there is a politician, a millionaire executive, a playboy and his playmate, and a missionary kid on the way back from visiting his grandparents.

After the crash, as they stand before God utterly stripped of every VISA card, checkbook, credit line, image clothes, Rolex watch, Hilton reservation and Hemet address, the politician, the executive, the playboy, and the missionary kid are all on level ground with absolutely nothing in their hands–only what they brought in their heart and the life they lived. How tragic the lover of money, power or might will be on that day. Are you willing to give up all to Christ? First Timothy 6:7, “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.”

#3  Genuine Christians will stand up for Christ

The Lord is asking you today, “Who do you want to please?” Read verse 38, “For 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.” Call yourself a Christian, but if you choose to live for yourself, Christ will reject you in the final judgment.

Are you ashamed of Christ–embarrassed to mention His name? Does Jesus or the Bible cause you to be put to shame? By refusing the cost of discipleship, a churchgoer shows himself ashamed of Christ, fearing the shame and suffering of following Christ. The Lord puts it this way in Matthew 10:32 to 33, “’Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.’”

Jesus makes sure you realize this embarrassment applies not only to who He is, but what He says. He says “Me [the person of Christ] and My words [the message of Christ].” Authentic disciples will not be embarrassed by Christ or His commission. True Christians are way up on the Lord and His Word. Real believers have more “Christ concern” than “self-concern”.

When you refuse the cost of being a genuine disciple–when you refuse to die to self, pick up your cross and follow Christ, then you identify with a people who are an adulterous and sinful generation. We live in a broken world. Seriously, it is only blindness that would cause someone to choose this world and its sinfulness over Christ and His life now and forever in heavenly fullness. This is an adulterous and sinful generation.

Sinful represents their moral state–still a slave to sin. But adulterous is best understood as unfaithful to the one true God. This AM, do you live for people’s approval or God’s approval? To be ashamed means you’re more concerned with people’s approval now than you are of Christ’s approval at the BEMA judgment. Practically, if you live for people’s approval, you’ll die by their rejection. The fear of man is a dangerous spiritual weakness–it’s a trap. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.”

To be ashamed of Christ is to lose all. As we live among people who are slaves to their sin and unfaithful to their God–yet we refuse to deny ourselves, or stand up for Christ, living as one freed from sin’s power, and as one who can live faithful to God and His Word. Jesus says He’ll be embarrassed of us and reject us at His return. You must choose who you want to please–this generation or this Jesus!

The person who disowns Christ in shame in this life will be disowned by Christ in shame, when He comes again. This lowly Lamb of God who calls us to live in self-denial will return as the conquering King and Judge of all mankind. And if we’re ashamed of Him now, He will be ashamed of us then.

Verse 38, “When He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” This is Mark’s first mention of Christ’s future return in glory, and the Lord again is motivating us to pay the price, to live verse 34, to deny self, carry the cross and follow Christ, because there is a glory to follow. The point of verse 38? The Father will vindicate the Son’s humiliation on the cross by the Son’s return in glory, so don’t wimp out. Pay the price of a true disciple. Know Christ, embrace the cross and be willing to pay the cost of being His follower.

He is coming with His servants, His holy angels, who will assist Him in judgment. Jesus is reminding us of Romans 14:12, “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Matthew 16:27 adds, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” Are you ready to face judgment?

As the Lord reviews the life of each person who has ever lived, He will say, as it were, “There is a believer, I can tell by his works, because they are the product of My Holy Spirit. There is an unbeliever, as I can also tell by his works, because they are the product of the flesh.” It is not that works save, but works are the product of salvation.

Those whose works are pleasing to the Lord are those who, by God’s sovereign grace and power, have trusted in Christ as saving Lord, while denying self, taking up their crosses, and following Him. They will receive everlasting life and all the blessings of heaven. Those whose works are rejected by the Lord are those who put their hope and trust in the things of this life. They will receive eternal damnation and all the torments of hell.

The call to salvation in the Bible is a call to discipleship, as described in these verses. When God genuinely saves, He produces this kind of follower. Are you His follower? Whoever belongs to Jesus the Savior will do what Jesus the Master says.

1  Are you still trying to PERFORM for Christ?

Is your identity, your life, your soul tied to your performance? If you gain the whole world, Jesus says it won’t be big enough to cover up your sins. If you’re building your identity on “somebody loves me,” or building your purpose on “I’ve got a good career”– but then if anything goes wrong with that relationship or that job you fall apart, you feel like you don’t have a self or soul. But this is why it’s so freeing to follow the Lord’s radical cost.

It’s not a matter of saying, “I’ve been a failure, I’ve been immoral, so now I’m going to go to church and become a moral decent person–then I will know I am a good person, because I am spiritual now.” No, Jesus says, “I don’t want you to simply shift from one performance-based identity to another.” He wants you to find a whole new way. He wants you to lose your old self, your old identity, and base yourself and your identity on Christ and the cross.

You base your life on Christ, and what He historically, factually, actually accomplished for you by suffering, then dying for your sins, then rising from the dead. He died so you could have life. You were meant to be in Christ, immersed in His life, which is filled with so much joy and love that losing your life is not a sacrifice but a relief. Denying yourself is not hurtful but liberation.

Don’t perform for Christ, live in Christ–turn to Christ. Don’t merely obey His commands, but pursue His person and remember His passion–then you will love to pay His price.

2  Have you been HUMBLED in your walk with Christ today

As you study these verses with me today, how many of you dared to say that you are an example of it? How many would say, “Yeah, I got that licked. This Christianity thing is easy. This is hard for you? What’s your problem?” If that’s you, then I’ve got a ticket for you at the First Church of the Self-Righteous.

None of us have mastered this standard–not one. None of us are the perfect disciple. Is Jesus saying that if you are not this 100%, you’re not saved? Is Jesus saying if you are not completely obedient, and if you haven’t forfeited 100% of every area of your life, then you are not a Christian? No. But on the other hand, as a true believer, you’ll not excuse your lack of service in the church, your lack of dying to self, your failure of obedience to follow God’s Word, and your unwillingness to suffer the embarrassment for being a Christ follower.

Living by grace is never an excuse to remain in sin—never. Being saved by grace and living by grace is a motivation to obey. Titus 2:11 and 12, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”

God’s grace is meant to motivate us to live obediently. So be humbled you don’t measure up, but dependently obey today. Be a doer of the Word, not merely a hearer who deludes themselves. And stop asking your friends, “Are you a Christian?” And start asking them, “Do you live for Christ?” Deny, cross-carry, and follow.

3  Are you motivated by eternal REWARD?

It is better to be humiliated and shamed in this life than to perish forever in Hell, don’t you think? So Jesus says, live radically. Why? It will cost you everything, but you will be rewarded fabulously. Don’t forget your reward. First Peter 1:4 reminds us we will “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

Jesus declared in Matthew 5:11 to 12, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.” And 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Think about it, friends . . . on December 4, 1857, David Livingstone, the missionary to Africa, made a stirring appeal to the students of Cambridge. He said this:

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa… Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.”

Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” And 2 Corinthians 4:17, “Momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

Today is not the day for comfort, but a day for cross bearing

Today is not the day for delights, but a day for denying ourselves

Today is not the day for fun, but for following Christ

Tomorrow is the day of fullness, joy, glory, peace, and living face to face with Christ forever. I pray you will live for that tomorrow—today! Let’s pray.

 

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

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