Total Obedience

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Following Jesus requires total obedience/sacrifice.

Matthew(13) (Part of the Liturgical Calendar(9) series)
by Stuart Johns(74) on September 3, 2017 (Sunday Morning(98))

Obedience(4), Sacrifice(6)

13th Sunday after Pentecost

Total Obedience

(Matthew 16:21-28)

INTRODUCTION

“I was at the gym last summer on one of the elliptical machines that faces the window. ​​ I was looking out at the parking lot and watching the people come in for a workout before heading home for the day. ​​ After a few minutes a guy pulls up and gets out of his car. ​​ He’s a large guy and it takes some effort for him to get out of his small sedan. ​​ He’s still in his office clothes, but I watch as he reaches in to grab his gym bag. ​​ He puts it over his shoulder and then leans into the car one more time to get something else. ​​ He emerges with a cup that has a red spoon in it. ​​ You get what’s happening? ​​ This man is finishing off his Blizzard from Dairy Queen as he walks into the gym for his workout. ​​ He stands right outside the window in front of me to take his final bites. ​​ I’m pretty sure it was cookie dough. ​​ He throws the empty cup in the trash and walks in for his workout. ​​ He wanted to get in shape, but he didn’t want to make any personal sacrifices.

 

That’s how a fan will try to follow Jesus. ​​ A fan will try and accept the invitation of Christ to follow, but they don’t want to say no to themselves.”

 

[Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman, 143]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Fan

        • I’m a fan of a lot of sports teams

          • Washington Redskins

          • Baltimore Orioles

          • St. Louis Cardinals

          • Los Angeles Angels

          • Penn State Nittany Lions

          • Ohio State Buckeyes

        • I’m also a fan of certain players

          • Cal Ripken, Jr.

          • Albert Pujols

          • TimTebow

        • While I like these teams and players, I don’t really follow football, baseball, or these players that closely (I don’t know their stats or whether or not any of the baseball teams are on track to make it to the World Series)

        • I haven’t made any sacrifices in order to go to any of the games played by these teams

    • Follower

        • We have made some significant sacrifices in order to follow God’s leading in our lives to serve in various ministries

          • We have sacrificed living around family for most of our marriage in order to serve the Lord

          • We have sacrificed purchasing certain things in this world in order to live a more simple life on mission

          • We have willingly given sacrificially to the church, through tithing, and to individual missionaries for their personal support

        • We are constantly being challenged to sacrifice more to be a disciple of Jesus Christ

          • While we’ve sacrificed some things, there is always more that we can and should sacrifice

          • That has been part of our challenge and journey recently as we’ve been trying to determine how to lower our monthly expenses

          • I was personally challenged by a statement Kyle Idleman made in his book Not A Fan – “A few years ago my wife and I sat down with a goal. ​​ We wanted to make sure that the largest check we wrote every month was to the work of God. ​​ We looked at our finances and figured out what changes we needed to make so that our offering to God was more than our house payment. ​​ We wanted to be sure that our finances reflected that nothing was more important to us than following Jesus.” ​​ [Not A Fan, Idleman, 60-61]

        • Our prayer is that others will see that we are followers/disciples of Jesus Christ

 

  • WE

    • Sacrifices for pursuing other things

        • Job

        • Sports

        • Recreational activities

        • Relationships

        • Time for yourself

          • Family

          • God

          • Friends

        • We’ll sacrifice a lot when it comes to many of these things, but do we sacrifice the same way to follow Jesus?

    • Sacrifices for following Jesus

        • What have you sacrificed in order to follow Jesus?

        • What should you be sacrificing in order to follow Jesus more closely?

 

Jesus shares with His disciples what His purpose on earth is, but they are not particularly open to that plan, because it will require Him to sacrifice His life. ​​ Jesus uses this opportunity to teach His disciples what it will cost them to follow Him. ​​ Matthew wants his readers and us to understand that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Following Jesus requires total obedience/sacrifice.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Matthew 16:21-28)

    • Jesus’ purpose (v. 21)

        • Peter has just correctly identified Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God

          • As we learned last week, Jesus was more than a prophet

          • He is the Son of the living God, which proves His deity

          • As the Christ/Messiah, He is the Savior of the world from sin

          • So, in v. 21 we see that Jesus begins to explain to His disciples what’s going to happen to Him in order for Him to fulfill His purpose as the Christ

          • They have grasped, correctly, who He is and now He begins to help them understand what that will cost Him

          • It is something that He repeatedly is doing with them – that was part of His training for them

        • Location and leaders

          • The fulfillment of His purpose on earth would take place in Jerusalem

          • It would involve the spiritual leaders of the Jewish population in Jerusalem (three main politico-religious authorities)

            • Elders – members of the Sanhedrin not associated with some other specific party or profession

            • Chief priests – highest spiritual leaders who oversaw the temple sacrifices and other ceremonies

            • Teachers of the law – Jewish legal experts that studied the Old Testament and all the man-made regulations and traditions of the Jews

          • What was about to happen to Jesus was going to take place in Jerusalem and would involve the ruling spiritual leaders there

        • Three things that would happen in Jerusalem through the leaders

          • Prior to this time, Jesus tried to limit the amount of exposure He had with the religious leaders from Jerusalem, because it was not yet Him time

            • But here we see the verb form “must,” which can be translated “it is necessary”

            • It was now necessary for Jesus to go to Jerusalem and engage the religious leaders there

            • The verb “must” also encompasses His suffering, death, and resurrection

          • Suffering

            • We know much of what Jesus suffered at the hands of the religious leaders

            • He was falsely accused

            • He was struck by one of the temple guards at the court of the high priest

            • He was stripped and beaten

            • His beard was pulled out (Isaiah 50:6)

            • He was spit on, humiliated, and mocked (Isaiah 50:6)

            • A crown of thorns was jammed into His head

            • He was forced to carry His own cross to the place of His crucifixion

            • It was necessary for Him to go through this suffering to fulfill Scripture

            • Read Isaiah 53:3-12 [#1]

          • Death

            • It was also necessary for Jesus to be killed

            • This was God’s plan to take away our sin

              • Jesus went to the cross so we would not die in our sins and be separated from God for all eternity

              • Sin (Rom. 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. ​​ All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”; 6:23)

              • God’s love (Rom. 5:8)

              • Jesus’ sacrifice (Rom. 6:10, The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.)

              • ​​ “On matters of church government, and the form of worship, men may differ from us, and yet reach heaven in safety. ​​ On the matter of Christ’s atoning death, as the way of peace, truth is only one. ​​ If we are wrong here, we are ruined forever. ​​ Error on many points is only a skin disease; error about Christ’s death is a disease of the heart. ​​ Here let us take our stand. ​​ Let nothing move us from this ground. ​​ The sum of all our hopes must be, that ‘Christ has died for us’ (1 Thess. 5:10). ​​ Give up that doctrine, and we have no solid hope at all!” ​​ [John Ryle cited by Boice, 313]

              • 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. ​​ He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Receive God’s salvation by believing in Jesus and His perfect sacrifice for me on the cross.

            • It was necessary for Jesus to die, but it was also necessary for Jesus to be raise to life on the third day

          • Resurrection

            • When God allowed Jesus to rise from the dead, it proved that He had power over death

            • 1 Cor. 15:54-57, When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written ill come true: ​​ “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” ​​ “Where, O death, is your victory? ​​ Where, O death, is your sting?” ​​ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. ​​ But thanks be to God! ​​ He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

            • Jesus’ resurrection was a fulfillment of Scripture

            • David foreshadows Jesus’ resurrection in Psalm 16

            • Psalm 16:9-11, Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. ​​ You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

        • Jesus has just explained to His disciples what His purpose on earth is, but they are not exactly in agreement with it, which is why Peter, once again, becomes the spokesperson for the group

    • Rebuke battle (vv. 22-23)

        • Read vv. 22-23

        • Peter’s rebuke of Jesus (v. 22)

          • In the Greek, Peter’s statement is one of the strongest negations possible

          • It’s as though Peter is saying that he will not allow Jesus to suffer and die at the hands of the religious leaders

          • A literal translation of the Greek would be, “Merciful to you!” – which was a common phrase

          • To modernize that phrase, we would say, “May God be so merciful as to keep you from this.” ​​ [Weber, 255]

          • To help us understand the force with which Peter is rebuking Jesus, we can look to look to how Jesus used the same Greek word in two other passages in Matthew

            • Matthew 8:26, He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” ​​ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

            • Matthew 17:18, Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

          • Peter’s intentions may have been genuine and true, but they were based on human ideas and not God’s plan

          • This is why Jesus’ rebuke of Peter is just as strong, if not stronger

        • Jesus’ rebuke of Peter (v. 23)

          • We can look at Jesus’ rebuke of Peter and wonder how this could be happening

            • Jesus had just expressed blessing on Peter for correctly identifying His deity and purpose on earth (You are the Christ, the Son of the living God)

            • Now He’s telling Peter to get away from Him and calls him Satan

            • We have to understand that Jesus was not saying that Peter was possessed by Satan, but rather that his remarks were representative of the kind of thinking Satan uses

            • “. . . not realizing that in trying to deflect Jesus from the cross he is actually asking for his own damnation since apart from Jesus’ death neither he, nor any of us, can be saved.” ​​ [Boice, 313]

            • Application

              • We can easily give in to this same temptation with our family and friends

              • It’s the temptation to care more about their comfort than their character

              • We don’t confront sin in a person’s life, because we don’t want to cause any problems

              • Yet, our friend or family member may be waiting for someone to address the sin, so they can face it head on

              • Story of suite mate in CA wanting to have his girlfriend move in to help save money (missed the first opportunity, prayed for a second, challenged him to trust God and do what was right, thanked me for challenging him)

              • Sometimes we miss divine appointments to do the work of God, because we are more concerned about comfort instead of character

            • Jesus recognized that Peter’s concern for His comfort was a stumbling block to Him, because it wasn’t part of God’s plan

          • Only two choices – God’s way or Satan’s way

            • Jesus told Peter that he did not have in mind the things of God, but rather the things of men

            • I’ve mentioned it plenty of times in the past that the Jews were looking for a military leader who would set them free from Roman rule

              • They were not looking for a spiritual leader who would set them free from the power of sin

              • They assumed, incorrectly, that their heritage, as descendants of Abraham, guaranteed them heaven and a right standing before God

            • God’s plan was for Jesus to come from heaven to earth, grow to adulthood, die on a cross for humanity’s sin, be buried, and come alive again in three days

              • That is God’s plan of salvation, which we talked about earlier

              • Believing in who Jesus is and what He did, is the only way to spend eternity with God

              • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one can come to God the Father, except through Him

            • Many times we try to follow Jesus and/or God on our terms

              • We try to justify doing things our own way by claiming ignorance – “I didn’t know that God meant that?”

              • James 4:17, Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

              • We are obedient only to a certain degree, yet if our obedience is anything less than immediate, unconditional, cheerful, and thorough, it really isn’t obedience at all

                • If we only obey part of the way and not thoroughly, then it’s not obedience

                • If we “obey,” but our attitude stinks, then it’s not really obedience

                • If we “obey,” but put our own conditions on it, it’s not really obedience

                • If we “obey” on our own timeframe instead of immediately, it’s not really obedience

            • BIG IDEA – Following Jesus requires complete obedience/sacrifice.

        • This is what Jesus is about to teach His disciples as He turns His attention away from Peter, exclusively, and back to the group

    • Jesus’ teaching (vv. 24-28)

        • Cost of following Jesus (vv. 24-26)

          • “There is a defect, even a fatal defect, in the life of the church of Christ in the twentieth century: ​​ a lack of true discipleship. ​​ For the genuine Christian, discipleship means forsaking everything to follow Christ. ​​ But for many of today’s supposed Christians – perhaps the majority – it is the case that while there is much talk about Christ and even much furious activity that is supposed to be done in his name, there is actually very little following of Christ himself. ​​ And that means that in some circles at least there is very little genuine Christianity. ​​ Many who fervently call him “Lord, Lord” are not Christians (Matt. 7:21).” ​​ [Boice, 314]

          • Jesus defined a true follower in three ways

            • Self-denial

              • We have to be prepared to let go of anything that competes with Jesus’ kingdom

              • It should be visible through how we handle our finances

              • Others should recognize that we are a disciple of Jesus through our service to Him in the church and the world

              • Self-denial should lead to the rejection of self-centered arrogance and pride

              • Our thoughts should be centered on God’s kingdom first

              • It’s putting loyalty to Jesus Christ before self-preservation – being willing to risk our own lives for the kingdom of God

              • “To deny self does not mean to deny things. ​​ It means to give yourself wholly to Christ and share in His shame and death.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 60]

              • Read Romans 12:1-2 ​​ [#2]

              • Read Philippians 3:7-10 ​​ [#3]

              • Self-denial is saying “No” to ourselves

            • Taking up the cross

              • It’s not uncommon to hear people refer to different ailments as the cross they have to bear, but that’s not what Jesus is talking about here

              • Taking up our cross involves saying, “Yes,” to God after we say, “No,” to ourselves

              • Real crosses involve the will and not inevitable limitations – it is saying yes to something difficult for Jesus’ sake ​​ [Boice, 315]

              • Cross-bearing involves:

                • Prayer and Bible study

                  • We have to set aside time to voluntarily pursue prayer and Bible study instead of other pastimes we might prefer as humans

                  • The temptation is to neglect prayer and Bible study

                  • Just this past week, I was tempted to not spend time in prayer before I started my day, because I had a lot to get done (I found my day went better after I spent time praying)

                  • During the Mission Possible Meeting this morning we shared about the upcoming small groups that will be starting or continuing (now is a great time to say “No” to ourselves and “Yes” to Jesus)

                  • The information and sign-up sheets are in the foyer

                • The items Jesus lists in Matthew 25:31-46 concerning the least of these

                  • Feeding the hungry

                  • Giving drink to the thirsty

                  • Receiving a stranger

                  • Clothing the naked

                  • Caring for the sick

                  • Visiting those in prison

                  • We serve every month at the Upper Adams Food Pantry and the Gettysburg Soup Kitchen – we have a benevolence committee that helps individuals in need

                  • Each one of us can care for someone else who is sick, invite someone to our home for a meal, take someone to a thrift store to buy clothes, or visit someone in prison

                • Witnessing

                  • This is sharing the Gospel with those God puts in our path

                  • We have to be intentional about this, we can’t leave it up to chance

                  • We need to be praying for God to provide divine appointments each day to share the Gospel

                  • It’s part of our mission as a church to Pursue, Grow, and Multiply Disciples

              • Once we say “No” to self and “Yes” to God them we have to continue to follow Jesus

            • Following Jesus

              • “Discipleship is not simply a door to be entered but a path to be followed . . .” ​​ [Boice, 315]

              • Most individuals want discipleship to just a door they have to enter – something that’s once and done

              • Yet it must be a daily submission to Jesus Christ as Lord

              • Read Psalm 119:105-112 ​​ [#4]

          • Saving and losing our soul

            • Pursing a life here on earth instead of following Jesus will result in losing eternal life with God

            • The opposite is also true – following Jesus here on earth and sacrificing the things of this world will result in gaining eternal life with God

            • “Losing one’s life to Jesus means giving over one’s own will to follow him alone in discovering God’s will as the central, driving force for one’s life.” ​​ [Wilkins, 573]

          • The value of a kingdom soul

            • We cannot accumulate enough wealth to buy our way into heaven

            • We don’t have anything of value that we can trade with God in order to obtain eternal life

            • Millionaire Malcom Forbes’ quote is not true: ​​ “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

            • “At the end of this life we are each measured by the health of our souls, not the wealth of our estates.” ​​ [Wilkins, 573]

            • Remember Paul’s words in Philippians 3:7-10 [#3]

          • BIG IDEA – Following Jesus requires complete obedience/sacrifice

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Follow Jesus by denying myself, taking up my cross, and continually following Him.

        • Reward for following Jesus (v. 27)

          • Jesus tells His disciples that when He returns the second time there will be an accounting that takes place

          • Each person will either be rewarded for following Jesus or repaid for the wrong they have done

          • Colossians 3:23-25, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. ​​ It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ​​ Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is not favoritism.

        • Prophetic word (v. 28)

          • Jesus then ends this section of Scripture with a prophetic pronouncement that some of the disciples will not taste death before they see Him coming in His kingdom

          • There are all kinds of interpretations concerning what Jesus was referring to with this pronouncement

          • Most scholars agree that based on the context and what follows next in the three Synoptic Gospel’s is what Jesus is referring to here – it is His Transfiguration

            • Not all of the disciples experienced the Transfiguration

            • It was only Peter, James, and John who were included in that special revelation of God’s glory through Jesus on the mountain

 

  • YOU

    • Two choices (unbelievers)

        • Embrace God’s plan of salvation through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection

        • Follow Satan’s plan of rejecting Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection

    • Two choices (believers)

        • Follow Jesus according to His terms (deny yourself, take up your cross, and continually follow Him, which means losing your life for Jesus’ sake here on earth and gaining eternal life)

        • Follow Jesus on your own terms (save your life here on earth, but lose it eternally)

  • WE

    • We all have to decide who will ultimately sit in the place of decision making in our lives

 

CONCLUSION

VIDEO – “The Stool”.

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