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FOLLOW CHRIST (Closed Captioned)

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Sermon Text: MARK 8:31-38 Banner: Courtesy of Calvary Lutheran, Chandler, AZ Let us rise for the reading of this morning's Sermon Text recorded for us in Mark's Gospel where we read from Chapter 8, beginning with Verse 31: HE THEN BEGAN TO TEACH THEM THAT THE SON OF MAN MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS AND BE REJECTED BY THE ELDERS, CHIEF PRIESTS AND TEACHERS OF THE LAW, AND THAT HE MUST BE KILLED AND AFTER THREE DAYS RISE AGAIN. HE SPOKE PLAINLY ABOUT THIS, AND PETER TOOK HIM ASIDE AND BEGAN TO REBUKE HIM. BUT WHEN JESUS TURNED AND LOOKED AT HIS DISCIPLES, HE REBUKED PETER. "GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!" [OUT OF MY SIGHT, SATAN!"] HE SAID. "YOU DO NOT HAVE IN MIND THE THINGS OF GOD, BUT THE THINGS OF MEN." THEN HE CALLED THE CROWD TO HIM ALONG WITH HIS DISCIPLES AND SAID, "IF ANYONE WOULD COME AFTER ME, HE MUST DENY HIMSELF AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW ME. FOR WHOEVER WANTS TO SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT, BUT WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR ME AND FOR THE GOSPEL WILL SAVE IT. WHAT GOOD IS IT FOR A MAN TO GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, YET FORFEIT HIS SOUL? OR WHAT CAN A MAN GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL? IF ANYONE IS ASHAMED OF ME AND MY WORDS IN THIS ADULTEROUS AND SINFUL GENERATION, THE SON OF MAN WILL BE ASHAMED OF HIM WHEN HE COMES IN HIS FATHER'S GLORY WITH THE HOLY ANGELS." This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: Glorious and gracious God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of each of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our only source of hope and comfort. Amen. [Text taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: What good is it, for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul? What can someone give in exchange for his soul? Those questions that Jesus asked are truly deep questions that get right to the heart of the matter. Right to what Jesus was talking with His disciples about. About His work; about why He had come. He was the One who had come for their souls ... to save them. To be their Messiah. The One who would buy them back from sin, death and the devil. That was of utmost importance to Him. And that is also why He sat down with His disciples, to explain that to them. Mark's Gospel tells us that Jesus spoke plainly about everything that was going to happen. About all of the things that were waiting ahead for Him in His future. He wanted His disciples to know what was coming. That there was suffering coming. That He was going to suffer for the sins of humanity. That He was going to suffer loneliness. That He was going to suffer abandonment. That He was going to suffer at the hands of sinful men; and He shared that with His disciples. He said: This is what is coming. What also is ahead is that I am going to die. That He was going to sacrifice His life. To teach His disciples what was important was to get them to realize that He WAS the Lamb to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. That His blood would be shed so human souls would be spared from an eternity in hell and condemnation. But that He would purchase them and buy them for God the Father. That He would be their Lord. He wanted His disciples to understand what was this all about. It was all about saving souls. And in order to do that, He had to die. And He also shared with them that He would rise on the third day. Jesus made it clear to His disciples that they would witness His death; but they would also look into an empty tomb. A tomb that after 3 days could not hold Him; could not hold His glory, but that He would bodily rise to live to eternal life, as their complete Lord and Savior having done all of the work that God the Father had asked of Him to do for people that the Apostle Paul reminded us this morning in our Epistle Lesson ... were powerless. While people were still powerless, Christ died to save sinners. That's why Jesus was there. That's why He had called all those disciples to Himself. To show them and to teach them what God wanted from them. And who steps up to talk about this ... but Peter. Peter takes Jesus aside. He takes Him away from the disciples and he says: Lord, I don't think You really mean this! I don't think this is what You're here for. I don't think that this is what You really want to be doing. As if to say: I don't want You to tell them to those disciples over there, to get them all in this mode of thinking. And when Jesus looked at those other disciples and He looked at Peter, He said: Get behind Me, Satan. You don't have in mind the things of God. You have in mind your own ideas. You have in mind the things of men. You don't want a Messiah to save you from your sins. Are you looking for a Messiah to give you a great kingdom? To restore to the Jews the glory of its former days? You want ... what human beings want, and I am here to tell you what GOD wants. What GOD is here to do and accomplish. And He takes Peter, and He takes the disciples, and He gathers that crowd around Him and He says: If you want to follow Me, then you have to deny yourself and take up your cross and do it. We all know that we want to follow Jesus but sometimes we are like those disciples. Sometimes we let the ideas of the world enter in to what we think religion should be all about. We want to be happy. And therefore if we're not happy, God doesn't love us. We want to be successful and rich and wealthy, and God is a God of abundance, so if He's not blessing me in that way, He doesn't love me or I haven't done something right. Jesus looked at people and He said to them: If you're going to follow Me you must deny yourself. Because our self always gets in the way. Because our self, always wants to be first. Always wants our needs met, when we want them met, the way in which we want them met, and when we don't get that, we are the first to jump up and complain. Our self is always wanting to be taken care of. Our self so easily knows what it needs and thinks that it has everything in our lives always planned out. But that isn't always the case. Because what can a man give in exchange for his soul. Our self can't save ourselves. We can't rack up enough of good points to cover up the bad things. Our self has to recognize that we break God's Law. Our self needs to recognize that because we break God's Law, we are condemned to hell. And it is ONLY by the grace of God; only by Jesus Christ that He came to us and saved us. That the Holy Spirit came to us and worked faith in our hearts ... that someone shared the Word and the knowledge with us so that we have faith in what Jesus Christ has done. It isn't about me; it is all about Christ. And it always is not going to be easy. Jesus laid that out for His disciples. He said: Look at my life. I am going to suffer. I am going to die and, yes, I will rise on the third day. That is the glory of God. And He has saved us. But we also know that just as the Apostle Paul said: We rejoice in His glory ... we also rejoice in His suffering. The fact that we are going to suffer in this world only means that we are God's children living among evil people. We're not going to get along with the world. They are going to attack us. They are going to come after us. They are always going to look at our beliefs and laugh in disbelief. Or try to get us to think differently ... become more enlightened, change our minds. But we would suffer. And the Apostle Paul reminds us that that suffering isn't bad. Suffering produces character. Christian character. Character produces perseverance. But as the children of God, we stick with it. That when the first bump in the road comes we don't just throw up our hands and say: I don't wanna be on this road to heaven anymore; I'm goin' on the road to hell! But that we continue in the faith. We continue to fight and we continue to struggle because perseverance creates hope. A hope in the knowledge that heaven is ours. A hope in the knowledge that we will be eternally with God. That we pick up the cross of Christ. And we know that we have faith but we also know then that in our life because of our faith, we are going to have to struggle ... because there are enemies of faith. Satan. He's an enemy of faith and he is going to attack us. The world ... is going to attack us. And even that old sinful nature in ourselves wars against that faith. That creates struggle in our life. It creates stress and it creates issues that are not always pleasant. But it's a consequence of faith. Those sufferings that we endure because of our faith, should remind us of that great gift and sacrifice that God made for us. That He sacrifced His life. He gave Himself into death so that we could live. And as we go through life, and those things that come into our life and attack our faith and make us suffer ... are just a reminder that God is still with us. We turn to Him. We put our faith and our trust in Him. And we hold firmly to His hand as the Psalmist reminded us this morning. Because God is with us! Who do we have in heaven or earth besides Him? We have no one. He is our Strength! He IS our Help! And we hold to Him each and every day of our life ... through the good times, through the bad times, through the joys, through the difficulties, and through the sufferings. Because we know that as we persevere, we will have eternal life. Because God gave His One and Only Son to save my soul. And THAT's what matters. And THAT's what's important. And that reminds me in my life to continue to follow Him. To DO what He asks of me. To proclaim Him. To not be ashamed of Him. Those last words of our text that Jesus spoke to that crowd there certainly remind us of how serious this is. Jesus said if you're going to be ashamed of Him in this world, this adulterous and vile world, when He comes in all of the Father's glory, with His holy angels on Judgment Day, He will be ashamed of us as well. That's not our faith. That's not why we cling to Jesus Christ ... just so that we will be blessed and have goodness. We cling to Him because HE has saved us. He IS our Lord and our Master. And we remind ourselves this morning once again that we take up our cross, we deny ourselves, and we follow Him. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 32
Posted by: hischild on Mar 8, 2012

Jesus didn't say it would be easy to follow Him, but when we struggle here on earth we remember He said He would ALWAYS be with us! www.ziontorrance.info

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