The Missing Cross – 7/19/20 AM

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The Missing Cross

Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Intro:  Multiple times during His ministry, Jesus spoke about the importance of taking up our cross.

  • Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
  • Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
  • Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
  • Luke 9:23 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

What I am noticing today is an overwhelming number of believers that do not have a cross.

There is a large percentage of church members that have simply not taken up their cross.

They consider themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ, but their cross is missing.

A great multitude went with him (vs. 25) and notice the reaction of Christ.

He turned to them and preached a message on bearing a cross.

               A. The Decision – vs. 26

                              1. The Appeal – if any man come to me… many come to him; but not many stay.

                              2. The Appraisal – and hate not his…. This is a comparative statement.

                              3. The Approval – he cannot be my disciple – this is non-negotiable

               B. The Deliberation – vs. 28-32

                              1. The Intentions – vs. 28 …intending to build a tower

                              2. The Investment – vs. 28 counteth the cost

                              3. The Impulsiveness – vs. 30 this man began to build, and was not able to finish

               C. The Denial – vs. 33

  • Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

The cross Jesus referred to is not a literal wooden cross, but is a symbol; a picture.

The cross is missing in many believer’s life.

“What our Lord said about cross-bearing and obedience is not in fine type. It is in bold print on the face of the contract.” – Vance Havner

And as far as I can tell, the cross that Jesus was talking about is missing today in many believer’s lives.

I. The Cross of Separation

One sure way to create distance between you and your friends and family is to follow Christ.

  • On the cross, Jesus was suspended between heaven and earth.
  • The cross separated Jesus from his mother.
  • The cross separated Jesus from his friends.
  • The cross separated Jesus from his inner circle.
  • The cross even separated Jesus from his Heavenly Father. (My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?)

The Christian life is many times a place of solitude.

In a society run by group think and mobs, the cross of separation is missing.

Until you have made the decision to follow Christ – ALONE – if necessary, you are no disciple.

II. The Cross of Shame

  • Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What shame have you endured because of your decision to follow Christ?

What shame have you gotten up DAILY – and taken up to be a disciple of Jesus?

Until you are ready to embrace the shame and the stigma of being a follower of Christ, you aren’t.

It is essential that you understand this point:

               A. Taking up your cross is a DELIBERATE CHOICE; not an involuntary hardship.

FOUR TIMES Jesus said TAKE UP your cross.

Bearing your cross is a choice; a decision; a deliberate action.

You are not a victim; you are not an innocent bystander – you CHOOSE to bear your cross.

               B. Taking up your cross is a DAILY CHOICE; not a one-time decision.

  • Luke 9:23 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

               C. Taking up your cross is a DIRECTIONAL CHOICE; five times Jesus said FOLLOW ME

III. The Cross of Suffering

This phrase has been hi-jacked by the world to mean something it doesn’t mean.

There is a difference in suffering, and suffering as a Christian.

Many believers suffer; but not as a Christian, or for being a Christian, or for acting like a Christian.

People refer to any kind of difficulty as “my cross to bear.”

•    Arthritis is not a cross.

•    Losing your job is not a cross.

•    Having to cut back on your salt intake is not a cross.

•    Your mother-in-law is not a cross.

•    A difficult boss that won’t give you a raise is not a cross to bear.

•    Getting a flat tire on the way to work is not a cross.

Romans 8

  • 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
  • 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
  • 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

I Peter 4

  • 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
  • 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

IV. The Cross of Sacrifice

  • Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31 …I die daily.

What has your Christianity cost you?