Sermon Notes By Pastor Arthur H. Coleman Sr. For Sunday October 14, 2012
Text St. Matt.16:24-26 "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.(vs25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.(vs26)For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
The Pulpit Commentary,Vol.15, Page 154, A comment on St.Matt.16:24 " The Great Condition-The heart-searching truths of this verse are too often neglected in popular presentations of the gospel. We have a Christianity made easy as an accommodation to an age which loves personal comfort. Not only is this unfaithful to the truth, no part of which we have any right to keep back; it is most foolish and shortsighted. It prepares for a surprising disappointment when the inevitable facts are discovered; and it does not really attract. A religion of sweet-meats is sickening. There is that in the better nature of man which responds to the doctrine of the cross; it is the mistake of the lower method that it only appeals to the selfish desire of personal safety, and therefore does not awaken the better nature at all. Christ sets the example of the higher and truer method; he does not shun to set before us the dangers and difficulties of the Christian course. If we meet them we cannot say we have not been warned.
II. FOLLOWING CHRIST IS CONDITIONED BY SELF-SURRENDER TO HIM. This is what he means by self-denial. There is no merit in putting ourselves to pain for the mere sake of enduring suffering. Christ will not be pleased if we approach him in agony because we have affixed a thumb-screw to our own person. It is possible to be very hard on one's body and yet to remain terribly self-willed. What Jesus requires is the surrender of our will to him-- that we may not seek to have our own will, but submit to his will."
III. SELF-SURRENDER TO CHRIST LEADS TO BEARING THE CROSS FOR HIM. It is impossible to give ourselves up to Christ without suffering some loss or trouble. In early days the consequence might be martyrdom; in our own day it always involves some sacrifice. Now, the cross which the Christian has to bear is not inevitable trouble, such as poverty, sickness, or the loss of friends by death. These things would have been in our lot if we had not been Christians. They are our burdens, our thorns in the flesh. They are sent to us, not taken by us. But the cross is something additional. This is taken up voluntarily; it is in our power to refuse to touch it. We bear it, not because we cannot escape, but because it is a consequence of our following Christ; and the good of bearing it is that we cannot otherwise closely follow him. He, then, is the true Christian who will bear any cross and endure any hardship that is involved in loyally following his Lord and Master."
The Will Of God is defined as the strongest desire, purpose or that which would be pleasing to God with respect to His plan for His people.
1. Elements Necessary To Saying Yes To The Will Of God:
a. A Cross-Bearing Mind--1 Peter 4:1-2 "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin,(vs2) That he no longer should live the rest of his life in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
b. Be Willing To Partake Of Christ's Sufferings Through Trial And Test Of Faith--1 Peter 4:12-13 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (vs13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
c. Acknowledge and Submit To The Divine Will Of God In Everyday Affairs--James 4:13-15 "Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain.(vs14) Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.(vs15) For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that."
d. Acknowledge And Accept The Fact That We Are Not Our Own-- 1 Cor. 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?(vs20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
e. A Steadfast Adherence To The Word Of The Lord --St. John 8:31-32 "Then said Jesus to those disciples which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (vs32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
f. Must Count Himself Crucified With Christ--Gal.2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
g. Must Be Fully Persuaded That Nothing Shall Separate Me From The Love Of God--Romans 8:38-39 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,(vs39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus."
h. Must Know Without Doubt That My Labor Is Not In Vain--1 Cor15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."