Monday, September 15, 2014

"whoever loses their life for me will find it"

 This is the outline of a sermon I shared at the Parkrose Nursing Home on 31/8/14

Bible Reading
Jesus Predicts His Death




Matt 16:21-28

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”


Sermon

What does to mean "whoever loses their life for me will find it?
What does it mean to take up our cross and follow Jesus?
Giving up our rights in the realms of normal human thinking for many of us is unthinkable.
Evelyn Christenson in 1980 wrote a book called "gaining through losing"
I will just read a couple of paragraphs that sets the scene for today's message.
"Jesus both taught and lived this "so that" principle.He repeatedly explained it in the seeming paradox (or contradiction) of "gaining through losing"
He summed it up in His words,"whosoever will lose his life for my sake,shall find it." Matt 16:26.
Lose your life so that you can gain it? Yes, Jesus said you must lose your life so that you can find it. It will be through your loss that you can actually gain."
"how unpopular that philosophy must have been in His day!"
As it is today.
"from our rat race perspective ,it seems that Jesus had things a little mixed up."
"we don't think of losing as something that can be positive"
'we are taught how to win but have little or no teaching on how to lose"
"didn't He understand the sting, the pain and sorrow of losing-especially losing what we call life?
"whosoever loses his life for My sake shall find it?
She goes on to explain in her book how we can gain through losing.
Perhaps our first refection might be to this statement of Jesus,
I need to stick up for myself!
I don't want to be a loser or seem to be as seen by others.
You have no right to tell me what to do!
I am not going to let anyone walk all over me!
After all Jesus is all about Social Justice!

The words of Jesus are often passing Judgement on ourselves.
They are here in this passage  and also in the sermon on the mount.
They are passing judgement in all sorts of ways
what we are,
How we are living,
What our attitudes are,
What we think about the most ,
what we do,
comes under Jesus judgement.
Somehow or other we never measure up to what Jesus is saying.
We are always something less.
And the sayings of Jesus sit in silent judgement upon us.
We get rid of the things Jesus says here and in the sermon on the mount by saying it is the ideal way we
Christians should live.
We think we should take up our cross daily and bear all things but we think but that's impossible.
It isn't!
It IS the way we should live, not just an ideal.
But if we think of living the life Jesus sets out for us to live we know we will never make it.
So what is the situation? the solution?
The sermon on the mount is the kind of life we will live if we allow , and enable,  Jesus to live His resurrection life in us.
The idea of losing our life for Jesus sake and taking up the cross daily is expanded on in the sermon on the mount.
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The commands and demands God makes upon you are not to us at all.
They are made to the life of Jesus in us.
If we latch on to this and make it genuinely real in our lives,
then the life God demands of us becomes surprising easy.
Most Christians receive  very little teaching or instruction  on
this wonderful aspect of Christian living.
It is "CHRIST IN YOU"
Jesus living His life through us.
This is the secret of living the Christian life.

THE LIFE OF CHRIST FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN
HOW DOES IT BECOME POSSIBLE FOR JESUS TO LIVE HIS CHRISTIAN LIFE IN ME?
BORN AGAIN- We must settle this first.
COMMITMENT TO JESUS CHRIST. This is actually making Jesus Lord and Master of our living.
WE MUST GROW We grow through sacrificing the natural life in obedience to Jesus
HOW DO WE SETTLE THIS ISSUE?
"those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires."
Crucifixion was not a sudden death,but prolonged and drawn out. Dying to self is something we must do daily.
And we may not do it all at once.
Taking up our cross is a daily ongoing experience.
But we will practice dying to self if we truly love Jesus.
For He said "If you love Me , you will keep My commandments." John 14:15
REALISING THE REALITY OF OUR BAPTISM  Read what Romans 6 has to say on this.
NURTURING THE LIFE OF JESUS WITHIN US Keeping a daily quiet time will go a long way to doing this.
THE MAJOR BLOCKAGE TO THE LIFE OF CHRIST IN US
Everyone has this major blockage to the life of Jesus Christ within them. It is summed up in one sentence.
"my insistence on my right to myself.
This is me wanting my way, wanting the most, wanting the best, wanting to be first, and in various ways seeing that I get them.
It is me wanting to get my own way and seeing I get it.
We have a choice at this point.
I either maintain my right to myself , or I yield up my right to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I will get plenty to practice on in the yielding.
THE ACID TEST
Before Christ can live in me, (and I lose my life in Him) I must answer to myself the following questions:
1. Do I desperately want Christ to live in me?
2. Do I believe, without doubt , the living Jesus can live His life in me?
3. am I willing to do the things that will enable Jesus to live His life in me ?
FINALLY
If we  have our ability to think and reason for ourselves then none of these things are impossible in our lives.
It is making Jesus Lord and not just our saviour is the key and taken the steps to allow the living Lord  Jesus  to live out His life in us.
 It is quite achievable for every Christian to have Jesus live His resurrection life in and through them.
But , miss out , or perform faultily on any of these points and you may miss out all together on Christ living His life in you.

Much of this content was taken from the Bible study by Frank Hunting called "Living on the Highest Christian Plateau