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. (KJV)
To take up your cross daily and follow Christ is to accept trials, tribulations and persecution. It also means walking upright in obedience to his commandments and mandates. It means you can't straddle the fence. Either serve him or serve yourself.
It is about letting go of those worldly lusts. If the sky rolled back right now and Jesus was there, would you make it into his kingdom?
Song: King Jesus Will Roll All Your Burdens Away
by Kenneth Morris 1947
Pianist: Late Mrs. Loretta Ray
Singer: Marsha Singleton
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Marsha Singleton 0:17
Welcome to the inspired Word of God.
My name is Marsha
"Take up your cross"
Luke 9;23 It says,
And he said to them all, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself. take up his cross daily and follow me .(KJV)
To take up your cross and follow Christ is to accept those trials and troubles, but do it patiently. I know that's easier said than done. Because patience really isn't a strong suit for a lot of us, to meet with antagonism and hostility. It's making that decision to follow God no matter what.
Ironically, a lot of people do not want to follow God or they use the excuse. They don't want to get close, and follow God, go to church, and do all those things. Because they don't want to go through the persecution or the hostility or the trials and the tribulations.
But we go through those anyway. We go through trials and tribulations all the time. And some of them can be devastating. So you're not avoiding anything related to trouble, just because you don't want to serve God. So there has to be another reason. Because honestly, if you are going through some devastating times, with trials and tribulations and everything else, wouldn't it make sense to do that with God? So he can get you through it. than going through it without him where everything truly is hopeless because you don't have hope.
But when you have God you do have hope. We will meet opposition. You will have people mock you, criticize you for your beliefs in God. They will try to challenge you because you choose to believe in God and they have their doubts. But that is their option, that is their opinion. So don't argue with them. I like to witness to them. But I won't debate with them. And there's a big difference between the two.
2Timothy 3:12 informs us
And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (KJV)
There are people in different countries who are persecuted just because they believe in God. Just because they're out there preaching the word of God. And this, of course, did happen in ancient times. It happened in generations back, but it continues to happen. To this day, in our present time.
All over the world, in different places, different continents. People are being persecuted because they choose to believe in Jesus Christ. And they are witnessing to others to win them to the faith. They are being persecuted, tormented, killed and kidnapped.
There is truth to the gospel that we witness about, think about it. Why would so many people all over the world try so hard to stop those who choose Christianity? Why would they stop someone from trying to win souls for Christ? What is it to them? If they choose to believe another way? That is their choice? So why are they meddling with Christians, tormenting them and killing them, trying to prevent them from preaching the word of God, blocking them from having Bibles in these different countries?
How Christians choose to live and believe is a personal choice. What is going on with these people who oppose Christ and they even oppose Christ in our country. It's just not to that degree that these other individuals are going through with persecutions but that's something to think about.
The satanic forces. They know who Jesus is. They know he is real. He came here on a mission when he walked down here. He came for that Mission of Salvation. Satan doesn't want anybody to gain salvation, and have eternal life in the kingdom of God. He knows his final destination and he's trying in every way possible, to take as many people with him that he can.
There are people who do not believe in God. I have met some people who don't believe that there is a devil. For those who choose to not believe in God, Satan or both. That is what Satan wants. He is counting on those individuals. Not believing in God and not believing that He exists. It's a victory for him. Especially when they die, and their soul is lost, and they fall into hell. He doesn't care if they're aware of him or not. He just doesn't want them to have eternal life in God's kingdom. So that's a victory for him.
There will be mockers. If they mocked Jesus when he was up on the cross non-believers, will mock you too.
Matthew 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
Matthew 27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
Matthew 27:40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. (KJV)
Matthew 27:41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
Matthew 27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
Matthew 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. (KJV)
If a person refuses to believe, you taking their challenge will not change their mind. Don't allow mockers to challenge you, don't allow them to challenge you to do anything opposite of what God will have you do. Stay on course with him. Maintain your integrity and keep it moving.
Those men are mocking Jesus on the cross. But if Jesus had come down off of that cross, which he did have the power to do? They would have stood there with their mouth gapped open because then they wouldn't believe what they saw.
So they were talking a lot of trash as we would say today but if he had come down off that cross, it's kind of like the same difference as if you're at a funeral and the casket opens and that individual who was deceased steps out of it. How many people are going to stand there believing in the power of God raising that man or that woman from the dead? They're not, they're going to break out of there. They're going to run from fear. And if Jesus had come down off of that cross, they would have stood there gapping with their mouths open, still not believing what they saw. And they would have broke and run.
So just because a person challenges you, "if this is this," Don't take the bait. Besides, that would have defeated Jesus's purpose in the first place. If he had come down off that cross just to prove something to man out of ignorance, not knowing what they're saying. They didn't even believe in it who he said he was. So don't take the bait. The Lord wants us to take up our cross and follow Him.
This is what he told them in Mark 8:34-38
Mar 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.
Mar 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
Mar 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Mar 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mar 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV)
Hopefully, we're not embarrassed and ashamed of him. And we don't display that before other people. When we are in trouble, we expect him to come and rescue us. We call out to Him in desperation. Don't ignore him. Don't be embarrassed. Because when you're in need, when you're in trouble, you're not too embarrassed to call one. You're not too ashamed of him to ask him for help. Something to think about.
There are as many people who live their lives with no thought of God. As there are those of us who are Christians and do live our lives for him. But those that carry no thought for him exist in this world. And their only purpose is to get ahead in life. gain wealth, notoriety. It's all about them. It's all about self. So what does it gain anybody to have all that wealth in the world? fame, fortune. They're so happy and content in life. And what does all that do? If their soul is not secured in Christ, their salvation, if it's not secure in Christ? Because they haven't accepted Christ into their heart as their personal Savior, because they choose to not live for God.
And so what is all that wonderful living the wonderful life, what is all that about? In the end, they fall into hell because they are a lost soul. When we take up our cross daily, we are putting in perspective those things of God versus those things of the world.
When we deny self, we don't follow the things of this world. We follow the things of God for those individuals who refuse to believe that God is real, none of this is going to make sense to them anyway. So this conversation that I'm having is for those who do believe, though I'm always prayerful that the unbeliever will see the truth through spiritual eyes, and that a seed will be planted
Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore, your members which are upon the earth fornication, uncleanness in ordinate, affection, evil, concupiscence, covetousness which is idolatry. (KJV)
Mortify related to Christianity means to subdue and bring under control by self denial, disciplinary exercises.
It is telling us to subdue and control all of these things, lust, unmarried sex, unrestrained behavior and emotions. We should bring all of this under control by denying it in our lives.
Romans 8:13 says,
For if you live after the flesh, you shall die. But if through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. (KJV)
Living to satisfy the flesh is in opposition to how God wants us to live. living through the Spirit, and denying the deeds of the flesh will bring life everlasting.
Titus 2:12 Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.(KJV)
In the book of Mark chapter 10. There was a rich young man who asked Jesus, what he needed to do to inherit eternal life.
Jesus told him in:
Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
Mark 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
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.
Mark 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
Mark 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! (KJV)
Jesus knew this man's heart, as he knows our hearts. While it was great that this man had observed and was obedient to God's commandments, he had a great love for his possessions and his wealth. Jesus knew the man's heart was with material possessions. And the man walked away because he didn't want to give up those possessions. They were more important to him. If his first love would have been with God, the thought of giving up the riches would not have been an issue to him.
You may have the thought o,f who in their right mind would give up wealth? but what is it going to do for you once you die? And you leave this world you can't take it with you.
Taking up our cross daily means we want to make sure that we live a life worthy of God's approval. Everything we do in a day's time counts. Some people won't see it that way. But the truth is, we can't straddle the fence. We can't do things halfway. We would be no different than the rich man that we just discussed.
Out of all the things that he did right Jesus knew that one thing that was going to be a problem for this young man and it was his love for his wealth. His wealth was an idol for him. He idolized it.
God doesn't have a problem with a person having wealth. He blesses people with things. The problem comes when that wealth becomes your God. That is idolatry. Jesus knew the man's heart and he knew his heart was idolizing wealth.
We have to be careful. We can't do some things right? While doing other things that we know are wrong and out of alignment with God. He will pull things up front, in front of your face, showing you the very things that you are doing, that are wrong in his sight. And he will bring conviction upon your spirit. And you will know that those things he is showing you are the things that you should not be doing and that you're going to have to correct.
Instead of talking yourself out of it, ask God to help you in those areas of weaknesses. Excuses only satisfy those who make them. It does not satisfy God. And he's not going to let you get away with it. He will keep bringing it back to you. What he flashes before your eyes are those things he wants to purge from your spirit.
Taking up your cross daily is following God and striving to be the best that you can be in living a righteous life. As mentioned earlier. There will be days when trials come upon us. The good thing is because we are serving God. He will step in and help us through that situation.
There were people that Jesus walked passed and said 'follow me' and they literally dropped everything and went with him.
As he walks by us and quickens our hearts to follow him drop all that is not of Him. That is in opposition to him. Drop the sin, the lust, the idolatry, all of those things that he tells us not to do and resign yourself to follow him. Take up your cross and follow Him. Live to do what he wants.
Honor His commandments. Don't look for ways to cheat the system because God is not a system you are either serving God or you are serving yourself. You can't have it both ways.
That rich man that we just read about, he wanted to know what it took to inherit eternal life. He must have felt victorious when Jesus told him to honor God's commandments, because he knew that he was doing that anyway.
But what he didn't expect was for Jesus to pull out one thing that was a problem. Jesus did a heart check right there before him and told him 'There's one thing you lack' because his heart was of those things of the flesh. He did not want to part with his treasures. In reading the Word and reading this story about the rich man. You can gather what it takes to inherit eternal life, honoring God, living for God, obeying his commandments and his mandates. And you can read through the Scriptures to find out every little thing that he wants you to do and how he wants you to do it. But in doing that, be prepared for him to pull out that one thing in you left that he is going to show in front of your face.
That will be that thing that could come between you and eternal life with God when God brings that forefront to you. Don't be like the rich man and turn and walk away sad because you want to hang on to that thing.
Don't miss the opportunity of spending eternal life in God's kingdom because there's absolutely nothing here on Earth that we could ever have. Including all the houses, the cars, the billions of dollars and people loving us. There's absolutely nothing here on Earth that we could ever possess that will surpass what He has for us in heaven.
But you have to be humble. You have to let go of the lust of this world. All of those things of this world. It has to be resigned in your heart.
He doesn't have a problem with people having things. There are wealthy people who are devout Christians, who are devout Christians. They're not faking and shaken. They are true Christians. But their heart is right with Him. They have a humble heart and they live for God.
Not everyone is going to be wealthy. Don't trade your salvation, for the things of this world. Because there's nothing down here in this word that is worth you going to hell for. Not if you understand the torment, the hopelessness and the total separation from God. Because that's what hell is about. There's there's nothing peaceful and gentle about it.
Is there something in your life that you would not give up for eternity? If the sky rolled back right now and Jesus was there, would you make it into His kingdom?
He doesn't want us to put anything before him. Yes, he gives us, our family to love. And he understands the love that we have for our family. But he is God. He is our Creator. And he just wants us to put him first in our life.
And he doesn't want us grabbing a hold of these things that are not of Him and idolizing them. They're not our God. He is. So I asked you one more time. Is there something in your life that you would not give up for eternity?
If the sky rolled back right now, and Jesus was there, would you make it into his kingdom?
Lord, it can be scary and intimidating, thinking about picking up our cross and following you. But your love and mercy are bountiful. I pray that we trust you as we take those steps of devoting our life to you.
Some may resist for fear of trials that we endure. Troubles will come and it is better to walk through trials and tribulations with you by our side than walking through them alone. For those who struggle with material possessions, and lust of this world, lead them by your truth and allow them to see what eternity looks like with you. Through your eyes and in their spirit, and their heart in Jesus name Amen.