Thursday, January 5, 2012

MrsDrPoe: The Cost of Discipleship, Part I

Once again Theology Thursday is upon us here at the blog!  Today I'll begin a two-part series on the cost of discipleship looking at some passages from Mark and Luke.  As always, I invite you to open up your Bibles with me as we look at these portions of God's Word.

Luke 9:23-27 says:

Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.  But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God."

The first verse in this passage is pretty well-known and often taken out of context and misapplied.  People say that an illness, a financial burden, or even a mother-in-law is their 'cross to bear,' but that is not what the cross is in this passage.  The cross leads to death (picture a modern day electric chair), which is obvious from the next few verses: we must loose our lives to Christ to save them.

Colossians 3:1-11 talks about the need to put to death the "old man with his deeds" in order that we may live as a "new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him."  Thus our commitment to Jesus is denying our fleshly desires, daily taking up the cross to put to death our old self who was slave to sin, and following Jesus in His actions and teachings.  The fact that Luke includes the word "daily" in his account of this teaching of Jesus is significant because it tells us that we must be ever watchful of the old man and the old desires and temptations that will try to sneak back into our lives.  We must die daily to serve the Lord.

Next week we'll look at another passage that exemplifies death as the cost of discipleship.



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