"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 33

The Life of a Disciple

Read: Mark 8:34-38

Text: (Mark 8:34 KJV) 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.

Theme: Discipleship involves saying "no" to self, and saying "yes" to Jesus, and doing it EVERYDAY.


Introduction:

QUOTE (Ivor Powell) - "... sooner or later the impact of the Message of Christ is made on the soul of every man and woman. His claims are inescapable, and whether we like it or not, we all do something with Jesus."

(Mat 4:19 KJV) And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

(Mat 8:22 KJV) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

(Mat 9:9 KJV) And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

(Mat 16:24 KJV) 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.

(Mat 19:21 KJV) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

(Mark 2:14 KJV) And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

(Mark 8:34 KJV) 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 KJV) 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 5:27 KJV) And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

(Luke 9:23 KJV) 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.

(Luke 9:59 KJV) And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

(Luke 18:22 KJV) Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

(John 1:43 KJV) The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

(John 10:27 KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

(John 12:26 KJV) If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

(John 13:36 KJV) Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

(John 21:19 KJV) This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

(Mat 28:18 KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


I. Say "NO" to self.

(Mark 8:34 KJV) 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.

(Discipleship requires self-denial.)

QUESTION - What does "deny himself" mean?

QUESTION - Is Jesus teaching that we should deny who we are?

QUESTION - Is Jesus teaching that we should deny ourselves luxuries, wealth, "things?" Is He promoted a life of asceticism?

A. This DOES NOT mean you deny who you are.

1. God made you special.

SONG "God made you special, you're the only one of your kind…"

2. God wants you just the way He made you!

B. This DOES NOT mean that you deny yourself "things."

ILLUS. Monks / nuns who vow poverty.

ILLUS. Amish, who shun modern conveniences in favor of a simple lifestyle.

1. There is nothing wrong with such a lifestyle.

2. It is even commendable.

3. BUT IT IS NOT what Jesus is promoting in this verse.

C. It DOES mean taking SELF off the throne of your life.

1. Don't live for your BODY.

(1 Cor 9:27 KJV) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

(Gal 5:24 KJV) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

(Just to keep the body under control!)

2. Don't live according to your WILL.

ILLUS. Jesus, "not my will, but thine…"

ILLUS. Disciple's prayer, "Thy will be done on earth, (i.e. in my life) as it is in heaven."

(Gal 2:20 KJV) 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.

ILLUS. Jesus is our example:

(Phil 2:6-7 KJV) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Discipleship involves saying "no" to self, and saying "yes" to Jesus, and doing it EVERYDAY.

(Mark 8:34 KJV) 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.

II. Say "YES" to Jesus.

(Mark 8:34 KJV) 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.

(Discipleship requires obedience.)

QUESTION - What does "take up his cross, and follow me" mean?

QUESTION - Is "taking up his cross" describing the various trials and troubles of life? (That's how we usually hear this term applied.)

A. The cross referred to here is NOT synonymous with the trials and tribulations of life.

QUOTE - "That's just my cross to bear, I guess."

ILLUS. We can all think of personal examples of trials and difficulties we have encountered, when we have thought this way. (DISCUSSION - Examples?)

1. There will always be trials.

(James 1:2 KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

(Mat 10:24 KJV) The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

2. You must:

(2 Tim 2:3 KJV) Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

3. BUT, trials are NOT a "cross to bear."

B. The cross referred to here IS describing obedience to God's will for your life.

QUOTE - "The picture of the cross brought to mind the sight of a condemned man who was forced to demonstrate his submission to Rome by carrying part of his cross through he city to his place of execution. Thus to 'take up one's cross' was to demonstrate publicly one's submission and obedience to the authority against which he had previously rebelled."

1. Obedience means availability…

QUOTE (Curtis Hutson) - "The best ability is availability."

2. Obedience means dependability…

QUOTE (Bob Jones, Sr.) - "The best ability is dependability."

3. Obedience means doing what God says always.

(Josh 1:8 KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

(James 1:22 KJV) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Discipleship involves saying "no" to self, and saying "yes" to Jesus, and doing it EVERYDAY.

(Mark 8:34 KJV) 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.

III. Do it EVERYDAY.

(Luke 9:23 KJV) 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.

(Discipleship requires never giving up.)

A. Quitting on Jesus is common.

Cf. Matthew 13 - parable of the sower and the soils. Pictures our churches today.

QUESTION - What are some reasons why people give up on Christ and Christianity today?

QUESTION - Is such a person a true disciple?

ANSWER - (1 John 2:19 KJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

B. Quitting always brings regrets.

ILLUS. I quit taking piano lessons, and I've always regretted it.

C. We must NOT QUIT. Discipleship is an EVERYDAY thing.

1. Deny self EVERYDAY!

2. Obey Christ EVERYDAY!

Discipleship involves saying "no" to self, and saying "yes" to Jesus, and doing it EVERYDAY.

(Luke 9:23 KJV) 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.


Conclusion:

(Mark 8:29 KJV) And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

Discipleship involves saying "no" to self, and saying "yes" to Jesus, and doing it EVERYDAY.

(Luke 9:23 KJV) 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.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.