We're living in a day and time of two extremes of people's desires:
November 12th, 2000, Sunday Morning
"The Cross that Christ has Called Us to Carry"
A message for those who are weary under the burden
OPENING: Matthew 16:24, KJV
- Things come easy
- People want knowledge without study
- EXAMPLE: Subliminal messaging where people learn in their sleep via a tape deck
with an instructional tape.
- There is little or no price
- People want to reap fruits/rewards without sewing (working for it)
- EXAMPLE: The electronic abdominal stimulator: simply attach the electrodes
and shock yourself a six-pack stomach without any exercise, sweat, crunching required!
- People want...
- Greater responsibility without the required knowledge
- Good children without rearing them
- A free country without defending it
- Discipleship without GOD
- EXAMPLE: Cryogenics, immortality, growing new body parts to live eternal.
(But there is no eternity without GOD)
Today's Christians are satisfied with being
saved and not worrying about others--including friends
Christians are perplexed over why they endure the suffering they do.
- This is not the proper attitude to have. We should be looking down the road
and anticipating future difficulties and suffrages; It's not a question of "if" but "when."
- Understand that GOD knows the times you will endure suffering in your life.
He's there the moment you're suffering or being trespassed against (i.e., hurt, ridiculed,
abandoned, etc.). GOD could stop your suffering (or Satan) just by thinking about it--not
even lifting a finger ... but He chooses to let your suffering occur. So the time-old
question arises: why does GOD let bad things happen to "good" people?
- Everyone--good or bad--endures suffering to bring to pass prophecy of the
- Psalm 34:19
- 2 Timothy 3:12
- John 16:33
- Acts 20:24: To deal with suffering, we should have Paul's attitude ...
he is unfazed. He is not crying or feeling self-pity but rather enduring with joy because
he knows, as with all of us, our journey will soon end.
- We should focus on finishing our course with joy even with all our afflictions.
- Whether you try to live Godly or not, you will suffer. And remember you're not
the only one suffering in this world ... we're all carrying "our own cross."
- Take care not to adopt the "why me?" and "woe is me" syndrome. Did Jesus ever
do that when he carried the biggest cross of all of us? No.
- #1/3: The PRINCIPLE of cross-bearing
- Matthew 16:24: This is the proclamation from Jesus' to all Christians.
Remember you're not the only one "carrying a cross" (which is symbolic of your duty) ...
so quit pitying on your own affliction.
- Luke 14:27: Just because you're tired of carrying
your cross (dealing with life's burdens) don't mean you're relived of your duty to carry.
- Luke 9:23 and Mark 8:34: The cross is the symbol of death and duty.
The crucifixion is the symbol of the death of a criminal. When Christ was crucified, he
died the death of a criminal because he bore all the sins of the world in His body. He "was
made sin" to we may be saved.
- 1 Peter 2:24: Jesus Christ bore our sins in His body. This is
symbolic of burden-bearing: every Christian has his/her own burden to bear. What is that
burden? It's whatever keeps coming back to haunt you. If you find it, rejoice and endure
- A cross is all about burden-bearing of suffering--whether emotionally,
financially, physically, ridicule, abandonment, etc.
- Matthew 16:24: Notice this passage says "take up his
cross" meaning this is of a personal nature to all of us--we all have our own
specific cross we bear.
- John 19:17: Our Saviour was alone with His cross. None of us in
this world has ever been alone because of GOD's promise to never leave us. But in Jesus'
case, his friends left, his disciples left, and GOD left because GOD cannot look upon sin.
Therefore, Jesus had been more lonely than anyone in this world was or ever will be
- For those who've ever been whipped, if the whipping is severe enough, you don't
even want clothing to touch the skin because of how tender and sensitive it is. But imagine
Jesus, whose back was laid open with led whips and how he carried a 200 pound tree on his
back--with splinters--that dug into those newly laid scars.
- Galatians 6:5: Everyone has their own cross--a deacon, preacher,
Sunday school teacher, witnesses, etc. No man is without.
- Now you say, "Oh! But pastor's burden is lighter than the rest of ours." Oh
no--each man has his own individually issued burden.
- Matthew 16:24: "let him deny himself" implies the cross
should take precedence in our life.
- Matthew 10:37-38: The cross comes before yourself and family.
- Today, people live for this job, livelihood, or recreation. The first thing
you SHOULD do when yow awake is to "put your cross on." When you encounter adversity at
work, have problems with your spouse, have financial problems ... you can deal with
it because it's just part of the cross GOD called you to bear.
- Matthew 16:21-23: The cross comes before friends.
- Matthew 16:25-26: The cross comes before fame, fortune, and
future (temporal) endeavors. When you live for Christ, you ARE preparing your future.
Put/seek Jesus Christ first and you'll have a job, good health, security, and a future.
- Hebrews 12:2-3: This implies that we should endure, just like
Jesus did, in the face of sinners who mock and revile you.
- TRUE STORY: Back in the day of Air Force active duty, then-Sergeant
Willie J. Byrd was despised by many of his fellow enlisted because he spoke of the Word of
GOD often. Then one day in open ranks formation, a chief master sergeant stood in front
of sergeant Byrd and told him he had orders for 16 months duty in Okinawa--away from family.
In the background, sergeant Byrd could hear the other enlisted snickering and murmuring while
the chief, right in front of sergeant Byrd's face, held a half-smile.
Sergeant Byrd was ready to grip this chief by the throat but he heard GOD inside him say,
"Peace. Let me handle this." Sergeant Byrd went to another building to verify a copy of
his newfound orders and the soldier at the office told him his assignment had been
- The cross is a PERSISTENT call.
- Luke 9:23: It is a "daily" call.
- Today, society wants to endure only one tough challenge in life and that's it!
- NOTE: A "yoke" is not a burden laid on you. It's the harness that lightens
the load (i.e., instead of carrying one heavy water bucket with both hands, you put a yoke
on your back and find you can carry at least two water buckets on each side and can
easily handle more). Therefore, we take his yoke so He may lighten our burdens ...
and you carry until He calls us home!
- 1 Corinthians 15:31
- 2 Corinthians 4:10
- #2/3: The PURPOSE of cross-bearing
- Luke 14:27: Carrying your cross is a prerequisite to discipleship.
- The price to learn more about Jesus Christ is more time--the price many are
unwilling to pay, today. The attitude is "there's only so much church you can stand" when
in reality it is "we can't get enough of it."
- Cross-bearing is the only solution to the problems Christians face today.
- 2 Corinthians 12:10: We must "crucify our flesh" to live,
spiritually, for GOD ... and be happy in doing so.
- #3/3: The PRICE to bear the cross
- 1 Timothy 1:16: Cross-bearing must first begin in YOU.
- 2 Corinthians 11:23-30: You think you have/had burdens to bear
in life? Look what the apostle Paul went through! And Paul had 70+ churches to worry
about at the same time because he started them all!
- Philippians 3:11-17: Forget your past and all the wrongdoing
and trespassing against you and look to the sky for the ultimate prize.
We bear the cross--whether it be loneliness, abandonment, alienation, family casting
you out, punishment for Christ's sake, betrayal, disappointment, persecution, suffering,
Why is this subject being preached? Because today, many more are "fainting"
Whether or not you serve GOD, you will suffer in life.
- Even if you "shut down" (give up on church, tithing,
offering, worship, etc.) you will still endure affliction throughout life.
Hebrews 12:2: You can suffer loss ... or reap the full reward.