Summary: Last week we used Matthew 16:23 as a starting point to look at our concerns/will versus God’s concern’s/will. Today we’re using Matthew 16:24 as a starting point to discuss what it means to 1) deny yourself 2) take up your cross and 3) follow Christ. We’ll also look at how these things are not easy or convenient and how Jesus gave expectations highlighting the difficulty of following Him.
Break the Ice
- Describe your dream home?
Bring the Word
Read Matthew 16:21-26
- What requirement does Jesus place on someone that wants to be his disciple?
- Are these requirements part of salvation or sanctification? Why?
- What context does verse 23 give us about the requirement of followers in verse 24?
- Is it possible to deny ourselves while seeking our own will independent of God’s?
- What did Jesus mean by “deny themselves”?
- What did Jesus mean by “take up their cross”?
- Does this imply taking an active/willing role or a passive/unwilling role in our sanctification?
- How does this reflect the role Christ took in His own death?
Read Matthew 8:18-22
- If the teacher of the law follows Jesus, what should his expectation be?
- Should our lives look the same as the one we follow?
- What did Christ’s life look like?
Culture reference: ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father,” did not mean that the father was dead and he just needed to go put him in the ground. It was an expectation of the culture that a son would serve the father (patriarch) until he died at which time the son would become the patriarch and inherit the family farm/business.
- What might the implications be if the son left his father to follow Jesus?
- Does it seem easier for the man to follow Jesus before or after burying his father? Why?
- Can you give some modern-day equivalents of what this disciple was doing?
- From the perspective of enacting our will, is there ever a convenient time to follow Jesus?
Bring it Home
Read John 15:18-22
- Why does Scripture say we will be hated?
- Do we have to try to be hated by the world?
- Overall, what expectations does Jesus set for someone that follows him?
- Do any of those expectations align with our will prior to salvation?
- How can we pray for you?
Begin a Discipline
Prayer: Pray that God would reveal the aspects of your life that are still serving your will and not God’s will.
Reading: Continue to transform your mind through reading God’s Word daily. Try reading a chapter of Psalms each day.
Reflection: Continue to transform your mind through reflecting on His Word throughout the day.
Journaling: Journal what you learned from Scripture about God, Jesus, and yourself.