Tonight’s sermon was on Luke 9:18-27. Entitled “Peter’s confession”, the sermon was more about love and service, concentrating particularly on verses 23-26, and the implication of Jesus’ words for us as His followers.
23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. [NIV 1984]
Thoughts I’m quietly mulling over, from the central passage, and supplementary verses:
* What does a “full life” really mean? (John 10:10) The paradox that denial of self together with service leads to Life. A different perspective.
* 1 Corinthians 13 – This description of love being about sacrifice. How many of us forget or fail to realise this, during the lovey-dovey haze of wedding ceremonies when these verses are typically used?
* “We go into marriage to change ourselves not to change the other person.” To be less selfish, etc. Of course the latter is an impossible, unrealistic position. The former prospect more confronting!
* Love must undergird everything – our gifts, our faith, our action. Without it, everything is meaningless.
* The tension between who we are, and who we want to be – more patient, etc. The wrestle between the old us, and the new us. Taking up our cross daily.
“We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do – flee it or die upon it. And if we should be so foolhardy as to flee we shall by that act put away the faith of our fathers and make of Christianity something other than it is …
“If we are wise we will do what Jesus did: endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us … The cross will cut into our lives where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputations. It will defeat us and bring our selfish lives to an end. Only then can we rise in fullness of life to establish a pattern of living wholly new and free and full of good works.
– A.W. Tozer, The Root of The Righteous