Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20; focus on Luke 9:23)
Praying Scripture Series
Prepared and Preached for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, June 17, 2018
Happy Father’s Day!
Toss football around in this initial illustration
My dad used to take us fishing. We used to help my dad in the yard. We used to do a lot of things together. But he also taught us football.
I grew up a sports fan. I loved sports. I loved football and I loved the Browns. I will have you know that the Browns let me down too many times and so several years ago I switched my allegiance to the Steelers. You know it is a true story that there was a man that had in his will that Browns players serve as his pallbearers, so the team could let him down one more time. I loved Sundays and Monday nights and anytime the Browns played. However, I was a fan, I was not a player. I could yell at the team. I could criticize the team. I could get upset and let the team give me depression, but I was not physically hurt by the game. In one of the AFC championship games my brother and I were so worried that we got all of our Browns stuff and laid it in front of the television. It did not help. Life went on. I was not “all in” with the Browns, or any football team. I was just a fan.
When it comes to sports, until about seven years ago I was only a fan. When I was in the sixth grade I played football on a team. I really didn’t enjoy the game that much. Being on a team you didn’t get to play as much. You had to sacrifice for the team. We also had to work hard. We had practice most every day and we came home sore. I had a friend who broke his arm playing quarterback. The next year he broke his collar bone at practice. These are things that players experience, but fans don’t. Fans aren’t sore on Monday. Fans don’t have a practice to commit to. Players have to commit. Now granted, players may have more fun as well. The player gets the real enjoyment when they score a touchdown. But the prize comes with a price. The price is hard work and commitment. The price is sacrificing yourself and your own interest for the team. The price is committing to the cause which is winning.
A handful of years ago I did go further than being a fan of one sport and that is running. Now, I am not a team, but I ran three marathons. The thing is, it does take training and commitment. To train for a marathon I had to commit to a vigorous running schedule. My running was no longer about exercise but an actual goal. I am sore often. At one point I finished a run and was stretching and I got a Charlie horse in my stomach. I have been awakened with Charlie horses in my legs. But this is part of being a player.
The point is this, as Christians Jesus does not call us to be fans. He calls us to participate. We can have the joy of leading others to Christ just as a player has the joy of a touchdown. We have the joy of serving others on a mission trip or at a food pantry just as a football player has the joy of an interception. Actually, we can even intercept what the devil is trying to do. We can have the joy of discipling someone just as a runner has the joy of completing miles. But we also must sacrifice.
Are you a fan or a follower?
Are you all in with Jesus?
Okay, so I am in a sermon series about Scriptures to pray for our children and descendants. Today, let’s talk about praying that our descendants are followers of Jesus.
My theme and application is:
Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20).
I have three Scriptures: Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20, but we will only talk about Luke 9:23.
Let’s read: Luke 9:23
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
- Context: First, let me tell a little bit about the context.
- Jesus is on a preaching tour. He has been going from place to place preaching. Actually, just before this passage Jesus had fed 5000 people. In this same chapter Jesus has cast demons out of a man and woman. Jesus has also sent the disciples to heal and cast out demons. Notice that in this way the disciples are followers. They are following Jesus and Jesus allowed them to participate. Later on, the disciples will participate even more as they are even persecuted and all of them are martyred.
- Jesus had just asked them who people think He is. They answer and then Jesus asked who they think He is. Peter answers that He is the Christ.
- Following this Jesus talks about suffering. Jesus says that He will have to suffer and be betrayed.
- Now Jesus says to them all. It appears that there are more people there. Jesus is traveling around, and He has quite a following. I’d imagine that the disciples are in the front listening closely.
So, Jesus says “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me…”
- Deny, let’s talk about this term.
- This term translated “deny” carries the idea of sacrificing your own desires. This carries the idea of surrendering your own claim. This actually means admitting that someone does not exists. So, I would have to say, “Steve, who is that?”
- To be a disciple I must be willing to sacrifice my own desires. Now this is not something I must do first. It is not that I do this in order to be a Christian. It is not necessarily that I do this after I become a Christian. This is really something that just happens. This is something the Holy Spirit does in my life. I cannot force myself to do this. I must allow God to work in me.
- You see, my natural nature is to be selfish. My natural nature is that I will be driving and someone will just cut me off, so I want to be mad at the person. I may want to tell him he is number one or yell out the window. But this is putting myself first and not the other cars around me. I must deny myself.
- Certainly, the best example of this is Jesus. Jesus gave up His throne in Heaven to come down to earth. That was for us. We see this in Phil. 2:3-11. Actually, the Bible says to consider others as more important than yourselves and to look out for others needs before your own.
- Death: Jesus calls us to die to ourselves.
- He says that we must carry our cross. The cross was an instrument of death and they all knew it. MacArthur said the following:
…more than a hundred years before Jesus ever walked on earth King Alexander Janius crucified 800 rebels at Jerusalem while he was feasting in public. Antiochus Epiphanes, that Greek ruler during the inner-testimental period had also crucified many Jews for a revolt that followed the death of Herod the Great, the proconsul Varus crucified two thousand Jews. It is said that the Romans crucified thirty-thousand Jews in Palestine during the era around the life of Jesus. When Jesus said “Take up a cross,” they only thought of one thing, horrible suffering, pain and death. Jesus is saying, this is how extreme your devotion has to be, this is willingness to endure persecution, this is willingness to endure hatred, hostility, rejection, reproach, shame, suffering even death. They knew exactly what He was talking about. And be ready to do it every day…every day.
- In Muslims countries they will actually deny family members when they become Christian.
- This is not an obscure passage.
- This is NOT something that’s sort of different than the normal teaching of Jesus. These are principles which He teaches repeatedly throughout His ministry over and over and over again in all different contexts.
- You can read it in Matthew 10:32-39; Mark 10:21 with the Rich Young Ruler; also Luke 14:25-28; 17:33; John 12:24.
- Fathers, be devoted to your family, it is your first mission field.
- As fathers we must model this. This is critical.
- Are we following Him? Are we seeking God’s call in our lives?
- Jesus calls us to be present with him as we follow Him. Following Jesus is not separate from your life and family commitments, but one and the same.
- Today, we talk about the stay at home mom, but historically the whole family worked together. The father worked from home too. I recently read an article about just that. Until the industrial age most families worked and lived on farms. The family all worked together. They did not just have breakfast together, but lunch and dinner.The writer shares:
- In 1820, the earliest date for which I can find reliable statistics, some 2.1 million men in the United States worked in “farm occupations”—a full 72 percent of the work force.
- Jesus calls us to be the best people. Jesus calls us to be the best dads. It used to be that missionaries would send their children to mission boarding schools hundreds and thousands of miles away. Think about it, you go and “serve the Lord” in Africa while dropping your five-year-old off in England.
Dr. David Jeremiah shared about a time when he was heading out to his son’s basketball game. He was in the church office about to leave when someone came in and told the secretary, “I want to talk with Pastor David Jeremiah.” The secretary said, “He is not available, can I connect you with one of our other pastors?” The man persisted, “I need to talk with David Jeremiah.” The man caught Dr. Jeremiah in the parking lot and said, “I need to talk with you.” Dr. Jeremiah said, “I have 4 other pastors (I think it was 4) who can talk with you right now. I have one son and he has one father and I am going to his basketball game.”
Being a follower of Jesus impacts all of our life. Christians must be the best dads.
Fathers, take time for your children and family.
Dr. Howard Hendricks, had one wag tell him, “The devil never takes a holiday, so why should I?” Hendricks didn’t miss a beat and replied: “Oh really? I didn’t know he was your model.”
We all have our different occupations and we must determine how we can balance to prioritize family. For some, your job is 24×7 and in that case you must give yourself permission to take off for family. For others, you are off at a certain time and you can go home and take the children to the park. For other, maybe it is a little bit of both. I remember coming home from school when I was in elementary school and I saw my dad hitching up the boat to go fishing. My dad was never home that early, but this was an exception and I will never forget it.
Dads, we have a responsibility to be dads. That is part of our God given calling. Don’t think of it as interrupting our work.
Christians follow Jesus and this must impact our calling as fathers.
Do you know Jesus?
God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)