Sunday, March 22, 2015

LET HIM DENY HIMSELF: SCS No. 42

My wife Patty is on the far right, I am next to her, next to me is 
Dr. Dennis D. Pruett (April 16, 1924- November 14, 2014)
Founder of Mashoko Christian Hospital Among Other Mission Work
Beside him is his wife Jean

Sunday, March 22, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 42

(This is a series of sermonettes on The Gospel According To Mark.  We will not be to the crucifixion and resurrection in the book of Mark by April 5, 2015 so we will not be doing the resurrection story when it is being celebrated this year.)

(Ed Cooper is an ordained elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s. Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents.)

SCRIPTURE for Today:       Mark 8:31-38 King James Version (KJV)
31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
34 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.
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

SERMON for Today:

In last week’s scripture lesson (Mark 8:29) Peter was the one who knew the answer to the question Jesus asked about who he was.  In today’s lesson Peter rebukes Jesus for saying he will be killed and resurrected.  Jesus has some harsh words for Peter. He says, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

I am not saying I am an Apostle or as important as Peter, but I do recognize some of Peter in myself and I have seen this same thing in others as well.  Even though Peter had just said Jesus was the Christ, he felt like he needed to correct Jesus so Jesus fitted the picture that Peter had painted of him in his mind.  Jesus was not suppose to die.  He was suppose to run the Romans out of town.  How many times do we think we know better than God what should be happening in our lives?  How many times do we think we know better than the other person what should be happening in their lives?  If my dad was still alive today, the first words out of my mouth would be, “you were not as dumb as I thought you were.”

Chapter Eight ends by telling us what it takes to be a follower of Jesus.  His message to his disciples and the people was simple.  Deny yourself and follow me with your whole self.

The goal of self-denial and taking up one’s cross is not pathological self-abasement or a martyr complex but being free to follow the Jesus without any reservations or anything being more important. Self-denial means letting go of self-determination and replacing it with obedience to and dependence on God and His Son.

Jesus’ paradoxical statement demands two different senses of the word “life”: whoever lives a self-centered life focused on this present world will not find eternal life with God; whoever gives up his self-centered life of rebellion against God for the sake of Christ and the gospel will find everlasting life with God.

If we are not ashamed of Jesus now he will not be ashamed of us on Judgement Day which is coming someday.

PRAYER for Today: Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

© Ed Cooper, March 22, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved

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