The Cross as an Instrument of Denial

Dustin Folden May 19, 2019 Mark 8:31-9:1
Outline

3 Ways the cross instructs us to deny ourselves

I. Deny Yourself by Embracing the Gospel

Mark 8:31 - And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

A. The gospel goes against man’s interests

Mark 8:33 - But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Romans 5:12 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…

B. The gospel is the good news of God

Romans 5:17 - For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

II. Deny Yourself by Embracing Christ-Centered Discipleship

Mark 8:34 - And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

A. Discipleship is about willingly placing yourself under Christ’s authority

B. Discipleship is about taking up your cross

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

C. Discipleship is about valuing what is most important

Mark 8:35-37 - For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose” -Jim Elliot

III. Deny Yourself by Waiting for Something Better

Mark 8:38-9:1 - For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

Growing is both wonderful and challenging….

  • There is nothing like getting taller, and seeing the marks on the door frame get higher…being able to ride the cool rides at Disney, and finally being able to get a basketball in the hoop. (I am still working on that one)
  • But there are also growing pains, when your bones hurt as you grow, as you need to get used to being taller and being a bit clumsy, and often you have to get new clothes that fit.
  • I hope as you have been focusing on our yearly theme of Growing What God has Given Us you have been experiencing growth and the blessings and challenges that come with it.
  • As we have focused on Growing by embracing the Cross, I hope you have done the same.
  • When you embrace the cross…there is a humility that follows as you have to wrestle with your sin that required Christ to go to the cross for you.
  • But there is the blessing of embracing the Power of Christ, sacrifice of Christ, the identity of Christ, the Victory of Christ, the Peace of Christ, even the Shame and then triumph of Christ, and also the direction of Christ.
  • When you embrace the cross…there is a humility that follows as you have to wrestle with your sin that required Christ to go to the cross for you.
  • But there is the blessing of embracing the Power of Christ, sacrifice of Christ, the identity of Christ, the Victory of Christ, the Peace of Christ, even the Shame and then triumph of Christ, and also the direction of Christ….
    • so that we would deny ourselves…take up our cross and follow Him, each day…Sunday to Sunday.

Growing is full of blessings and challenges.

There is challenge and difficulty in admitting and being reminded that someone had to die and be sacrificed for you…that your power is not enough, that your identity needed to change, that Christ needed to go through shame and rejection for you, and that your victory was the victory and triumph of another on your behalf.

And so growth includes both blessings and challenges, and embracing the cross includes both blessings and challenges…but I think we would say that the blessings far outweigh the challenges…and if I am going to grow closer to my Lord and savior…that is worth it…that is worth everything….that is even worth denying myself.

And so as we conclude our series on Growing by embracing the cross…today we are going to look at The cross as an Instrument of Denial.

Read Mark 8:27-9:1 – That is on Page 33 in the back section (NT) of the bible under the chair in front of you.

With our time remaining let’s look at 3 Ways the cross instructs us to deny ourselves

I. Deny yourself by embracing the Gospel

To this point in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is revealing Himself to be the Messiah…the Christ by showing he has authority over sickness, demons, storms, able to do miracles by multiplying the bread and fish.

But He had not yet instructed his followers what the Messiah was going to do. Peter made a public confession on behalf of the disciples, and he responded to Jesus question…Who do you say that I am….the answer was, “You are the Christ”

So they understood who Jesus is…but what is the Christ going to do. Jesus begins to teach them.

Mark 8:31 — 31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Peter then responds by rebuking Jesus…you see Peter could not see how a Messiah, who was supposed to deliver them could do that if he had to suffer and die.

Jesus is explaining to his disciples the Gospel…what the good news is…but they do not see it as good news…they see it as terrible news. Our leaders, our messiah is going to die.

Jesus then rebukes Peter and says, Get behind me Satan…pretty much the strongest rebuke you can get. You see…

A. The Gospel goes against man’s interests

Mark 8:33 — 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

B. The Gospel is the good news of God

The cross says, deny your man centered solutions, and embrace the solution of God….the good news that the Messiah came to die for you.

Now if that changes how you view the messiah, it also needs to change how you view discipleship...

II. Deny yourself by embracing Christ-centered Discipleship (34-37)

Mark 8:34 — 34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

So if we must deny our view of a man centered Messiah, we must also deny a man centered view of following the Messiah, or discipleship.

In the book of Mark, this is the first time Jesus teaches them about the gospel…that he was going to die and rise again…he does this 2 more times in the book of Mark…and right after each teaching about the gospel he immediately teaches them what it looks like to be a disciple who is going to trust in the Gospel and how the Gospel is to impact their lives…

A. Discipleship is about willingly placing yourself under Christ’s authority

Jesus says, If anyone “wishes” to come after me….so just as Christ willingly went to the cross to die for you and me…we are to willingly put our trust in His sacrifice, and willingly follow Him.

So note we are talking about denying yourself a lot in this message…but this is willing self-denial, this is not forced self-denial.

Now denying yourself…does that mean you cannot enjoy anything in life…no I don’t believe so as scripture says “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do all to the glory of God”…so there are a lot of enjoyable things we can do for the glory of God…

However, Jesus is saying…being a disciple is about putting what you want under what the Lord wants….He has given us good things to enjoy just like He provided delicious food in the Garden of Eden, but He also has given us commands and directives…so the issue here is not about enjoying things…it is about trusting the one who is in charge…

What makes sense to us most frequently, is our physical well-being, being comfortable, safe and happy at all costs…but God want us to follow Him and trust Him believing that there is a better path than just our physical well being…and he uses powerful imagery to make that point.

B. Discipleship is about taking up your cross

Jesus emphasizes this by saying, if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself…take up his cross and follow me.

Jesus talks about the messiah going to the cross to suffer and die…this is God’s plan of redemption…then he talks about disciples following Christ by taking up their cross.

He wants his disciples to think about the cross when they think about following Him…You see the cross was a tool that Rome used to establish and emphasize their authority, their power.

About 100 years later, and after Christ …Nero Crucified Christians as he blamed the fires of Rome on them ….

So taking up your cross means you recognize you are no longer a rebel toward the kingdom of God…you are not going to try to build your own kingdom and usurp His authority in your life…

Christ-centered discipleship is admitting and embracing that you are not in charge…you are following someone else…in fact when you trust in the D/B/R of Christ…you belong to someone else…

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 — 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

The biggest take away here is that following Christ is not a hybrid…

I think in our culture this is scandalous…

You don’t say, here are some areas in my life that are for Jesus and here are some for me….in other words it is not just about Sunday…it is about Sunday to Sunday…

By using the imagery of the cross Christ is telling his disciples this is not going to be easy, this is going to go against what is natural…something has to die…trusting yourself as your own authority…this is what it looks like to follow me and entrust yourself to the one with all authority.

It is about prioritizing Christ above yourself…

C. Discipleship is about valuing what is most important.

Mark 8:35–37 — 35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus did not protect himself at all costs…

Going to the cross … Christ sacrificed his life for us….if we are to follow Him, we can’t approach this life with the goal of self-protection…

Jesus is saying if you want to follow me, you are going to have to place a priority on your soul, your inner man that believes who the Messiah is and that he is worth following above your own life.

In other words just as Christ laid down his life and then was raised to new life…

A person who personified this was Jim Elliot…Jim Elliot was a missionary who died a martyrs death reaching out to the Auca Indians in South America with the gospel.

He said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose” -Jim Elliot

He is saying live for something eternal rather than something temporal…

What does that look like….

I think when you put it in perspective like that we realize God wants what is best for us…to value our soul, our relationship with Him…to value Christ and the gospel above our very lives because that is what our lives are to be all about…and there is great reward when we live with the right priorities as disciples of Christ.

So you are denying yourself….not simply for the sake of self-denial but for something far better…

III. Deny yourself by waiting for something better

Two things I think many of us would agree on is that…

It is interesting that part of discipleship is waiting and being willing to associate yourself with Christ no matter what and trusting that when He comes in His glory it will be worth it…

The book of Mark was written to believers in Rome, primarily Gentile believers who would struggle with identifying with a Lord and Savior who was crucified by Rome.

This graffiti is mocking Christians…and really helps us understand why Mark would be so strong and address this head on…

Mark 8:38–9:1 — 38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 1 And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

What Mark is saying to His readers and what we are seeking to do in this series is encourage everyone to embrace the cross….

We see in 9:1 where The Lord gives his disciples a taste of what the Kingdom of God is like…

This is to motivate His disciples…to motivate us…

Some take aways…application…

  • So when your kids question your authority and you want to come down with sinful anger and show them who is in charge…instead you embrace the cross as a follower of Christ and you respond in a Christ centered way… thinking what would my king have me to do and say in this moment.
  • Or when a spouse or a friend doesn’t prioritize you, doesn’t think of you as perhaps you would have liked them to…instead of following your own thoughts of bitterness and self-righteousness,
    • you think about the gospel and how Christ was not honored, and He went to the cross for you…how can you follow Him in this moment when you feel dishonored. How can I deny what I feel like doing, and instead do what is Christ-like.
  • If you Share the gospel with people, and bring Christ up in your discussions, in a humble way, not a self righteous way, and you get a title like Jesus freak or bible thumper or holy roller….
    • don’t be ashamed of that…be the person that others recognize is going to steer the conversation back to Christ and back to seeking to follow Him and please Him. Don’t be ashamed of Christ…deny your desire to get the instant gratification of someone liking you because you blend in really well to a adulterous and sinful generation.

In short…Don’t live for the interests of man, deny that way of life and instead focus on the son of man whose glory is on the horizon…focus on following Him until He returns…

So to recap

  1. Deny yourself by embracing the Gospel (27-33)
    1. A messiah who had to die to pay for your sin
  2. Deny yourself by embracing Christ-centered Discipleship (34-37)
    1. Take up your cross…Follow Christ not just when you feel like it, but because He is your authority and you trust him even over rough terrain.
  3. Deny yourself by waiting for something better
    1. Don’t give in to the fear of man….don’t be ashamed of being identified as a follower of Christ even if in some ways it makes you look bad, or a target for ridicule…instead let your light shine among men so that they will see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven….
    2. If you are looking forward to Jesus returning…let that impact other people as they see who you are following…not yourself but Christ Jesus our lord.

Dustin Folden

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.