Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:24-28 Have you ever paused to reflect on this passage of Scripture? It's the most unappealing calling to those who have a deep love for themselves. Jesus' calling is always an invitation to come and die, His very words speak of it: "deny yourself," "take up your cross (death) and follow Me," "If you seek to save your life you will lose it," "if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it." He is still calling out with these words! And yet, people, loving themselves, consider this to be hateful, bigoted, and mean. They deny the authority of Jesus' words through the scriptures and, if they want Jesus at all, create and design a Jesus of their own creation to appease their own minds and to justify their way of thinking. And many of us, because we love those who do this, affirm such insanity! Loved ones, I know this is a hard topic for many, but I appeal to you: love someone by speaking the truth, even if it costs you everything, even if it costs you your very life! I have a friend who's now a preacher in Texas. He and a friend became followers of Jesus in High School. His friend determined he would tell everyone at their school the Gospel before he graduated. At one point, he went to where a certain gang would hang out, and told them the Gospel. He was beaten mercilessly and hospitalized. When he got out of the Hospital, he kept to his resolve, and returned to speak the Gospel. Some of those men are still walking with Jesus to this day! If we value people's opinions, our safety, our possessions , our jobs, relationships, and even our very lives above the Gospel, I think it's safe to say we have no part in the Gospel. But if we seek to lose everything for the sake of Christ, we will gain Jesus, and so much more! Do not value this world or the things of this world, but preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the lost, speaking the truth in love, even if it costs you everything you have. In losing your life, you will find the life that is truly life. Romans 10:5-17 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.