The Cross You Bear

Title: The Cross You Bear

Bible Book: Matthew 16 : 24

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Cross Bearing; Cross; Christian Living



For many weeks now we have focused our attention on the Cross, and on our Lord’s command to take up our cross and follow Him. Our text today is taken from the Gospel According to Matthew: "Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it (Matt 16:24-25, HCSB).

We have seen what the Cross means to God and what it means to us. We have seen what it cost God, what it cost Jesus, and what it will cost us. The Roman cross was an instrument of death, a place and a method of execution. People who were not Roman citizens were nailed to a cross and left there to die a horrible death. People would pass by and witness the excruciation pain and agony of the individual who had been sentence to dies on a cross. When Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him, he is not talking about bumper stickers, jewelry, or a logo on a t-shirt.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer took up his cross and followed Jesus to martyrdom in a Nazi jail. He was a brilliant scholar, preacher, and teacher who paid the supreme price for his stand for Jesus Christ and his opposition to Adolph Hitler. Dietrich Bonhoeffer not only took up his cross, he understood the significance of it. Let me share a quote that illustrates what the cross meant to him: "When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die." Did you hear that? More to the point, do you understand what he said? "When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die." That is exactly what the cross meant to him. He took up his cross and followed Jesus to martyrdom. If you are a born-again Christians, Jesus has called you to come to Him and die. Have you done that? Have you even considered such a cost? Have you died to sin? Have you died to self? Have you died to the world? Wait a minute, you may say, I came to Jesus because some evangelist promised that He would make me healthy, wealthy, and wise. He didn’t say anything about dying! Oh, but Jesus did! Did Jesus not say that He did not come to bring peace but a sword?

In all these messages, the emphasis has been upon our coming to the Cross for our salvation, and upon our taking up our cross. Today, I would like for us to change our focus a little. Let me assume that some of you have taken up your cross, or that you are about to make that commitment. Here is my question: Once you take up your cross, what are you going to do with it? If you are faithful enough to take up your cross the next step has also been dictated by our Lord: "Follow Me." The Lord, who never glossed over any command, tells us exactly where it will lead us. If you take up your cross and follow Him it will lead you where it led Him. On the Cross, Jesus poured out His life for you and me. If you take up your cross, you must pour out your life for Him. How are you doing?

Let’s take a closer look at Christ and His Cross.


Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness (Luke 4:1).

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity (Luke 4:14).

A. The Spirit Led Him into the Wilderness, Luke 4:1ff.

1) In the Spirit, He fasted and prayed for forty days, 4:1ff. He overcame the "rule of three" - three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food.

2) He returned in the power of the Spirit, 4:14. The Spirit led him into the wilderness and He returned in the power of the Spirit. Is it not reasonable to assume that He was sustained by the Spirit as He focused on the will of the Father?

3) In the Spirit, He was teaching in the synagogues, 4:15a. The Bible tells us it was His custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was invited to speak and He proclaimed the Good News.

4) He was "being acclaimed by everyone", 4:15b. His message was new and fresh and it gave the people hope. Masses followed Him until they saw that He was not the kind of Messiah they wanted.

B. There Were Thing that Did Not Happen When He Was Filled With the Spirit, Isaiah 53.

(1) He did not become popular.

(2) He did not become a power player.

(3) He did not become a success in the eyes of the world.

(4) He was never elected president of anything.

(5) He never received an honorary degree from the Sanhedrin.

(6) He did not live a long life.

(7) He did not avoid pain and suffering.


A. He Went to the Synagogue on the Lord’s Day.

He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news... (Luke 4:16-19).

1) This was according to His life long custom. Every family and every individual should have good customs or traditions. Worship should be established as a tradition in every Christian home. No Christian family should have to decide on Saturday night whether or not they are going to be in church Sunday morning. When you become a Christian that should be decided once for all.

2) He read from the Scripture. The Jewish leaders were more focused on Jewish tradition than the Scripture. Jesus said that they did err in not knowing the Scripture. Traditions must be subjected to the inerrant Word of the inerrant God.

3) He read from a Messianic prophecy, (Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus proclaimed the Gospel, a word which means good news. What is the good news? Jesus is the good news! Jesus saves sinners; that’s good news.

4) He emphasized that the Spirit of the Lord was on the Messiah. The point now is to persuade them that the Messiah was standing before them. Such a claim must have seemed absurd, unthinkable, preposterous. From anyone else it would have been.

B. He Proclaimed the Good News, 4:17.

1) The Spirit of the Lord anointed Him to preach the good news. The good news was that the long awaited Messiah had finally come, and the He was the One standing before them.

2) He proclaimed God’s salvation. Any preaching that does not proclaim God’s salvation is not biblical preaching. Some today focus on social and psychological issues, the New Testament focuses on the Cross. It is not popular to preach on sin, repentance, and the consequences for those who refuse. Paul was inspired to write, "if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10, HCSB).

3) Jesus applied the prophesy to Himself, Luke 4:21. They had awaited the fulfillment of this prophesy for over seven hundred years. We can hardly imagine their reaction when Jesus rolled up the scroll, laid it aside, faced the congregation, and declared, "Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled" (Luke 4:21).

Jesus knew the Scripture. He knew that all the Law and all the Prophecy of what we now call the Old Testament, pointed to Christ and to the Cross. If you could take the entire sacrificial system and put it all on a DVD and hit "play", you would see Jesus on the Cross; we would see the death, the resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Jesus found Himself in the Scripture and so should we.

C. The Spirit of the Lord Was Upon Him.

The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19, emphasis added).

1) Jesus was conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit on Him. This may seem like a paradox in light of the fact that Jesus would tell His disciples that was best for Him to go to the Father because He would not send the Holy Spirit until He returned to heaven. In His Farewell Discourse, He promised to send the Holy Spirit. The risen Lord told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.

How then, could the Spirit of the Lord be on Jesus at this point? The God of the Bible reveals Himself as a triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit did not come into existence on the Day of Pentecost; He came to empower the church and to convict and convince lost people so that they would believe in the Son for their salvation.

2) The Spirit had anointed Him "to preach the good news to the poor." Does this mean that God favors the poor over the wealthy? Perhaps it will help to remember one of the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

3) The Spirit of the Lord anointed Him to heal the brokenhearted. Every person who has ever sought salvation from any source except Jesus will be brokenhearted.

4) He sent Him to preach deliverance to the captives. Every lost person is in bondage to sin, Satan, the world, and the flesh.

5) He was sent to restore sight to the blind. Blindness is a metaphor for fallen, depraved humanity.

"I, the Lord, have called you for a righteous purpose, and I will hold you by your hand. I will keep you, and I make you a covenant for the people and a light to the nations, in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house. I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, or My praise to idols (Isaiah 42:6-8).

Jesus condemned the Pharisees, who were proud of their enlightenment:

Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit" (Matt 15:14).

6) He was sent to set at liberty those who are bruised. The late Greek scholar, A. T. Robertson, is a help here:

It means to break in pieces broken in heart and often in body as well. One loves to think that Jesus felt it to be his mission to mend broken hearts like pieces of broken earthenware, real rescue-mission work. Jesus mends them and sets them free from their limitations [Word Pictures in the New Testament].

Countless sinners today are battered and bruised, sadly bruised by the devil who had told them when they started out on their course that it was the course of enlightenment. I spent quite a bit of time with an older teenager a number of years ago. I was preaching a revival for his father and his parents wanted me to try to talk with him. The talks were very educational - for me. That was the week I learned the difference between a rush and a buzz! He took the drugs to get a rush and he drank the beer to keep the buzz. Oh, he had it all down. He even pointed out that a sibling was also using drugs without their parents’ knowledge. "They don’t know," he said, "but I do." He has all the answers, but those drugs and that alcohol led him down a path of misery, including prison, a broken home, domestic violence, and shame.

7) He was sent to "preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Just what does that mean? I have no idea! It is interesting that study Bibles and some commentaries skip this. However, it is possible that it ties in with the prophecy that in the fullness of time God would send His Son.


A. We Will Be Filled with the Holy Spirit.

1) No one follows Jesus in the flesh. Paul wrote, "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it" (Rom. 7:18).

2) We must take up our cross and follow Jesus in the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25).

At the point of salvation, the new believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. You may say you were given the Holy Spirit, or you were baptized with the Holy Spirit. This is a once for all experience. You must be filled with the Holy Spirit daily. If you yield to the Holy Spirit you will be empowered to live for Christ, you will be taught the Word of God as you study it, and you will receive guidance. He will help you overcome temptations and empower you to bear the fruit of the Spirit. If you suppress Him you will not bear the fruit of the Spirit, and there is every possibility that you will do many of the works of the flesh that lost people do.

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, He will lead you to witness to lost people and minister to those who need your help. But don’t you dare go until you are filled with the Holy Spirit! Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity and the Holy Spirit will reveal the opportunities that all around you.

B. When We Are Filled With the Spirit We Will Do the Things Jesus Did.

1) We will worship the Lord - as was His custom. David sang, "Give the Lord—you heavenly beings —give the Lord glory and strength. Give the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord

in the splendor of His holiness (Ps. 29:1-2).

2) We will study the Scripture - He said people err when they do not know the Scripture. Paul wrote to Timothy:

Command and teach these things. No one should despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching (1 Tim 4:11-13).

3) We will teach the Scripture to others. David prayed, "Surely You desire integrity in the inner self,

and You teach me wisdom deep within" (Ps. 51:6). Then he promised, "Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You (Ps 51:13). In the Great Commission, Jesus commands us:

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matt 28:19-20 (HCSB).

When you think of the Great Commission, what comes to mind? We tend to think of one thing - winning the lost to faith in Christ. That is an essential part of it, but there is more. "Make disciples" implies teaching. The word "disciple" binds two ideas together: First, a disciple is a follower. Second, a disciple is a learner. So, a disciple is one who follows another to learn from him or her. The new believer needs desperately to be taught, and if we do not teach them they are very susceptible to false doctrine.

4) We will witness to the poor. A famous satirist once said, "God must really love the poor because He made so many of them." God loves all He created, but fallen man, regardless of where he stands on the socio-economic ladder, is spiritually poor, bankrupt, and in a desperate condition. Ted Turner is an arrogant agnostic who sees Christianity as a religion for losers. Little does he know that he is poor, wretched, and lost.

5) We will comfort the afflicted. I am an accomplished forgetter. I can forget people, places, dates, and events. Before you tell me I am suffering for the Old Timer’s disease, let me assure you that I had mastered the art at an early age. A few years ago, I went to court to lend moral support to an amazing lady who has devoted her life to caring for others. For a number of years, she had provided careful and loving care for Alzheimer’s patients. Someone had reported her home to try to get the state to shut down her home. An expert witness for the state got on the witness stand an lied about her, telling the court that she has "propped those old people up in chairs because she knew I was coming." I saw the people of whom he spoke once or twice a week and often visited with them in the living area. Her attorney told me that she was too upset (actually, he said she was too mad) to take the stand. He asked me if I would take the stand and tell what I knew. While on the stand, the attorney for the state asked me if I remembered the name of a lady who had visited while I was there and promised to help work through any problems. I said, "No. But then, I forgot my wife’s name one time."

When the hearing was over attorneys and employees from the State Fire Marshal’s Office met me in the hall and wanted to know, "What happened when you forgot your wife’s name?" I said, "I learned one thing: if you ever forget your wife’s name, don’t fill in the blank, just wait for it to come back to you."

Given my gift for forgetting, I am surprised when I remember certain things. Dr. H. Leo Eddelman was preaching in revival services for us and in one message from Isaiah 40, he said, "The Bible is so designed as to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable." If you teach people the Word of God you will find that it will indeed comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I am always conscious of that when I have a funeral service. I pray that the afflicted are comforted, but I also pray that those who are at ease in Zion will be afflicted with convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

6) We will minister to those who need us. We will minister according to their needs, not simply according to our interests. Maybe you heard about three young Boy Scouts who were reporting their acts of charity to their Scout Master, hoping for a badge. The Scout Master asked, "Billy, what did you do?’ Billy said, "I helped a little old lady across the street." The leader complimented him and then turned to little Jimmy, asked about his good deed. Jimmy said, "I helped Billy help the little old lady across the street."

The Scout leader complimented Little Jimmy for helping little Billy, and then turned to little Johnny and asked, "And what was your good deed?" Little Johnny said, I helped Billy and Jimmy help the little old lady across the street. The Scout Master told Johnny how nice it was of him to help Billy and Jimmy, but he asked, "Why did it take all three of you to help one little old lady across the street?" Little Johnny said, "Well, you see, she didn’t want to go."

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita seemed to bring out the worst in some people, but those hurricanes provided many with an opportunity to minister to those in need in a practical way. I met a lady who had been with her family and church group to south Louisiana a several months after the storm hit and she asked, "Do you know who we saw everywhere? Southern Baptist were everywhere." I spoke with a cousin who had lost a new home and everything in it at Pass Christian. He said, "I will tell you who was there helping everyone. The churches." Can you imagine what an opportunity it would be if the church was more involved and the government less involved in peoples’ lives?

Southern Baptist Relief efforts rank third in America behind the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, and a large percentage of the meals served by the Red Cross are provided by Southern Baptist Disaster Units. You do not have to work on a grand scale to minister to those who need you. There are hundreds of people in nursing homes who need someone to help with little thing, like reading their mail, writing notes, or doing their nails. Retired contractor John Smith built a deck for a young mother, converted a covered porch into a living room for an older lady who needed the space, and built a deck for friends with a new Double-Wide. John had built more shopping malls than I have ever visited. In fact, Lincoln Builders bought a jet and hired a pilot to fly him from job to job across American at one time. At one time he was building four malls across America at one time.

Knowing his servant attitude, I recruited him for volunteer work at LifeWay Conference Center in Ridgecrest, NC. He called to tell me that my friend Mike Arrington, Vice President over Corporate Affairs for LifeWay Christian Resources, visited Ridgecrest along with some associates. He asked about John and when he learned where he was made it a point to go by and meet him and thank him for his service. As soon as Mike returned to Nashville, he contacted me to tell me that he had met John and appreciated his help. More recently, I asked John Smith to report on his second experience at Ridgecrest after he returned. He loved it. Now, here is something one might miss: John Smith has drawn plans for huge projects and run really big jobs, yet at Ridgecrest he worked under a "boss" who was a retired business man who didn’t know a faction of what he knew about construction. Mike Arrington wanted to know if he was interested in supervising projects, but he was happy just working with others. He said, "It is really nice doing what you enjoy doing with Christian people."

Ronnie Whitehead has opened the doors and turned on the heat or air every Sunday morning at his church for over twenty years. Billy Antley had turned off the lights and air, and locked up the building after services for as many years. A number of our ladies prepare food and deliver it to a home where Alzheimer’s patients live in a family type setting. There is something you can do. If the same Spirit who was with Jesus is in your heart, you will minister to others.

C. The Spirit Led Jesus to Calvary.

1) He died for us. He did not die as an example for us, He died for us.

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:4-6).

2) The Spirit brings lost people to Calvary so they can have eternal life. Jesus explains the ministry of the Holy Spirit in bring lost people to Him.

Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

"I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:7-14).

God the Holy Spirit never focuses our attention on Himself, but on God the Father through God the Son. If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ it is because the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus to you, convicted you of sin, convinced you of the righteousness He would impute unto you when you believed. In reality, He drew you to Calvary.

3) If you have been to Calvary, you will want to be used by the Spirit to bring others to Calvary. According to a story I read, in Korea, some people write their sins on a kite and let the wind blow them away. The Cross, however, is very different from that:

Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, "Be reconciled to God." He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:18-21).

D. After Pentecost the Disciples Knew What It Meant to Take up the Cross and Follow Jesus.

1) They knew the Lord had set them aside to be His witnesses. They knew He did not mean for them to put a bumper sticker on their camel that said, "Honk of you know Jesus." If there had been any doubt about what the Lord expected of them He cleared it up before the Ascension:

He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:7-8).

They would be empowered to be His witnesses, once the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Greek word for witness is the word for martyr. When you receive Jesus as Savior, you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and if you are filled with the Spirit you will be His witness, even if it means laying your life down for Him. In many places in the world, that is exactly what it does mean.

Once indwelt by the Holy Spirit we must take up our cross and follow Jesus. Do you remember what

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said? "When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die." Do you understand that? The best explanation I heard for that when I was in seminary did not come from one of my professors, it came from a campus janitor. Dr. T. J. DeLaughter told his Old Testament class that he had parked his car and started across the parking lot to his office when he was greeted by a very pleasant janitor. Dr. DeLaughter asked, "How are you this morning?" To which the janitor said, "I’m just fine. I been born twice, I died once, and I ain’t never gonna die again." Dr. DeLaughter told our class, "That is not exactly the way we teach it in the classroom, but I couldn’t express it any better."

2) When you are filled with Holy Spirit, you will be a witness. Let’s be sure we get this right: Jesus said, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses..." He did not say you will go out witnessing. He did not say you will draw up a plan for outreach. He did not say you will do witnessing. What He said was, "you will be My witnesses." The emphasis is first on being, not doing. If you are His witness, you will witness for Him. There is an old saying, "I had rather see a sermon than hear one any time." There is another old saying: "What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying."

I had heard a lot about Bobby Welsh before I ever met him. As President of the Southern Baptist Convention, he met with the board of trustees for LifeWay Christian Resources to talk with us about the challenged he had issued when he was elected to the office of President of the SBC. He challenged Southern Baptists to win one million people to the Lord in one year. Bobby Welch is an amazing man, a man with a vision and the will to support that vision. He moved to Nashville three months before the 2005 annual meeting of the SBC so he could devote his time and energy to what he calls The Kingdom Challenge. Bobby Welch has a vision, but he is not going to win one million people to the Lord himself. The idea is to have individuals winning individuals to the Lord.

Being a witness involves more than a mission strategy or an evangelism program. It involves individual who are willing to obey our Lord. He tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. If we do that, what will we be doing? Why don’t we let Jesus answer that:

For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you didn’t take Me in; I was naked and you didn’t clothe Me, sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of Me.’ "Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’

"Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’ "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt 25:42-46).

I was going through files this week and found some letters I had totally forgotten I had ever received. They were written by Bill, whom I saw numerous times in the Hinds County Jail in Jackson, Mississippi. Bill dated the letter, Saturday Morning, Nov. 1, 1958:

My Dearest Friend,

The horrible moment arrived today for me. The judge set the date for my trial. Monday, Nov. Third. I was shocked, I could hardly stand. For several hours I nearly pulled all my hair out. I never knew anybody could be so miserable and so scared. But now, as I am writing to you, the initial panic has subsided, for I have begun to courage.

The thing that has helped most to sustain me through all these days while I have been in the security cells, is the fact - you, Johnny. For you have given God to us within these prison cells. I have grieved deeply for my God. For I have now known the endless range of God. I have fought the gray madness of the clanking doors, bars, and constant supervision and discipline. Although, mu mind and body have screamed for freedom. All I have left is hope. Hope to be free. Hope to be given a chance to establish myself with God and society.

It has been a long time since I visited prisoner at the Hinds County jail and the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, but I felt compelled to take up my cross and follow Jesus inside those institutions to preach to prisoners, witness to them, and sometimes just listen to them.


Jesus commands us to take up our cross and stand around and visit after church on Sunday, right? No, He said, Take up your cross and follow Me. Did He tell you to compare your church with the church down te road. I don’t think so. Maybe He wants those who take up the cross to sit at home on the Lord’s Day and watch a good religious program on TV. Or, possibly He would have us to take up our cross and praise Him. What could be wrong with that? Maybe He would settle for a home Bible study group or a Christian concert. Doesn’t that sound great?

What Jesus really said was, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it." He did not tell us to take up the cross and stand around. As the late Vance Havner said, "A lot of people are singing Standing on the Promises, but they are just sitting on the premises. Jesus said that we are to take up our cross and follow Him. We must go where Jesus went and do what Jesus did. He said, going into all the world, you will be My witnesses.

Let me remind you again of those disturbing words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die." Have you died to self, the world, and Satan? Are you tired of standing around with your cross? Are you now ready to follow Him?

"Take up thy cross and follow me,"

I heard my Master say;

‘I gave My life to ransom thee,

Surrender your all today.’

He drew me closer to His side,

I sought his will to know,

And in that will I now abide,

Wherever He leads I’ll go.

It may be thro’ the shadows dim,

Or o’er the stormy sea,

I take my cross and follow Him,

Wherever He leads I’ll go.

My heart, my life, my all I bring

To Christ who loves me so;

He is my Master, Lord and King,

Wherever He leads I’ll go.

Wherever He leads I’ll go,

Wherever He leads I’ll go,

I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so,

Wherever He leads I’ll go."


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