The Disciple’s Cross: Sermon By Deaconess Mary Kamau
Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came up to Jesus, and they asked Him to show them a sign (spectacular miracle) from heaven [attesting His divine authority]. He replied to them, When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, And in the morning, It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and has a gloomy and threatening look. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and morally unfaithful generation craves a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Then He left them and went away. When the disciples reached the other side of the sea, they found that they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, Be careful and on your guard against the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves about it, saying, It is because we did not bring any bread. But Jesus, aware of this, asked, Why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? O you [men, how little trust you have in Me, how] little faith!
Do you not yet discern (perceive and understand)? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many [small hand] baskets you gathered? Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many [large provision] baskets you took up? How is it that you fail to understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But beware of the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then they discerned that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Now when Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they answered, Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?
Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then Jesus answered him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven.And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it]. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.
Then He sternly and strictly charged and warned the disciples to tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised from death. Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and [m]charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! But Jesus turned [n]away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men. Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed ]life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in (into) His kingdom.Matthew 16 (AMPC)
God doesn’t take us through process to fail us. When God tests us, He is looking for ways to build and better us.
Why do disciples need crosses? As disciples (of Christ), we too have crosses that we need to bear. The crosses we bear are to reveal who God is to the world and more so to us.
There is a dimension of God that we can only get through times of difficulty.
When it comes to our configuration in Christ, there are paths that are unique to us as individuals.
Christ designates configuration to us through the work of the Cross.
Christ has done a finished work in terms of our giftings, divine stewardship in resources and other areas.
What we are doing is already a finished work in Christ. We should approach our configuration in Christ as an already finished work in Christ. You just need to access that finished work and begin to express it in Christ.
The disciple’s cross exists in the finished work of Christ. There is no one individual or church that can carry the finished work of Christ. That is why God creates a Body.
Every part of the Body of Christ has their own experience and process they are going through as a part of the bigger church of Christ. We cannot take the full load of the calling. God has called many outside our local church.
When you widen your perspective outside your individuality, you begin to access rest in God.
You have not been called alone. Begin to widen the context of understanding when it comes to your calling.
Understanding the position of those who are called with us ensures that we do a thorough and good work rather than a counterproductive and destructive work.
Every call has a corresponding cross.
Each and every one of us have been called to do ministry. Ministry is not only confined to the pulpit.
Your calling does not exist outside the calling of the community /church God has placed you in. God is very intentional in how He positions us.
We need to touch base with the Spirit behind the church so that we can touch base with who we are as individuals.
Why would God be so intentional about you being in the church you are now in? If you know the nature of INFEMI in the spirit then you begin to understand the nature you carry in the spirit.
God did not ordain a perfect body or a perfect church. We are in the process of being perfected.
God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.Psalms 68:6 (NIV)
In the process of carrying your cross, your understanding of the Trinity will be tested. We need a revelation of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
It’s not easy to say yes to the cross.
What is tested concerning God the Father is: do we understand the love of the Father? How much do you believe in the love of the Father as a son?
When God is stress-testing us there is a difference between behaviour change and transformation of nature. God wants to transform our nature.
If our focus as Christians is just behaviour change, we will not understand what God is trying to do within our minds so as to renew us.
When It comes to the Son of God, what is greatly tested is trusting Christ as a Saviour. Understanding the nature of Christ is necessary to manifest your identity. Christ is our intermediary in the Spirit and we need to invoke His name from the place of understanding who He is.
What is greatly tested with the Holy Spirit is our relation to Him as sons. The Holy Spirit does not come with a template. It is up to us is to build a relationship with Him.
We need to understand the role of the Holy spirit in our lives. You cannot understand the words God has spoken personally to you without the help of the Holy Spirit.
In everything that God has called us to do we need the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
The four aspects of revelation:
- Revelation needs to be given. Who and what is the source of revelation you look to?
- Relevation must be received. There is no fixed template.
- Revelation must be tested. You have to live out a word before you set it forth.
- Revelation must be manifested. The revelation of who Christ was manifested in Gethsemane where He took up His cross. Sometimes like Abraham, God will provide a ram in place of Isaac.
We need to check what season and in what area God desires for us to manifest.
Your faith will be tested through the difficult times and there will be a manifestation of God’s testimony.
Good works do not exempt us from the disciple’s cross.
God will allow you to go through slow seasons externally while there so much He is doing within you internally. We need to go beyond the circumstances to see what God is doing on the inside.