Pastor Carl ended the “Talking Back” message series by sharing the difference between choosing life with Jesus or a life of slavery to the flesh.
Teaching from Matthew 16, Pastor Carl quoted Jesus in telling his disciples that if they want to follow him they have to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. In our society today we are bombarded with plans that run counter to the plans of Jesus. We are told this is wisdom or the smart thing to do, but Jesus called this the satanic, a false order that does not bow to the knowledge of God.
In South Florida, we are bombarded with value systems that run contrary to the way Jesus taught us to live. The easiest example is the unfettered pursuit of wealth. But it manifests so many other ways. We are convinced that nobody or nothing should stand in the way of us getting what we want. To teach the opposite is considered oppression. But Jesus did not tell us to follow our heart, he told us to take up our cross and follow Him.
In Matthew 16 Jesus tells us that if we deny ourselves and follow God we will save our lives, but if we deny Jesus and follow ourselves we lose access to eternal life.
Denying Jesus and following self produces in unsatisfied life, a lack of peace, a life run by desire, and in slavery to want. Jesus called this losing our lives. But if we deny ourselves and follow Jesus were promised a life that is satisfying, containing the shalom of God, motivated by love, and thankful. Jesus called this saving our lives.
In the message, there is a detailed teaching on each aspect of these and we encourage you if you miss the message to listen or watch online.
In whatever we do in this life, we won’t get far until we make the decision to follow Jesus. This was so important that it was quoted in all four Gospels with Luke saying that we should take up our cross daily. Paul echoed this sentiment in Galatians 2 when he wrote that he had been crucified with Christ.
This week, check in with Jesus, a trusted friend, impossibly a spiritual advisor. Talk about where you are going with God and how he is challenging you to grow. Make sure you check your spiritual map to ensure that your heading in the direction you want to spend eternity.