Lessons 211,212 – March 8,15 – Not So Easy Discipleship Parts II and III

Lessons 211 and 212-March 8 and March 15, 2020

Scripture: Primary Passage: Mark 8: 35-38; Parallel Passages: Matthew 16:25-26; Luke 9:24-25

Lesson Goal: To know and better understand love and loyalty to Jesus.

Introduction: We have learned contrary to much popular belief in many religious circles that a
call to fol- low Jesus is not a call to fame, fortune, status, and luxury (Mark 8:34). Jesus’ call
to discipleship can be cost- ly! As He spoke the words of (v34) no doubt there were looks of
uncertainty, anxiousness, suspense, and con- fusion on the faces of many of His listeners.
Embedded in the minds of Jesus’ listeners were deep Jewish tra- ditional interpretations of the
Messiah. As Jesus own words, “the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders
and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed and after three days rise again,” swirling in
their brains, the question pulsated, how can this be? Why would the Messiah be rejected by the
religious lead- ers? Why would they reject the One that it had been spoken of in the Scriptures
that He would overthrow their enemies and establish a glorious Kingdom for Israel? How can any of
this be accomplished or fulfilled if He must die?

Wiersbe: “But the problem is more than theological; it was very practical. Jesus had called these
men (His disciples) to follow Him, and they knew that whatever happened to Him would happen to
them. If there was a cross in His future, there would be one in their future as well. In spite of
their devotion to Him, the disciples were still ignorant of the true relationship between the cross
and the crown.” Satan’s philosophy (glory with- out suffering) was the easy counterfeit that would
abort the messianic mission of redemption (Matthew 16:21- 23). Please cross reference Matthew
4:1-10.

In Mark 8:34-38, Jesus speaks directly concerning the cost of discipleship (truly following Him).
As the crowd drew near to Jesus (v34) He spoke these words, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let
him deny him- self, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” We must understand there were various
and diverse reasons for being in that gathering as they came to hear Jesus. Some were curious,
others followed because of the mira- cles, for some it was the excitement and still others were
seeking answers. With His disciples close and others listening Jesus then speaks of true
discipleship (true followers) and the cost of true discipleship.

Just as Jesus has stood against Satan, and all his traps and counterfeit strategies; the true
followers of Jesus must understand the road of discipleship and be prepared for Satan’s
counterfeits.

(v35) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and
the gospel’s will save it.

Please read Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3:8.

Question: How does Paul’s testimony relate to Jesus’ words in Mark 8:35?

 

 

Question: Does the truth and principles that Jesus offers in verses 34 and 35 appear to be
radical? Please ex-plain. If so , why do they appear to be radical?

 

 

May I offer to you that Jesus was not offering words or speaking in terms of some radical Christian
lifestyle. He was not speaking of a radical movement whereby onlookers would be mesmerized by
sensationalism. Je- sus was simply stating the truth of what the (normal) Christian life should
be. He was not talking about some advanced course in discipleship but He was offering and
explaining Discipleship 101-Basic Discipleship!

Daniel Akin explains it this way, “Jesus lays out the essence of “the normal Christian life,” the
basics of disci- pleship, which sadly in our day looks like “the radical Christian life.”

(35) “For” -Greek “gar”. Introduces the consequence or results of “taking up” ones cross and
following Jesus.

“It is important to note that self-denial, cross bearing, and obedience are not meritorious works
that somehow earn salvation. Nor do they comprise a list of sequential steps that must be followed
to be saved from sin. Ra- ther they are the inherent characteristics of repentant faith and the
new birth.” MacArthur

(vv35-37) “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My
sake and the gos- pels will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and
loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul!”

Jesus uses a paradox (a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and
yet is true) to explain basic and true discipleship. He follows the paradox with two rhetorical
questions.

The Paradox:

(v35) “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it” But whoever loses his life for My sake
and the gospels will save it”

Question: What is the meaning of this paradox?

 

 

Life Application Bible states, “To be willing to put personal desires and life itself into God’s
hands means to understand that nothing we can gain on our own in our earthly lives can compare to
what we gain in Christ. Christ knows better than we do what real life is about. He asks us to lose
our self-centered determination to be in charge. Jesus would lose His physical life; the
possibility of death was very real for the disciples as well. We may not be called to die for our faith, but real discipleship implies real commitment (surrender).”

As the writer of this lesson I offer you two words that I believe offer both summation and
explanation of vers- es 35-37. The two words should reflect our (disciples, true followers)
theology, life, attitude, and actions. The two words are descriptive concerning our relationship,
fellowship, and discipleship with Jesus. The two words are the essence of verses 35-37. The two
words are love and loyalty. Our (disciple-true follower) love for Je- sus should grow stronger
with each passing day as we learn and experience His love toward us. To know that Jesus, THE
MESSIAH, suffered, was rejected, died on the cross voluntarily and sacrificially for us. Romans
5:8, But God demonstrated His own love toward us while we were still (yet) sinners, Christ died for
us. Our love for Jesus should be totally expressed by our loyalty to Him. In this world as we live
everyday pledging our allegiance to Him by our love and loyalty, we must understand that in this
world we are, in the words of John Phillips in “enemy territory.” He continues, “People think it
strange that Christians suffer horrors and hardships as other people do and that they are often so
bitterly persecuted, even to the death. It is not strange. This is a God-hating, Christ rejecting
world. It would be stranger by far, if the Lord’s people (disciples) were not hated by the world.”

Mark wants his readers to understand that even though suffering will come, even death to some,
because of their love and loyalty to Jesus Christ they should know that it will be worth it all one day. Paul
states the truth very clearly in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be com- pared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Here Paul’s
testimony of his love and loyalty to Jesus, (Philippians 3:7-8) “But what things were gain to me,
these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count
them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” True discipleship encompasses both love and loyalty to
Jesus Christ.

At some point we must ask ourselves the question for which world am I living for?

Question: Which world are you truly living for?

 

 

Question: How is your love for Jesus revealed in your loyalties?

 

 

Question: Are we more loyal (inwardly manifested and outward expressed) to things of this world
and life than we are to Jesus Christ?

 

 

Jesus followed the paradox with two very exposing questions.

(vv36-37) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? Or what
will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Question: What loyalties do you have in this life that supersedes your loyalty to Jesus? If I can
offer a bit of help to you as you truthfully answer, begin with your time. Your time spent speaks
volumes to your loyalties of life.

 

 

Question: What other loyalties are competing for your time as opposed to your loyalties to Christ?

 

 

 

We can spend a life-time building bigger barns (See Luke 12:16-21).

 

In 2020 one place for us to find the answer to our true loyalties is to check out the inventory of
our social me-dia action. Somewhere along the way Satan has changed the price tags to the things in our lives.
We have al- lowed him to change the value of that which is truly important in our lives. We have
exchanged the value of the important things of life as defined by the Bible and exemplified by
Jesus Himself for those things of tem- poral value with no eternal value. We focus all our
energies, efforts, finances, labors, and time on the tempo-rary highs of this life.

Question: What are we (disciples, true followers) investing in eternity? (See Matthew 6:19-21).

 

 

Satan will best you into changing the price tags on the important things in life!

(v38) “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him
the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus had spoke of His role of Messiah in terms of rejection, suffering, and dying. But in the
closing verse of Mark chapter 8 He speaks of a future day when He will return “as sole sovereign in
triumph and judg-ment.” (MacArthur) To reject Christ in this life is to be rejected by Christ in the next
(judgment). Our shame should never be toward Christ but rather toward ourselves as the true
sinners we are. Our shame lies in our own thoughts, actions, lives’ attitudes, pride, and
hypocrisy. True followers of Jesus recognized their sinful- ness and the need of repentance that
is characterized by genuine brokenness, genuine humility, and godly sor- row. We (followers of
Jesus) understand there is no forgiveness or redemption apart from Christ. There is nothing
righteous about us apart from the righteousness of Jesus. Truly without Jesus we realize and
under- stand we are nothing. We were dead in our trespasses and sins but Hallelujah He has made us
alive. (Please read Ephesians 2:1-10).

Question: Why would any Christian (disciple, true follower) be ashamed of Jesus. The very
question itself makes no sense to a true believer!

 

 

After all Jesus has done for us, our love and loyalty should be forever His!

As we wait for Jesus when He “comes in the glory of the Father,” we (disciples) are not ashamed of
Him, or the gospel or His Word!

With our love and loyalties we wait for Him but as we wait we are certainly about His work and
ministry upon this earth. Living in that fact that we are but sinners saved by His wonderful
grace, we have abandoned our own selfish desires and live our lives in allegiance to the fact of
His Lordship in our lives.

For those that are ashamed of Him and His words the harsh reality of the judgment awaits. On that
day those that have rejected Jesus Christ will be eternally condemned to hell (Matthew 7”21-23. Revelations 20:11-15).