Skip to content

The Christian Life Is… Matthew 16:24-28


The Christian Life is…

Text: Matthew 16:24-28
What does it mean to be a Christian? – How many different answers would you get to that question? A good person – ‘good living.’ An intolerant bigot, who is a homophobic hater, who wants to deny women the right to abort their children, – a ‘healthcare’ denier… Or, rarely in this world, a faithful disciple of Jesus, humbly surrendered to his will, seeking to live according to his Word in a manner which is pleasing to him. Let’s see what Jesus says on this matter. In this passage, a very sombre, weighty passage indeed, Jesus describes the Christian life for us, and he doesn’t dress up his words to make them more palatable. He tells us that the Christian life is:-

1 A Life of Willing Submission. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?

    • Self-denial is needful for Salvation. You cannot even be a Christian without self-denial, – for to come to Christ we must deny our own self righteousness, and admit our need of the Saviour.
    • Self-denial is needful for Sanctification. This is what it is to be like Jesus! He denied himself and so must we if we are ever to be Christ-like in our character. Do not depend upon your education, your humour, your wit, your intellect, your understanding, your wealth, your conviviality, your importance in life, your position … Trust and rely on Christ alone, on the Bible alone. Proverbs 3:5-6,
  • MORTIFY THE FLESH. The Cross was a thing of great pain and great shame. Galatians 3:13  To bear the cross is to bear the shame of Christ, to crucify the sinful passions of our flesh, Romans 8:13
  • KNOW YOR PLACE. Theres an unusual construction to this verse. To ‘come after me’ and to ‘follow me’ would seem to mean the same thing. It’s like Jesus is telling us that if we are to follow him, we must follow him! Yet could it be that there are some people who are ‘followers of Jesus’ who are not actually following him at all. To follow Jesus is not to be just a church member, or an adherent or a supporter. Followers of Jesus must truly follow him, not just in name, or appearance. Remember His words to Peter, earlier in the chapter? v23 ‘But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me…’ Peter’s place was to be a FOLLOWER of Christ

Well, you can hear the sceptic’s answer to this right away. That’s it then! Christianity is really just a long life of prohibitions and restrictions – No-one in their right mind is going to opt for a life like that. But there are very good reasons for us to pay attention to what Jesus is teaching us here and he tells us what they are in the next verse…

2 A Proper Understanding of the Value of the Soul . 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
There is no doubt that every single person born into this world will one day depart from it. You WILL lose your life. it’s only a matter of time. It is far better to be focussed on eternity, and eternal life than to be be obsessed with this present life. It is vital to understand that we have a SOUL, which lives on after our heartbeats have stopped and our brain functions ceased.
You can appreciate then, the great value of the soul. It is more valuable than the whole world! Even if someone was to own the whole world, and everything in it – to have unprecedented power, wealth, riches – to own everything and everyone in the whole world, – he would still lose everything and profit nothing is he lost his own soul.

3 A Life of Kingdom Power and Expectation. 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
There are two great motives that impel the believer forward – two great expectations…

  • The Kingdom in the Future.  The Christian lives right on the very edge of eternity – that’s why the successes and pleasures and preoccupations of this world are of little interest to him. The Christian lives with an acute awareness that this life is not permanent, that one day it will end and we will be with the Lord. That there is an inevitable end to everything in this world, when all of its pleasures and its fortunes will be burned up in the heat of God’s final judgement – we are taught after all, that ‘our God is a consuming fire…’ We will all be rewarded according to our works. We will get what we deserve. (But don’t think that’s a good thing! We deserve nothing but utter condemnation!) And it could happen today.
  • The Kingdom in the Present. Finally there is a promise for these early disciples. Jesus tells that that there are some of them, who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. What! Is he telling these first disciples that he will return in glory before their natural life is over? Surely not. Now we know that His Kingdom has two aspects to it, a future and a present. They are interwoven – so Mark gives us some more insight into this promise. Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. When did the kingdom of God come with power? I suggest that Jesus was speaking here about Pentecost, that day when the early church, endued with spiritual power, began its task of preaching the gospel.

So the believer lives in a life of double expectation – expectation that he is empowered by God in this life, and vindicated by God in the life that is to come.

So, when Jesus speaks about the Christian life, he describes it as a life of willing submission, a life that is spiritually focused, and a life lived in the power and glory of God’s kingdom.  So, how are we doing with that?

© BobMcEvoy December 2018

From → Bible Study, Matthew

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: