“HOW QUALITFIED AM I?” By Pastor YAU
Mark 8:34-37 July 18, 2004
INTRODUCTION: Everybody knows the importance of having the qualified people to do the right job to guarantee a better chance of success. After Jesus told His disciples of His pending death on the cross in Jerusalem, Mark 8:31-33, He posted the qualification He expected in His followers to carry on and accomplish the plans of salvation of men God had set forth in sending Him to the world, let us see how qualified we are:
HE EXPECTED COMMITMENT: (8:34a)
Jesus opened the list with: “If anyone made a commitment or decision to follow me”. We all know the importance of commitment in many thing of life, be it in marriage, business, career, school or anything else with value and hope of success. Wherever there is no commitment, there is little hope of success. Jesus asked for our commitment when we made that decision to be His disciples, to accept Him as our Lord and Savior.
Many people commit themselves in worldly things such as politics, business adventures, career pursuit and others. While all these are of good value on earth, the Lord asked of us to commit in following him for eternal purposes. Christians with little or no commitment to Jesus, His teachings and His church, are of little value in His kingdom. Once we made a promise to follow Him as Lord, we are to keep that promise.
HE EXPECTED US TO PUT HIM FIRST: (8:43b)
When Jesus asked that His disciples should “deny himself”, He was asking them to place Him and His course on the top of our priorities. We all will place on the top of our priority list things that are of highest value, Jesus expected us to place Him, His Kingdom and His business on the top of anything and everything in our lives.
The foremost reason of ineffective Christian life is because of our placing the wrong things in our lives on the top of our priority lists. While many of the things in our lives are not sinful, they will become hindrances if we place them over and above God and His purpose. To deny ourselves is to place us UNDER God and His plans in our lives. All those who were giants in Christian history are people who revere God t o place Him first.
HE EXPECTED US TO PAY A PRICE: (8:34c)
Here Jesus expected His followers to “take up his cross.” We all know the symbol of the cross is a symbol of suffering and loss. Jesus carried His cross of sacrifice even to lose His life. Therefore, all who are His disciples are to suffer loss for His course.
In the past 2,000 years of Christian history, so many faithful followers of Jesus suffered so much loss in many ways including losing their lives. The most recent story is the murdered death of four Baptists died in Iraq because of their commitment to Jesus and their love for the people of Iraq. Most of us will suffer sacrifices of time, money, energy, labor works and other forms for giving to His course. We all know that everything of value demands a price, the higher the value, the higher the price.
Our sacrifices are investments for the Kingdom both for the world and for us when we are to see the Lord in heaven. God will keep all records of what we have given, suffered, or done for Him.
HE EXPECTED US TO FOLLOW HIM: (8”34d)
The last phrase in this verse is “… and follow me.” To follow Jesus is: 1) to know and believe His teachings, 2) to take to heart His direction of our lives, 3) to actively participate in His ministry and service, 4) to accept His value of life and things and 5) to learn from His example in life.
While we all are sadden and stunned by seeing the suicide bombers who brew up themselves just for the purpose to kill innocent people, they are really the followers of the extremist and terrorists. They follow their leaders even to the point of sacrifice their lives. Following Jesus is more than just know Him, believe Him as the Lord and Savior. It is about learning more about Him, taking to heart His teaching and direction, fervently serving Him in all things we can and be witnesses of His life to the lost world.
HE EXPECTED TO RICHLY REWARD US: (8:6-37)
Jesus was not talking about material rewards or worldly glory. He talked about the soul, our best essence of life. Nothing in this world we may gain, earn or possess is in no way compare to the heavenly rewards He promised to give to His faithful. While we are need to do our best in the environment God has placed us in, we ought to focus on the lasting and eternal soul and its place in God’s Kingdom. The losses, suffering or sacrifices we may endure on earth will bring us the most important rewards of all when we see God in heaven. The life here on earth is the process for our endeavor and pursuit.
CONCLUSION: Some of the less committed or not committed Christians may be scared off in listening to these. But these are the qualifications Jesus demands from His true followers. It is these kind of people He entrusted His plan of saving the world as he was on His way to the cross. The list is out and clear. It is up to us if we are true to our commitment.