In the 2011 Australian Census 61.1% of our population indicated they are Christian. But as I look around the Northern Beaches, that number seems a lot higher than I observe. It raises the question, “what does it really mean to be part of the Christian MOVEMENT?” Is it as simple as ticking the “Christian box” every 5 years on the census?
Part 1 asked the question, “Who is this man?” The answer? The King that God promised – Messiah. Part 2 asked the question, “What was his mission?” The answer? Jesus is the Messiah who came to suffer & die on the cross, in our place, to deal with our sin. Messiah then rises again. So what does it mean to be part of this Messiah’s MOVEMENT?
Jesus says members of his movement (Christians) need to make 3 massive commitments.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Mark chapter 8 verse 34)
First, Jesus says that disciples need to “DENY THEMSELVES”. Our world, the advertising industry, our upbringing, and our hearts each teach us that self is the centre. Jesus says, deny yourself! A Christian says “No!” to an individualistic world that panders to self.
This attitude needs to be adopted to all areas of life. Including: sexual ethics; money; time; family; work and recreation.
Second, Jesus says that his disciples need to “TAKE UP THEIR CROSS”. Crucifixion isn’t part of our modern world. The cross is more or less a religious symbol on church buildings, church logos, jewellery and tattoos. In Jesus’ world everyone knew the implications of taking up your cross. The person who carried a cross was someone under the sentence of death and on their way to the place of execution. They no longer had a life to call their own.
To be part of Jesus’ movement will be noticeable, inconvenient, costly and painful.
Third, Jesus says that his disciples need to “FOLLOW JESUS”. Followers of Jesus, follow Jesus! That means you listen to him and you obey his teachings. You are to love Jesus, live for Jesus and be like Jesus. No matter what happens in life those who belong to Jesus’ movement must have their allegiance and identity found in Jesus.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. (Mark chapter 8 verse 35)
Being part of Jesus’ movement will cost you everything… but it’s worth it! Jesus and the life he offers is of infinitely greater value than anything the world has to offer.
Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow Jesus.
Doing these things doesn’t make you acceptable to God. It’s only by trusting in Jesus’ death and resurrection that we can be acceptable before God. But as those who trust in Jesus this is how to now live.
What’s a Christian? It’s much more than ticking a box on the census! Ultimately it is someone who trusts in Jesus and then seeks to live with Jesus as number 1. Is Jesus number 1 for you? If you’re already a Christian continue to centre your life on JESUS.
Not yet a Christian? Why not, from today stop living for yourself and this world put your trust in the King who died for you and was raised again. START living with Jesus as number 1. Join the movement, become a Christian!!
A first step in becoming a Christian is to pray this simple prayer of faith:
Dear God, SORRY for my sin, and seeking to live with myself at centre. THANKS for sending Jesus the Perfect MAN. THANKS that his MISSION was to die on the cross to deal with my sin. THANKS that he rose again and offers new life. PLEASE forgive me & help me to trust in Jesus. PLEASE help me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow him.
In Jesus’s Name, AMEN.
Contact me if you prayed this prayer, have questions, or want to find a church.