Relinquish and Acquire
Through sermons delivered over two Sunday Worships, this writer shared with everyone the proper attitude when following the Lord. A “True Disciple” must first acknowledge that Jesus is Christ (The Saviour established by God) in front of others, then those who follow this Son of God will surely receive the blessing of eternal life (Matthew 16:16, John 6:68). If we are true disciples of Christ, we must live according to the will of our Father in Heaven (Matthew 16:17), just as the Son of Man lived on earth according to the will of His Father. As well, for many of our choices in life, we should not follow the ways of the world as controlled by Satan (Ephesians 2:2), nor use the pleasures of our flesh as the basis, but live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:23).
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) A “True Disciple” follows the footsteps of the Lord by denying himself and bearing the cross, just as Christ did not indulge in His own will but obeyed the will of the Father, going to Jerusalem to suffer and be killed, and to rise again on the third day so as to fulfill the Plan of Salvation of God. Christ’s road to Jerusalem is called the Way of the Cross, which was prepared by the Heavenly Father for His Son. It is also the way of salvation arranged by God for mankind that is accomplished through the obedience of Christ, the Son of Man. For He became obedient to death – even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that He would become a road that leads us sinners to the Father. God preordained His Son to be an example so that we could imitate His obedience to the Heavenly Father, to the point of suffering and sacrificing our lives for the Lord in order that we may receive the greater glory. “Those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30) Therefore, those who follow the Lord to the end will ultimately be led by Him into the state of abundance and glory. Just as Christ brought the three apostles to the high mountain and revealed to them His glorious image, so that they could catch a glimpse of the glory that is to come and be able to accomplish their mission as disciples with great joy and hope.
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) The experience of following the Lord is an experience of offering up your body, casting aside your rights (relinquishing of self), laying down your life willingly for the sake of the Lord, and then finally acquiring eternal life and glory. What matters to the Lord is not the loss accompanying self-denial nor the pain of sacrifice of one’s life. He makes us understand the blessing of living by the will of our Father and even encountering suffering, but finally acquiring eternity, just like the Moabitess Ruth, who through love followed Naomi to the end, and finally earned a good name and a son. And also like the warriors who followed David loyally to the end through many difficulties, but finally shared in the honor of David as king. Many who followed the Lord have been martyred, sacrificing their lives for Him, but acquired eternal life.
We often say that serving the Lord is influencing other lives through our own lives. Yet the Lord clearly tells us that those serving Him must be those who follow Him and imitate Him. Those who offer their own wisdom and talent, strength, money, time, feelings, and even lives for the Lord will be blessed in the end (Luke 18:30). “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.” (John 12:24-26) Strictly speaking, the Lord did not tell us to influence other lives through our own lives. He only instructed us to follow His footsteps and imitate His life-sacrificing love, and in that way bring about an abundant life to ourselves and others.
By: Daniel To