Mark 8:34 (NKJV) When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
There is plenty of misconception about the cross that Christians are to take up. Some people think it refers to the trials and hardships of this life, such as a pain, a loss, an illness or a physical handicap. However, Jesus has already borne the pain of the cross, gone through the suffering and become the ultimate sacrifice in order to offer His blood in the heavenly tabernacle before He sat down. It is done and complete! Therefore, what Jesus is actually calling us to do is die to ourselves and commit to a lifestyle of living death—one of faith and godliness.
It means full submission to the Lord—willingly bear the shame, reproach, humiliation, suffering, hatred, alienation and even death that may come as a result of following Him, especially when we hold onto His values and principles in choosing to live a godly life. This is the only suffering of a Christian that this passage is referring to, which is suffering for the sake of righteousness.
When we choose the narrow way over the way of the world; when we live out biblical ethics in our personal lives and in our business relationships; when we are willing to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ, His death and His Word regardless of the costs; when we are willing to suffer any attack for Jesus’ sake, that is taking up our cross!
Sacrifice, death and suffering are not popular topics these days, but it is what Christianity is all about. Equally sad is that not many people are truly carrying their cross today. Many are quick to compromise if it will make life just a little easier.
We need to focus on the eternal destiny that God has intended for us, so that we will find it an ease to forgo, deny and carry the cross in this present life. We also need to have the right priorities in life by putting our spiritual life first, in order to fully enjoy the abundant life, because this is the promise to all those who are willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus.
Mark 8:35 (NKJV) 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.
Sermon Series: Affluenza
马可福音 8:34 于是叫众人和门徒来，对他们说：“若有人要跟从我，就当舍己，背起他的十字架，来跟从我。”
关于基督徒要背起的十字架，存在着许多误解。有些人认为这指的是今生的试炼与苦难， 如痛苦、损失、疾病或身体残疾。然而，在耶稣坐到天上的宝座之前，祂 已承担了十字架的痛苦，经历了苦难，成为最终的献祭，为了要在天上的帐幕里献上自己的宝血。一切都已成就和完成了！因此，耶稣 所要我们做的，是治死自我，坚持把自己当活祭献上的生活方式，一种信心和敬虔的生活方式。
这意味着完全顺服于 主—愿意忍受因跟从 祂 而可能遭受的羞辱、指责、凌辱、苦难、憎恨、疏远，甚至于死，尤其是当我们持守 祂 的价值观和原则，选择过一个敬虔的生活时。这是这段经文所指的基督徒唯一要受的苦，就是为义受苦。
当我们选择引到永生的窄路而不是引到灭亡的世界宽路时，当我们在个人生活和商业关系中践行并活出圣经的原则与道德准则，当我们愿意不计代价认同 耶稣基督、认同祂 的死和 祂 的话语，当我们愿意为 耶稣的名 忍受任何攻击时，那就是背起我们的十字架！
我们需要专注于 上帝 为我们所预备的永恒的命定，好叫我们在今世能够轻易舍弃、舍己并背起十字架。我们也需要在生活中有正确的优先次序，把我们的属灵生命放在首位，以充分享受丰盛的生命，因为这是对所有愿意背起十字架跟从 耶稣 的人的应许。
马可福音 8:35 因为凡要救自己生命的〔“生命”或作“灵魂”〕，必丧掉生命；凡为我和福音丧掉生命的，必救了生命。
讲章系列：富贵病 – “现代文明富裕症”