My Prison Song

My Prison Song Matthew 16:24-28

Matthew 16:24-28 (Nkjv) 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. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 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? 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.  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.” ( Transfiguration)

Recap

  • Last Sunday we went over the part that Jesus finally told the disciples that He would suffer and even unto death (Peters reaction)
  • The disciples have been following Jesus for a while:
    • They had seen miracles, Heard His teaching, and much more
    • They had also seen the opposition that Jesus was facing
    • The truth He spoke did not go very well with many – He was creating enough enemies as He moved around
    • They are following someone that didn’t have a retirement plan – one that didn’t even have a home
  • Matthew 8:18-21 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

And now this statement:

  • Matthew 6:24 -Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[a]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
  • This was a huge request – Leave everything, lose their interests, follow Him…, I will let you know of the plan as we go along , there will suffering even unto death….and I just like I said earlier I will definitely die
  • And just as they process this statement, Jesus throws this in as well.
  • Matthew 6:25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].
  • However, if you don’t follow me- you will pretty much lose your life (you are caught in between)
  • Put yourself in their shoes- unlike you who knows how the end looks like, they didn’t, yet they still followed Jesus
  • This why the Bible talks about Faith- Because only Faith can do this – This is Faith at work
  • Hebrews 11:6 Nkjv But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him

Let’s get into our current txt”

  1. Following Jesus is costly
  • In this case, the disciples had to abandon their plans
    • Their day to day lives had to change
    • They had to leave behind what they knew and how they did things
    • Their friends had to change; their common places had to change
  • Now that they had known this, there was no way of un-knowing
  • If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me
  • Everybody knew what Jesus meant when He said this. Everyone knew that the cross was an unrelenting instrument of death. The cross had no other purpose.
  • The cross wasn’t about religious ceremonies; it wasn’t about traditions and spiritual feelings. The cross was a way to execute people.
  • It was where you worst of the worst were punished to death, the shaming place for offenders
  • In these twenty centuries after Jesus, we have done a pretty good job in sanitizing and ritualizing the cross. Yet Jesus said something much like this: “Walk down death row daily and follow Me.” Taking up your cross wasn’t a journey; it was a one-way trip. There was no return ticketing; it was never a round trip
  • It like me saying to you today – follow Jesus and you will possibly get the electric chair, if they are kind, they might use a firing squad
  • It wasn’t what we have made it to be – Common! (Bumper stickers)
  • Galatians 2:20 (NKjv) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me
  • The idea of followers has really been tainted if you look at it through this verse
  • Facebook & Instagram has changed the way we follow people
  • It would be interesting if one of the disciples came back to life and you told them that you have 2795 followers on FB and 4280 on Instagram, and all you had to do was click a follow or like button
  • Followers – Back then hitting the follower button or like button meant that you are ready to bear the full weight of the Cross
  • Taking up you cross and following Jesus is an active thing…. The Bible says, take up your cross daily
  • Luke 9:23 (Nkjv) – Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me
  • Put in on your back, walk the narrow road, and expect great opposition even unto death
  • This is a different kind of following – you don’t get to sit and watch other people’s lives while yours is at a standstill – dying
  • Young people listen to me – There is a cost to following anyone
  • And in this case, when you choose to follow Jesus – He is the only one you can afford to follow
    • He is demanding, The Bible says that He is Jealous of us, you can only have one God
    • You get to choose Him and no one else, no other influences – Just Jesus
    • Following Jesus builds character: following others kills xcharacter
  • Before you hit that Jesus follow or like button – you better be sure (Hit it and sign up for worldly rejection, prosecution and even death)
  • But if you do, your life will never be the same.
  • Matthew 16:27 (Nkjv) 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. 
  • I see on my Facebook reminder; we have been friends for 7 years. We have been following each other this long – has our lives been transformed
  • I know of The ONE that was followed for only 3 years and He transformed every person that He encountered and His effect was so huge that He changed the whole world
  • Let’s compare our 3 years of following others on social media and choosing from this day forward to follow Jesus for 3 years
  • I thought of making the title for today’s message – Follow and die, then live forever
  • I love that Jesus tells us upfront what it costs to follow him– Follow me and there is a real chance of death of your old self
    • The fears you have, Anger , frustration Bad habit, secrete sins and addictions
  • And this is why it’s sad with all this false agape love that is being preached – You don’t just get to hit a button
    • It comes with a cost however the benefits outweigh the cost – They are truly out of this world
  1. Who are you following and who is following you!
  • I hear you asking – but the disciples were with Jesus, they got to be one on one with Jesus in person- that different from us today (you guys are asking amazing questions)
  • In Acts 16 Paul and Silas are called to go to a certain place and before the end of the chapter, they are in chains having been beaten
  • Acts 16:6 (Nlt) – Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. 7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia,[a] but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. 8 So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.
  • Paul had a vision about where to go next – and the Holy Spirit lead him
  • They are directed to Macedonia and while they were there, they went to find a place of worship
  • They find a lady named Lydia and they tells her about the gospel
  • And she is saved – her whole Family is saved and baptized
  • Acts 16:16-18 (Nlt) One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes.  She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Highest God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.
  • This did not go very well; The Bible says that the town was angry with them, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods
  • Acts 16:23-24 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape.  So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
  • Paul and Silas did not order themselves here, they were led by the Holy Spirit and were obedient ( denying self and taking up the cross)
  • And now they find themselves in jail, beaten and tied with chains
  • And the most incredible thing happened…
  • Acts 16:25-26 (Nkjv) Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!
  • Earthquake and chains breaking was incredible , but in my opinion the most amazing thing was Paul and Silas behavior, having been beaten with wooden rods –They Prayed and worshipped God in their pain and suffering
  • If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me
  • They had a response; they were prepared to suffer and also how to overcome – No blaming, no regrets, no maybes, no bad attitude, no return– But a song of Worship to God in the midst of suffering – A prison song!!
  • This morning I have a question for you:
    • What is your prison song? – Are you prepared with a Prison Song (No return)
  • You don’t get to worship God in such a situation unless you have made a decree to crucify you fresh and carry the cross
  • Having a reference of Who God is, believing His word and His ability to keep His promises to the end
  • Whether this the literal prison (days are coming) or in situations in our lives, have you decreed to worship God no matter what you face? And if so, are you prepared with a Prison song? –((PAUSE))
  • Galatians 2:20 (Nkjv)  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 
  • Paul and Silas together – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ( Nkjv) – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up, But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
  • The people that you are following today:
    • Would they encourage you to sing unto the Lord, would they have their own prison song to add to your prison songs? Would chains and door break as you worshipped together in bondage
    • And those who are following you, would they be encouraged to sing in Prison because you are with them?
  • Who are you following and who is following you?
  1. The good news!

Matthew 16:26(Ampc) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?

  • This sacrifice comes with great rewards that Jesus is comparing a man gaining the WHOLE world- (that richness) and forfeiting the Kingdom of God as not even close to equal
  • He is asking, what are we willing to exchange for a blessed life in the Kingdom of God
  • What will one give in exchange for His soul? What are you willing to keep/acquire in lieu of Spending eternity with God
    • My answer is Nothing – Nothing compares to the hope that is Jesus
  • The disciples were not willing to save their own lives – even when they didn’t know what the next thing in their lives was
  • Today you are in a way better position than they were, and your decision should be easy. You already know how the story ends
  • God will come back for those who has given their lives over to Him…and with Him comes rewards
  • Matthew 16:25 (Ampc) For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]
  • Matthew 16:27(Ampc)For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done.
  • Closing ….
    • Call for Salvation
    • Call for rededication

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