Divine Invitation

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Key Verse:
Matthew 16:24 (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.

To be a disciple of Christ one must be committed to Him. We can fool some people into believing we are devoted to God. True devotion to Him, however, is tested by God, the world and Satan. Will you pass or fail that test?

I. Desire.

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
…“If anyone desires to come after Me,…

God gives everyone a freewill and a choice. Free will is NOT free license to live anyway we choose. Free choice does NOT mean no consequences. When we place God first in our lives, we desire more of Him because He becomes the very delight we are seeking!

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

II. Deny Yourself (Discipline).

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
…let him deny himself…

Following Christ is not easy in a world filled with sin. We must give up our worldly desires and discipline ourselves. Denying ourselves is accomplished through the Holy Spirit Who guides us and gives us Grace to do the work of God.

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 lack of self denial we see today indicates that we are in the Last Days.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

III. Take Up Your Cross.

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
…take up his cross,…

When Jesus talked about a cross, He didn’t mean some burden in our lives. He was meaning that we must be willing to die for Him. Following Christ can be easy when life is going smooth, however when tests and trials come, they often reveal our true commitment to Him.

IV. Following Him.

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
…follow Me.

Following Christ is more than just reading the bible, attending church and other religious acts. Its a deep commitment to Him rooted in obedience.

John 8:31
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

We abide in His Word by obeying Him in Love. When we love someone, we do whatever they ask of us without question.

Consider these questions:
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing some of your closest friends?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means the loss of your reputation?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?