Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
The world is screaming, “Follow me.”
What they are saying is simply this……
- I want you to watch me.
- I want you to duplicate me.
- l want you to listen to what I am saying.
- I want you to buy what I am pushing.
- I want you to believe in my mission.
- I want you to have my convictions.
They want you to hate what they hate, and they want you to love what they love. Anything outside of that is unacceptable to them.
As a matter of fact, if you stand up for what you think is right, you most likely will get blocked and maybe even “canceled.”
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it because there is a whole army of evil desires within you? You want what you don’t have, so you kill to get it. You long for what others have, and can’t afford it, so you start a fight to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.
And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole aim is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You are like an unfaithful wife who loves her husband’s enemies. Don’t you realize that making friends with God’s enemies—the evil pleasures of this world—makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy the evil pleasure of the unsaved world, you cannot also be a friend of God. James 4:1-4 TLB
Let me just make it as clear as possible today. What this word thinks is good and is popular is most likely unpopular with God.
Just because it sounds good or feels good doesn’t always mean it is good.
This world has an agenda that is the direct opposite of the plan that God has for our lives.
Everything about the world’s agenda is 100% about living for today with no thought about eternity.
God’s plan for our lives is totally different.
Fulfilling our God-given plan on this earth means NOT LIVING for today only. Not investing for today only. Not “doing” for today only.
You might be asking, what does this have to do with “UNFOLLOW”?
There are some things we must unsubscribe from or unfollow that are distracting us from the will and the purpose of God.
In the same chapter of our text, Peter got a quick lesson from Jesus how he was distracted thinking about only today and not the mission of Jesus. Just a few scriptures before, Peter was praised for having the revelation of who Jesus was.
Then, just a few scriptures down, Peter gets called Satan by Jesus because he doesn’t want the Will of God to happen with the suffering and death of the cross.
How quickly we want to unfollow God and His plan just because it does not fit our narrative.
God’s plan will NEVER fit in our narrative! NEVER!
Human nature wants to indulge self, not deny self. Death to self is always terrible, and if we expect it to be a pleasant or mild experience, we will often be disillusioned. Death to self is the radical command of the Christian life. To take up your cross meant one thing: you were going to a certain death, and your only hope was in resurrection power.
I want you to think about that with me for a moment. “Death to self is the radical command of the Christian life.”
There is only ONE HOPE – the resurrection power of Jesus Christ!
Death to self is NOT a physical death – it is a spiritual death.
You and I must die to the things that are anti-God, anti-Bible, and anti-church.
In other words, we must UNFOLLOW any movement, person or thing that would push us away from following Christ.
You might be saying to yourself, “Well that is pretty extreme, Pastor.”
Well, yes, it is. But don’t you think it was extreme what Jesus said?
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
“Not all who sound religious are really godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but still won’t get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven. At the Judgment many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we told others about you and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles.’
But I will reply, ‘You have never been mine. Go away, for your deeds are evil.” Matthew 7:21-23 TLB
“This warning of Jesus applies to people who say “Lord, Lord,” and yet their spiritual life has nothing to do with their daily life. They go to church, perhaps fulfill some daily religious duties, yet sin against God and man just as any other might. “There are those that speak like angels, live like devils; that have Jacob’s smooth tongue, but Esau’s rough hands.”
Anything in this life that is only making you JUST do enough to fulfill your religious duties, UNFOLLOW
Anyone in this life that you are in pursuit of that you know is pushing you away from God, UNFOLLOW.
Any job that makes you put God or His house second, UNFOLLOW
Whatever it is that keeps you from denying yourself and following Christ, UNFOLLOW.