Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
November 15, 2009
Lincolnton, NC

<576> Thesis: The requirements of "discipleship" include the ability to recognize, and deny, one's "self". Introduction: As we have considered Luke's record of Jesus' questioning of His disciples about His identity, we have seen that Jesus was significantly concerned with whether people would put their trust in Him if they knew what "trust in Him" was going to mean. Jesus was clearly aware that His job was to not only redeem people out of their position under the condemnation of God's Law, but was also to woo them into the actual practice of God's Love. The former aspect of the task was relatively "easy" in one regard: He had only His own commitment to Love with which to deal. But the latter aspect of the task was extremely "formidable" in the same regard: He was dealing with fallen human beings who put "how is this going to affect me?" at the top of their every consideration. As we have already seen, Jesus demanded that the disciples refrain from telling others that He was "The Christ of the God" because He was about to be subjected to a wholesale rejection by the leaders of the culture in which all of the people lived, and to be put to death by them. Faced with such a patent contradiction between the Life that Love produces and the life to which the people were committed, the people were not going to "believe" in Him if they had to deal with this contradiction in one fell swoop. The grip that Sin has upon the children of men is such that it can only be broken by the incremental development of Love in the hearts of those men. And, that can only occur if those men are "kept in the dark" about the cost of Love while having the benefits of Love demonstrated. But, there comes a time when the issues must be faced. What Jesus refrained from doing in regard to the crowds, He deliberately did in regard to The Twelve. He pressed them to correctly identify Him as "The Christ of the God" and then He pressed them to decide how they were going to relate to Him as that Christ. It is to this "pressure" that we turn in our study this morning. He said that "coming after Him" was going to require three definitive decisions: the denial of oneself; the daily acceptance of the burden of "the cross"; and a definitive commitment to following Him.