Posted by: Brad Beaman | April 4, 2010

What will you gain?

sheep

The story is told of a rich farmer. His fields were particularly fruitful, so much so that there was not enough room to store everything he could harvest. He tore down his barns and build bigger barns. After the new barns were build he felt like he could sit back and relax, take life easy, eat, drink and be merry.

But the story goes on as Jesus tells it. God said to him, you fool! This night your soul will be required of you!

Mark 8:34-38
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Peter makes his great confession of Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” After this Jesus predicts his own death. Peter takes Jesus aside and rebukes him. But Jesus then rebukes Peter (Mark 8:33).

Yes Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ the Son of the living God, but he was not going to Jerusalem to reign as Messiah. Jesus was going to Jerusalem to die on a cross. He would undergo an execution style death of a criminal.

With this prediction of his death Jesus gathers the crowd to him along with his disciples. In Vs 34 Jesus says “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” The cost of discipleship. Jesus bids his followers to die to self. That is not easy!

If people are going to “accept Jesus as savior” they need to know that new life means death to the old self. Not that it is difficult to understand. It is an act of the will. It is about denying self and dying to self. That is what take up your cross means. There is a high commitment. But it is the greatest commitment of all time. To lose what the world offers and gain what God gives.

What can be gained without Christ? There is fame, wealth and worldly pleasures. They don’t satisfy. Pursuing these leaves a trail of ruined lives. You can point to the famous who are absolutely lonely. You find the wealthy who sometimes become a paranoid recluse. You find those who pursue worldly pleasures empty and ruined people.

What do you lose by choosing a pursuit of the worldly pleasures? Your soul! You would hear God say, you fool this night your soul is required of you. You will be cast into the lake of fire. Vs 36 what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Look at it with the eternal perspective.

What is gained in Christ? Salvation and all the tremendous true riches that come to the man our woman that gives their life to Christ. And not only does this bring the future rewarded of heaven but the deep sense of peace on this earth. You gain the life and life abundant that Jesus gives.

One of the great gold rush discoveries was made by Sandy McIntyre an adventurous Scotsman who, years before, gave up his factory job as to become a prospector. McIntyre uncovered a quartz “stringer” showing visible gold. His findings formed the basis of what eventually became McIntyre Mines. Although his name made millions he traded his mine for $25 to buy liquor. The gold mine produced 230 million dollars. He traded it for $25 to get drunk. Exchanging what the world offers for your soul is more costly.

Dying to self and turning from sin repentance. Trusting in Christ means eternal life and heavenly riches.

Isaac Watts wrote:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

You will never profit by gaining what the world gives and losing what God gives. It is a poor bargain to trade what the world offers for Christ. Choose Christ. It is costly to follow Christ. But consider the cost of rejecting Christ. Your soul.

It is generally attributed to some atheist as saying, “if I really believed what you Christians say is true I would crawl on my belly over broken glass to get the word out. It would be a small price for the price of a soul.”

Die to self and live in Christ. The concept of salvation is simple, but what it represents is revolutionary. It is a call to die to self, forsake the world. The Jim Elliot quote sums it up, “He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Give your heart to Christ. Yes it demands a total commitment to Christ.

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