Luke 9:23-26

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

January 31, 2001


We ended last week with:

:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

This is for those who have a desire, have a heart, who want to follow Jesus.

deny himselfaparneomai (“away from” + “deny”) – to deny; to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone; to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests

take upairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear

crossstauros – a cross; a well known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves

We don’t usually think of the cross in the proper way.  We think of it as some kind of symbol, something that people wear as jewelry around their neck.


When Jesus said, “if you are going to follow me, you have to take up a cross,” it was the same as saying, “Come and bring your electric chair with you.  Take up the gas chamber and follow me.”  He did not have a beautiful gold cross in mind—the cross on a church steeple or on the front of your Bible.  Jesus had in mind a place of execution.
-- Billy Graham in "The Offense of the Cross" (from Great Sermons on Christ, Wilbur M. Smith, ed.).  Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 12.

daily – “according to the day”.

followakoloutheo – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him; to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple; side with his party


Taking up the cross.

I was asked last week, “What does it mean to “take up our cross daily”?  Great question.
Warren Wiersbe writes, “This means to be identified with Him in surrender, suffering, and sacrifice.”
The cross was what Jesus had to endure in His submission to the Father.  It involved shame and suffering.
There are going to be times when our walk with the Lord is going to take us into a place where life will no longer be comfortable.  This place may involve people ridiculing you, or giving you a hard time.
Peter’s death

Church tradition tell us that Peter was executed in Rome.  From Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

…Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

If following the Lord meant suffering, Peter was willing to do it.

Recently a young pastor named Tim Dearborn had to share a cab with four other people in Bangkok, Thailand.  One of the passengers was a Marxist revolutionary on his way to India.
The Marxist quizzed Tim at length about his faith.  Finally, he said, "How can you be a Christian?  Don't you realize there's no way your cause can win?"
"What do you mean there's no way my cause can win?"  Tim asked.
The Marxist explained:  "I am on my way to India to organize fishermen to overthrow their oppressors.  And I am quite willing to lay down my life for the revolution.  Your American Christianity is preoccupied with what your God can do for you.  And dying for self- interest is a contradiction in terms!"

-- World Vision, Oct/Nov 1989, p.23

:24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

Just as in verse 23, “If any man will come after me …”

lifepsuche – breath; the breath of life; a living being, a living soul; the soul

savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

shall loseapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed; to lose.  Future indicative.

will lose – Aorist active subjunctive.

sakeheneka – on account of, for the sake of, for

shall save – Future indicative

A fuller translation:  “For whosoever has a desire to save his soul will in the future actually lose it; but whosoever should possibly lose his life for the sake of me, the same will in the future actually save it.”


Salvation comes when you give up.

We see in this verse a picture about coming to the Lord.  You have to stop fighting the Lord and surrender your life to Him.
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp'd my wild career:
I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fix'd His languid eyes on me.
As near His Cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seem'd to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke:
My conscience felt and own'd the guilt,
And plunged me in despair:
I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,
And help'd to nail Him there.
Alas! I knew not what I did!
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain!
A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou may'st live."
Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,
My spirit now if fill'd,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill'd!

John Newton, 1725-1807



Yet in reality, this verse is not mainly about salvation.  Jesus isn’t saying that unless you die for the gospel you can’t be saved.  He’s talking mainly about being a disciple, being one who follows Jesus.  This verse is all about being useful to the Lord.
When you get to the point that you choose to place the act of serving the Lord as more valuable than your own life, even more valuable than your own comfort, then you will see God do some amazing things.
What if your life is ruined?  What if terrible tragedy threatens to undo you?
I tend to want to draw back and stop serving the Lord.  I want to quit when times get hard.  I like serving the Lord, as long as it’s comfortable.

But the question comes, what do I hold valuable?  My life?  My comfort?  My reputation?  Or Jesus?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Dan. 3)

These three young men were ordered to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, along with the rest of the world.  If they chose to disobey, they were going to be thrown into a fiery furnace.  They responded:

(Dan 3:17-18 KJV)  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. {18} But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

So what happened?  Did life turn all rosy for them?  No.  They were thrown into the fiery furnace.  Yet they were not alone in the fire.  Jesus was with them.

When you have an attitude like this, what can anyone do to you?  What can life do to you?


Towards the end of Paul’s third journey, he began to receive prophetic warnings in each church that he would be arrested in Jerusalem.  Over and over again he was told that tough times were ahead.  Paul’s response:

(Acts 20:24 KJV)  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul went ahead to Jerusalem, and he was arrested.  He was put in prison.  He was left in prison for a couple of years in Caesarea, until he made his appeal and he was sent to Rome.  He sat in prison in Rome.

Yet when he was in prison in Rome, he wrote the letters of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1&2 Timothy, and Titus.

Paul wrote during this time to the Philippians:

(Phil 1:12-14 NLT)  And I want you to know, dear friends, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. {13} For everyone here, including all the soldiers in the palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. {14} And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ.

Even in prison, Paul could see God’s purposes being worked out.  He saw his suffering as worth it.

Usefulness comes when you are able to give up your own wishes, comforts, desires, and serve the Lord.
If I surrender my desires, does this mean that God is going to send me to India to help reach the villages where the gospel has never gone?  Perhaps.
But you’ll probably find that God will start by seeing if you’re willing to teach Sunday School.

:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

advantagedopheleo – to assist, to be useful or advantageous, to profit

if he gainkerdaino – to gain, acquire, to get gain

worldkosmos – an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government; the world, the universe; world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

wholeholos – all, whole, completely

loseapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed; to lose.

be cast awayzemioo – to affect with damage, do damage to; to sustain damage, to receive injury, suffer loss


Have the right kinds of treasures.

Sometimes we are going after the wrong things.
(1 John 2:15-17 KJV)  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. {17} And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
(Mat 6:19-21 KJV)  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
There’s a new currency when we get to heaven.
The things that we tend to treasure on earth, dollars and cents, are worthless in the economy of heaven.


Imagine arriving in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, and they don’t accept your money.  You might be a wealthy person in America, but if that foreign country won’t accept American dollars, and you can’t get them exchanged, what good does it do you?

Heaven does not run on American dollars.

The new currency is based on love:

(1 Cor 13:1-3 KJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. {2} And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. {3} And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

ashamedepaischunomai (“upon” + “to disfigure, make ashamed”) – to be ashamed.  The first occurrence is an aorist subjunctive, the second occurrence is a future indicative.  Whosoever should possibly be ashamed of me … of him the Son of man shall in the future shall actually be ashamed

wordslogos – word


Don’t be afraid to talk about the Bible.

There are plenty of people who mock you and try to get you to stop talking about the Bible.  Don’t give in.
The Bible is one of our most powerful resources in reaching people:
(2 Tim 3:16-17 NLT)  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. {17} It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.
(Heb 4:12 NLT)  For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.


Don’t be ashamed of Jesus.

Jesus said,
(Mat 10:32-33 KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. {33} But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.