Thursday, January 28, 2010

Way of the Cross pt.2

SERMON 2 “Pattern of the Cross”

[Recap of Sermon 1]

So that’s the practice of the cross, but I want to think now about the pattern of the cross and resurrection, and the summary for that is one of suffering followed by glory.

[Mark’s Gospel]
Turn with me in your Bibles to Mark chapter 8.
We could go all sorts of places in Mark because I think these themes run right through Mark’s gospel.
In fact, all of Mark’s gospel is structured is around these themes.
This gospel begins with the gospel of Jesus, the Christ, the son of God. And the first half comes to a climax when Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ. And that’s because Christ has opened his eyes

Mark 8:27-35

Peter's Confession of Christ
27Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"

28They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets."

29"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Peter answered, "You are the Christ."

30 (And)m Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

34Then 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[b] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Peter hasn’t seen fully who Christ is. So immediately afterward Jesus said, “Ok, now that you’ve realized I’m the Christ let me tell you what kind of Christ I am. I am Christ who is going to suffer and then be glorified.” And Peter rebukes him because he doesn’t yet see what kind of a Christ Jesus is.

Look with me to Mark chapter 10. In verse 35:
(James and John can’t even see it)
“35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."
36"What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
37They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."
38"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

In other words, James and John want glory, but they don’t want suffering. They want the glory of the resurrection, but they don’t want the way of the cross.

And then Jesus goes on and talks about what it means to be a leader. If you want to be great you need to be a servant. You need to serve just as he came to serve and not to be served but to give his life as a ransom for many.

They want the glory without the cross. They don’t see that there is a pattern of suffering followed by glory in the Christian life.

We need to see this pattern of suffering followed by glory.

The Message of the Cross is Hard to Understand/ Accept

1 Cor 17-25Treasure in the Field

John 13:12-17 (Read/Comment)
12 - When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them.
13 - "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am.
(Discuss – Peter’s not getting it!!!!)
14 - Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.
15 - I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
16 - I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 - Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

*Greatest calling in the Kingdom is that of a servant –
Not even Jesus was above it…
This is what we’re called to…
Sacrifice, Service, Self-Denial, Submission, Suffering… Followed by Glory

[Peter’s Narrative]
Peter finally starts getting it!
After hanging around Jesus for 3 1/2 years!
- Confesses Christ
- Rebukes him for talking about suffering
- Transfiguration “Build Monuments!”(Mk 9:12 – “Don’t ell anyone about this…I must suffer much and be rejected” – it’s almost like he wants them to remember this moment so they don’t lose faith in the face of suffering… suffering WILL be followed by glory )
- Foot Washing… (Peter still hasn’t gotten it)
- Over & over told by Jesus about His death & resurrection
- Denies Jesus
- Witnesses Jesus’ Passion, Crucifixion & Resurrection
- Nearly gives up on life
- Pardoned by Jesus
- Preaches and leads Church writes epistle (letter) to Christians… some of which are in persecution

Flip to 1 Peter because it’s everywhere in 1 Peter, really. Verse 3,
“3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

So there we are. We have that hope, that glorious hope of resurrection glory, but first we have to suffer. Suffering followed by glory. And then look at verses 10 and 11:
“10Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”

Then what happens in Peter is, we’ve looked more than once this weekend at chapter 2:11-12, where we are called to lead such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they glorify God on the day he visits us. But then, this is how Peter unpacks that, talks about what that means for our relationship with authorities. Talks about what it means for slaves and their masters. Talks about what it means for wives, particularly wives whose husbands are not believers. Talks about what it means for husbands. Talks about what it means within the Christian community when there’s conflict. Now all of those sections are all structured around… well, let’s look at 2:21. He calls on the slaves to suffer for doing good. Verse 21:
“21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22"He committed no sin, etc.” Then when he speaks to wives he says, “In the same way.” In the same way as what? In the same way as Christ. Husbands, in the same way. The cross is the model in all of those areas of conduct.

Now when we get to chapter 4, that then gets put in this context of suffering followed by glory. Verse 1 & 2 1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

The struggle with sin is also talked about in the beginning of chapter 4 in this way, but let’s pick it up in verse 12. “12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

You can rejoice in suffering because suffering is an evidence that you are united with Christ. And if you are united with Christ in his sufferings, then you can have confidence that you will be united with Christ in his glory. You see how that works? For Christ there was a pattern of suffering followed by glory. For his followers there is a pattern of suffering followed by glory.

The way of the cross, in all that we’ve talked about, there’s five “S’s” followed by the glory and hope of the resurrection. It all then gets applied to leadership. Same themes going on there. Let me read verse 1 in Chapter 5. “1To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:”
Same pattern again. But let’s speed on to verse 10, as Peter kind of sums it all up.
“10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 12With the help of Silas,[b] whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”

[True Grace v. False]

Why has he written here? He’s written to say that this is the true grace of God. What is the true grace of God? Well it is what is just said in verses 10 and 11. That you are called to eternal glory after you have suffered a little while. This pattern of suffering followed by glory is the true grace of God.

Now the reason Peter says that is that there are people who advocate a false grace of God.
And they are with us today.
People who don’t teach this pattern of suffering followed by glory.
People, who like James and John, want the glory now.
It is a false grace of God when Christians claim they can leave behind the struggle with sin and live a higher life, resting on God.
It is a false grace of God when Christians claim they can leave behind the struggles of sickness and full and unbroken health.
It is a false grace of God, when Christians claim they can leave behind the struggles of mission and claim victory over people and areas.
It is a false grace of God when Christians claim they can leave behind suffering and sacrifice and claim prosperity.
It is a false grace of God when Christians claim they can leave behind the hiddenness of God’s kingdom and complete the task of mission through grand buildings or political influence or dynamic strategies or global structures or charismatic personalities.
That is a false grace of God.
We are called to suffering followed by glory.

Peter, as we said earlier, describes our trials as being for a little while. Paul says our troubles are light and momentary. Both Peter and Paul were imprisoned, probably martyred. They weren’t being flippant when they said these things. By our standards their trials were heavy and sustained. Yet Paul says they are light and momentary because he looked at them from the perspective of eternity. So he says, “So we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary. But what is unseen is eternal.”

(Romans 8:18)

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