There are two things we need to realize about what Jesus says, not only here, but throughout His earthly ministry. First of all, there is the startling honesty of Jesus. Jesus never tries to bribe us by the offer of an easy life. Secondly, Jesus never calls upon us to do anything that He was not prepared to do Himself and He will empower us to do it! Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the preacher from Germany who lived during the ugly rule of Adolph Hitler, got it right in his book, “The Cost of Discipleship”, when he said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”
I. Jesus sets four conditions for becoming one of His disciples. – Mark 8:34
A. Desire – “If anyone WISHES to come after Me…” – Psalm 73:25
B. Denial – “he (or she) must deny himself…” – Luke 14:33; 1 Cor. 6:19-20
C. Death – “take up his (your) cross.” – Gal. 2:20
D. Devotion – “and follow Me!” – Matt. 10:38; Luke 9:23
II. In Mark 8:35-38, Jesus gives us three powerful truths.
A. If you will LOSE your life for the sake of Jesus, you will WIN your salvation! – Mark 8:35; Acts 20:24; Rev. 12:11b
B. If you focus only on your own success, you’ll lose your soul! – Mark 8:36-37
C. If you’re ashamed of Christ, He’ll be ashamed of you! – Mark 8:38
Jesus is teaching every person that it does indeed cost something to become His disciple. BUT, when we lose our lives for the sake of Jesus and the truth of the gospel, we will win the hope (the assurance) of eternal life with Jesus and all of God’s family in heaven! Are YOU winning?