Princeton Christian Fellowship's Podcast

The Most Intimidating, Amazing, and Beautiful Invitation of All-Time

September 13, 2019
Princeton Christian Fellowship's Podcast
The Most Intimidating, Amazing, and Beautiful Invitation of All-Time
Chapters
Princeton Christian Fellowship's Podcast
The Most Intimidating, Amazing, and Beautiful Invitation of All-Time
Sep 13, 2019
Chris Sallade

Chris Sallade teaches at the first Friday Night Fellowship meeting of the fall, answering the questions "Why Jesus?" His text is Mark 8:27-36 and he talks about who Jesus Christ is and what kind of invitation he extends to those who want to follow him. 

Show Notes Transcript

Chris Sallade teaches at the first Friday Night Fellowship meeting of the fall, answering the questions "Why Jesus?" His text is Mark 8:27-36 and he talks about who Jesus Christ is and what kind of invitation he extends to those who want to follow him. 

Speaker 1:
0:04
Let me introduce myself. My name is Chris [inaudible]. I'm on staff with PCF. And one of the things that we do every Friday night is we have, um, some teaching from God's word and that's when I'm going to bring for us this evening. But I'm just a little bit about myself. I was in Wilson College when I was a student here at [inaudible]. I graduated [inaudible]. Um, I was in [inaudible] [inaudible] so I also ran the track team, the track and field team here, and I came back to Princeton in 2002 to serve with PCF. And I'm very grateful for my years here on staff. Uh, many students find a home and a family here and the PCF community. And if you're new here tonight, I really hope that that will be the case for you and your experience here. Um, and for those of you who are here for the first time tonight, welcome.
Speaker 1:
1:06
We're really glad that you're here and for those of you who have made it back here and have been here before, welcome back. We're glad you're here too. And I had all of you, whether you this your first time or you've been here many times, I invite all of you, uh, to come back. In fact, let's talk a little bit about the stations. So there you go. You're invited today. I went to the activities fair and I was to off by hundreds of student groups, each group inviting, appealing, enthusiastically encouraging you to join and get involved and their group. I know when I was back in 2002 when I came back to be on staff, I was at the activities fairs. This is what, 17 years ago. And I, one of the cheerleaders came up from the Julian team ran up to me cause I was getting to the PCF booth and they said, hey, do you want to join?
Speaker 1:
1:55
The cheer with me started out. And I said, it's probably not a good idea and you probably don't want me flooding people around. Right. So, um, yeah. And so I, I declined that invitation. Um, for those of you who are first year students, um, I know a number of you are giving night where our first year Grad students, uh, you know, several months ago you were invited by the university, uh, you received one of the biggest invitations of your life to date to come here and for all of you to look ahead, whether your an underclass meeting or a Grad student, um, you're looking ahead maybe the next summer or beyond college life and you're wondering about what kinds of invitations am I going to receive from employers or Grad schools, right? Um, and here's the point. There are those times in our life when someone or some things throws the door open to us, it's a door of opportunity and we're invited to walk through invitations come at us all the time.
Speaker 1:
2:57
And then when they do, we have to waive them and eventually decide, are we going to just say yes or we going to say no, that's not. I want us to hear and consider the invitation that Jesus did. Jesus extends to each of us, to you and to me. And so my title for ties messages, you can put it up there. Got It's the most intimidating, amazing and beautiful invitation of all time. And I'm going with the spirit of the age here, right where you, you know, you gotta come up with a title for something, for people to Click on. It's like clickbait now. Okay, you'll see I did it. Um, but for those of you who know me, you know that not prone to exaggeration. So I hope by the end of this message you'll see that this is actually the truth. This is the kind of, to an extent, the invitation that Jesus actually expense.
Speaker 1:
3:45
And this is not an exaggeration. So here it is. I want us to consider the invitation that she has access to us in the gospel. Mark, Chapter Eight. Um, and you know, when you do the Work Gospel, just so you know, there are four gospels in the Bible, um, found in the new testament and these four books, the core, the life, the works, and also the teachings of Jesus. So this is what we find recorded here in Mark Stossel chapter eight verse 34 and 35 then he says, Jesus, in the context, he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and he said, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me for whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me and for the Gospel will save it. So I want to consider Jesus' invitation.
Speaker 1:
4:42
I consider it from three different angles. Number one, angle number one, what exactly is Jesus saying? It's just this invitation. Number two, why should we listen to him? And then third, how do we listen to him? So what, why and how? So the first angle, what is Jesus saying? And for here, I just want to back up. I went and looked at the wider context because when you just heard the indication, but it's nestled within a story and it's not very long story. So I just want to read those verses that surround the store, read the account itself. Okay. So this is backing up in verse 27 in case you're looking at it on your phone or in the Bible, verse 27 Jesus and his disciples went onto the villages around sis area, Philip high and on the way Jesus asked them, who do people say I am?
Speaker 1:
5:29
So there's Jesus and his disciples, they're doing life together 24 seven and they're going from town to town and just just drops a big question on that. And he says, who you, you've been around me walking off. You've heard a lot. When people were saying about me, what or who do you then who, who are they saying that I am? What do they think about me? And then they replied. Some say John The baptist, others say Elijah and others still one of the prophets. So a lot of people were looking up to Jesus as a great preacher, a prophet of God, a spokesperson of God. And then Jesus, he drops an even bigger question. Why this disciples in the ass? Okay, now what about you? Who Do you say I am? And Peter is one of the 12 he steps forward and says, you are the Messiah. And Jesus warned them not to tell anyone.
Speaker 2:
6:21
Yeah.
Speaker 1:
6:22
So there's Peter by the disciples. He says that Jesus, I think you're much more than a preacher. And what are their spokespersons more than a prophet? I believe you're the Messiah or the Christ, which is, it's a title, meaning anointed one are unique, one sent by God. And when you hear Jesus Christ, it's not his last name like I am Chris Saliday. Right? It would be much better. Put Jesus up. Prices get that title. It's saying that he is the savior of the world. He is the ruler above all rulers. He's God's special agent. And Peter's confessing all this when he says, you're the Messiah, you're the one we've all been waiting for. The world's been waiting for. And Jesus, he agrees with Peter implicitly because he moves on and he says, okay, now that you actually know who I am,
Speaker 2:
7:14
well, yeah,
Speaker 1:
7:15
don't go around telling you what just yet, and you might wonder why. And then the next verse is kind of that reveal that Jesus then began to teach his disciples that the son of man in other reference to himself, the son of man, must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. And then you must be killed. And after three days, rise again. And he spoke plainly about this and here took him aside and began to rebuke him. Jesus, no, no, no. This will never happen. Right? But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and he said, get behind me, Satan. You do not have in mind and concerns of God, but merely human concerns. So Jesus affirms that he is the Messiah, that Christ, and he explains as clearly as possible that his admission as the price is to die and nobody could get him off of that path.
Speaker 1:
8:11
Not Peter, not even Satan. And it's in that context, Jesus is talking about his phone in pending that font across that he issues the most intimidating, amazing and beautiful invitation of all time. And we'll come back to that. Now he says along with it, he says to the crowd of the people around them, in this movie, his disciples, he says, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me and for the Gospel will save it. What good is it for a person to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul? So I know this is an invitation that Jesus sent out 2000 years ago, but it out to each and every one of us tonight and it's just as valid just as real tonight as it was when you first said it. He says, if you want to follow me, if you want to be one of mind cycles that you must deny yourself and take up your cross. Yeah, I mean just those Jesus to distill Jesus' invitation. And I in a little nutshell, he says, okay, come to me.
Speaker 2:
9:23
And uh,
Speaker 1:
9:25
that's what he says. That's his invitation. This is not a typical invitation. Just in case you would like to know. And surprise, surprise, when I was at the activities fair today, I did not hear invitations like this. Counseling for Acapella group and I [inaudible] if anything, you hear the opposite kind of invitation, right? Because come join this group because there are amazing people on this group or come join us and develop your passion or make it difference in the community or the world, right? There are reasons like that that are typically we given our prison university's invitation that come to Princeton. Well, you'll be educated by some of the world's best faculty surrounded by dynamic student body and you know, with also billions of dollars of resources around you, right? Those are the types of invitations that you hear and you're like, wow, [inaudible] pass that up. And then there's Jesus' invitation and it's shocking.
Speaker 1:
10:23
It's like, okay, come to me here and die as such a contrast in the way that the invitations are typically issued. I mean, maybe somebody needs to encourage Jesus to take a marketing class because this is not the kind of invitation that is going to win over the masses. Critically, Jesus, many sermons are the crowd that gab is around because he basically says, okay, do you know what a Roman process? Well, yes you do with them. Great. Well, so know we're going to follow me. Go find out those, pick it up and be willing to die on it and then now you're ready to follow me. So are you, are you with me? That's his invitation to the ground. And, and what he's saying is it's a call that if you're going to align yourself with me, Jesus says, then you are no longer your own.
Speaker 1:
11:15
It's a call of self denial. You no longer get to determine yourself how to live. The purpose of your life is no longer about what you think of is about or what you make of it. It's about what he thinks about and what he wants to make of it. That's his invitation. And your for your first year students are at first your Grad students. I mean you just went through orientation and for those of you who are, you know, returned to, you went through this not too long ago and these were Princeton orients you to like, okay, this is what you're going to expect here. Or this is what we expect of you here. You know, these are the rules and the responsibilities. However, until they live in this community, while you're here and you get this, then however you please. I mean, to a large extent, that's just not what you can do at Princeton.
Speaker 1:
12:05
And she says, call and said, come to him. And I tend to, I, it means that we completely reorient our lives around him and around his purposes. And this is why the first followers of Jesus, this is why they call him Lord. I mean, we just saying to Jesus that he is Lord, I believe that you are Lord. And that, that this first followers caught him that I think of Thomas. And when he met the risen Jesus touched him and saw him and said, my Lord and my God. And by that he was saying, I am now going to orient my life completely around you and your purposes. And as bore Jesus wants you to healed everything to him, your possessions and Finances, your relationships, your future ambitions, your emotions, your sexual desires, your entertainment choices, everything. That's his call come to me and die.
Speaker 1:
13:08
The ice itself and now live for me. And here it is the first part of the title, right? The most intimidating invitation of all time, right? This is hard. This is scary. It is intimidating if, if you come to me and not you, maybe not like, Hey, I'm personality, welcome to PCF. And I say to you, Oh hey, welcome. You know, now that you're here, you need to orient your entire life around me and I [inaudible] all over the thoughts. So all of your possessions or hopes or dreams, everything has to go through the right eye. So two words for if I ever do that right as I just run away. But this is what Jesus is doing, right? People are coming to him and that's what he's telling them. And he's just sort of a slightly better version of a human being than us, then this is a crazy invitation, but if he really is who he says he is for who Peter said he is the Messiah, the Savior, the Lord of all, then maybe, maybe this is the very best thing we can ever do with our lives.
Speaker 1:
14:24
So yes, it's intimidating, but maybe it's also amazing and beautiful. Um, a Scott pack, maybe some of you heard of him, a psychiatrist and an author. He wrote about a woman who heard Jesus calling her. She heard this call to lose your life for his sake. And then she says, this is a quote, there's no room for me in this. This would be my debt. I don't want to live for God. I will not. I want to live for my own sake. And we get that. We understand that. There's something about that that resonates with us there. John's thought, you know what I mean? You know, [inaudible] one of my favorite preachers, he was debating a professor in Canada and he explained to the professor that if he were to accept Jesus Christ as his board, that he would have to put him at the center of his life and he would have to put himself out to the circumference.
Speaker 1:
15:14
So that basically the theme of Mark's Gospel here, where we are tonight, and the professor rebutted with, well, I am very reluctant for this de-centralization and we resonate with that too, right? That's a very subtle way of saying, no, wait, I don't want to put him at the center. I want to keep myself at the center. So we can sympathize with these kinds of responses. But let's, let's move onto the second angle, which is, well then why should we listen to Jesus? Why should we listen to him? And by listen, I mean listen right there to not just hear what Jesus says, but actually do it. There's listening and then there's listening, right? So why should we listen to what Jesus says? So here's verse 35 again, whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me for the Gospel will save it as pretty loud and clear here.
Speaker 1:
16:12
Jesus' focus here is life, right? Specifically saving your life. That's his goal and the word used here provides is the Greek word psyche, which we don't get our work psychology and it's not so much about his physical life like breathing and eating and sleeping. That includes that. It's more holistic. It's about your identity, your personhood, your personality, your s, your yourself. Jesus is pointing his finger at Jordan light, your psyche, everything about you. And he says, I'm talking about the whole you. I want to save all of you. Ultimately Jesus, he tells us that your life and my life is going to go on one of two directions. It your life will be saved. These are his words or your life will be lost. And we look at the first half of verse 35 he says, look, there are those. They will try to save their life and for those people who are trying to save their life, they will actually lose it.
Speaker 1:
17:21
And then the second part of the verse, he says, and then there are those who lose their life for me and for the sake of the Gospel. And what did they do that they will actually save it? They watched the find it. I, this is confusing. I mean I'll look, let's just call this, let's just call it for what it is. It is confusing because typically trying to save her life is a good thing, right? If you before in some sort of danger, like running away from the danger is good, or if somebody swooping in to save you from the danger is good. I mean, Hollywood makes lots of monies based on that very simple principle. What you set in stone [inaudible] trying to save their lives and the lives of everybody else. You know, billions of dollars later, right? That's the story.
Speaker 1:
18:09
But here Jesus says the opposite of what we'd expect. And he says, look, if you want to save your life, then the very thing that you're trying to grasp, it will dilute. It will escape. And if it's confusing or maybe the better word for it is it's just a paradox. What is Jesus picture in here for us? How do we end up living out this thing that he's describing? I have you two images. Here's one image you try and save yourself through good works, right? You made maybe you believe in God, you know he's your Creator, and in some way you're accountable to him. So you lived your life as best as you possibly can. And if you do this, Jesus is, he's applying that you try to save your life by doing good, making yourself right with God earning his approval, then you're actually going to lose your life.
Speaker 1:
19:07
It doesn't work. Instead, you have to give up your claims of goodness before God, your claims of righteousness. You have to lose that and now instead, humble yourself before God and declared yourself to be unworthy and in trust, God's provision for you, which is Jesus, right? You cast yourself wholly on God's grace and mercy, and you put your faith in Christ and you follow him. So that's one image, right? You try and save yourself through good, worse, but here's another image you consider. You try and save yourself through good stuff and that that works stuff. It's a very theological word that it means stuff. So what does this look like? Like okay, you, you based your identity or your happiness is something that is apart from God, right? And it sounds like this, I will find real life how saved my life. I will find real happiness and meaning if I can just experience or have x, y or Z, you just fill in your own blind and we just fill in the blank.
Speaker 1:
20:17
All sorts of stuff throughout our whole life. If I could just bring honor to my family name, if I could just enjoy this kind of relationship, if I just had a certain job or a set of experiences, right? If I can just make a particular difference in the world, then I will find my purpose and I will have the satisfaction and the validation that I see. And a lot of those things like relationships, work, making a difference, that there is good stuff and it's good stuff for you to enjoy. They can not handle being at the center of your life and when not save you. And that's the language that Jesus uses and he knows that he doesn't want that at the center because they will disappoint you and me eventually, you know, work will sometimes be dissatisfied or, or even lost during an economic downturn.
Speaker 1:
21:14
I had many friends who lost their jobs too in 2008 or people will hurt you in relationships and hopefully they'll get repaired and you store, but they disappoint you, they hurt you. There's no pleasure. There's no experience out there that lasts for very long. I think you really begin to consider it. It's just most things are quite feeding. Health is fleeting. Money brings its own anxieties. It doesn't solve all of our problems. It often just creates more, more problems than we, than we imagine. And Jesus says, well, even if, but even if your wishlist could be completely satisfied, all the boxes checked off. Jesus says in verse 36 even if you gained the entire world, you get all this stuff you want. What good is it if in the process, along the way you forfeit your own soul? Jesus says that you get everything you want and then at the end of life you die.
Speaker 1:
22:08
You have to leave all of this stuff behind and now you stand before God and you realize my relationship with him is broken and nonexistent. You've forfeited your soul. What good is it? Then Jesus says, you have all that stuff in the center of your life and then that's where you end up and Jesus, this is really bold for him to say these things and I think you hear what he's saying. He's saying, I can only thing that can be in a center of your life. Let me tell you, here it is. Whoever loses his life, whoever loses her life is two words for me and for the Gospel. We'll save it. Those two words before me. Jesus believes he isn't meant to be the central purpose of our life. And this is the kind of stuff that makes Jesus way more than a religious teacher. And if he's not who he really says, it's, if he's not on the side, it's not the savior, it's not the board that is nuts and none of us should follow.
Speaker 1:
23:11
But for the person who puts Jesus at the center of their life, who loses their life for him, who gives up claims and rights of self determination, if that's when according to Jesus, now you actually begin to find true, authentic, flourishing life, a life that is now once again reconnected to its original purpose so we could extend Jesus' invitation. He says, come to me and die. That's the intimidating part, right? Come to me and die in border that you might have real life. And that's the amazing and the beautiful aspect of his invitation, and I love this, it is for everyone. The word that he uses is whosoever comes to me right when Kristen made his invitations that in April or whatever, right? They didn't invite everyone. I know they want to invite many more people than they can. I really don't know that or they can't. It's really limited. They can only extend invitations to so many people. Jesus extends an invitation to everybody without distinction. Anyone who comes to him on his terms, he will gladly, joyfully embrace and say, you've made it home. Now following that, I look now at the third angle, right? How do we listen to him? I think Jesus gives us the key of how we can listen to this intimidating but yet beautiful call back in verse 31 so when you think that you go back to verse 31
Speaker 1:
25:05
Jesus began to teach them, as he said, the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders that she produces and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed. And after three days, rise again. Jesus says that he must suffer. Isn't saying he's not. It's not like predicting like I will suffer. I think I'm going to suffer. It's like this is a divine necessity. He says, I must do this. This is my mission and purpose, right? This is why I've come became to suffer and die ultimately. And once we see that right Jesus, he's inserting that in, in this invitation right before it. Once we see that, once we see a savior group turns to us and says, I have given up my life for you. I have sacrificed myself on a cross for you. You were my mission, you were my purpose.
Speaker 1:
26:03
And then when you accept and believe that now he says, huge, do the same to follow me. You give up your life for me and you sacrifice yourself for my sake. What I did. Now you do. If you think about love, relationships, right? Healthy love relationships are never ever one way. There has to be a mutual loss of independence. Like if two people entered into a friendship or a marriage and only one side says, okay, well I'll yield to what is good for you and there was good for you and I'll serve you in sacrifice for you. And the other side is to say that that is a dysfunctional relationship. We know that one side does all the serving and giving and the other side does all the ordering and the taking that relationship, we'll explore it and oppressed and hurt the last of both of those people and what's so amazing about Jesus call here is he calls us to lose our lives for his sake, but the reality is is that he first lost his life for our sake.
Speaker 1:
27:14
He yielded to what was good for us. He said, admitted himself to our condition, you know, to one flesh and he died in our place on the cross so that we could have forgiveness. He served and he sacrificed for us that we could be restored to God and have the possibility and the power of new life in him and his eye. This is what somebody wants said, I'm just going to read it because it puts it so well once you see the son of God and loving you like that. Once you were a moved by that viscerally and existentially, you began to get a strength and assurance, a sense of your own value and distinctiveness and it's not based on what you are doing or whether or not somebody loves you, whether or not you've lost weight or how much money you've got, you are now free.
Speaker 1:
28:04
The old approach to identity is gone. I went to the Cross and on the cross I lost my identity. Jesus says so that you can, I had a great verse of Scripture is this. If you can find Galatians two 20 that captures it so well is Galatians two 20 Christ gave himself for me and now I give himself Mike Myself to him is the apostle possible always says I had been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me the life I now live in the body. I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
Speaker 1:
28:42
So let me get personal sees the last couple of minutes. Some of you here tonight, you know you are thinking about the Christian message and you're seriously considering it and then you're opened and you have been open to Jesus Christ and then you, you know that some of the things that he says beautiful and comforting and some of the things that he says are challenging. We heard both tonight, keep seeking him. If that's you, keep seeking him, keep listening to him. Keep coming back to PCF and hearing them through the songs from prayer in the community, through the word. And I pray that as you do that you will find more and more of Christ. His word for you. It's an I business you, his word for you tonight is this. If you want to save your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for me and for the Gospel that you will see, keep considering those words and as you hear it, no, that Jesus is not calling you in that way in order to ruin your client. Like you know, some egotistical maniac or flight. Ashley, you know, like Robbie has now given his life to be. What's your I because he loves you with an extraordinary love. He has sacrificed himself for you and it's out of that that he is calling you to trust him, not to ruin your life, but to bring you into real
Speaker 3:
30:16
twice.
Speaker 1:
30:18
So he'll your whole self to him and say, yes, I trust you as my savior and Lord and now I turn over everything to you. I come to you and I die so that I can have real life and follow you. And some of you here tonight, or many of you here tonight, you've done that. You've surrendered yourself and your life to Christ, to the one who was giving himself for you, you, you, you can say Galatians two 20 autobiographically right Jesus' word for you times the same. If you want to save your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for me and for the Gospel, you will say that this is a new start. It's a new semester. It's a new start. And this is perfect time to hear those words. And once again, recommit your life to following Christ. Trusting that following him means real life, living life as you were meant to live it. You are not a full six guys itself there for him to live, for righteousness, to live for purity in your relationships, to live for prayer or taking precious time to serve others, for not seeking revenge on others. Wrong you for honoring your parents, for working with integrity and honesty. You are not a fool to live the way that Jesus calls you to live in a 10,000 ways throughout your week. It's real life. Commit yourself
Speaker 1:
31:57
and I'll say on a very personal note, these, these words are, they strike me too. Um, I can remember well, right before I came to Princeton, this is it. Late my senior year in high school where my central purpose in life was to achieve things, mainly academics and athletics and to win people's approval. That was at the center of life. That's how I was trying to save my life. I came to Princeton in that sexual purpose, which shattered, right? Gone are the days of all A's in class and dom are the days are pointing every race that I answered, but I truly discovered and need this. I can testify to God's goodness. I truly discovered that my central purpose all along wasn't meant to be that ever. It was meant to be Jesus Christ. He is a clipboard. He is worth living for. His love for me is real. And I live in confidence in his grace. And then when my wife gets out of center, cause I still run, I don't take classes. I still do a lot of the things that I used to do. But when my life gets out of center, I'd wander away from him. I keep coming back telling myself, and many of you reminded of this, that there is nobody like him. He is where true life is found. So once again, lose your life for him. He wants again,
Speaker 3:
33:25
falling again.
Speaker 1:
33:28
So for the next many Friday nights, we're gonna be asking you a question like, well, why don't we, why believe in Christianity? Why, why this stuff? Right? And tonight the focus was on why Jesus. I know you heard his answer. Why did answer that? He is, you know, there are many answers to like why Jesus for tonight. The answer is because he gave the most intimidating, amazing, beautiful indication of all time. That's why we consider Jesus. That's why we follow Jesus. So one more time. Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me. Whoever wants to save their life will lose it. Whoever loses their life for me and for the Gospel will say that that's correct.
Speaker 1:
34:28
Lord God, I thank you for this community, for friends, old and new for the sense of a longing for joy, for being known here. But I also thank you that this is a communion where God that draws years and calls house community that considers the person of Christ who he is his great love for us and what he has done for us. I pray that you would help each of us here. Really see how each of us here take that next step tonight with him. You know each one better than we know ourselves. I prayed, Lord Jesus, just as you are alive, listen, I pray that you would be at work in our hearts tonight, opening up our eyes to see you more clearly, to consider you as a following you or that you would do that good work by your spirit. All right. All this in Jesus name. Amen.
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