Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
The Vision (3/21/13): Luke 9:23: The Call to Discipleship
Note:LastSunday’s sermon was based on one of the most powerful teachings of our Lord on
the topic of discipleship found in the Scriptures (Luke 9:18-27).Here are some notes from the exposition of
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
In v. 23, Jesus reveals
to his disciples that there will be implications for them that will flow from
the fact that “the Son of man must suffer many things” (v. 22).If they are to be Christ-like (“Christians” or Christianoi, as they will first be called at Antioch, Acts 11:26),
then they too must suffer many things.
Jesus addresses “all” the disciples (not just the Twelve but
the other disciples as well, making this a general call to discipleship),
saying, “If any man will come after
me….” Jesus then lays out three commands:
First, “let him deny
himself.”The verb here is arneomai and it means to deny, to denounce, to disown, to
refuse.Have you ever been rejected or
disowned or denied by someone you’ve loved or wanted to please?Jesus says we are to reject or disown
ourselves!How different is this call
from what the world offers!The world
says:Indulge yourself, stroke yourself,
defend yourself, pursue that which makes you feel happy and comfortable.The world coddles us by telling us we deserve
a break today; we need to satisfy and serve ourselves above all.Forget about others, forget about society,
forget about God.Just do what makes you
feel good.The world builds an altar in our
hearts and beckons us to make sacrifice to ourselves.Jesus says go to that altar and tear it down!
Second, “and take up
his cross daily.”We are not as scandalized by the cross as men
were in the first century and as we ought to be today.The disciples would have seen criminals
executed by the Romans on the roadways.They would have seen men gasping for breath in a futile effort to
prolong their doomed lives.They would
have seen the cruel practice of the Romans who made the condemned carry their
own crosses to the place of execution.Remember, Jesus is saying all this to his disciples before he even goes
to the cross!If you want to follow me,
you must die to yourself.You can no
longer live.I must live in you.We need to take note of the little word
“daily” (in Greek it is the preposition
kata and the word “day”). This death to self is not something that happens
just once, when we repent of sin and turn in faith to Christ.But it is according
to and corresponding with every
day that we are blessed to draw breath.Self-mortification is to be daily.
Third, Jesus says, “and
follow me.”This is the basic call to be a disciple or
student of Jesus, to enroll in the school of Christ.You don’t become his follower, till you are
broken.Till you have starved your
desires in denying yourself.Till you
have borne your cross to the place of your daily dying.