A drowning person does not negotiate the terms and conditions of being saved. All he hopes for especially when only a hand is now sticking out, is for someone to grab hold of that hand and pull him up. This person has reached a point of hopelessness, he has tried everything to save himself but has failed. He has realized he cannot save himself and all that awaits him, is death. If you look at the picture, this person is pretty much gone. He has given up. This person is not in a position to negotiate any terms and conditions but will accept any terms and conditions as long as they will lead to him being saved.
This is exactly the position that we are all in with regards to sin. We are hopelessly drowning in our sin with no hope of ever being able to save ourselves. At this stage only a hand is sticking out and we hope that anyone can grab our hand and pull us out. We are in no position to negotiate any terms and conditions of being saved. All we can do is accept and sign any terms and conditions as long as we can be saved. Until you come to a realization that just like the person on the above picture, you are also pretty much dead if you don’t get a savior. If no one grabs hold of that hand, you are dead. I want to tell you today that Jesus is the only one who can save you and He comes with terms and conditions or T and Cs as we call them. Below, are the T and Cs of Jesus if you want Him to save you.
Luke 9:23-26 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Jesus gives only three terms and conditions for being saved by Him. The first one is to beleive, to put your trust only in Him that He can save you. This one is not part of our message today but, it is the first one. We will deal with the other two in this message. The second one is to deny yourself and the third one is to take up your cross and follow him daily.
Jesus told everyone that was there that, if they want to come after Him, here are the terms and conditions. To come after me means to become my disciple, to follow me, to serve me. Jesus said in John 12:26 that if anyone wants to serve Him, he must follow Him. You want to serve Jesus, you must follow Him. You want to follow him, here are the terms and conditions.
So, once you beleive in Jesus, once you beleive that Jesus can save you, once you put all your trust only in Jesus, the next step is to follow him. The next step is to follow His lead, follow his instructions, follow in his footsteps, serve Him as your Lord and Savior but, there are conditions. You see, you cannot confess Jesus as Lord as Rom 10:9 says, meaning as supreme authority, as Master, to be saved and not follow Him. Hence Jesus said in Luke 6:46 that how can you call me Lord and not obey me. So, once you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and beleive in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you must follow Him as your Lord and to follow Him, here are the terms and conditions. Now that we have showed that you cannot believe in Jesus and not follow Him, let’s look at the terms and conditions for following him.
1. Jesus says that if you want to follow him, you must deny yourself.
The word deny yourself in the greek means to disown yourself, to hate yourself, to take your own needs and wants, desires and put them aside and replace them with the will of God. This means if you wanted to be rich, put that aside. If you wanted success, put that aside. If you wanted a breakthrough, deliverance, a promotion at work, a husband/wife, more money, healing, etc, put that aside and replace all that with the will of God. Jesus is saying to follow Him, is not about self enrichment but about self denial. It is not about what I can get from God but, it is about what I am willing to give up for God. What Jesus is saying here contradicts completely the notion that is being preached on TV and “churches” these days where people are promised success, deliverance, breakthroughs, health, promotions, marriage, winning court cases, etc,. This is the first condition, self denial.
2. Take up the cross daily
Now, if you were a Jew living around Jesus’s time under Roman rule, with all the cruxifictions that were taking place during that time, whenever you see or hear about a cross, you would associate that with only one thing, excessive suffering, pain and a horrible death. So when Jesus said my second term and condition is that you must take up your cross daily, the Jews then would have understood Him to mean: be prepared to excessively suffer pain even to the point of death on a daily basis. This is what Jesus was saying. You want to follow me, you must be prepared to suffer greatly even to the point of death on a daily basis. This again completely contradicts the notion that is being preached on TV and “churches” these days where people are promised success, deliverance, breakthroughs, health, promotions, marriage, winning court cases, etc, for coming to Jesus. Jesus promises excessive suffering and pain, even death. What’s more, Jesus said in Matt 10:38 that whoever does not take up the cross, is not worthy of Him and in Luke 14:27 that whoever does not bear his cross cannot be His disciple. Jesus is saying, if you are not prepared to expose your life to excessive suffering and pain even to the point of death on a daily basis, you cannot be His disciple.
So, in summary, Jesus is saying: if you want to become His disciple then 1. You must take all your desires, all your interest and all your needs and put them aside, and replace them with the will of God and 2. You must be prepared to expose your life to excessive suffering and pain, even to the point of death. Once you have met these terms and conditions, you can follow Him. So if you are a Christian because you think being a Christian means you will get success, deliverance, breakthroughs, health, promotions, marriage, win court cases, etc, then you are following a false Jesus. You are praying a false God. Why? Because Jesus and God of the bible do not promise success, deliverance, breakthroughs, health, promotions, marriage, winning court cases, etc, but rather, they want you deny yourself and take up your cross.