In Luke 9 vs.21 – 27 we learn that the Lord Jesus knew that His death and resurrection was fast approaching and that the disciples were to understand the whole purpose of His death and resurrection.
They had to understand that repentance is more than being sorry for the sin that they had committed, repentance is the way of death, death to the old self life.
In v 22 the Lord Jesus reveals that to rescue mankind He was going to suffer and die, the offer of salvation was falling on deaf ears of the religious folk in Israel.
He knew the heart as well as the mind of the religious leaders and that even though they had the scriptures and read them daily they still rejected Messiahs claims.
All the promises referring to Messiah in the Old Testament were still hidden to them they were spiritually blind and dull of hearing as multitudes are today.
So He turns to His disciples to bring to them the challenge of dying to self and becoming alive in resurrection power.
The message that we have in front of us today has a wonderful promise in it that we can and should claim and it is enjoy those who are obedient to Gods word.
'If any man' or woman v 23 'will come after Me let Him deny himself daily and follow Me'
several words need bring out here so that we can appropriate the promise revealed.
To 'deny' points to us putting away or denouncing the hindrances after recollecting or reflecting on the issues of eternal life.
There daily issues that stop us becoming committed to Christ and these issues are brought into the open so that our commitment should be complete.
Family and friends come into this category as do the cares and pleasures of this life in fact anything that comes between us and the Lord Jesus does.
The cross brings out the thought of making a stand that could ultimately lead to death, as it did for the Lord Jesus, baptism points us to such a commitment.
There it is dying to self and the world so that we receive the resurrection life of Christ we are crucified with Him and He brings us into eternal life.
Paul exemplifies the latter part of the verse when he wrote 'I die daily' 1 Corinthians 15 v 31 it is a daily walk following Christ and not just a one of commitment.
The early Church knew the reality of 1 Corinthians 4 v 9 'we were appointed unto death' the daily battle in presenting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was walking towards death.
They did not know what the next day held for them, troubles and problems abound when we deny ourselves to inherit eternal life.
The closer we draw to the Lord Jesus the greater the denial will become but the greater blessings abound at that level of commitment.
We should be asking ourselves whether we have a faith worth dying for rather than asking God to remove the path of troubles and trials from us.
The promise is given to those who commit their life unto Christ in total submission that they will inherit eternal life.
The inner circle of disciples were those willing to take this step of faith and action, they would know experimentally the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus in increasing measure.
Taking up the cross is literally walking in the light of Gods word applying it continually and experiencing His presence in the stand that we make.
The cross is not a sacrifice to cover our sin as it was to the Master but it is the daily life committed to Christ that will bring forth a similar reaction from the folk around us as it did our precious Saviour, 'rejection'.
When we become a disciple of Christ we are dying to self so that the Christ life can be manifested through us more and more.
The closer we draw to the Lord then the greater the hostility we can expect from the world who is rejecting Christ as much today as they did when He was hereon earth.
The old flesh life is to die so that the shoot of the new life can be expressed in our daily walk today, the shoots of Christ likeness, the fruit of righteousness and godliness.
Holiness will always clash with sin and iniquity, we cannot expect anything less than real hostility when we stand firm on the issues of life from our Saviours point of view.
The outcome of standing firm in the faith is to enjoy a deeper relationship with Christ that brings us into the fulness of the Christian life.
The promises of God are for those who will deny themselves and follow His Son, painful though it be the blessings of inheritance far outweigh the trials.
We glimpse ate the picture of gaining worldly prosperity and popularity that is quick to surface and quick to lose, life is very fragile for all of us.
The fact that the obedient Christian is living in the certain hope that death is the entrance to life encourages us to live for Christ to the maximum down here seeing that eternity awaits us.
We have nothing to lose but a great deal to gain by dying to self down here on earth as we receive the promises of God to see us through into His eternal presence.
We only 'lose' in the earthly life that is the things that are perishing anyway, to 'gain' the eternal blessings from our heavenly Fathers hand.
We now urn to another facet of a committed life the standing firm in the faith as against those who have faith but are ashamed to admit it.
'Ashamed' in v 26 reveals to issues first to be ashamed of Christ Jesus our Saviour and then ashamed of standing up for Him in the daily tasks of life.
To be ashamed of our Saviour after all that He has done for us is astounding and yet there are many people who have never stood o testify of their faith in Him at work or play.
To be ashamed of 'Gods word' is a feature that many Christians express as they regularly let opportunities pass by to stand firm on the bible truths.
That is not only in conversation but in actual practical applications of the word when we can demonstrate the scriptures in our actions as well as words.
We fail to render assistance or comfort when we could easily do so not only to the world but to the suffering saints that we find in it.
There is a promise revealed here for us to ponder today 'whoso ever is ashamed of me and my word him shall the Son of Man be ashamed on the judgement day'.
The verses in Corinthians 3 come to mind again what a terrible indictment that our precious Lord Jesus will only find a pile of ashes the result of a selfish self centred life down here.
The very possibility should shake of the apathy of or life so that we can live and take the opportunities that are presented to us daily to testify of our faith in Christ.
Now we come to v 27 and a gem of a verse with a promise that was and is still being received today by obedient saints.
'There are some of you standing here which shall not see death until they see the Kingdom of heaven'.
Literally Peter, James and John were to be given this unique privilege vs.28 – 36 on the Mount shortly after these words were given.
To these three the Master took them up the mount to hear and see a glimpse into eternity and what a staggering event this was to be to them.
There are obedient Christians who have received promises of God as staggering as this today, glimpses into eternity to see the Lord in His glory.
We classify them as being special and so they are but they are ordinary saints who seek to apply the word to their lives and enjoy a close relationship to the Lord Jesus.
They have taken Him as His word and learned to wait upon the Lord and to soar on eagle wings into the heavenlies enjoying the promises of their inheritance.
The truth is most of us far away from living a life that is dead to self but alive to Christ.