“If We’re Following Christ, Christ Comes First” | Mark 8:34-38 Bible Study (Updated)

Jesus #1

(Much of what follows is from a previous Mark 8:34-38 sermon and Bible Study)

Our theme for 2021 is “God With Us” (cf. Mt 1:23, 18:20, 28:20) (see the previous sermon on Matthew 28:16-20: “G-O-D is With Us, So Let’s G-O”). But are we with God?

Before we say we want to follow Christ, we have to read the fine print.[1]

We rave about God’s unconditional love. And, rightfully so! But, God desires “unconditional discipleship”.[2]

Discipleship is not some hobby that we do in our spare time.[3] Christ wants us to give our whole lives to following Him.[4] We have to be more committed to Christ than to anything or anyone in this world.

We may have perfect attendance in school. But how is our attendance to the word of God? We may get straight A’s, but what would our spiritual report card look like? We may get a promotion at work, but are we promoting the spread of the Gospel?

Do we spend more time in front of the small screens than the Savior’s Scriptures? Do we spend more money on things we don’t need than on ministry that the whole world needs?

Do we spend more effort on our plans than on God’s plan of salvation?

The one who brought about our re-creation (2 Cor 5:17) can’t take a backseat to sports and recreation. The King of the world can’t play second fiddle to our worldly dreams.

We have to ask ourselves, is our personal passion more important than the Passion of the Christ? There’s only room for one on the throne of our heart, and no one can serve two masters (cf. Mt 6:24).

God doesn’t want half-hearted devotion; He wants to us be lovingly devoted to Him – with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength (cf. Mt 22:37; Dt. 6:5).

Therefore, we must deny ourselves, carry our cross daily, and follow Christ (cf. Lk 9:23).[5] In the words of Billy Graham, “salvation is free; but discipleship costs everything we have…”[6]

For many, such a cost is too high. Many would rather try to preserve their life and their self-determination. But ironically, seeking to preserve our earthly lives in this way, leads to losing out on eternal life.

On the other hand, literally or metaphorically losing our lives for Christ, and for the gospel, leads to eternal preservation.

Worldly pleasures and possessions are so fleeting.[7] Running after such temporary things is not worth losing one’s eternal soul.

If we are ashamed of Christ, Christ will be ashamed of us on the Day of Judgment. But if we follow Christ in suffering and self-denial, we will also follow Christ in being resurrected and glorified.

In all this, Jesus sets the example (cf. Rom 8:17);[8] we just have to follow the Leader. Let’s do what the Deliver does – obey what the Savior say.


34 And having summoned the crowd, along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone desires to follow behind me, they must deny themselves, carry their cross, and follow me (continually): 35 For whoever (continually) desires to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake and for the Gospel will save it. 36 For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul? 37 For what can a person give in exchange for their soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels (Mk 8:34-38, AT)

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1-6-21 Mark 8-34-38 Bible Study Slides

[1] Garland NIVAC, 321.

[2] NIDNTTE, 206.

[3] Garland NIVAC, 327.

[4] English, 161.

[5] As it’s been said, “No cross, no crown.” Cole NBC, 964; Cole, 211.

[6] Billy Graham, “Scars of Battle” (1955) as quoted at BillyGrahamLibrary.org, “In His Own Words: Scars of Battle”, May 13, 2017. https://billygrahamlibrary.org/in-his-own-words-scars-of-battle/

[7] Evans, 325.

[8] Lane, 306-7. Cf. Garland NIVAC, 321. Cf. “If the Messiah must suffer, so must his followers.” Brooks, 137.

About @DannyScottonJr 241 Articles
Imperfect Servant ✝📖⛪ | Husband | Princeton U. Alum | M. Div. | Assistant (to the) Pastor | Sound Doctrine & Apologetics @catchforchrist