The Cross We Bear
I. Unbelievers are under the unbearable yoke of the Law
Acts 15:4-11 (NASB)
When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."
The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."
II. Believers are under Christ's yoke, which is easy and His burden is light
Matthew 11:27-30 (NLT)
"My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. [Jeremiah 6:16] For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."
III. You are to shoulder your cross daily
Luke 9:23-27 (NLT)
Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose or forfeit your own soul in the process? If a person is ashamed of me and my message, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in my glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. And I assure you that some of you standing here right now will not die before you see the Kingdom of God."
- Describe a time recently when you felt overburdened.
- How did God prove Himself faithful in that situation?
- Describe a time when you gave your situation to God and felt a great burden lifted.
- What was people's response to the way you handled the situation?
- How can you experience and express the ease of Christ's yoke to other believers and the community?
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved.
Equip God's People
"Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ" Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)