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Part of the series: Q & A
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (6)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   As we read the New Testament, the first question we come to is found in Matthew 2:2.

 

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?

 

1.     This question was asked of the wise men of the east who had seen His star and desired to worship Him.

2.     This was

a.     An honest question

b.    A needed question

c.    An exciting question

d.    A troubling question

e.     A question that had an answer

 

B.    During our Q&A lessons, you get to ask the questions.  Your questions will contain many of the elements of the question asked by the wise men.

 

C.   My desire is that the answers given to your questions are rooted in the precious Word of God (I Pet. 4:11).

 

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God…

 

I.           QUESTION #1 - Self-denial

 

A.   What is the meaning of the phrase:  “…take up his cross daily” in Luke 9:23?

 

B.    Answer:

1.     Luke 9:23

 

And he said unto them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 

2.     In this text, Jesus is setting forth one of the requirements that must be met if a person is going to be a disciple of Christ.

3.     To be a disciple, a person must be willing to completely empty himself.

a.     There must be Denial of Self:  “let him deny himself”

b.    There must be Death to Self:  “and take up his cross”

c.    There must be the Determination of Self:  “and follow me”

4.     The verse includes many broad concepts that could be discussed.

a.     Self-denial

b.    Self-sacrifice

c.    Total commitment

d.    Full-submission

5.     Let’s focus upon the phrase:  “…and take up his cross daily…”

a.     Background

1)     Execution by means of a cross was a Roman punishment.

2)     The Jews, while under Roman rule, became very familiar with it.

3)     Once one was sentenced to death by crucifixion, the Romans made the criminal carry his cross to the place of execution (i.e., Jesus, John 19:16-17).

 

Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.  And they took Jesus, and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.

 

4)     “To carry it was burdensome, was disgraceful, was trying to the feelings, was an addition to the punishment” (Barnes, e-sword).

5)     Jesus takes this action and exhorts all those who want to follow Him to take up their crosses.

b.    Context:  The context of Luke 9:23 helps us to understand the meaning of Jesus’ words.  Jesus gives us some illustrations of what this self-sacri-fice involves in in Luke 9:24-26.

1)     Taking up the cross might involve the giving up of one’s life (v. 24).

 

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

 

2)     Taking up the cross might involve the giving up of the world:  riches, family, friends, careers, etc. (v. 25).

 

For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be castaway?

 

3)     Taking up the cross involves being strong and courageous and standing for the Lord and His word (v. 26).

 

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

 

c.    The details of the statement

1)     Take up

a)     The cross must be willingly assumed.  We must take it up.

b)     No one can lay it on our shoulders.

2)     His cross

a)     Each person has “his” cross to carry.

b)     All crosses are not alike.  There are different crosses for different people.

c)     “The English proverb runs:  ‘Every cross hath its inscription’ – the name of him for whom it is shaped” (Vincent, e-sword).

3)     Cross

a)     For Jesus, the cross itself was the will of God.

b)     For Christians, the will of God is our cross.

-        For one the cross might be mission work in a foreign land.

-        For another it might be the casting off of a sin that is enjoyed.

-        For another, the cross could be forgiving a brother who has sinned against you.

-        For yet another, it could involve having courage to stand for Christian principles in opposition to the foes of Christ.

4)     Daily

a)     Discipleship is not something that is done one or two days out of the seven days of the week.

b)     Every day we must arise and willingly take up our cross.

c)     NOTE:  Today, that cross might be a different challenge from the one we experienced yesterday.

d.    Closing thoughts:

1)     Outward safety, comfort, ease, and security have not been promised to the disciple while in this world.

2)     Filson:  “Self-seeking is self-defeating.”

Davis:  “Self-denial and self-sacrifice are the only ways to self-discovery” (Beacon, Matt. – Luke, Vol. 6, 112)

 

II.         QUESTION #2 – Idle Words

 

A.   Stated:  In Matthew 12:36, we read about “idle” words.  The word “idle” has several meanings.  What is the definition in this verse?

 

B.    Answer:

1.     Matthew 12:36

 

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

 

2.     The definition of idle:

a.     Strong (692):  inactive, that is, unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless

b.    Thayer:  free from labor, at leisure, lazy

c.    Vine:  denotes inactive, idle, unfruitful, barren…metaphorically in the sense of ineffective, worthless

3.     The context

a.     Jesus had cast a demon out of a man (Matt. 12:22).

b.    The Pharisees made a bold reply against Jesus (Matt. 12:24).

 

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

 

c.    Jesus said that their words involved blasphemy (Matt. 12:31-32).

d.    He then follows this with the words of Matthew 12:36.

1)     The words of the Pharisees were “idle” words.

2)     Their words were empty, untrue, evil, and worthless.

3)     They will give an account of those words in the day of judgment.

4.     Application

a.     The Bible has much to say about the words that we speak.

b.    In an article entitled, “The Tongue Is Guilty,” Eddie Craft lists 18 different sins the tongue can commit.

1)     Cursing (James 3:10)

2)     Flattery (Ps. 12:23)

3)     Speaking evil (Eph. 4:31)

4)     Lying (Rev. 21:8)

5)     Crooked speech (Prov. 4:24)

6)     Tale-bearing (Lev. 19:16)

7)     Harsh criticism (Matt. 5:22)

8)     Whispering (Rom. 1:29)

9)     Backbiting (Rom. 1:30)

10)  Boasting (Rom. 1:30)

11)   Deceit (Rom. 3:13)

12)   Reviling (I Cor. 6:10)

13)   Talking foolishly (Eph. 5:4)

14)   Jesting (Eph. 5:4)

15)   Teaching falsely (Tit. 1:10-11)

16)   Idle words (Matt. 12:36)

17)  Blasphemy (Col. 3:8)

18)  Filthy speaking (Col. 3:8)

c.    Any of these sinful uses of the tongue involves one in idle, useless, unprofitable, and vain words.

d.    Most people are too quick to speak.

1)     Proverbs 21:5 warns us about this.

 

Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words?  There is more hope of a fool than of him.

 

2)     Solomon gives us wise counsel in Ecclesiastes 5:2.

 

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God:  for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth:  therefore let thy words be few.

 

3)     Jesus gives us ample reason as to why we need to guard our words in Matthew 12:36-37.

 

But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

 

III.       QUESTION #3 – Technology

 

A.   Stated:  How does technology like Bible apps, PowerPoint, the Paperless Hymnal, various websites, and Skype help the Christian?

 

 

 

 

B.    Answer:  Three brief remarks

1.     There is Bible authority for the use of technology.

a.     We have been commanded to teach (Matt. 28:19; I Tim. 4:11; 6:2; II Tim. 2:24).

 

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.

 

1)     Apt to teach means “skillful in teaching.”  Technology can help us to be skillful in our teaching.

2)     Teach is a generic command.  As long as we teach God’s Word (I Tim. 6:3), we are free to use numerous methods to communicate the gospel:  chalkboards, whiteboards, overhead projectors, sheet sermons, DVDs, PowerPoint, etc.

b.    Jesus used many methods to teach (See Matt. 18:1-6).

 

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

2.     Sometimes we are too quick to condemn any and all change.

a.     Not all change is wrong:  blackboards to sheets to whiteboards to overhead projectors, to PowerPoint.

b.    Some change can benefit the kingdom of God.

1)     The Paperless Hymnal, a songbook on PowerPoint, has assisted many churches.

a)     Less cost for songbooks

b)     Improved singing because the members are looking up as they sing instead of looking down.

2)     OceanSide has started putting lessons and sermons on YouTube.

a)     This allows worldwide exposure.

b)     If we, as individual members, post these on FB, we can evangelize our FB contacts.  Many of them will watch even if it is just a few minutes.

3)     Having a Bible app on a cell phone allows us to have a Bible with us at all times.

3.     Like all things, technology must be monitored.

a.     If is it not handled correctly, it can be a hindrance instead of a help (i.e., the Paperless Hymnal must be smoothly changed from slide to slide).

b.    The focus of technology can become entertainment oriented.

c.    In some churches, those who use the technology might engage in some type of competition to see who the better technician is.

d.    Phones have Bibles on them, but they also have games.  Playing games instead of reading along in the Bible and listening to the sermon or Bible class is wrong.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   Tonight, we have gone from cross-bearing to technology with idle words in-between.

1.     Take up your cross and follow Jesus.

2.     Be watchful of all the words that you speak.

3.     Use technology to spread the gospel, but always monitor it for proper uses.

 

B.    Are you a self-denying, cross-bearing, Jesus led disciple?