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The Obstacle of Not Embracing the Cross

Putting No Obstacles Before the Gospel – Day 1 Session 3



In Lk 9:23, Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (NASB). The glory of the cross that leads men to inherit eternal life, also leads to a slow painful death to self in this age. As offensive as it may be to the human mind, a willingness to die to ourselves and submit to God’s purposes in bringing difficulty to our lives is necessary if the gospel is to be faithfully represented in the church and to the world. To deny the call to share in the Messiah’s sufferings in this age is to distort the gospel, and to distort the gospel is to hinder its advance. In this session Caleb will discuss one of the crucial steps we must take to ensure that our lives don’t become a stumbling block to the gospel: Coming to terms with the cost of discipleship.




The content of this teaching’s notes are below with partial formatting. If you would like to see the notes with complete formatting,

Download Obstacle of Not Embracing the Cross Conference Notes.

The Obstacle of Not Embracing the Cross




A. Jesus came preaching the Gospel

Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15

B. The Gospel we preach and read about did not originate in the NT. In fact, Paul tells the Galatians that Abraham heard the gospel! (Gal 3:8)

C. We first see the word we know as gospel ( Gk euangelion) in relation to the gospel message mentioned in the LXX in Isaiah. The word simply means “good news”.

Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. Isa 40:9-10

D. The gospel wasn’t a “Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life” message. It was a message about God vindicating Israel for the glory of His own name! Eze 20:22, 44, 36:22, 39:25

Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. Eze 39:25

E. The prophets prophesied of the messiah and His suffering.

“Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:16-17

F. Though it was written about in the scriptures, by God’s sovereign wisdom it was kept hidden until He revealed it through himself and the cross.

that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saint, Col 1.26

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. Rom 16:25-27





A. When Jesus and John the Baptist came preaching the “gospel of the kingdom”, it wasn’t a different message.

B. There was an element that changed with the first coming of Jesus. The Cross was revealed.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

C. To “repent” we must acknowledge that we are inherently evil and deserve eternity in the lake of fire. Our way leads to death, His way leads to eternal life!

D. To “deny yourself” is to acknowledge that your way leads to death and His way leads to life!

E. Those who wish to inherit eternal life, and consequently be a “disciple”, must “follow in His steps”. God sent His son to show us the way.

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps (1Pet 2:21)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

F. How then will we show the world that we are disciples of Christ?

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)




A. What is Jesus asking of us?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 16:24-25

B. How often we here messages about the cross only to connect it to living the “good life”. I.e. “Christ went to the cross so that I wouldn’t have to”

C. The cross was a real life demonstration of how to live in this age as a witness of the coming day of judgement.

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. Matt 10:38

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. Matt 10:24

D. The message of the cross is hard! It’s offensive to us!

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Cor 1:18

but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness 1 Cor 1:23

E. Let’s consider Paul’s example of the life of a follower of Jesus:

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Cor 11:1

1 Cor 4:1-15

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. Phil 2:17-18

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Tim 4:6-8

For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. Gal 5:5-11

F. The cross is itself a stumbling block to those who refuse to take it up and bear it daily.

G. If the Lord in fact has laid out for us THE way in which we can best represent Him to a world that’s perishing, then if we don’t live that way, we are ourselves a stumbling block to those watching us.

H. While many Christians are going on living in a way that is indistinguishable from the world, the Lord calls us to embrace difficulty, embrace shame, to be marginalized, to lay down our lives in this age to gain them in the age to come.

I. This is no simple task. It’s only by the power of the Spirit that we can live such a life.

J. If we’re to preach to “gospel of the kingdom” then how necessary is it for us to conduct our lives in a way consistent with the message!?

K. Even as believers we are waging a war against embracing the life of the cross.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17

L. Will we drink of the cup of the Lord?

M. Peter was still trying to attain to the promises without embracing the cross,

Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:10-11

N. Jesus would ask of us what he asked of James and John,

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” Mark 10:38

O. We cannot succumb to the idea of graduating from a life of taking up our cross daily.

P. Many would have us believe that we take up our cross for a while, but then we mature and go on to bigger and better things.

Q. Paul said,

I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 1 Cor 15:31

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2

for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, Phil 3:3

R. The call to repent and believe was the cross.

S. The call of discipleship is the cross.

T. The cross is the path that leads to everlasting life.

U. Let us take up our cross daily and follow Him.

V. Let us show others the way, in the way we live.


Hans Kim (5 Posts)

Hans and his wife Emily live in New Jersey. They have served in leadership at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate for the past 7 years and have recently transitioned towards serving in the local church. His passion and vision in ministry is in proclaiming the way of the Cross as the way believers are discipled into the glories of the age to come.

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