So before I dive back in on the Sermon on the Mount, we have a brief parenthesis. I visited Weddington Church’s 9:19 Experience today. It’s kind of a postmodern, “emerging church” sort of gathering. We’ve been once before, and I wasn’t incredibly impressed. First because there was a female “pastor” speaking, and as a recovering Baptist, I’m not okay with female “pastors”. I can find no biblical support for women ministering publicly before a church. I know that makes me seemingly archaic, but that’s my position. Second, because the aforementioned female “pastor” preached a wretched sermon with a myriad of liberal doctrinal leanings.

This morning the 9:19 Experience’s lead pastor, Mark, was preaching, and he completely blew me out of the water. He was incredibly humble, a characterisitic I find completely admirable in a pastor. And he didn’t pull a single punch. If you left this morning with being offended, you must be perfect. It was offensive, because God’s Word is offensive. He preached Christ, and Him crucified…to the intelligent complete foolishness, and to the seemingly religious a stumbling block. It was great.

One statement he made this morning really got my attention. He was preaching out of the 9th chapter of Luke, and he pointed out how lost we are with Jesus’ statement,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” — Luke 9:23

We don’t see the cross for what it really is, an instrument of death. Understand what He’s saying here. “Take up your…”. Take your gas chamber. Take up your electric chair. Take up your lethal injection.

What Christ offers us is a one-way ticket, and if we would follow Him, there’s no coming back…

Those are hard words. Those words are a hard offer. We don’t want to practice self-denial over practicing selfishness, which as humans, we’re all really good at.

But those are the demands of our Lord. And if we would be united with Him, we must be first united with Him in His death, so that we may know the power of His resurrection…

What’s your choice?


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