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Losing to Win


"24 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. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.

28 "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
Good Morning my beloved, 
What a joy it is to welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an honor and a privilege to come together with you today for the study God's Word. A much needed Word for the times in which we live. I thank God for those of you who have been moved by His Spirit to join us today, whether it's your first time or you are a faithful member of our family in Christ, I'm glad you're here. I also would like to thank each of you who have faithfully continued to share the ministry website, and social media platforms with your family and friends. God has continued to bless your efforts in reaching the lost and the deceived. We are reaching people and places as never before imagined, bringing more people to Christ. I ask you will continue to join us in praying, asking God to continue to bless this ministry in reaching the lost, the broken and the hopeless. May He use each and every of us mightily to reach the lost, that they come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. 

Have you ever wondered why the Christian life is so hard? The Christian life begins with death. Today, we often refer to Christians as "followers" of Jesus. It's interesting to note, that none of the Apostles made this claim. I submit to you that it is never wise to practice something that is nonexistent among the Apostles in the New Testament. Much less make it a dominant practice. Even after Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, none of them referred to Christians as "followers of Jesus."
In John 21, Jesus says to Peter after His resurrection, "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!"
I believe Jesus' words "follow Me" would have had a much different meaning when He was here in the physical body, than we attribute to them today. If we look at John chapter 13, when Jesus said "Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later." Peter *said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You." Jesus *answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times." Jesus was saying "You will follow me into death." However, we can follow the example of how He lived His earthly life.
1 Peter 2:21-24, "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, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness."
Since we must be "born-again," our new identity is found in Christ, and the Holy Spirit indwells in us. The apostle Paul says "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." Therefore, I believe our new identity is much more profound than the words "follower of Jesus" suggest. Because our identity is no longer our choice, there must be a clear distinction in the way we live our lives. We follow Jesus by being obedient to His teachings, it is beyond comprehension why so many today claim Jesus as Savior, but refuse to acknowledge His lordship. Jesus is much more than a teacher to be followed, He is a living identity to be lived.
In John 12:25Jesus said "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal." The Christian life is built on self-denial, suffering, humility and obedience, it makes no provisions for the flesh. Following Jesus may not be what you may think, denying ourselves and suffering is not fun nor is it optional, fooling yourself has devastating eternal consequences! This passage strikes right at the heart of the matter in true Christian discipleship. It is in contrast to much of the self-centered, carnal contemporary Christianity I see today. There are many people who wish to identify themselves as Christians, who are demanding their rights to live a sinful, immoral life. They want the gain without the pain of self-denial. Tragically, they have fallen victim to the lies and deception of Satan, that you can somehow have it all. But I submit to you there is sacrifice before the reward, and suffering before the glory. That’s the heart of following Jesus.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You for Your Word. We are so thankful that Christ has come into the world to save us from eternal death. Lord, help us to understand His teaching, and apply it to our lives, that we might live in such a way that honors Christ, glorifies You and satisfies the desire of Your heart. Help us to recognize this is our time to be obedient, just a Christ was obedient, even unto death on a cross so that we might be redeemed by His shed blood. Lord, we have every one turned to his own way, help us find your light in our darkness and grant us a repenting soul. I can only speak for myself, but I don't want to have a part of sin that put Christ on the cross and bore my sin on His body. Thank You for the cross of Christ, for His redeeming finished work, I gratefully receive the forgiveness offered through an obedient life.
Lord, my heart is heavy as I pray for those that don’t know You, those who are deceived by false religion, even those in my own family. Have mercy and open their hearts, may they humbly come to Christ begging for forgiveness, mourning the sin in their lives, hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Help those of us who know Christ, to be faithful, self-denying, cross-bearing disciples, committed to you rather than the pleasure of sin. May we be obedient at any cost as we long for His appearing when He is revealed in glory.
In Jesus name we ask and pray
Today's Message: Losing to Win 

The fundamental principle of discipleship can be summed by losing to win. Until you understand that, will never understand discipleship or salvation. Jesus repeated this throughout His earthly ministry, in a myriad of ways. I've already mentioned John 12 earlier, I'll quickly give you a couple more. Luke 14, "Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." In Mark's gospel, he also records this principle, chapter 10, "And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother." And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up." Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property."
And in Acts 14, the Apostle Paul says "After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Jesus has taught about the cost of discipleship, He's taught about rejection and hate, and the willingness to take up your cross. However, I speak from my own personal experience when I say, it’s one thing to teach a lesson, it’s something completely different to have it learned. It was apparent, the disciples didn't quite get it. It must have been very difficult for them, after all, though they believed He is the Messiah, so they waited for Him to establish His earthly kingdom. But Jesus rejected the opportunity to be made a king, in fact, He fled from it. Not to mention, the religious leaders, who were the Messianic "experts" hated Him and sought to kill Him. In spite of all that, by the work of God in their hearts, the knew Jesus is the Messiah. 
Open our Bibles to the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 16:24-28. I invite you to follow along with me as I read them to you. Let us open our hearts and see what the Spirit of God has to say to each of us. I pray that the Lord would help us to hear and apply what He's saying to each of us today. Matthew 16:24-28.
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. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.
"Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
Let's look at verse 24, "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." Notice the word "then," which follows His important statement in verse 23, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s." "Then" meaning right then, He knows He has to set things right with His disciples, because they didn't understand God’s interests, they’re thinking like men think, not like God. He realizes that He needs to remind them of that original call to follow Him. The disciples, like many of us today, needed an reaffirmation of those original terms. If you want to come to Christ, if you want to be His disciple, if you want to be a Christian, you have to understand the total commitment to submission to His Lordship and the total abandonment of your own will.
I believe this is a major issue with many professing Christians today, they to try to hang on to some of their own rights. The call to follow Jesus Christ means to drop everything, your family, your livelihood, your lifestyle, your home, and follow Him. When you come to Jesus Christ, you must understand, you come on His terms. And that basically means three things: self-denial, cross-bearing, and loyal obedience. Those who try to avoid the reproach, avoid the hostility, avoid the intimidation and persecution, are not truly representing Christ in the world. 
Looking at the word "deny" it is the Greek verb "aparnéomai," which literally means to look back at what was and utterly reject it, to strongly reject/refuse any personal involvement with the original source. In other words, you have to come to the point where you deny your own will, your own desires and be what God wants you to be. It is a selfless perspective, that literally means to refuse to be anything that you were before God. It is to say "I disown my former self completely." When you come to Christ, that’s the way you live the Christian life, because you recognize your former self was judged and condemned to hell. You are humbled by your own wretchedness. 
Until you understand that you were damned before Christ, you will never appreciate the value of your salvation and how precious His forgiveness is. I realize that’s a pretty hard‑hitting message for some of you who have continued to live as you did before coming to Christ. This is deeply and terribly saddening to me, as I look around at the world around me, I see the overwhelming the evidence of how utterly and miserably lost people really are. Especially, many of those whom I dearly love, who have been handed over to a depraved mind, are literally slaves to their bodily lust and desires with no regard for God. Only those desperate enough to cry out "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner," can come to Christ. You literally have to understand how unsavable you really are in coming to Christ. The ungrateful sinner wants Christ and his pleasure, his lust and desires of the flesh, his immorality and pride of self. You cannot come to Christ on those terms. When you truly come to Jesus Christ, denying yourself becomes a way of life. You say no to self; and say yes to God. 
Now, let's look at "Take up his cross." I’ve heard that means just about everything from putting up with your mother-in-law, tolerating a cantankerous, unreasonable family member to being nice to an unfriendly neighbor. Folks, this isn't complicated, it simply means the willingness to endure persecution, rejection, reproach, shame, suffering, even martyrdom, for Christ's sake. Two thousand years ago when Jesus says "take up His cross," it's safe to say the disciples weren’t thinking that Christ was going to die on the cross, because He hasn't told them that yet. At this point, all He said was that He's going to be killed. Go back to verse 21, "He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day." Because in coming to Christ, the world is going to cut you off, therefore, you must perceive that following Jesus is the instrument of your own execution. That said, I want you to understand, that not all of you will die as martyrs. It means that because you identify yourself with Him, you’re willing to suffer in service to Christ, if you’re called to do so.
This teaching is not emphasized in the church today, where you just stick your hand in the air, say a little prayer and sign on the dotted line. It is deeply disturbing to me just how far from that original commitment the church has come. How precious the gift of salvation, that you may even have to sacrifice your life for it. How quickly we have forgotten His words "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master." Jesus is saying that we're going to be treated just like Him.You need to understand that's the way is has to be when when godliness confronts ungodliness. There is inevitably going to be rejection, hatred and hostility because we are the rebuke and the reproach of God in the world, Christ's cross of suffering is ours. That’s the essence of our discipleship, denying self and taking up our cross daily. Just as Jesus Christ would bear the cross alone, while the unsaved world would go free, that's the way life is going to be for us. Our calling as pastors, is to feed, protect, and warn the sheep, that means telling them the Truth about sin.

1 John 2:5-6 says "But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." The true disciple is marked  by self-denial, cross-bearing, and loyal obedience. Through obedience to Christ, you abandon your own selfish indulgence. That means you have to give up some things in this life, and you do it willingly because He’s forgiven your sin. Though everyone's terms may be different, the concept is the same, you're willing to lose everything in this life in order to gain the kingdom of God forever.
Verse 26 really confirms the principle, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" This is the ultimate hyperbole. If you gain everything this world has to offer and lose your soul in the process, you're eternally dead. You've gained nothing. You can choose to hang on to your immoral relationship, your adultery, pornography or whatever your sinful pleasure, but you will lose your eternal life. But, if you throw everything in your life away in this world, you’ll gain eternal life forever.
Verse 27, "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds." Listen, the day of reckoning is going to come, when Christ will be revealed, in all the magnificent glory of God the Father, and He will render to every man according to his works. Because no one knows when that day will come, you need to make your decision today. Because what we do reveals what we are, we will be rewarded or judged on the basis of what we do. This is not salvation by works. Our good works are the product of our salvation. The unbelievers works are a product of the flesh. This is a twofold judgment. I beseech you to give your life away, take up your cross and follow Christ, otherwise you're going to face judgment, only a fool struggles with making this decision. Get your heart right.

In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul writes, "And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— for He says, "At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation"—giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things."
That brings us to verse 28, "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." He's talking the transfiguration, they're not going to live until the second coming, but they will live until the transfiguration, that's the preview of Second Coming. We'll have to wait until next time..
In Closing..
How wondrous a day will that day be, when we no longer have to battle with sin, when we will no longer struggle with the flesh. How I long for the day when I’ll see Jesus face-to-face, to be with Him forever in glory. That's why we set our affections on things above, waiting for the redemption that is to come. On that day, He’s going to make all things right.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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