Taking Up Your Cross

Bryan CribbBryan Cribb, Preaching

A cliché among preachers is that you should preach your sermon to yourself before the congregation. 

I agree with that sentiment, but I will say that it is not easy. At times, I will find myself thoroughly convicted by the biblical text and even by some of the great saints I reference in my illustrations.

Such was the case recently as I preached on Jesus’s high call of discipleship from Luke 14. Especially convicting for me was the example of German pastor, theologian, and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom I used as an illustration of someone who honored Jesus’s discipleship calling to take up his cross and follow. 

Derrick BonHoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer mit Schülern” by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R0211-316 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Bonhoeffer wrote much about the discipleship, including his famous book, The Cost of Discipleship.

But it is one thing to write about following Jesus unto death and carrying your cross. It is another to do it. Bonhoeffer lived his words. Bonhoeffer lived what Christ demands of us all—true, complete, steeled devotion.

Let me share a few quotes from that book. As you read them, examine your own level of commitment to Christ. And join me in praying that God will fill our churches with those who have such devotion to our Lord.

The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of the church. … Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Post feature image OTFW cc-by-sa 3.0