Taking Up Our Cross To Follow Christ

by David J. Stewart | November 2019

Matthew 6:38-39, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

       This is perhaps the most misinterpreted and misquoted passage of Scripture in the Word of God. I have heard Evangelist Billy Graham misapply this passage. I have heard John MacArthur misinterpret this passage. I have heard Ray Comfort, Paul Washer and countless other heretics who preach Lordship Salvation, misinterpret this passage, by applying it to salvation instead of discipleship!

For example: In the following article by Pastor John MacArthur titled: “How To Take Up Your Cross,” he applies this passage to salvation, perverting the Gospel. Notice carefully the Bait and Switch tactic used by MacArthur, in which one moment he is talking about being “saved,” but then he subtly switches the topic to “discipleship” to combine the two...

To be saved calls for a sinner to deny self so as to “consider the members of [his] earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Col. 3:5). It is to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and … be renewed in the spirit of [one’s] mind” (Eph. 4:22–23).

The second requirement of discipleship is to take up one’s cross. This idea has profound meaning which must be understood. Taking up one’s cross is not some mystical level of selfless “deeper spiritual life” that only the religious elite can hope to achieve. Nor is it the common trials and hardships that all persons experience sometime in life. A cross is not having an unsaved husband, nagging wife, or domineering mother-in-law. Nor is it having a physical handicap or suffering from an incurable disease. To take up one’s cross is simply to be willing to pay any price for Christ’s sake. It is the willingness to endure shame, embarrassment, reproach, rejection, persecution, and even martyrdom for His sake. ...

The third requirement of discipleship is loyal obedience. Only after a person denies himself and takes up his cross, Jesus said, is he prepared to follow Me. True discipleship is submission to the lordship of Christ that becomes a pattern of life. “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus declared; “but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). To continue in His Word is to be His true disciple (John 8:31).[emphasis added]

SOURCE: https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/QA0305/how-to-take-up-your-cross

Do you see how MacArthur weaves in and out of the two subjects, speaking of them as if they are the same thing? They are not! Salvation is salvation, and discipleship is discipleship.

Here is a very helpful quote from Pastor M.R. DeHaan (1891-1965)...

“There is a vast difference between coming to Jesus for salvation and coming after Jesus for service. Coming to Christ makes one a believer, while coming after Christ makes one a disciple. All believers are not disciples. To become a believer one accepts the invitation of the Gospel, to be a disciple one obeys the challenge to a life of dedicated service and separation. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ; discipleship comes only by sacrifice of self and surrender to His call for devoted service. Salvation is free, but discipleship involves paying the price of a separated walk. Salvation can't be lost because it depends upon God's faithfulness, but discipleship can be lost because it depends upon our faithfulness.” —DeHaan, M. R. Hebrews. Zondervan Publishing House, 1959 (p. 117).

Kindly, Mr. MacArthur is not a born-again Christian! He espouses the same corrupt theology as the Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Roman Catholics regarding repentance. These religious cults all errantly understand “repentance” to mean “turning away from sinful behavior” to be saved. That is Lordship Salvation! Contrawise, the Bible meaning of “repent” is simply “a change of mind” unto the Gospel itself. Quite different, huh?

As you can read for yourself in John MacArthur's preceding article (I only quoted a portion of it, but it's basically all the same), he COMBINES discipleship with salvation, preaching ANOTHER GOSPEL. Galatians 1:6-8, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Carefully notice that the apostle Paul said: “ANOTHER GOSPEL” IS NOT ANOTHER!!! That means Mr. MacArthur is wrong! There cannot, and is not, multiple plans of salvation!!

If you'd like to read the following article that I wrote refuting Billy Graham, you will see that he also corrupts Matthew chapter 10 in an attempt to justify Lordship Salvation...

Evangelist Billy Graham's False Gospel

Discipleship, Not Salvation

What saith the Scripture? Let's now read a larger portion of this passage of Scripture. This is all about DISCIPLESHIP...

Matthew 10:24-42, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

This whole passage is about becoming a DISCIPLE of Christ, which requires a price, and that price is THE WORLD! The Lord tells us to TAKE UP OUR CROSS! Just as Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He desires for us as His saints to likewise crucify the flesh with it's worldly desires and ambitions, so that we might bear much fruit (Luke 8:11-15). Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Dear reader, this is DISCIPLESHIP, not SONSHIP! This is SANCTIFICATION, not SALVATION!

When the Lord admonishes us in Matthew 10:39—“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it”—He is strictly speaking about discipleship, not salvation.

Here is an excellent helpful quote from Pastor Zane Hodges (1932-2008):

“Eternal life is free. Discipleship is immeasurably hard. The former is attained by faith alone, the latter by a faith that works... the former brings with it the righteousness of God so that a man is 'justified freely by his grace' (Romans 3:24). The latter develops a personal righteousness, based on good deeds, so that a man was also 'justified by works' (James 2:24). The former constituted the believer God's workmanship, the latter fulfilled the wonderful purpose for which he had been created. The former cost man nothing, the latter could cost him everything, including life itself.” —Hodges, Zane C. The Hungry Inherit. Moody Press, Inc., 1972 (p. 114, 115).

Please read the errant quote from Evangelist Paul Washer to the right. Does a person have to “turn from your sin, and follow Jesus Christ - at all costs,” to be saved? Although that may sound appealing and reasonable to an unsaved religious person, it is totally unbiblical. I triple-dog dare you, to show me any of those requirements in the Gospel of John. Now I agree that saying a prayer is not the way to be saved, but BELIEVING certainly is! Granted, a person who believes may say a sinner's prayer as a confession of that faith, but it is a person's FAITH that saves them. Luke 7:50, “And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” We are saved by faith! Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Paul is very wrong in his theology! You don't have to “FOLLOW” Jesus Christ “AT ALL COSTS” to receive the free gift of eternal life.

Albeit, I love the quote to the left by Paul Washer. I couldn't agree more! There are no “GREAT MEN OF GOD,” only weak, pitiful, faithless men of “A GREAT AND MERCIFUL GOD!!!” I have often said that if my web visitors leave saying: “Boy, that is a great website, I have failed you dear reader!” But if you leave saying: “Boy, we sure have a great and wonderful God and blessed Savior!,” then I have succeeded at honoring my Lord.

So don't you dare go away thinking how great and wonderful I am. I'll pray for God to put a curse on you...lol. I just thought of an old country song by Buck Owens called: “Streets of Bakersfield.” Hey, you definitely know this is a country record, because they misspelled it “Bakerfield” on the album cover (see 40 seconds into the video)! Here's some of the lyrics:

You don't know me but you don't like me,
You say you care less how I feel
How many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

I like that! There are two types of people—sinners and dead sinners! One thing I have learned in life is that some people will hurt you in life. I don't care if you give them your heart, your money, your home, your love—THEY WILL HURT YOU! That is what sinners do. The answer is to fall in love with the Savior, and don't depend upon humans for anything, except to need your help, love and compassion in their time of need. I LOVE EVERYBODY!!! Our God is faithful. 1st Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” I love what Pastor John K Jenkins Sr. said: “Human Beings Just Want To Be Loved... Just Love The Hell Out Of Them!”

I pray for Paul Washer when I think of him, knowing that he suffers from spinal injuries as I do, and is in constant bodily pain as I am (stenosis and radiculopathy). My heart goes out to Paul, and I can see that he is very sincere in his beliefs and preaching. You don't see a preacher cry very often, as does Paul Washer, and I can feel his heart's passion for others. Paul is definitely not your typical money-hungry minister, and as far as I can tell, I think he is 100% sincere, but misled on the Gospel. Calvinism (i.e., the teachings of a man named John Calvin who lived 1509-1565) has infiltrated and corrupted countless churches today, particularly Baptists. I tell you with all Biblical authority that CALVINISM IS OF THE DEVIL!!! Lordship Salvation is nothing more than Calvinism repackaged!!!

Our BODY is DEAD Because of Sin; but God's SPIRIT in Us is LIFE Because of Righteousness

The Bible says our bodies are DEAD because of sin; but the Holy Spirit is LIFE to the born-again believer because of righteousness! Romans 8:10-11, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” What a beautiful truth! A believer's true life is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God!!!

What does the Bible mean when it says that “THE BODY IS DEAD” because of sin? Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are sinners by nature and by choice; therefore, we all must die a physical death someday. Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” The wages of our sin is death. That is why the apostle Paul said concerning a Christian woman who lives in open sin—“But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth” (1st Timothy 5:6). A believer who walks in the flesh is DEAD while he or she liveth! They are of no use to the Lord since their CONDITION is wrong; albeit, their POSITION in Christ is safe, because of faith alone. Pastor Jack Hyles has a helpful sermon on this topic titled: “How To Be Right With God.”

Another awesome sermon by Brother Hyles is titled: “Our Mixed Up Fundamental Christianity,” in which he explains that the worst thing about pursuing a life of sin, is the WASTED LIFE that could have been used to make a difference for God.

“It is the only happy life to live for the salvation of souls.” —Pastor Dwight L. Moody

What does the Bible mean by “THE SPIRIT IS LIFE BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS”? Carefully notice that it is “Spirit” with a capital letter in Romans 6:23b, signifying the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is GOD IN US! I noticed a sermon today by Pastor Jack Hyles titled: “The Holy Spirit—My Prayer Partner.” The Holy Spirit is called “THE SPIRIT OF GOD” and “THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST” in Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” That is beautiful! Every saint has the Spirit of God the Father and God the Son living inside of our body (1st Corinthians 3:16-17).

1st Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” To “LAY HOLD” means to seize the moment, making the best use of the eternal life that we already possess. I won't receive eternal life one day, I HAVE IT ALREADY!!! We “lay hold” on eternal life through a life of righteousness, that is, a life of obedience and dependence upon God. Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”

“The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him.”
—Pastor Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)

Every time I write and upload another article to my ministry, to help others in Jesus' name, I am LAYING HOLD on eternal life. Every time I share the Gospel, or do a good work by faith, or give a cup of water (even in a disciple's name - Matthew 10:42, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward”), I am LAYING HOLD on eternal life. Oh dear reader, what are you waiting for—LAY HOLD ON YOUR ETERNAL LIFE!!! Get busy laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). Get busy sharing the light of GOSPEL with lost sinners (Proverbs 11:30). “DO” (by Pastor Jack Hyles; Gathering around the Word won't save this country, we must do something!).

I have made an eternal investment with my website ministry since 2002. God has promised to reward me for my LABOURS. 1st Corinthians 3:8, Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” Souls saved are an added bonus, but I get rewarded either way! Granted, I would gladly forfeit all my heavenly rewards if it meant getting more souls saved. One soul saved is worth more than all the gold in the world! So when Jesus said “TAKE UP THY CROSS” as His disciple, he had soulwinning in mind. Matthew 4:19, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

There is Liberty Through Faith in Jesus Christ

Thankfully, God made a way of escape through faith in His only begotten Son, so we don't have to die the second death in the everlasting Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:6; 21:8). However, we must accept God's free gift of eternal life, or we won't obtain it. How do you receive it? Simply by faith, dear friend. Simply believe (place your reliance upon) the “GOOD NEWS” that Jesus Christ DIED on the cross to pay for your sins, and He was BURIED, and three days later Jesus bodily RESURRECTED from the dead (1st Corinthians 15:1-6). If you'll simply accept God's Word by faith as recorded in the Holy Scriptures, receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, then you now and forever have eternal life. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

So please don't let Dr. MacArthur and other heretics on the plan of salvation confuse you. The Lord made the context of this Scripture passage plain to understand in Matthew 10:24-42, The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” Do you see dear reader? The subject is becoming a DISCIPLE and a SERVANT, not SALVATION!!! We further know that this is true, by the simple fact that throughout the New Testament we are taught God saves “THEM THAT BELIEVE” (1st Corinthians 1:21b). Beware of false prophets who complicate God's simple plan of salvation. 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Every Christian believer ought to TAKE UP OUR CROSS and follow the Lord. Romans 12:1-3, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” When we pick up our cross as believers, and choose to “live godly in Christ Jesus,” we will suffer persecution (2nd Timothy 3:12b). The Lord addresses this persecution in Matthew 10:24-42, and encourages and comforts us not to be dissuaded by it.

The Bible passage in Matthew 10:24-42 is all about DISCIPLESHIP, and not SALVATION. We often hear nationally known preachers apply parts of this Scripture passage to salvation, which makes them FALSE PROPHETS! Confessing Christ before men, is a matter of discipleship and not salvation. Taking up one's cross to follow Jesus, is a matter of discipleship and not salvation. Losing one's life to find it, is a matter of discipleship and not salvation. Faith in the Gospel (i.e., the 'GOOD NEWS' of Christ crucified, buried and risen) is the way to Heaven, not by service to Christ as His disciple. Being a disciple is a matter of earning heavenly rewards, and not of receiving the free gift of eternal life. Jesus is precious!!!

Steps In Sanctification; Or, The Root Of All Heresy
(the saved, crucified, resurrected and ascended life - MP3 sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles | Read Article)


“Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do!”
—Pastor Jack Hyles, a quote from the MP3 sermon titled: God's Reversal Of Psalm 51

1st Corinthians 16:24, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

Eternal Security


Confession Is Never A Requirement For Salvation

'The Gospel' In Just One Minute (by Pastor Max D. Younce)

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“As a blind man has no idea of colors, so we have no idea of the manner by
which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things.”
—Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Another Gospel Which Is Not Another (a red-hot MP3 by Dr. Curtis Hutson exposing Lordship Salvation)

“If you have to look at your life to prove that you are saved, it proves that you're not!”
Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold; an excellent quote from the awesome YouTube sermon titled, “Why Lordship Salvation is WRONG! | MP3.”

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness! | Believe The Gospel