“..If any man will..; or Whosoever will…”
Let us talk of Jesus’ invitation: “If any man will…”
Have you ever come to the submitting of your will, to God’s revealed will?
It is stated by our Lord Jesus to His disciples: If any man will.
He says there is a choice involved. It is not something that is forced upon us. No, Jesus said, If any man will; therefore you can say “no” to the act of bringing your will into conformity to God’s will.
And those who are born again, are the ones who can make that choice in reality; for they are the only ones who are enabled to know and do God’s will.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life will lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”
Here, in Matthew, Jesus is talking to his disciples. He states the requirements for discipleship.
“If” they were going to be His disciples, then they must choose (for it is always a choice) to deny their self-lives, and follow Him into every circumstance (some very unpleasant) that He leads them in.
The cross is the individual’s choice to give up to Christ, in that moment (this can not be done once for all), his “rights”, or plans, or attitudes, etc.(You get the idea).
You see Jesus was telling them that to be His disciples in this world, was not an easy path leading to accolades, and position.
(Remember, that is why the Chief Priests and Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus, they did not want to give up their “place”.
John 11: 47-48 “Then gathered the chief priests and Pharisees a counsel, and said, What do we? For this man doeth many miracles.
If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans shall come and take away our place and nation.”)
No, to be His disciple, was a path which would lead to greater knowledge and communion with Him.
If that was what they wanted, (plainly to walk a little way with Christ, is to want to know Him more), then they would be blessed in that knowledge, with joy, peace, love, etc.
It would be an exciting and blessed path, but only if you love Jesus Christ.
If you want the world and Heaven, too. You will never be a true disciple of Christ.
If you want to follow Christ wherever that leads, you are choosing discipleship.
A disciple is one who has voluntarily placed himself under the discipline of his Master.
For us, our Master is Jesus Christ, who not only commands, but takes us by the hand and leads, helps, strengthens, encourages, and empowers for what He leads us into.
The same is stated in Mark. (only here He is talking to all the people that were following Him, as well)
Mark 8:34-35 “And when He had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
Luke 9:23-24 “And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it.”
The life we lose is our life in ourselves.
You know that the life inside of you is often VERY different than the one you show to everyone.
You may look happy and carefree to people; while there are depressing thoughts, or anger and resentment inside.
Your desires may rule your heart and mind, but you continue to try and show everyone that you are in control.
If you are in these situations, and you are a Christian; Christ has made provision for you for true liberty….If any man will.
Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.”
There are a lot of “And”s here. That is because Christ is stressing that He has not left them without a means of everything they need.
First, it is to “Come”.
No problem can be solved if you stay away from Christ.
Second, it is to hear Christ words, or the Bible. If you are not reading, because you say you can not understand it; then say “come, and explain it to me”. And He will.
Third, it is to recognize your “thirst”. In what is your desire? Just get honest here, He knows anyway.
But if you can, say it out loud, alone with God, you will be amazed how much you “see”, when you willingly come and admit your need.
Fourth, it is to take, freely. But it is to take of the water of life. That is the refreshing communion of the Holy Spirit within, bubbling up into true life; Christ’s life within you, and the power for you, that He brings.
This happens, when you come to Christ. The invitation is “if any man will”, or “whosoever will”