Matthew 10:37 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.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Luke 9:23 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. (Also Matthew 16:24 and Mark 8:34.)

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Luke 14:26 If any come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Luke 18:28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,

30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

MEMORY VERSE: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. —Philippians 3:8

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Not only have saints through the ages been people of faith and adopted the mindset of a pilgrim and stranger, but they have proven their consecration by living lives of self-denial when they had to choose between obeying Christ or following their own self-interests, comforts or desires.


Matthew 19:12 “Eunuch”: one who voluntarily abstains from marriage.

Luke 14:26 “Hate”: “properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another” (HELPS Word Studies).


The first verse in our lesson comes from the message Christ gave to the twelve disciples as He gave them power against unclean spirits and all manner of sickness and disease and sent them forth to preach the kingdom of heaven. He gave them specific instructions as to how they should conduct themselves in their travels, in persecution and in conflict. Drawing to a close, He reminded them that God claims first place, introduced the idea of bearing a cross and went on to establish the important concept that if we seek to “find” ourselves in this life, we will really lose our life, but when we “lose” ourselves in Him, we will indeed “find” the life for which we long.

Next we go to Luke’s gospel, which parallels with Matthew 16 and Mark 8. Here Jesus has just come from miraculously feeding the multitude and has a private conversation with His disciples about their view of His identity. Then He initiates an ongoing series of conversations about His coming suffering, death and resurrection. Peter rebukes Him, and Jesus reproves Peter; after which He lays out the conditions of discipleship, again referring to the finding/losing concept and the “daily” bearing of a personal cross. In each reading, we are faced with the important comparison of the cost of a man “losing” his own soul against the “gain” of the whole world. “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” is the famous question.

Included in Christ’s teachings about self-denial is the closing statement He gave when He was asked about divorce and remarriage. He put in a disclaimer: not everyone could receive what He was saying, only those who were “able.” The thought we take away is this: because He has just established that remarriage after divorce constitutes adultery, there will be some relationships into which you will not be able to enter if you seek to please God. For the kingdom of heaven’s sake you would have to become as a eunuch; that is, voluntarily deny yourself of the comforts of marriage. There were those who, like the apostle Paul, for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, chose not to marry at all, even if it was not an adulterous union; however, neither Jesus nor Paul put forth the idea that celibacy was the rule for all disciples.

Paul gave the admonition that a believing spouse should stay with the unbelieving spouse if he or she is pleased to live with the believer. Who knows, he asks, if the unbelieving wife or husband might be won to Christ by the godly actions of his spouse? And if the unbeliever leaves, the believer is to remain unmarried for that purpose—so the unbeliever has an opportunity to be won to the Lord and has a place to which he or she may return (I Corinthians 7:10-16).

Luke 14 gives us the thought of a comparison. On one hand are your dearest loved ones; on the other is Christ. Ideally, all in your household will choose to follow Christ. But what if you choose Christ and your wife does not? Because you love your wife, will you leave Christ to please her?

Jesus promises houses, lands, and loved ones in return for those you leave behind when you choose Him first. It is not consistent with the rest of His teachings to suppose that if your unsaved companion will not follow Christ with you that God will give you another saved one; however, His promise is more. “Manifold more.” A blessing and a soul-satisfying portion that gives more comfort, more joy, and more peace than remaining in sin with your loved one. Do you leave a house behind? Christ promises “more.” With God’s people and their hospitality, you will have “many” houses. Did you leave family? God’s family will become your family.

Paul’s testimony is that he left all for Christ and suffered the loss of “all things.” In comparison to gaining Christ, the things he left behind were considered as “garbage.” In all of these comparisons—gaining the world/losing your soul; saving your life but losing it in the end/losing your life for Christ and saving it in the end; leaving all/receiving eternal life; and suffering loss/gaining Christ—can you not clearly see the very best way? When you count the cost objectively and honestly, there is but one way to choose, and that is Christ.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. List the comparisons given in the group of scriptures in this lesson.
  2. How often are we to “take up the cross” in following Jesus?
  3. What is worth far more than this whole world?
  4. What did Christ promise to those who left all for Him?
  5. What is included in the idea of being a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’s sake?


In our lesson we learn of Christ’s clear, unmistakable standard and call to self-denial. There is no doubt but that many saints through the ages have had to do just what Jesus asked His disciples to do. Ties have been severed. Homes have been lost. Possessions have been left behind. Dreams have crumbled. Saints have faced these scenarios in varying degrees of severity.

In spirit, we all face it. We come to Christ and lay our dreams and plans at His feet. We may have harbored hopes of financial security in this world. The cause of Christ and His gospel work beckoned, and we laid it down. We might have been popular as entertainers or sports stars, but Jesus said, “Come unto me.” A woman may have had aspirations to a high corporate position but traded it in to be an humble wife and mother, raising children to be soul-winners and missionaries. A man may feel the pressure of popular culture to lead a me- first, selfish lifestyle, but he embraces the cross to be a holy man of God. Just the everyday life of a godly husband and father or wife and mother calls for much self-denial and a daily bearing the cross of Christ. Each of us, for Christ and for each other, lay down “self” to be willing servants.

This is the practical life of the pilgrim-stranger, the visionary saint of faith and prayer. Eternal aspirations and the love and approval of Christ become more real and desirable than the uncertain riches and volatile popularity of this world. Reproach and persecution are favored above the treasures of Egypt.

When we lose ourselves in Christ, we truly find real life in Him.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck

Annie Bell Allen
November 3, 1923 — December 2, 1989

Had she chosen the way of the world she could have been a woman of renown. But she chose the way of God, and her contribution to the world around her continues to have an impact three decades beyond her death.

Her life was not without tragedy. She was married in her late teens and had a child who died shortly after his birth. Compounding the grief, her husband left her to marry someone she had once considered her best friend. With no hope of reconciliation, she chose the companionship of God and devoted her life wholly to Him. God’s work became the heartbeat of her life. She cared for the sick, ministered to the poor and had a special place in her heart for those who were less fortunate.

Sis. Annie Bell founded a school for the deaf and those with special needs and would often bring them to church and interpret the services in sign language. She wanted to make the gospel accessible to all.

As a community organizer, she petitioned local, state, and federal politicians; raising funds and gaining their support in promoting and sustaining the school and various other projects.

She had a desire to see the gospel seed planted in the tender hearts of children. As a result, she created, printed and distributed various curricula for Vacation Bible School that lasted from the 1960’s well into the 1990’s. She would coordinate the VBS at the Monark Springs Campmeeting and in various congregations and community centers around the Midwest. She took the church outside the walls and in so doing, exposed the gospel to thousands of children.

Her active ministry also included preaching the gospel. She was the founding pastor of the congregation in Dallas, Texas, and assisted in various works around the country.

Sis. Annie Bell’s life was spent for others. It was a life of self-denial. What she set in motion continues to bear fruit today. Her legacy of faithfulness continues to inspire and influence.

May those who come behind us find us equally as faithful.

—Bro. Darrell Johnson