- Category: Salvation
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The Offense of the Cross
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Paul said the message of the Cross was offensive because of it's attitude toward us. The Cross has no respect for any man. It cares nothing for our opinions, our values, our talents, or our emotional needs. The cross is a place of death.
Most have goals that we think are good and noble. We may want to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Nurse, Teacher, Preacher, etc.. These all, on the surface are good, but how many choose a profession, not for God's satisfaction, but for our personal satisfaction. We choose a profession that we think will make us happy, not make God happy. How many choose a profession just for the money? How many want to stand out and be appreciated. How many want to be recognized, to be first.
26) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27) And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28) Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
The Cross has only one message, it has no respect for our wanting only our dying. The message of the Cross does not change, it begins with death and it ends with death. We must become like a seed that falls into the ground and dies. Once dead then new life can come forth.
We Cannot Follow Christ
We cannot follow Christ without taking up our Cross. Nobody likes the Cross for it is the place of God's judgment; it judges our heart and its desires. We think we can keep our good wanting, get rid of the bad wanting, and that's what it means to follow Christ.
No Good Wanting
But the Cross says there is no good wanting. If we had good wanting then we could stay alive. But the Cross says there is nothing good about us, or our wanting. If you are going to follow Christ then you must die to your wanting and come alive to His wanting.
Only One Life
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
If we are going to follow Christ then we have to make a decision. Are we going to live to ourselves or die to ourselves? Jesus said if we were going to follow Him then we must take up our cross and follow Him. The meaning is obvious-we cannot follow Christ if we love our own ambitions. If we are going to be a successful follower of Christ then we must first successfully die. If we are successful at dying then we can successfully follow Christ. We cannot have two priorities, two goals, or two lives.
We cannot follow Christ if remain alive to our own dreams. Personal success must die so that the success of Christ can live. Our fullfillment dies so that His fullfillment can live through us. We cannot follow Christ if we belong to ourselves; if we belong to Him then we must follow Him.
We cannot follow Christ if we are deciding what is important. If we are making our own decisions independent of His decisions then we have not been to the Cross. The Cross teaches that death to our own ways precedes being alive with His Life.
Crucified to the World
Paul said that by the Cross he was crucified to the world and the world was crucified to him, meaning he no longer valued this world, and in response, the world no longer valued him. If we are going to be crucified with Christ then we must die an emotional death to our love for this world and we must die an emotional death to be loved by this world.
We become outcasts, worthless, off-scouring, garbage, refuse, bearing the odor of death. When we follow Christ we give up all our worldly ambitions and we give up the worlds value of us.
Do you want to be valued then you cannot follow Christ?
Do you want the respect of men then you are still very much alive!
Do you want to impress others then you need to take up your cross!
Does your life continue to be about what you want then you have yet to see Christ!
Is what you want still alive in your bones, does it drive you, does it direct your thoughts, does it control you emotionally, then you haven't been to the Cross.
Is your identity found in your accomplishments, your appearance, or in the pride of who you are? Then the Cross awaits you, you must die the death to yourself.
His New Life
Jesus is not impressed with what we want, He is not impressed with our good works, our sincerity, or our hard work. He is impressed with our death, for only in death can we be resurrected to His New Life. It is NEW LIFE in Him that Christ wants, not a rehabilitated old life, not an old life with good intentions, not an old life with honorable goals, not an old life with hard work. We are called to be joined to the resurrected Christ so that He can live out His life through us.
Only in our death can we be raised to live with Christ. Only in our death can we find real and meaningful victory over the passions that drive us. Do you want victory over sinful habits then die to yourself!
Only as we are joined to Christ in His Resurrection can we say with David. Psa 18:32 (32) It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
God bless you,