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The first thing that a person must do when he or she comes to Christ is to deny themselves, go pick up their cross, and come and follow Jesus. The Altar of Burnt Offering or Brazen Altar had various sacrifices offered upon it. There were two compulsory offerings:

1) the sin offering and

2) the trespass offering and three freewill offerings:

3) burnt offering,

4) meat (meal) offering, and

5) the peace offering.

The common denominator of these offerings is Christ crucified. The sin and trespass offerings were to be taken outside the camp unto a clean place, ashes poured out, and the various sacrifices burned with fire. Christ was crucified without the camp. “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.”  (Hebrews 13:10-13). To follow Jesus there is reproach.

 

“Reproach” is the Greek “Oneidismos” meaning “a reproach, such as Christ suffered, for the cause of God, from his enemies.” [1] We as believers are to go forth unto Jesus after denying ourselves and picking up our cross and bearing his reproach.  The reproach of Christ was mentioned also by Paul to the Hebrews as concerning Moses. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:25,26).  Moses considered the sufferings in the pursuit of Christ greater riches than the pleasers of sins for a season.  The incorruptible seed of the Word of God must be planted in the hearts of men in order for there to be a harvest of souls in the kingdom of God. When speaking of the heart of spirit of men, there are four basic grounds that must be broken up in order to receive the engrafted Word which is able to save us.  One of these particular grounds is the heart of people that receive the Word of God with joy, but soon after, when tribulation and persecution arises for the Word’s sake; they become offended and bring forth no fruit unto perfection. “Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matthew 13:21).

 

There is an offence when one follows the true Jesus. We must stand with Paul realizing this offence of the cross, for when the true Jesus is preached, believers that are sensual will be offended which yields persecution to the true followers of Jesus. “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.” (Galatians 5:11).  No, the offence of the cross has not ceased and will never cease as long as we are in this world and not of the world.  You as a believer realize that we are not only called to believe on Jesus, but also to suffer with Him. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29). 

 

It is through these sufferings and reproaches for Christ that we as the body of Christ enter into the kingdom of God being made partakers of His glory. “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22).  Paul expounded the same truth when he addressed the church at Thessalonica when speaking of their faith that grew exceedingly and their charity that abounded toward each other; stating that it was their patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations that they endured as a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God. To understand a manifest token, let’s say someone came to you and gave you their car. That would be nice wouldn’t it? When they came into your home and gave you their car, what would they in fact give you? They would not literally drive the car into your home, knocking down the walls of your home, but they would simply give you the keys to the car that they were gifting to you. The key to the car is a manifest token of the car. The same is true in the kingdom of God; for the manifest token of the kingdom of God is your sufferings and tribulation that you endure for His name’s sake, so that you can be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you also suffer. This is the cross, the crucified life that many despise, opting for their own will rather than doing the will of God. It’s not easy but Jesus did say to learn of him, for his yoke was easy and His burden was light as compared to the world’s yoke and burden which leads to death.  Paul states this truth: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:  Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.” (2 Thessalonians 3-6).  Why doesn’t faith grow exceedingly among us as Christians? Why doesn’t charity abound one toward another? I will let you give the answer to those questions.

 

The realization that we are made partakers of the divine nature through the promises of God which apply to divine influx of truth from good by the crucifying of our fleshly nature is paramount to understanding the cross that is in each of our lives. If a believer does not understand this basic truth of the kingdom of God, then by and by he or she will become offended at one thing or another; blaming someone for this or something that happened that caused that, becoming offended at the offence of the cross, not realizing that we are called to suffer with Him in order to be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which we all suffer.

 

Someone will say, “Surely the Lord does not require us all to suffer this tribulation and persecution for the cause of Christ?”  Take a look at these words from Paul and take comfort knowing that all the body of Christ suffers the same as you and me. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12).  As you and I suffer for the sake of Christ, we are promised that we will also be partakers of the consolation also.  “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation….And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” (2 Corinthians 1:5,6,7).

 

Some do not want to suffer for his name’s sake; therefore, they use cunningly devised methods which are rooted in the flesh to avert their sufferings for Christ. False anointing arise from these who are enemies of the cross, unruly and vain talkers; they are all talk and no do, not suffering for His name’s sake, whose god is their belly. We have an example in the Word of God in the false brethren that demanded the circumcising of the Gentiles in order to be saved. Paul stated that they desired to make a fair show in the flesh by having the Gentiles circumcised. It is the flesh that refuses to submit to the cross of self denial in crucifying the flesh with the affections and the lust, perfecting true holiness in the fear of God. The body of Christ must be able to discern between the flesh and the Spirit of God; for each is an enemy of the other. If it is man, then it’s not God; for God alone is God and those that are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. The root cause for these false brethren that constrained the Gentiles to be circumcised in order to be saved was that they refused to suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” (Galatians 6:12).

 

This same thing happens easily in the holiness standards of dress code which are deemed essential for salvation, ultimately subverting the cross of Christ, just as those who Paul mentioned above who compelled the Gentiles to be circumcised in order to be saved. The root cause again is that the leaders who demand such things do so that they may glory in your flesh. For example, a pastor of a congregation states that all men in his local assembly who wear ties are not holy, calling ties “cloth necklaces” on men.  Then all the men of the church obey the pastor and do not wear neckties since they have had the revelation from their pastor that they are indeed “cloth necklaces” for men. Then one Sunday, a man who is a believer comes in with a necktie on and the entire local congregation judges this man as being unholy due to his wearing the “cloth necklace”.  The pastor takes glory in the fact that all men do as he says confirming his word as truth regarding neckties as “cloth necklaces” for men.  The believing man is condemned, not because of sin, but because of a conviction given by the local pastor. Just a note to clarify, I am not against the local pastor, this scenario being hypothetical. The congregation simply believed that they have only obeyed them that have the rule over them, giving respect to their pastor in condemning the man who came into their assembly with the “cloth necklace”.  Of course, if a believer received the conviction that God indeed did not want him to wear a necktie, and that was his conviction, then he would not constrain anyone else to have his standard of dress that he alone received from God. He would submit himself to the cross of Jesus in the love of the truth and not be an offence to any brother for whom Christ died.  Judgment was rendered, the believing man condemned; however, it was not righteous judgment, but only a man’s conviction.

 

The believers who show no mercy but have joy in destroying a believer due to their own self righteousness which is of the flesh have not judged righteous judgment, having done so in order that they may glory in the flesh over the man who was condemned. By condemning another, man has elevated himself as a judge, and the flesh is pleased. Self righteous judgment has not walked by faith by which is the righteousness of God. The motive of this spirit is that these will not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. These who judge the brethren do so in order to joy in their flesh, not in the Spirit of God.  These are the ones that are “holier than thou”. Watch out for these…for there is no love for the truth.

 

Is something always wrong with a believer? Can no one ever measure up to “the standard”? Watch out. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Titus 1:15). The clean and pure in heart have clean hearts, and right spirits created in them; and their hearts are purified by faith, not by the works of any man’s law. These have the true principles of holiness out of a pure heart toward God, who do not love based upon dress codes and various creeds of denominations. The laws of man taint the conscience of the believer as to divine truth thereby stopping the growth of the individual as they become cynical and judgmental of all who are not in their ranks.

 

The blood is the cleansing agent; the blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary’s hill at Golgotha as Jesus conquered death, hell, and the grave. The blood of Jesus is the blood of the Lord Jehovah since the life of all living things is in the blood, the blood flows from God Almighty, from divine good. All truth flows from the acknowledgment of the mystery of God; that Jesus glorified his human, the man being God. The blood flows from the Lord Jehovah’s divine good in all truth effecting all believers’ purification in sanctification, righteousness, and regeneration.  It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all unrighteousness; on the condition that we walk in the light as Jesus is in the light. Thus we as believers have fellowship one with another through this blood flow from God throughout his body, the church; forasmuch as the blood is the life. Anything that stops the blood flow throughout the body receiving and walking in the light in present truth and disrupts this fellowship in the life of the church is not of God, but is of the adversary. The acknowledgement of the mystery of God must first be obtained before a man can exercise faith which is godliness; that is, that God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. Therefore, the body of Christ is presently seeking the faith that was once delivered unto the saints. The revelation of Jesus Christ is the body of Christ not only hearing the Word but doing the Word, living a life according to His precepts, statutes, righteous judgments, commandments, testimonies, ways, Word, law of liberty, etc.; that is, these believers keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ which is the spirit of prophecy.  The only way to overcome the devil, the world, and the flesh is by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, not loving our lives unto the death.

 

The church is staged to experience a great influx of knowledge of truth in the revelation of Jesus Christ. Those who receive the present light of truth in knowledge and keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus will reveal the true Christ, the Lord Jesus. These will go to a higher glory in the maturity process, being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The love of the truth is fundamental in the process of glorification, becoming as He is. Love affects the flow of truth into the believer’s spirit, so much so, that without the love of the truth, the believer cannot and will not receive truth, but will gladly receive a lie and be damned. This is the experiential in main stream Pentecost, changing the truth of God into a lie, becoming sensual in service to the Lord so as to please the flesh of men. Programs, orators, singers, musicians, professional dancers, short thirty minute preaching with itching ears (ears of perception itch because they are tuned into the likes and dislikes of the world rather than what is pleasing to God), short services, staying in shallow water, etc. all appeal to the politically correct religious world which Pentecostals have become accustomed to entertaining. The love of God has been replaced with the love of the world, the pride of life, and the lust of the flesh. No Word can be heard and received when we have left our first love, because the first love has diminished rather than augmented, each believing that they are fed, clothed, and have need of nothing spiritually. Strife in the church abounds, for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. What is the root cause for these that have forsaken their first love? It is basically because that they do not want to suffer with Jesus; they do not want to suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

 

The true Christ suffered. Jesus was a man despised and rejected of men. He was acquainted with grief, a man of sorrows. He was hated without a cause, lied on, found guilty of blasphemy, crucified among thieves. He was spit upon, beard plucked out, crown of thorns crushed into his skull, back ripped out by flogging, muscles ripped out of his back so that he could not carry his own cross; mocked, smitten, forsaken of all men (even his own disciples), then died for all.

 

Want a Jesus life?

 

Want to know what a true Jesus life is?

 

Want to know what true faith is?

 

“…Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise…” (Hebrews 11:33-39).

 

Oh, I forgot! We can’t have this!

 

This is the way that everyone wants to read the Jesus life in the politically correct church of today….

 

“…Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were delighted, accepting deliverance; that they might tell everyone else how holy and righteous they are: And others brought many people to trial and received great monies, yea, of great houses and lands; their names in light: they were admired of all for their reputation: they wandered about in Mercedes Benz and Porches, wearing Armani and Gucci, having great wealth and money in the bank; having provided for their own the wealth of the world; they lived in the best of neighborhoods and spoke of golf courses and tennis courts; they were the elite, for they only associated with the elite, having the same report…” (Rendition revision of the Now church of believers 101).

 

Did that shake you? Did you become agitated or stirred in your spirit? Then try this on for size… If you do not suffer with Jesus, you will not reign with him. The Jesus life is a life of self denial called the cross. The only way a person will see Jesus is through you as a believer. We as believers have this glorious light in earthen vessels; Christ in us, the hope of glory. 

 

“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:10,11). Is Paul kidding? Does this apply to the believer? Is this how Jesus is manifested? By our dying so that He can be manifested in our mortal flesh?

 

Yes….Yes….Yes

 

Our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. A word of encouragement to the real body of Christ, the church, who is living a self denied, cross life for the sake of Jesus. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

 

Be encouraged saint of God…for the night is far spent, the day is at hand, when the day shall dawn and the daystar shall appear in your heart…

 

Glory be to Him alone, the only wise God and eternal life, Jesus Christ.

 

Dennis Beard

 


[1] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance   Greek Dictionary of the New Testament   3680

 

 

 

    

 

 

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