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The Believer's Cross

 

 

 

 

 

"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"  Romans 10:15a

 

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“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.” (Matthew 10:38,39). 

 

“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 shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 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? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matthew 16:24-27).

Jesus stated that if any man come after him, let him deny himself, take up his or her cross, and follow him. One must deny the worldly cares of this world, their own will, and the devil himself in pleasing the Lord Jesus by doing the will of God. Even if a man could have in his possession the world and all the governments of the world under his rule and authority with all the riches thereof, it would be counted as nothing when compared to the glory that the believer will receive in Jesus Christ. For if any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him/her. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:17). Most read the above scriptures and believe that they are just fine while seeking the things of the world. God is the judge and not anyone else. For many state that they are covered by the church or some denominational creed in salvation, believing that nothing else matters since they are “saved”. The real danger in this type of attitude of spirit is that the flesh can flourish; going unchecked as money, fame, and prosperity is the main focus of most that claim to be Christians. Paul died daily and kept under his body of fleshly desires so that he himself would not be a castaway. If anyone knew salvation, it was Paul. There is no doctrine of “once saved, always saved” since one certainly can fall away from the faith of Jesus. Grace will never fail the individual believer, but the believer can fail of the grace of God. This requires diligence upon the believer’s part. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15). Therefore the cross keeps the believer in check to the will of God constantly from day to day, not allowing the flesh to have occasion in interfering with the will of God for that individual believer.  

Very few realize that we as the church and body of Christ are made conformable to Jesus’ death that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal fleshly bodies. For our light to shine, the cross of sufferings must be in the believer’s life. When this is known and experienced by the believer, then true maturity can begin to take place in manifesting Jesus in and through that individual believer in the fruit of the Spirit with unfeigned love for the brethren, preferring their brethren above themselves. The charity in the body of Christ can be generated only by the cross of Jesus being experienced in the life of the believer according to the call that God has placed on each believer as members in particular in the body of Christ. It is only through trouble, testing, and trials that one can experience the glory of God; and that is assuming that the believer is well read in the Word of God. By knowing these basic tenets of the cross of Jesus, one can then glory in all tribulations and persecutions, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience worketh experience, and experience worketh hope. And hope makes not ashamed and doesn’t come short in manifesting the true Jesus to the world as a testimony and witness, for the love of God is then shed abroad in our hearts or spirits by the Holy Ghost. Glory is the end result of one’s sufferings for Jesus. Take a look at the scriptures below in discerning the cross in the believer’s life. It is God works in the believer according to His own purpose and will for the believer’s being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 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 always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh….For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-17). 

We are all called to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. There is not one believer that is not to partake in the sufferings for Jesus being made conformable to his death so that the life of Jesus can be made manifest to the world. The cross is despised by the world, for it is foolishness to them that believe not, but to us that believe, it is the power of God unto salvation. The power of God is shed abroad in one’s spirit by the work of the cross in the believer’s life. The revelation of Jesus Christ can take place only after one has been a partaker with Jesus’ sufferings. We have been called to Jesus’ eternal glory only after one has suffered with Jesus.  

“Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:9,10). 

It is only after one has suffered in the flesh that the individual believer has stopped or ceased from sin which is located in the fleshly nature of the man or woman. The mindset of the cross is an entity that the Lord Jesus will turn the body of Christ back to in order to work his plan of gathering all things together in one, with the body of Christ edifying itself in love. The scripture below gives great knowledge and insight into the cross of Jesus and its working in the body of Christ unto love of the brethren.

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1,2). 

The only way to do the will of God is to suffer for the cause of Christ in order to reveal the name of Jesus to the world in power and glory. Are you a child of God? If you are a child of God, then there are sufferings for the cause of Christ, not for your destruction, but for your glorification and revealing the name of Jesus Christ in glory. These are the believers that are led by the Spirit of God.

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of ‘god, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have receive the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:13-18).

God works this on each individual believer in the body of Christ in order for us to be partaker with Jesus’ glory. If one does not suffer with him, then that one will not reign with him. When considering the heart as ground for planting the Word of God, Jesus likens one of these four which does not bring fruit unto perfection and full maturity of Jesus unto a perfect man because of their lack of suffering for Jesus.  

“But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon, with joy receiveth it, Yet hat he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation and persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matthew 13:20,21).

Paul taught that it was through much tribulation that the saints entered into the kingdom of God; that is, Christ in you the hope of 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.”

The popular prosperity Church at large has become a “Cross-less Christianity” which leads only to strife and confusion, satisfying the fleshly lust of the world. Cars, houses, lands, fame, money has been preached in place of the cross; thus resulting in iniquity abounding and the love of many waxing cold. Iniquity is not sin, for sin is that transgression of the law of liberty; however, iniquity is “lawlessness” or missing the mark; not being led of the Spirit of God into present truth and maturity, unskillful in the Word of righteousness. There is a law in the perfect law of liberty that cannot be changed. If you suffer, you reign; no suffering, no glory.

“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 1:5-7).  

The cross works sanctification in the believer through one’s willingness to die to self in order that he or she may live to God. All the works of the flesh of the old man then are crucified and the believer has put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Jesus Christ. Why aren’t we seeing the works of Jesus? Who is taking up the cross? Notice Paul’s admonition to his son in the Lord, Timothy. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” (1 Timothy 1:8).  The devil and his advocates hate the preaching of the cross of Jesus that all believers must take up in order to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and be conformed to his image. Many have erred thinking that gain is godliness or living for God with prosperity. The cross has been diminished as an emblem of shame and refused by the modern day so called “Christian”; for a Christian means Christ-like, and that cannot happen without the cross being taken up by the individual believer. What ever happened to denying self in order to live the God life? “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5). In this society of this present day “Cross-less” Christianity, we find few that are willing to go outside the camp, worshipping at a different altar than money, fame, and prosperity; willing to bear the reproach of Jesus Christ which is the cross of self denial in order to do the will of God. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12). Want to be rich with money? Give God a thousand and He’ll give you ten thousand back? Want a Gospel of mammon? Take a look at the end results. “For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” (James 1:11). But the righteous is not as the wicked.

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11). A believer in Jesus Christ is to endure hardship as a good soldier, not entangling oneself with the affairs of this life so that he or she may please Jesus. The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God and the righteous scarcely be saved; saved with difficulty and tribulation. Cares of this life such as the global economy, cost of living expenses, raising a family, college education, housing and automobile costs, gasoline prices, etc. will prove to be passé when the believer focuses upon Jesus as the primary focus and belief. The end is at hand. For the night is far spent, and the day is at hand; each believer shall see Jesus and be glorified like him; for the true believer will not love his or her life unto the death. “Give it up!” Give up your own self desires and live the will of God for your life. This is the cross of Jesus. Then will each believer be knit together in love with the body of Christ having the testimony of Jesus and keep the commandments of God.

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” (Revelation 6:9).

These are the true Christians in the last days. What relevance does the cross have to you as believer in Jesus Christ?

“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” (Numbers 23;10b).

May we as believers in Jesus Christ, as bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; live for Jesus; die for Jesus; and lose our life to have the life in Christ Jesus.

Dennis Beard

 

 

 

    

 

 

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Last Modified: 10/13/2016 04:43 AM