what we preach
Millions of people today think of the Cross of Jesus Christ as just a historical event. So the Cross to them is just something you hang around your neck or put on display for decoration. The majority of the Modern Church that are Born Again believe in the Cross of Jesus Christ just for Salvation, and not for our everyday victorious Christian living. But having faith in the Cross for our everyday victorious Christian living (sanctification of the Saint) on a daily basis is just as necessary as it was for our initial Salvation experience. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk (live) you in him (the Cross): Rooted and built up in him (the Cross), and established in the faith ( what Christ did on the Cross), as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7).
So when I speak of the Cross, I am not just speaking of the wooden beam, but the Finished Work that was accomplished by Christ on that wooden beam. Isaiah 53:12, says, 'Because he has poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.' Fallen humanity owed a sin debt, so Christ the Lamb of God paid it for us on the Cross. When we speak of the Cross, we are speaking of who He is (God, John 1:1) and what he accomplished on the Cross. God is a Spirit: ( John 4:24), a Spirit cannot die, so God became man in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14)in order to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8). So when Christ died on the Cross, in the mind of God every Believer died with Him, were buried with Him, rose with Him Romans 6:3-4 in a new source of life, and is seated with Him in Heavenly places. The Cross is Jesus Christ's Death, Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and Exaltation. Satan has no more legal right to hold us in bondage, because his works have been destroyed by Jesus Christ on the Cross. Now that we have been freed from the yoke of bondage, to abandon the Cross and go under Law of any kind guarantees bondage once again to the sin nature. When ever we make any thing else the object of our Faith other than What Christ accomplished on the Cross, it automatically brings the sin nature back alive, and the acts of sin will follow (Romans 7:9).
Habakkuk 2:4, says, 'Behold, his soul which is lifted up (proud) is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith.' ( The first phrase of this verse speaks of one who is proud, presumptuous, thinking much of himself, despising others, and who is not straightforward and upright before God. As such, he carries in himself the seed of destruction. The phrase, 'But the just shall live by his faith,' implies a loving trust in God, confident in His Promises, resulting in due performance of His Will. This passage can be translated, "As for the just, through his faith , in Jesus, he shall live." This is the great Passage used by Apostle Paul on the basis of his great argument of Faith versus works (Romans 1:17).
It is not an accident that the Holy Spirit had 'the just shall live by faith' written three times in the New Testament (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).
Every Born Again Believer is justified (declared righteous, declared not guilty or acquitted) because of their faith in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ on Calvary's cross, meaning Who Jesus is (God manifested in human flesh), and what He did on the Cross. We are now the Just because of our faith in the Cross, so Habakkuk, and the Apostle Paul admonishes us to live our everyday lives by continuing to put our Faith in the Cross (the finished of Christ on the cross). This gives the Holy Spirit the legal right to release the Spiritual Power within us, enabling us to live a life free from the Law of sin and death (Romans 8:2) . The Holy Spirit only works within a Believers heart within the confines of their Faith in Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, on a daily basis.
The Church today is not living, on a daily basis, in the victory that Christ afforded us through His Death, Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and Exaltation. I am not talking about sinless perfection. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 6:14, 'For sin shall not have dominion over you (shall not dominate you): for you are not under the law, but under grace.' Anything that you make the Object of your faith , other than What Jesus Christ provided on the Cross, such as your Church, your denomination, your prayer life, you being Baptized with the Holy Spirit, being Baptized in Water, the good works you do in Church or the community,(good as they are), will be looked upon by God as Law (Galatians 5:1-4).
Satan has been very successful in convincing the Modern Church that they need to add works (man made programs, and religious rituals) to the purity of the Gospel of Faith in Christ and Him Crucified.
The Message of the Cross of Christ is the only message God will recognize. May God give us preachers who will proclaim this message, and Christians who will believe this message.
Luke 9:23, says, 'And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself..' ( not asceticism severe self-discipline) as many may think, but rather that one denies one's own willpower, self-will, strength, and ability; depending totally on Christ), '..and take up his cross..' (the benefits of the Cross, looking exclusively to what Jesus did there to meet our every need) '..daily..' (this is so important, our looking to the Cross; that we must renew our Faith in what Christ has done for us, even on a daily basis, for Satan will ever try to move us away from the Cross as the object of our Faith, which always spells disaster), '..and follow me.' (Christ can be followed only by the Believer looking to the Cross, understanding what it accomplished, and by that means alone (Romans 6:3-5, 11, 14; 8:1-2, 11; I Cor. 1:17-18, 21,23; 2:2; Gal. 6:14; Eph. 2:13-18; Col. 2:14-15).
When one begins to understand the Cross of Christ, at that moment one begins to understand the New Covenant. For this is what the New Covenant is all about, In fact, it is beautifully typified in that which we refer to as the "Lord's Supper" (I Cor. 11:23-30).
When one begins to understand the Cross, one begins to understand the Bible, because the very story of the Word of God is the story of man's Redemption, which is the story of the Cross, as well. To properly understand the Cross of Christ is to properly understand the Resurrection of Christ. Paul said:
" For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His Death (understanding of the Cross), we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection" (Romans 6:5).
In Revelation 2:4, Jesus highly commended the Church in Ephesus, but at the same time He exhorted them in verse four, 'Nevertheless I have this against you, because you have left your first love.' I believe Jesus was telling the Church in Ephesus that they had left the Cross of Christ, which was their first love. Our love for Jesus Christ is, because of what He provided through His death on Calvary's Cross.
Jesus cautioned the seven Churches in Asia Minor, at the end of each Chapter that, 'He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.' I believe the Holy Spirit was saying to the churches then to come back to the Cross of Christ, and I believe He is saying the same thing to the Church today. The dividing line between the True Church, and the Apostate Church, is the Cross of Jesus Christ. I don't mean in name only, but possessing the Cross of Christ, and then living it!