Series: The Finished Works
Sunday am 22 April 2018 – Kobus Swart
Luke 9:23; Matt. 10:38; Luke 14:27; (John 19:30); (Rom. 6:8); (Gal. 2:20); (Rom. 6:11); Phil. 2:5-10 (Msg & The Voice); (2 Cor. 12:10); 1 Cor. 1:18 (Msg & NASB); Heb. 6:1-6; (Num. 20:8-13); (1 Cor. 10:4); Heb. 10:26-29; (Luke 22:42)
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me (Luke 9:23). And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (Matt. 10:38). Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27). There is an emphasis here, his own cross. What does all this mean? There is a difference between the work of the cross and the way of the cross. We have to get a proper understanding of the finished works of Jesus. When He died on the cross He uttered the words, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus died for us and Paul emphasizes that we died with Him (Rom. 6:8). When we refer to the ‘finished works’ we see that it was done in the past. “I have been crucified”, “reckon yourselves dead” (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:11). In our identification with the finished works of Christ we are delivered from sin’s guilt and its power. Do not allow gateways to be opened in your mind as the enemy would like to get his hands on those handles through which the enemy can find access. As born-again believers we can open ‘doors’ through which the enemy can come in and harass us. This is the where the way of the cross can be applied. The work of the cross is past tense, but the way of the cross is the way you and I walk daily. The old man in Adam experienced the work of the cross, but the new man in Christ is called to embrace the way of the cross. It is important to know the difference because we cannot keep going back to the cross. When Jesus died on the cross we died with Him (Rom. 6:8).
Here is our example:
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father (Phil. 2:5-10 Msg). Jesus only needed to embrace the way of the Cross; He did not need the work of the cross because He knew no sin. He chose to be a bondservant and a slave. Weakness is the way of the Cross (2 Cor. 12:10). We are not talking about self-pity; we are called to mature sonship.
Look at the life of Jacob. Jacob wrestled with the angel (Gen. 32-24-20). Jacob came out of that wrestling match with a limp. If we see that through the eyes of the New Testament, every true son of God will have a ‘limp’. Jacob carried the mark that he was delivered from living in his own strength.
The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hell bent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out (1 Cor. 1:18 Msg). How else do you think the early Church managed to survive all the events of the day and in fact impacted the world with the gospel? The Church managed to take the gospel across the earth by the way of the Cross. Today we have television and Facebook, we have all the media at our disposal but it is not having the same impact on the world. May a Church emerge that walks the way of the Cross, working in His strength and not their own.
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits (Heb. 6:1-3). Our preaching must upgrade. When we preach about the Cross we say, “Let everyone take up his cross.” My cross will be different from your cross – depending on our personality and our circumstances. God has a way of dealing with our self-will and self-life. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame (Heb. 6:4-6). Jesus will not be crucified a second time. The rock in the wilderness was a type of Christ. Christ is the source of living water. When Moses hit the rock twice, he broke a “type” (Num. 20:8-13; 1 Cor. 10:4). Jesus cannot and will not be crucified a second time.
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 26-29). The Cross was an event that changed the course of the history of mankind. We must understand what it means to be born again. “I was crucified with Him” becomes a reality. Our names have been written in the book of life before the foundation of the world in the fore-knowledge of God (Rev. 20:15). But now we are expected to walk the way of the Cross. “Take up your cross and follow Me”, that is how we become a disciple of Jesus. Walk the way of the cross. Do not let anybody boost your self-will. Jesus said, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).