Preaching the Cross Part 9
1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. I Corinthians 1:17&18
This tells us that it is the preaching of the cross of Christ that reveals the power of God. So here is the question:
What makes the difference between lifting a cross and lifting the cross of Christ?
Galatians 2:20 supplies the answer to this all important question. It says:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Emphasis supplied).
The difference in lifting a cross and the cross of Christ is summed up in the phrase, not I, but Christ liveth in me. The cross of Christ is the only cross that reproduces the life of Jesus in us. It does this by crucifying the I in us. Then, and only then, can we say, the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. This makes all the difference in the world.
Without the cross of Christ, life is just a series of crosses that we must lift on a daily basis because we are living on the power of the I in us. Therefore, every challenge we face throughout the day we depend on the I in us to:
Make all the right decisions, provide for the needs of the family, keep everyone safe, keep everyone happy, and the list goes on and on and on. On top of all of that I must make sure that I do all of those things in a way that is pleasing to God.
The cross of Christ puts an end to all of that by crucifying the I in us so we can live by the power of the Jesus in us.
The apostle Paul had tried many crosses the heaviest of which was the religious cross. For years he prided himself on how well he carried this cross (see Philippians 3:3-6) but all of this changed when he had an encounter with Jesus and began lifting the cross of Christ. Notice what Paul said about all the other crosses after that encounter:
3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Philippians 3:7-10 (Emphasis supplied).
Once Paul began lifting the cross of Christ he never wanted to lift any other cross again. His life was consumed with lifting the cross of Christ only. This is why he said:
2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Colossians 2:8-10 (Emphasis supplied).
Only the cross of Christ will make us complete because only the cross of Christ reproduces the life of Jesus Christ in us. When we lift that cross daily we will begin to experience the rest that Jesus brings: A Rest that comes as a result of living by the power of Jesus working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12&13): A Rest that brings peace to the depths of our souls (Matthew 11:28-30): A Rest that results in reproducing the righteous character of God, for we are told Isaiah 32:17:
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. (Emphasis supplied).
Do you have the lasting peace, quietness and assurance that comes as a result of Jesus working out His righteousness in your life? If not, start lifting the cross of Christ everyday so you can say:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
This ends this series on Preaching the Cross. Next week’s blog will start the new series entitled: Entering God’s Rest. You don’t want to miss it.
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