Monthly Archives: March 2015

THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST

The crucifixion of Christ was one of the cruelest acts of history, but from that evil act has come tremendous good. Christ crucified is one of the greatest revelation of God’s truth in the universe.
The crucified Christ reveals the reality of sin. For those who cannot see the consequences of sin in the lives of others, look at Christ on the cross. See that brow pierced by long cruel thorns. Sin did that. See those hands and feet pierced by huge nails. Sin did that. See the body of Christ twisting in agony and pain for hours that seemed to have no end. Sin did that. It was not Christ’s sin that caused Him such suffering and pain. It was our sins, yours, and mine. Upon the cross at Calvary, Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world. Sin brought suffering and death to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and if it brought suffering and death to Him, it will most certainly bring it to us.
Along with the reality of sin, the crucified Christ reveals the love and mercy of God. It is easy to talk about love and sacrifice, but at the cross, God demonstrated His love in a way everyone could see. Jesus taught, “God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). At the cross, it was more than a teaching that was given. God gave His Son.
Jesus spoke of the great power of attraction possessed by the cross: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32).

“I WANT TO FOLLOW JESUS!”

jesus_carrying_crossMatthew 16:24
Part 3 of 3

Doug attended church every service. He lived in a trailer. His clothes were always neat and clean but never new, and he drove an old car. Once I visited him to see if he needed financial help. I was shocked by what I found! He had a good job and made as much money as anyone in the church. He chose to live beneath his means to give to the church and to many needy people. He is one of the best examples of following Jesus I know.
The third requirement in becoming a Christian is that you must follow Jesus. Unfortunately, this is often misinterpreted. It does not mean following a minister (preacher). Good ministers should be loved and appreciated, but your greatest loyalty and love must always be to Jesus. Ministers come and go, but Jesus is forever.
It may not mean following a church or denomination. People and churches should only be followed as they follow Jesus.
It definitely does not mean following “self.” Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). This is a “daily” process and calls for the crucifying of your natural self-centeredness.
In order to follow Christ, you must know his will. You can find his general will for all Christians in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Pay particular attention to the words in red. His specific will for you can be known only by keeping a close relationship with him and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
It doesn’t sound easy, does it? Well, it isn’t. But it is worth it!

jesus_carrying_cross
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Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net.

I Want To Follow Jesus–Part 2 of 3

Matthew 16:24

If you do, that is great! First, you need to know the requirements. There are three: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.
Taking up your cross is probably the most misunderstood of the three. Some think this means courageously living with some burden of the flesh like a handicap, arthritis, cancer, and the list goes on. While I can empathize with them, this is not the case. All those things come upon people as a result of being a human being with a body of flesh. There are at least four aspects of cross bearing:
1. You must voluntarily choose to do it. You are not obligated except for the urging of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
2. The Christian life itself is one of sacrificial service. It may require giving up your personal ambition or desires in order to do God’s will. It may mean serving Christ in some place, or in some way, where the reward and appreciation are small, if at all.
3. It may mean that you will be called to stand against the evil in your society or champion the causes of the poor and needy.
4. At the least, it will require giving up time, leisure, and pleasure to please God and serve others. There are no cheap crosses. It will cost you. Notice Jesus said you are to take up “your” cross. That means you must find what God wants you to do, and do it!
Do you still want to follow Jesus?

jesus_carrying_cross

I Want to Follow Jesus

Matthew 16:24
Part 1 of 3
Do you really want to follow Jesus? Have you thought seriously about it? Do you know what it will cost you?
Jesus said there are three things you must do if you want to follow him. None of the three have anything to do with denominations, churches, or how much water they use in baptism. There is no such thing as submarine salvation.
According to Jesus, and he’s the only true authority, you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him. These are difficult requirements for most people to understand, much less follow. Let’s take them one at a time, and I will try and clarify them for you.
The first requirement is that you must deny yourself. Jesus wasn’t talking about giving up sweets, not buying a new car, or giving the church more money. He was talking about giving up your right to yourself. As a non-Christian, you have the right to direct your life, to become what you want, go where you want, do what you want, and live as you want.
The day you accepted Christ, he became both your Savior and Lord. The word “Lord” means ruler or king. Now, he will rule over your life. It no longer matters what you want, only what Jesus wants. You must seek his will, not your own, and do it. The emphasis is on the doing. Jesus doesn’t really care about the things you can give him, until first you give him yourself.

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net.