The Crucified Life
The Cross Revisited – Our Foundation: Part 2
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him,"Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."
18 He said to Him, "Which ones?"
Jesus said, "'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,'
19'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?"
21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Dying to Self and Loss Management:
Phill. 3: 7-8
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Examples: Children of Israel: looked back to Egypt
Lot’s wife: looked back to Sodom
No man putting his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom.
In this passage of the Word, Paul says: What things were gain to me, those I have counted loss for Christ.
It is evident that Paul experienced a major transition. We see an example of value change - GAIN BECOMES LOSS. This represents a total shift of perspectives or stated another way, the kingdom of God operates in total contradiction to the values of the world system.
In the kingdom of God, the way up is down, receiving is attained by giving and true love is defined by loving those who hate you.
Knowledge of the Lord:
This is a perfect expression of the principle of the cross – an utter self- emptying, being brought to an end of everything but the Lord Himself – or to a place of truly knowing the Lord.
Deep application of the cross means an end of everything, stripped, depleted and emptied, poured out as a drink offering..
Also: You cannot come to God with all of your fullness – position, fame, wealth, knowledge – ex. The rich young ruler, King Agrippa
Another principle of the cross is that God does not always grant us what we crave for: there are denials, withholdings, delays etc. all of which is designed to deepen our knowledge of who He is.
Full knowledge of the Lord can only be attained by way of the cross.
“You must be prepared to let the cross be so applied to your life that you are broken and emptied and fairly ground to powder – if you are prepared for that way, you will get to know the Lord. That is the only way.” (Sparks)
As a believer, you will never be done with the cross – there is no graduation ceremony but it is a lifelong fellowship –the deeper you go into the crucible the deeper the knowledge of God.
The process of death for Christ was on the earth but once He died – he was promoted to a place called ‘far above all’.
2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God
Finally: “You must have a point of transaction with the Lord where you recognize that the Cross is in principle an utter, all-inclusive reality that, sooner or later, is going to run to earth the last vestige of that self-life which is the ground of Satan’s power.” (Sparks)
Out of the growing knowledge of Him, then all real service will issue. It is not what we do but what we have, that is the secret of service. (Sparks)
Selflessness is achieved at a very high price, unfortunately, a price that most people are either unable to or unwilling to pay. To successfully arrive at this place a reformation process is needed to shape new ideals, values, perspectives and desires. We discover that the enthronement of self requires strategic and willful dethroning since it is not given to abdication.
Phill. 2:3-4 provides a powerful prescription for a successful church community.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.