According to Paul, the cross was the power of God. It was the center of Christianity and ruled the lives of the believers. So much so, they were willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the cross. It is the reason they had the power to make radical disciples who were distinct from the world. What they preached and what they practiced gave them the ability to transform the minds and hearts of the world around them. Do you see that today? It seems that many of us in the Church have so little power and walk so weakly in our faith. Could the reason be because we do not preach and live the cross?
We have to realise that the cross does not simply represent Christ’s death for our sins; yes, it was His death that purchased our Redemption and brought the renewal of our relationship with His Father, but the cross is also symbolic of our death and separation from the world. We must realize that we are in the world but not of it. We should no longer partake of the carnal amusements and follies of the world because they could compromise our separation. We should no longer be addicted to entertainment, obsessed with sports, caught up in worldly fashion, and indulging our lives in the flesh. We are to seek the life and nature of our Lord and display that life in our words and actions.
The Word of God compares us to a chaste virgin who is presented to Christ (see II Corinthians 11:2). Defilement of this separation is called spiritual adultery and fornication. As James wrote to the church, “Don’t you know that love for this evil world is hatred toward God? Whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.” (James 4:4).
Now that sounds pretty rough, but he went on the explain:
Do you think this passage means nothing? It says, “The Spirit that lives in us wants us to be his own.”
But God shows us even more kindness. Scripture says,
“God opposes arrogant people,
but he is kind to humble people.”
So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come close to God, and he will come close to you.
Oh, how we love to quote that verse! But oddly, we never read what comes after it
Clean up your lives, you sinners, and clear your minds, you doubters. Be miserable, mourn, and cry. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves in the Lord’s presence. Then he will give you a high position (James 4:5-10).
Quite simply, this morning I want you to ask yourself: “Self, who is your friend?” Then wait for the answer. Then ask yourself, “Self, who is your enemy?” Wait for the answer.
Now, how are you going to process all of this in your heart?
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.