Luke 9:23- “And he said to them, whoever would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” What a hard saying for so many of us. What does it mean?
The Gospel is the law of liberty for the soul of man through our risen Christ. Being a Christian, we are accepting the calling of God to come and die. But we are not dying to anything other than what has kept us in bondage our whole life. Jesus paid the price to bring freedom from ourselves, the call isn’t, “deny the devil and follow me”, it is to deny yourself (Gal. 2:20 & Gal. 2:24 & Gal. 5:16).
I want you to see something so beautiful this morning where God wants us to come to. In order for a seed to produce more of its own kind it has to die. It’s so simplistic, and this is the invitation we have from our Lord.
Read John 12:24-26 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
There is something so illuminating about the Word demanding death to produce life. Christ has made it so simple, that if we could see correctly we could live it (Luke 11:34). Jesus died for each one of us, being buried as the seed that went down into the grave to die to be rose again by the power of God. The same goes with us, He is our example. When we accept Jesus, we chose to die to ourselves, being buried with him, becoming one with his body in the grave so that we would become one with his risen body through the power & grace of God (1 Cor. 15:42-49 & Romans 6:4).
Christ has labored in the flesh so that we could enter into his labor to find rest for our souls. He died in our place so that we could receive his life (John 4:38). We reap the finished work of the cross (John 19:30). He paid a price that none of us could pay, because weakened by the flesh we could never obey the law, because it was spiritual, and we are carnal beings (Rom. 8:3)(Carnal means the lustful passions of the flesh, the fallen nature). Jesus overcame our bondage of the flesh that could never enter into the Spirit because of the lustful passions that held us in bondage to the world, satan controlling us through them, causing us to sin (Col. 1:13). So, Jesus, living unstained while in the world from its deceptions and lusts that produces sin, lived only according to the Word of God, being led by the Spirit in the body of man to create in himself a new creation, a new order for us to follow and created in himself the law of liberty which we enter into (Eph. 2:14-15 & Jam. 1:25)
But in order for this seed and the will of God to be able to come to us Jesus had to die so that the seed would reproduce Jesus in us. This is what the scripture 2 Corinthians 5:21 means, “But he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” He died to the weakness of man in the flesh for us so that we could become his righteousness to the world through the Word and Spirit (1 John 4:17)
This seed is received by the faith God gives us at conversion (2 Cor. 4:13). The seed is resurrection life, it’s the life of the glorified Christ in us through the power of God. Faith is Jesus in the believer. For us to receive the truths of God we need to dive into his Word. The Word is our foundation for everything, in it is the life (Luke 6:47-48). The life of Christ. Our soul needs to be delivered from its own strength so that it can receive the strength of God (Gal. 2:20). Through surrender we say “I put off my will for yours Lord, Have your way in me Jesus.”
Christian, let us enter into the Word and allow the Spirit to have his way in us through the separating power of Gods sword (Heb. 4:12). The Word is for the heart, which is the center of the soul. The Word is the breath of God imparted into the soul of the believer to no longer have life in himself, but Jesus. Let the Spirit reveal Jesus in his Word, He loves to reveal him. Put off the old, put on the new (Col. 3:5 & Col. 3:12-14) The blood has made it all possible. Let grace empower his Word to change you, receive it in your heart (Heb. 13:9) It is all through yielding and surrendering to the Word & the Spirit who apply the finished work (John 6:63 & 1 John 5:8 & Hebrews 10:14).
Philippians 1:6- “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Pray with me, “Jesus, you are the rock of my life. The foundation for my every movement. I ask you to have your way in me. Thank you, Holy Spirit for the way that you apply the Word of God & the finished work of Christ in me. Lord teach me your ways, the truths of the Word, and I surrender to them and receive them that you may have your full effect on me. My soul is yours, fill me with your Truth & Spirit. Enlighten my heart and enlarge it to see the kingdom clearer and to walk out the truth of your Word. All I know is your faithful Lord, and I trust you, and I want others to know you and your love. Thank you for living in me Jesus, for making me your fragrance in the world wherever I go.”