Sermons

Summary: Dealing with the fact that Christians can be enemies of the Cross of Christ.

IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT, "YOUR WALK TALKS LOUDER THAN YOUR TALK, TALKS." WHEN IT COMES TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ONE MUST REMEMBER THAT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS PROCLAIMED IN BOTH WORD AND DEED.

PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL IN THIS MANNER IS BOTH A PRIVILEGE AND A RESPONSIBILITY.

SOMEONE ONCE SAID IT THIS WAY, "CHRIST HAS NO BODY ON EARTH BUT YOURS. YOURS ARE THE EYES THROUGH WHICH CHRIST’S COMPASSION IS TO LOOK OUT TO THE WORLD.YOURS ARE THE FEET WITH WHICH HE IS TO GO ABOUT DOING GOOD. YOURS ARE THE HANDS WITH WHICH HE IS TO BLESS US NOW."

DURING THIS SEASON OF LENT, WHEN SO MUCH EMPHASIS IS PLACED UPON THE CROSS THAT JESUS CARRIED AND WAS CRUCIFIED UPON, WHAT BETTER TIME FOR US TO REMEMBER THE RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE TO CARRY OUR OWN CROSSES AS WELL.

IT HAS BEEN WELL OVER TWO-THOUSAND YEARS SINCE JESUS PICKED UP AND CARRIED HIS CROSS, AND SINCE THAT DAY WE HAVE SEEMED TO SLOWLY FORGET WHAT IT MEANT.

HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE EXCRUCIATING PAIN, THE SHAME, AND THE HORROR THAT CRUCIFIXION INVOLVED? HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE REASON JESUS SPILLED HIS BLOOD AND HIS LIFE UPON THE OLD RUGGED CROSS?

IF WE ARE SO SURE THAT WE HAVEN’T, THEN WHY HAS THE CROSS BECOME SOMETHING THAT ISN’T CARRIED, BUT SIMPLY A PIECE OF JEWELRY TO BE WORN? WHY HAS IT BEEN DOWNGRADED TO "CATCHY-SLOGAN" TO MAKE US FEEL GOOD? WHY HAS IT BEEN JUST FLAT-OUT FORGOTTEN?

THE FORGOTTEN MEANING BEHIND THE CROSS IS WHAT MAKES THIS PASSAGE WRITTEN BY THE APOSTLE PAUL SO SAD. THE REASON PAUL WEEPS IS BECAUSE OF HOW NOMINAL THE CHRISTIANS IN PHILIPI HAD BECOME.

THESE "NOMINAL" CHRISTIANS WERE USING THEIR LIBERTIES AS A CAMOUFLAGE FOR LEWDNESS AND IMMORALITY.

CHRISTIANS…OF ALL PEOPLE…WERE THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS. THEY HAD SUCH A DISTASTE FOR SELF-DENIAL THAT THEY COULD NOT BRING THEMSELVES TO "STOOP" LOW ENOUGH TO REACH DOWN AND PICK UP THEIR CROSS. BY THEIR EVIL LIVES THEY BROUGHT SHAME UPON THE SYMBOLISM OF THE CROSS!

WHAT PAUL IS TRYING TO SAY IS THAT THE PEOPLE WERE NOT TAKING CARE OF HOW THEY LIVED. THEY WERE SLOWLY BLENDING INTO THE WORLD. YOU COULDN’T TELL WHO WAS AND WHO WASN’T A CHRISTIAN.

THEIR WHOLE MANNER OF NOT LIVING DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD WAS ACTUALLY A DENIAL OF THE REVELATION OF GOD IN CHRIST, WHOSE SELF-EMPTYING LED TO DEATH ON THE CROSS. IT WAS A BEHAVIORAL ISSUE.

THEY CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS WITH THEIR MOUTH, BUT THEIR LIFESTYLE PROVED OTHERWISE. THIS IS WHY I’M THOROUGHLY CONVINCED THAT CHRISTIANITY IS ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES OF ATHEISM IN THE WORLD TODAY.

CHRISTIANS WHO CLAIM WITH THEIR MOUTH AND WITH THEIR CHURCH ATTENDANCE THAT THEY REALLY ARE CHRISTIANS, BUT THEN GO RIGHT ON OUT INTO THE WORLD AND DENY HIM WITH THEIR LIFESTYLE.

THIS IS WHAT THE UNBELIEVING WORLD FINDS SO UNBELIEVABLE! WE MUST PRACTICE WHAT WE PREACH, BUT NOT VERY MANY WILL.

PAUL SAID, "THEIR GOD IS THEIR BELLY AND THEIR GLORY IS IN THEIR SHAME; THEIR MINDS ARE SET ON EARTHLY THINGS." PAUL WAS SAYING THAT THE FOLLY OF THE WORLD HAD ENTICED THEM AWAY FROM CHRIST.

PAUL WAS REFERRING TO THE CHRISTIANS THAT WERE NO LONGER APPALLED AT THE NATURE OF CHRIST’S DEATH, AND WERE NO LONGER GRASPING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT IT MEANT TO SHARE IN CHRIST’S SUFFERINGS AND TO BECOME LIKE HIM IN DEATH.

THE CHRISTIANS WHO WERE REFERRED TO AS ENEMIES OF THE CROSS REFUSED TO SEE CHRISTIANITY AS A RELATIONSHIP WITH A PERSONAL GOD THROUGH CHRIST.

TO THEM IT WASN’T A RELATIONSHIP, BUT SIMPLY "JUST" A RELIGION THAT WOULD BRING BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES TO THEM PERSONALLY. A "WHAT’S-IN-IT-FOR-ME" CLUB!

IN OTHER WORDS, THE CHURCHES WERE GETTING FILLED WITH LUKE-WARM PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT TAKING THEIR "CLAIM" AS CHRISTIANS VERY SERIOUSLY.

THEY HAD NO PROBLEM SAYING THAT THEY WERE CHRISTIANS, BUT THEY WERE NOT WORKING VERY HARD AT BEING A CHRISTIAN. MAKE SENSE?

SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY, HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT WAS "ADDED" TO THE SALVATION PROCESS. BEING GOOD AND DOING GOOD WAS "GOOD ENOUGH" FOR SALVATION.

NO JESUS, NO CROSS, BECAUSE HUMAN EFFORT WAS CONSIDERED TO BE EQUAL TO WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS. NO WONDER THESE PEOPLE WERE CONSIDERED ENEMIES OF THE CROSS!

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-18, "DON’T TEAM UP WITH THOSE WHO ARE UNBELIEVERS. HOW CAN GOODNESS BE A PARTNER WITH WICKEDNESS? HOW CAN LIGHT LIVE WITH DARKNESS? WHAT HARMONY CAN THERE BE BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE DEVIL? HOW CAN A BELIEVER BE A PARTNER WITH AN UNBELIEVER? AND WHAT UNION CAN THERE BE BETWEEN GOD’S TEMPLE AND IDOLS? FOR WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD. AS GOD SAID: ’…COME OUT FROM THEM AND SEPARATE YOURSELVES FROM THEM…DON’T TOUCH THEIR FILTHY THINGS, AND I WILL WELCOME YOU. AND I WILL BE YOUR FATHER, AND YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE, SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY.’"

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