Summary: The church is filled with people and the health of the church will be determined by the spiritual health of each person working together to shine our Christ-likeness into our hurting families and communities.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CRUCIFIED LIFE
Romans 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: MERIT YOUR FREEDOM
In the last days of the Civil War, the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, fell to the Union army. Abraham Lincoln insisted on visiting the city. Even though no one knew he was coming, slaves recognized him immediately and thronged around him. He had liberated them by the Emancipation Proclamation, and now Lincoln’s army had set them free. According to Admiral David Porter, an eyewitness, Lincoln spoke to the throng around him: "My poor friends, you are free—free as air. You can cast off the name of slave and trample upon it. Liberty is your birthright."
But Lincoln also warned them not to abuse their freedom. "Let the world see that you merit [your freedom]," Lincoln said, "Don’t let your joy carry you into excesses. Learn the laws and obey them."
That is very much like the message Jesus gives to those whom he has liberated by his death and resurrection. Jesus gives us our true birthright—spiritual freedom. But that freedom isn’t an excuse for disobedience; it forms the basis for learning and obeying God. (From a sermon by Christopher Surber, All Things are Possible with God, 8/15/2012)
As I stated last week the subject of the “Crucified Life” is vitally important to the health and real growth of the church.
The church is filled with people and the health of the church will be determined by the spiritual health of each person working together to shine our Christ-likeness into our hurting families and communities.
As we allow ourselves daily to be crucified with Christ, the people around us will see the Christ of the cross shine through us as we light up the darkness.
For this church to be as healthy as possible we must not compromise with the values of this world. We must be determined to set our face like a flint as we strive toward spiritual growth. (Isa. 50:7) But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
To set one’s face like a flint is to be disciplined and not be moved from your biblical convictions. It is all about following in “Christ’s footsteps.”
It means staying away from the unholy influences of the world. It’s about doing the will of God; being loyal to Him and His Truth above all. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matt 16:24
When God call us to follow Him we go regardless of the cost!
No one ask what it cost for you to be a successful athlete or a popular lawyer or a CEO of a major business. We would all agree that the more important the position the higher the cost. When there is little to no cost for you that is usually what its worth.
Our salvation is a free gift from God, but to live the crucified life has a great cost. Are we willing to pay the cost of sacrifice and surrender to His will as we seek to live the crucified life?
The Church’s history is bursting with those who willing pay the high cost of living the crucified life. From Stephen and the Apostles down to modern day martyrs in China, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran and other parts of the world.
In many churches grace is preached, but it has been watered down and has been made palatable so to not be offensive.
The message of Grace preached to this generation has become cheap and people have devoted themselves to their own pleasures.
There is no true call for obedience, personal holiness, self-discipline, cross carrying, discipleship; these are priceless doctrines of the New Testament. They have been put on the back-burner and in many cases made ineffective and mundane in Christianity.
When the true cost of grace is preach as it was to our fathers; it brought men and women to their knees in tears as they recognized the absolute cost of the grace of God, offered to them.
1Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
As we grow stronger and stronger spiritually we become a healthier church. As a spiritually healthy church we can be guided by the Holy Spirit as we fulfill the will of God. As a healthy church we will endeavor to fulfill The Great Commission of Christ to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” Mark 16:15.