-Many a times, the idea of a disciple has been so religionised that people forget whatever ideas or interpretations they have of a disciple, it must make Jesus central—because our whole lives as believers is to be lived OUT of the perfect and finished work of the cross. John 8:31, “If you abide in me, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” So what causes us to abide in Him? The knowledge of the truth. What truth? I submit to you it is the truth of His grace. For the law sent by Moses, but grace and truth CAME by Jesus Christ. A gift can be sent, but the intimacy is on a different level when the individual comes personally to you. And if this was the law, then it would be a redundant statement because most of the people then, knew the Torah by heart. Yet, it couldn’t help them. Why? It’s called the ministry of death. Which means there’s a ministry of life? How do you get into that ministry of life? By believing on Jesus and receiving the gift of righteousness by His grace. You cannot make the effects of the ministry of life to happen though, like working of Miracles. Such works happen by faith, but for you to have faith you’ll need to know who you are in Christ and your authority in Christ which gives you power to perform even greater works than He did while He was here. Yet by His power and wisdom working in us and through us, to the glory of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
-In the beginning of that chapter 8 of John, Jesus Himself, destroyed the religious pride of the Pharisees who brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, in order to see what He would say. And these words came out to them from Him.. “He who is without sin among you throw the first stone.” Now no one could, because they all had sin. Yet the sinless One among them who could did not—because He wasn’t sent to destroy, but by Him all who would be saved that believe. He says these powerful words to this woman, “neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Leaders, you cannot expect someone to manifest the gift of righteousness until you have faithfully delivered the truth of no condemnation in Christ. (Romans 8:1 NASB). And our no condemnation is not based on our walk it’s based solely on the finished work of Jesus.
-Luke 9:23-24, Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever desires to lose his life for My sake will save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”
Now as earlier stated, the interpretation of this verse must glorify what Jesus has already done for us. Because He said, “IT IS FINISHED!” How then do you take up your cross daily? Well what does the cross signify? Firstly, it’s the place where we died with Christ to be again risen with Him for our justification. Secondly is where our diseases were borne, for by His stripes we are healed. And thirdly its the place of divine exchange, because at the cross, Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor 5:21).
-Therefore, to take up our cross daily is to everyday live our lives with a fresh revelation of the gravity of the cross in whatever situation we find ourselves. As a leader in the church, you want to see God move in your congregation and work miracles among your sheep. But how do you get that to happen? You serve them as Jesus did, but you do it with a revelation of your righteousness in Christ by faith alone, the truth of no condemnation in Christ Jesus and that the Lord is constantly supplying the Spirit and constantly working miracles(Gal 3:5). Feed them with the love of God for them in Christ and all that Jesus has done for them. The disciples on the Emmaus road, were so introspective not even understanding who Jesus is, what He has done and how that affects them as believers. So what did Jesus do? He expounded even from the Old Testament, “things concerning Himself.” It’s not about us people, it’s about Him: His glory, His beauty, His strength, His salvation. Our part is to receive by faith. We cannot earn something so priceless and great. Therefore Paul asks this?! Does our Abba supply our need by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? That’s why If you being justified by faith try to be justified by the law, you have fallen from grace. You don’t fall from Grace when you sin because where sin increase, GRACE SUPERABOUNDS!
-To enjoy God’s constant supply, which is the whole essence of grace: Unearned, undeserved, favour. Because law means man working and mans efforts be it towards God or for any area of our lives, because when you’re banking on your self, you’re stressed. And stress is a curse from the garden. The law blesses when you deserve and curses when you don’t deserve. Because what tree did Adam and Eve eat? It was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of good and evil leaves those under it with a burden of going by our fallible senses to “do good, and avoid evil.” Where as under grace, when the Holy Spirit fell, they spoke in other tongues testifying of the wonderful work of GOD! God became the focus not man! Forget yourself! That’s why when Jesus says, ‘deny yourself,’ He is saying, forget about what you think you can do to please God, because you’re already so pleasing to God by virtue of being in Christ and having on you His robes of righteousness which are a gift. Many a times people want to try to please God and when they fail, they condemn themselves and have a negative outlook on their relationship with God. Hey, if your sin is bigger than God’s grace, then He is not God. Sin has already been punished at the cross, so become righteousness conscious! Deny yourself! Forget your strength! Like Paul I glory in my weakness and smallness, for it is in my weakness that the perfect strength of our Lord Jesus Christ shows forth. As He is so are we in this world, (1 John 4:17).
-Let’s go back to John 8, where He tells His disciples to abide in Him and to abide in Him is to continue in true grace and I’ll show you that from the context that’s what it’s saying. Jesus began that chapter with shooting down the pride of the religious leaders who sought to condemn both Jesus and the woman. And you can see that to the prideful He condemned, but to the adulteress who is a sinner, He gave the gift of no condemnation which is a gift of His grace and the power to overcome sin. Now in that whole chapter discourse, He always endeavoured to point everything back to God the Father, even though He(Jesus) is God. He was not proud and did not consider His deity, but walked aa lowly man showing forth the heart of God. Everything about Jesus is a manifestation of God’s heart which He prophesied to man in the garden. And that’s the same thing we do today. Whatever word we give from the bible, it must glorify Jesus and the cross. For without the cross there’s no salvation. You must never leave out Jesus in the context of the cross because people do that and paint a legalistic picture of Jesus which is falsehood and doesn’t glorify the Father as a GOD of love who delights in mercy or you can say grace.
-Luke 9:25, talks about the futility of living life for yourself, forgetting that your sin of unbelief will not allow you enter heaven. And how does that tie in? Well, there are people who preach that, you can lose your salvation and you have to watch yourself if not you’re doomed. Does this glorify what Jesus has done? Or is the focus back on our works? You answer for yourself. Anyway, for this reason we see a lot of dead works in the body of Christ and those believers never knowing if they have lost their salvation or whether God even loves them, get into depression and frustration. Their souls therefore not prospering and they don’t enjoy the victorious life of living out of the supply that Jesus brought by the cross. Then for the world that is lost, they do everything they think will satisfy their soul, except receive the salvation that Jesus brought for them. Psalms 91:16, with long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation(Yeshua), and you know that Yeshua is the name of Jesus. Which means how do you walk after we are saved? Everyday we pick the cross, which means to be satisfied with our salvation in Christ Jesus and from knowing our identity and Christ and flowing with the Holy Spirit in this faith walk, then we can follow Him, working effectively in His name. But not out of our faith, strength, or righteousness. The life we now live, we live by the faith of the Son of God who loves us and gave Himself for us.
-Do you aspire to be disciple? Well you desire in a good thing. But how to get there? Only by grace through faith. Daily revelations of your righteousness in Christ, your forgiveness in Christ, the truth that the Lord is always supplying the Spirit and working Miracles, for our Abba is always working all things together for our good. It is not a life of feelings, it’s s life of faith. You died to sin in Christ, and have been raised up to righteousness in Him. Your part is to only believe and walk in that faith righteousness. As you grow in the realization of your identity in Christ and what God your Father has made Jesus to be for you, you’ll experience the manifestation of what God is always working in you, but is not received due to lack of faith. And how does faith come? Faith comes by continually hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. Without faith it is impossible to please God, but what faith is this? Well I submit to you, this is justification by faith, because look at the context from Hebrews 11:3-6. By faith Abel brought a lamb, a type of Christ, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous. It’s not the lamb itself that makes righteous, but what God has made It signify in His eyes. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Therefore, for you today that believe on Jesus, you’re forever forgiven. Because, the blood of Jesus unlike the blood of bulls and goats, has a lasting and effectual power in it. Not just to salvation, but to healing, wholeness and all manner of blessing in Christ which glorify God and prove to the lost, that our Lord Jesus is truly alive!
-In conclusion I only have this to say. “Let the Lord be the focus of your walk not your faulty feet, and before you know it, with your hand in His. You’ll have reached your destination.” May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine and upon you and be gracious to you, and may your revelation of His love and grace be full. And I pray the Lord gives you aggressive peace that guards your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen.
Resting on the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ at the cross, and the faithfulness of God our Abba.