666 Turning Back
Once the cross comes into focus, many disciples, repeat, d-i-s-c-p-l-e-s stop going to church or find more comfortable preaching. In short, such turn back from following Jesus with many persecuting as they betray eternal life.
The reason so many turned back and no longer followed Jesus at the church where God had me preaching is they refused to be crucified with Christ. God’s servants are like His Son, godly preaching, godly results. It is that simple.
Noting the 666 scripture tells us that as the teaching became “hard”, “many”, as in not a few, turned back and refused to follow Jesus.
What they heard was the reality they too would be required to “walk as Jesus walked.” That a Jesus’ flesh and blood walk would be to some measure required of them. Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6) As we would say, “This is where the rubber meets the road.”
You can bet your bottom dollar those who turned back blamed Jesus for the “hard teaching” and helped to reinforce the lies that Jesus was forming a cult and had a twisted viewpoint concerning the scriptures.
Jesus said only those who feed on Him have eternal life. One has to feed on the very body of obedience and lifeblood of Jesus, walking, suffering, rejoicing, serving, surrendering, learning obedience through suffering, gaining wisdom while selflessly loving others no matter the cost will gain eternal life.
Anyone who claims The Name must strive for a relationship with God just as Jesus had: Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
The cross we feed upon as honest disciples of Jesus will result in the following illustration at the end of this post.
Acceptable verse Cross Christianity
Circumcision was a rite the Jews participated in that made it clear to everyone that they were individuals who worshiped God.
The pressure to adhere to this religious dogma in order to be accepted was so great Paul circumcised Timothy an adult man before setting out on a missionary journey. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. (Acts 16:3)
Paul realized this acceptable norm of what it meant to worship God was compelled by the love from God to perform such a surgery on a grown man in order to be in a position where the religious would listen to the offensive message of the cross. Even today among various denominations there are their acceptable norms, protocols and traditions that must be adhered to if one is to gain an open door to speak.
However, that is far as it goes. Once the door is open Paul preaches not an acceptable outward Christianity but the offense of the cross.
By the way it is the inherent offense of the cross that troublemakers use to poison the minds of others toward the all too real preachers of God.
The Holy Spirit inspired preacher proclaims the gospel as God directs not as religious man would dictate. Indeed, to seek the approval of man is to make one a servant of unclean spirits. As Paul began his letter: Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
If I had sought to please men I would not be a servant of Jesus. As is obvious by now, I do not seek to please men and preached every sermon as the Holy Spirit willed and worked, knowing it could be my last time at the pulpit. Every sermon was a prayerful sacrifice to God mixed with a terrible fear and trembling for words that would please God, not man. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. (1 Corinthians 2:3)
Many do not like the “tone” of “my” preaching and used the offense of the cross to stir up trouble against the true gospel call, but for me, there is no choice. It is to serve God and God alone. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. (2 Corinthians 13:8)
Crucified with Christ
Here is why trouble comes to godly preachers.
Here is the difference between a sheep and a goat.
Here is the root reason for all the slander, hostility and lies.
That is, preach and live Jesus “clearly portrayed as crucified” and your cross carrying life will be slandered while the selfless love will enrage all who are unclean. This is why Paul asked the church in Galatia Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? (Galatians 4:16)
When Paul preached you knew what he was saying. In the same way no one who has taken the time to examine what I preach can possibly honestly claim that they are being “brainwashed.” The message of the cross is so very clear with its demand to give God all, to serve God and God alone, that such slander is in the realm of totally absurd.
One major reason the offensive message of the cross that crucifies us with Christ is rejected is because churches, ministers, authors and individuals desire to make a “good impression.” Their Christianity is a “good impression” outward “circumcision” that others can accept as “proper Christianity.”
Another super-major reason individuals refuse to pick up their cross and follow Jesus when presented with the offense of the cross is because as illustrated below it costs!
Finally, for the moment, the reason many turn back and no longer follow Jesus is because they find out God is serious in the extreme to crucify them with Christ.
Those few who persevere with the offense of the cross as Jesus is clearly portrayed as crucified to them, they will discover a very nice rule. As Paul writes below: Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule.
Yes, Amen to the peace and mercy for all who follow this rule.
To serve Jesus, Jesus said you must follow Him.
And where will He lead but to Jerusalem. Please do not expect God to honor your Christian walk unless you too, in your life, are always heading towards Jerusalem to die upon the cross, to fulfill the fact that when you were baptized you were nailed down as God’s servant and crucified with Christ. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– (Romans 6:4-6)
When Jesus spoke of the cross He never used hidden language, parables or vague notions. Jesus was clear on this matter. The Good Book itself declares that Jesus “spoke plainly” about the cross everyone who follows must pick up. And like Peter many rebuke Jesus and His godly preachers for speaking so clearly about true Christianity. Fortunately, for Peter he humbled himself enough to accept God calling him “Satan.”
He, and all who would follow Him must walk with Him to Jerusalem. It was precisely because Jesus was clear in both word and action that He was leading everyone who would follow to Jerusalem where the cross awaited Him that He was not welcome.
Preacher if you are really going to present Jesus “clearly” crucified as the Holy Spirit directs and empowers do not expect very many invitations to come speak at the next church service or Christian event.
What say you?
Do you welcome Him who is leading you to Jerusalem to be crucified with Him?
Crucified feeling the whipping of deep conviction over sin and God’s daily disciplines? For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
Crucified having your prideful and impure thoughts wounded. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16)
Crucified with Christ in a way the worldly and rulers mock and spit upon the majesty of the Jesus you love and the holiness of your walk. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: (Psalm 22:7) Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. (Psalm 119:23)
Crucified with Jesus out in the public for the good of others where your blessing is blessing the unthankful. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. (Luke 23:28) Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. (Hebrews 13:13)
Crucified in such a manner that the Holy Spirit nails down your religious prayers and works so that the prayers and works of God can be done. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. (Romans 8:26)
Crucified feet that keep you from doing what you want to do. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. (Galatians 5:17) Not going where you want. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:15) Stopping you from being swift to sin? “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:15-18)
Crucified so that you feel burdened and weak as you attempt to live the Christian life. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:4) Always carrying around in our flesh the crucified death of Jesus so that His resurrected life may be revealed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:10)
Crucified in Jerusalem that is a result of following the voice of God in all things no matter how small or large. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:49-50)
Do this and you will never, ever, be taken in by any man.
You will not even be taken in by the man you are now following – namely – yourself.
If anyone does not love the Lord–a curse be on him.
Come, O Lord ! (1 Corinthians 16:22)
The crucified with Christ life is the only way to live a life of love.