(02/21/2016) Without Preaching The Cross?

Posted: February 21, 2016 in Christ, Doctrine, Duty of Believers, Gospel, Jeremiah, Jonah, Prophecy, Salvation, The Bible, The Holy Spirit
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The duty of Christian believers to continually acknowledge and preach the cross is in view, today.  Preaching the cross is mandatory, not a matter of private opinion, or personal preference.  Even so, I have allowed the content of questions asked to determine the ministry provided through this sacred writings blog.  (Of the 1,112 blog documents I have published on the Internet, only 16 have a search tag “the cross.”)  We avoid preaching the cross using the excuse that we don’t want to make trouble, or embarrass and offend those who don’t believe.  On the one hand, it is to be agreed that it is useless to preach the Gospel to those who are dead in spirit, who defy the condemnation of GOD, and who are beyond the operations of divinity to establish them also as having place in the new creation through Jesus Christ.  Such persons  will be argumentative, contentious, and un-teachable.  Yet, there is no greater message to express divine love, and renew human hope for the necessary responses from GOD that are salvation.  Those seeking to freely give without first having truly received from GOD are to be avoided, for what they seek to share is lacking in power.  Where a believer has only a knowledge of the cross to share, they still can bestow upon others a vital key for entering the kingdom.  Once more the prayer of the church must be for boldness.  Consider again the Scriptures that follow, and the presentation below:

Matthew 7:  6, King James Version (KJV):  6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 27:  24-26, KJV:  24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person:  see ye to it.  25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.  26 Then released he Barabbas unto them:  and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

2nd Timothy 3:  1-5, KJV:  1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:  from such turn away.

1st Corinthians 1:  21-25, KJV:  21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.  22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:  23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;  24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Acts 4:  26-31, KJV:  26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.  27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,  28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.  29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings:  and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,  30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.  31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

A fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Jonah” (Level 1 with no points shown, a member since April 22, 2015) posted the following:

 

I am a Baptist minister. Should I preach a sermon on Isaiah 20 while wearing just my boxers?

In Isaiah 20, Isaiah preaches naked, so I think I should preach on Isaiah 20 wearing just my boxers.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him:  and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?  They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.  He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.  And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (Luke 9:  18-26, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Bridge To Heaven (01/27/2016); Christ A Curse? (01/25/2016); The Scale of Salvation? (12/13/2015); The Meaning not the Object (05/26/2015); Power Against Sin? (04/12/2015); The Agony of Death? (03/22/2015); Gall Refused on the Cross? (03/20/2015); On Saying the Truth? (12/18/2014); What is Truth? (12/19/2014); Prophetic Demonstrations (09/06/2013); Why GOD Prayed to GOD (09/07/2013)

 

“Jonah”, in a recent email letter to describe my current activities to one of the fellows from my days on campus in New England, I stated that I have behaved like Jonah (who fled to Tarshish when commanded to leave Joppa, go to Nineveh (called the Robber City) and preach repentance to the captives, exiles, Gentiles and heathen there).  Like many, I have deliberately and repeatedly been trying to avoid the Christian duty to “preach the cross.”   Yet, there is no other message, or saving truth at the same or higher level.  Instead of proclaiming the cross as the heart and soul of sacred knowledge and truth, my behavior has been like that of many in the church—compromise, elaborate excuse-making, evasion, and self-promotion.  As a result, what I’ve had to say to others has been without the power to change lives, heal, or truly nourish the imparted Spirit.

It is increasingly important for us to acknowledge and review the cross daily in some way:  conversation, meditation, prayer, study.  Many Christian believers are making the cross an annual event, a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, and a “private moment” sealed away within their own awareness.  However, the presumption, destructive pride and selfishness of our nations are continued by our not speaking of the cross.  Too often, we seek to interact on the basis of “safe issues” and secular knowledge.  Too many times we assume we already have, and completely understand everything we need for our own individual salvation.  Some oppose learning and teaching the cross accounting it the same as wearing a hair-shirt, or self-flagellation.  Embracing the cross is despised as a bloody and cruel darkness that depresses and frightens believers by unnecessary threats of violence.  The cross is feared as a source of bad dreams, insomnia, and nightmares; and there are men who see themselves protecting their families against the cross as doctrine that should be “X-rated”, labeled as gore and horror, too strong for women and children.  Believers must overcome fear by taking up the cross before they will bear fruit from the crucial teachings on topics such as torment, the Lake of Fire, and the second death.

Dodging the cross we preach “Black lives matter,” Civil rights, voter registration; Giving, sowing, and the $1,000 dollar seed; “celebrating with Santa Claus and Christmas trees is idolatry;” “Sabbath is not Sunday;” “the Pope is Antichrist;” feed the Hungry; house the Homeless; save the Aquifer; Save the Children; Save the Dolphins; Save the Earth; Save the Environment; Save the Whales; Support Disabled Vets; Traditional Marriage; Transgender Tolerance, Wear a Pink Ribbon; etc., etc.  

Jesus upon the cross is a scene from eternal judgment that also reveals mercy, the excellence, power and divine strength established by the gift of GOD that is life as well as the oneness and unity of full divine person.  The crucifix continues to be an import tool to help some envision the cross.  Many feel the cross argues against intelligence, is barbaric, and “uncivilized”.   For them preaching the cross is condemned as callous manipulation that introduces and maintains emotionalism, hysteria, and sentimentalism.  Even so, in the language of the Bible, mature believers hold the following to be sacred truth:

(1.)  1st Corinthians 1:  18, King James Version (KJV):  18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God..

(2.)  1st Corinthians 2:  1-5, KJV:  1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

(3.)  Mark 15:  31-33, KJV:  31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.  32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.  33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

There is far more to be said, understood, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Galatians 2:  19-21, KJV:  19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  21 I do not frustrate the grace of God:  for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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