Friday, December 2, 2011

If You Want Fire, Burn the Cross You Still Carry

One thing kids learn during fire prevention week at school is it takes 3 elements to start a fire: heat, fuel and oxygen. There is a lot of talk of revival fire in the church but with the exception of a few small regionalized fires, many churches are business as usual. If we are not experiencing the fire, perhaps we need to add one or more of the required elements.

The Lord said he will supply the pneuma without limit, which is the breath or Spirit of God (John 3:34) , and he stirs the passion in our hearts (1 John 4:19); but if we are looking for fuel, I propose we start burning the cross we’ve been carrying since we first became a believer.

Whoa! Did that start a different kind of fire in you? Do you think I’m making light of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified? Absolutely not, on the contrary; when we continue to carry our cross, we negate the sacrifice Jesus provided to pay for every kind of sin, injustice and shortfall we experience.

The cross was used as an agent of death; only criminals were subjected to crucifixion as punishment. Jesus was a sinless man, and yet he took the punishment reserved for the most heinous criminals. Some Bible preachers teach Jesus died so we don’t have to and yet, they teach that we have to continue to carry the cross. So which is it? Did Jesus do it, or do I have to carry a cross?

The truth is, Jesus died and we also died with him.

Romans 6:5-6, For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin

Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The sinner, the criminal, the one who deserved punishment by death is dead. Praise God! It’s done, finished, finito, exactly like Jesus said while he was on the cross.

But what about Mark 8:34, you say. What about it? Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him to Calvary so our sin nature would be crucified with him. More than once I’ve heard the first set of instructions and taken off running, only to realize later I didn’t wait to hear the rest of the instructions, which ultimately means I create more work than I should have had. That is exactly what many people in the church have done. We hear the first instruction, “take up your cross,” but fail to hear, “and follow me.” The cross we are bearing is left at Calvary. We have already died, and Scripture tells us we only need to die once (Hebrews 9:27).

I’m shouting in my head because I am so passionate about this. We already died; let’s burn the cross, start the fire and live as if heaven is near.

What cross have you been carrying that you should leave at Calvary?

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