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The Pattern of the Cross

I’m continuing my look at the cross of Christ in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.  It seems that the more I study about the cross, the more I’m drawn to it.

It was on the cross that Christ became our Savior.  It was there that the saving power of the Messiah was released to transform our lives forever.

Salvation is not a one-time thing, but an ongoing process.  It’s a process that all focuses on the work of the cross.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

It all hinges on the Word of the cross.  What we find in the body of Christ is two kinds of believers.  One group is composed of those who are being saved.  They’ve decided to submit to God’s renovation plan in their lives.

They want to see the whole package of God’s provision accomplished in them.  They want not only healing, joy and prosperity; but they’re willing to see righteousness, holiness, and obedience developed as well.  They want to see all the losses of the curse turned around.  To this group, the Word of the cross is the power of God that transforms them into the image of Christ.

There’s another group as well.  These are people who have accepted God’s forgiveness but haven’t progressed any further.  They’ll be in God’s kingdom when they die, but for now, they’re content to live for themselves.

The word, perishing in the verse above simply means decay or loss.  There are those in the church who have chosen the path of decay and loss.

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.  For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:17-18

There’s a pattern that we can follow.  Literally, this verse says that there is a die that has been struck.  A die, in this sense, is a mold for shaping something according to an original pattern.  Christ was the original.

On the cross, He became a pattern for us to follow in the spiritual realm.  There’s a work the Holy Spirit wants to do in us if we will only let Him.

As he went around to all the churches, Paul would give them a pattern of living.  This is what we’re missing in our generation.  We need a pattern to focus our lifestyles around.

Following Christ is not a hobby.  It’s not just one of many pursuits in our daily schedules.  If we serve Christ, then that’s all there is – everything else revolves around that truth.

That’s the goal of these posts.  I want us, as the people of God, to get back to the pattern.  We’ve taken our service to God and turned it into formulas.  Each one has their own little bubble.  Nothing affects anything else.

We’ll teach about the “Ten Steps to Prosperity” or the “Five Steps to Receiving your Healing.”  We’ll talk about how to walk in the power of God or what to do to overcome depression.  Once in a while, we might even hear that we need to become a disciple.  Each teaching comes in its own separate parcel.  Little do we realize that our life in Christ is a package deal.

Everything we do affects all the areas of our life.  My righteousness affects my prosperity.  My holiness affects my relationships.  Everything is intertwined.  That’s why I need the pattern if I’m going to live the abundant life that Christ talked about.

Question: Where do we find the pattern for how we’re to live?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2018 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Gospel is not About Numbers

NumbersWhy do we share the message of Christ?  Is it all about how many people we can get to pray the “sinner’s prayer”?  In my last post I talked about how we are to serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As important as servanthood is, there’s still more to understand about the Good News.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18

As God’s people, we must come to the understanding that we are not sent to merely “get people saved”.  Our goal is to announce the Good News.  When someone accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, that’s only the beginning of the salvation process.  As a pastor of over 20 years I am still “being saved” by the power of the Gospel.  Remember what Jesus said to His disciples.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Mark 16:15-16

We are to preach or announce the Good News first, then baptize later.  Our main job is to announce the Good News.  I believe this is the point where we’ve lost sight of what the Good News is all about.

It’s what Paul was talking about in the passage from I Corinthians 1:17-18, above.  Our goal shouldn’t be to “get people saved”.  We are commissioned to announce the Gospel.  According to Paul, it’s sometimes not with words.  It’s not even with wise words.  The reason for this is that words can sometimes neutralize the cross.

How can that be?  Paul continues to explain it to us.  He states that the message is foolishness to the unsaved even though it’s the power of God to us.  So many Christians think that the Gospel is merely announcing the message of the cross.  That’s why so few are turning to Christ these days.  We are trying to win them with what they perceive is foolishness.  There is another way – it’s the way Paul and the early church turned the world upside-down for Christ.

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.
1Thessalonians 1:4-5

The early church brought the Good News with not just words.  They brought the Gospel on the scene with the manifestation of the power of God.  This is what our generation desperately needs to see.

Question: What will it take to once again see God’s power manifest in His people?

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Power of God, The Church, The Gospel

 

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