Tag Archives: thief

Sermon 151 – The Cross or the World

My family was talking about Jesus, when out of the blue, my 10-year-old granddaughter asked me a question … “how come people get sucked into the world?”

I thought for a second and replied … “they don’t. We’re all born into the world and we all love the world. What you have to do is get out of it”.

Why do we struggle to leave the world?

Obviously, the world has a powerful pull or Satan wouldn’t have enticed Christ with it. The world runs in our blood. To be saved, you need a blood transfusion with Christ’s blood. This can only happen with a cross.

The pleasures of the world, the ease of the world, the supply of the world, the striving for people’s value and favour, and the fear of failing or looking bad are too enticing to our pride, and even the hurts of the world tempt us to blame Jesus so we can justify staying in the world and squash the guilt.

How do you know if you’re in the world or out of it?

Perhaps a question that will shed light on the above question is … who do you blame for your cross? For your hassles? For your problems?

Your reaction on the cross will tell you what world you’re in … earthly or Christ’s.

The unrepentant thief blamed Jesus for not fixing his problem. The repentant thief took the blame for his sin. Jesus, Himself, never blamed anyone for his unjustified cross. He held to the Father’s will, not His own, and consequently created a safe pathway for all who will bear His cross.

As soon as you blame someone for your circumstances, you prove you’re just like the unrepentant thief; only interested in getting rid of your cross, and oblivious to your sin.

If you’re stupid enough to blame Jesus for not fixing your cross you don’t deserve to be saved.

If you want to escape the world, it requires a cross

In the modern church, the cross is missing. The world teaches that you can do what you like as long as you don’t hurt anyone. The true reality is that everyone is so desperate for attention and happiness, the world has to set rules so no one gets their feelings hurt. That’s just ‘selfishness’ masquerading as ‘good’.

The church models itself on the same philosophy so it can accommodate the world. But, being good, and caring, and obedient, and nice, and harmonious, is not a cross; it’s actually a graven image of my selfishness. Selfishness just uses ‘good deeds’ to fight for its position above its peers.

Without the cross you won’t recognise your sin; you’ll just talk yourself into your goodness. Without a cross you can’t die and be resurrected to life, and if you’re not dead first, you’re not resurrected. Yes, Jesus paid for our sin and there’s no way we can save ourselves, but without being on a cross you won’t see your sin; you won’t repent; you’ll just blame others for the hassles, and you won’t see the unjust punishment Jesus paid for your salvation. Without a cross you’ll just practice the religious ritual of good works, hoping that God’s looking.

Which cross are you on?

There are four options at calvary. Watching Jesus on the cross, Jesus on the cross and one of 2 thieves on crosses. You can’t be Jesus; you have to be one of the thieves, or someone watching. Most watching, mocked. One thief took responsibility for his sin and was saved. The other said ‘fix it’. Which one are you?

The false church teaches that Jesus died on the cross for your sin. Just repent and believe and you’ll be saved. This is half-true. It doesn’t teach that you are a thief on a cross with an option to choose to see and own your sin, or on the other hand, tell Jesus to fix your hassles.

If the thief had not been on a cross, he would not have seen Jesus nor owned his sin before Christ, and he would not have been saved. As hard as it was, the cross was his salvation.

You may be standing and watching Christ on the cross, even as a disciple, but you are not saved until you own your sin on a cross of humility, embarrassment, put down and sin exposure before Christ (Luke 22:32).

Only one person was saved that day

The only person who got saved that day was the repentant thief. None of the disciples got saved. They didn’t even know what was happening. They argued over who was the most important. They couldn’t even believe Jesus had risen from the dead. They each had to face the cross of their sin before they could truly repent and then serve Christ for Him and not for themselves, even though they had been walking personally with Him (Luke 22:32).

The 1st cross of embarrassment and failure is where you face your sin and look to Christ to save you (without any self-effort), then give up myself and be resurrected to new life. Baptism is the physical expression of this death and resurrection. The 2nd cross is what you carry for Christ as His witness and disciple. No true disciple can avoid this pathway.

After your death through a cross exposure, the pathway of Christ’s persecuted cross is the same pathway for all who will live Godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12). No wonder, few want to know the real path to heaven.

If you can’t see yourself as the thief on the cross, then you’re not saved. All your goodness is just filthy rags used to preserve your reputation and worldly position.

The cross is where I see my sin, not others’ sin

None of us are Jesus, we’re all thieves. We don’t bear a cross because we’re good, but rather, like the thief, because we’re sinners. If you think you’re carrying a cross because you are good, you’re not saved. The only way you can be free from bearing your cross is when you die to your pride and own your sin. It’s only after death that you’re free from your cross; but you’ll then have the honour to bear Christ’s cross for Christ; but then, Jesus is bearing it with you.

Everybody is trying to please Jesus without going through the cross

Most Christians think the cross is something you have to wear to prove you’re a good Christian; but it’s not. It’s what you have to bear until you see that you’re the sinner and you deserve your cross, and the only way off the cross is to ask the Lord to ‘remember’ you, not prove you are good or that you shouldn’t be there.

The cross is an embarrassment. Everyone is looking at you and mocking. The cross is a humiliation to our pride. The cross is painful to our hurt feelings. The cross is a loss of status … all opposite the current false prosperity indoctrination. Prosperity is not a cross. If you give to get, if you do good to get, it’s not a cross; it’s gambling.

I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me … Galatians 2:20

Everyone’s doing, not dying

If it is something that you have to do, then you prove you are not on the cross, because you can’t do anything on a cross, except admit that you should be there. If you’re on a cross then God’s trying to save you. If you’re not on the cross, then you can’t get saved. If it’s the pathway for both the Master and the thief, then it’s the pathway for all sinners who will follow the Master (Matthew 10:24,25).

Christ’s cross is a daily exercise

If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me … Luke 9:23

The false church (the tares) teaches that Jesus paid the price for your sin; He shed His blood; just accept this fact, say sorry for your sin, and you’ll be saved.  This is half-true. What’s missing is, a cross. The church promotes penance and good works, but there’s no death-to-self-cross in the churches’ picture, just a looking for God to fix my problems, bless me, and provide all my needs because He already paid the price for you so you can bask in His blessing.

Whoever doesn’t bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple … Luke 14:27

The fake Christian believes they’re free from the world so they can enjoy its offerings without conscience. This modern humanistic church system believes that if you are caring, helpful, and nice to people, then that proves you’re saved, so you can stay in the world and believe you are exempt from its influences and its future punishment, and you’re free from the consequences of the ten commandments, just keep them in your heart. It brands and mocks ten commandment keepers, especially 7th day sabbath-keepers, as legalistic, conveniently ignoring the fact that God Himself established the principle at creation, and Jesus Himself kept the principle during his 33 years on earth, and that it was the Romans, not God, who changed it to Sunday. This false church follows the Roman feasts of Easter and Christmas and looks down on those who honour God’s feasts of Passover and Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). It’s the false church that will oppose the faithful (Rev. 12:17, Galatians 4:29), and it already is.

The anti-Christ is coming

This generation is happy to worship Him; they want to feel good; they want to look good; they chase happy feelings; but they don’t want a cross; it’s easy to be in the church. They love the pleasures of the world and the church is not discouraging it, but rather promoting it, and tolerating the sin so it can retain its numbers and money, and calling the tolerance, love. Consequently, the world is gaining ground and the church is losing ground.

You can’t have life without a cross

Cross 1st, Repentance 2nd, Death 3rd, Faith 4th, Life 5th, Christ’s Cross 6th. It’s the cross that separates you from the world (Galatians 6:14).

May God open the eyes of His remnant to be willing and ready to first see their sin and die to themselves, then carry their cross for Christ.

Pastor Anthony McNaughton

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Posted by on November 23, 2020 in cross, Death


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