Thursday, January 26, 2012

Going Where Christ is Going

Or Choosing to Walk With Him No More

During prayer yesterday morning, the image of a parent and child at the mall came to mind.

The parent tells the young child to stay with them and the child readily agrees.  The parent starts walking and the child begins to follow closely behind.  As they continue through the mall, the child's attention is occasionally drawn away from the parent as he looks around at all of the shiny & noisy distractions.

Pretty soon, the child's steps become slower as more of their attention is captured by the things around them.  If they are not careful, soon the child may find that the parent is no longer in view; that the gap between them has gotten so large he will be unable to hear even if the parent calls out for him.

What must the child do?  Adjust his vision, forget about what is going on around him, return his focus to the parent, and get back in lockstep with the parent again.  And if he doesn't?  He might very well find himself lost.

While not a perfect analogy, my point is that Jesus is moving...and I don't mean in the soulish way where people might say how the "Holy Spirit was mooooving in Church this morning."  I mean that Jesus is always about the Father's business.  Even now, the reason He has a Body still on the earth is because there is work yet to do (John 14:12).

There are places Jesus wants to take you...but will you follow?

Jesus said to take up our cross and "follow" Him.  That means Jesus must be going somewhere.  Now some might say, "Ahhh, you are just being too literal."  Yet He could have just said, "Take up your cross." or, "Take up your cross and follow my example."  But He didn't.  He desires, by the power of His Spirit, to lead us through life in accomplishing the will of the Father.

As a Catholic, I used to perform a ritual every year called the Stations of the Cross.  While most RCC services would last no more than an hour, this one was always assured to be longer as the congregation read through depictions of Jesus steps toward crucifixion (often walking around to different paintings/sculptures depicting the same).  In true Catholic fashion however, these rituals were filled with religious sentiment but very little truth.  Many of these moments of the crucifixion had no basis in Scripture and merely served to embellish that institution's idolatrous traditions.

A number of professing Christians today are walking out the Stations of the Cross, but they are not even Catholic.  They are going through the motions of following Jesus, making every outward appearance of doing so, but are really just living for themselves; according to their own ways and their own understanding.

Yet, there is a path we are expected to take as Christians in following Jesus.  Not in a superficial or merely symbolic way, but in spirit and in truth. 

The Way of the Cross

When Jesus took up His cross, He began an arduous journey towards crucifixion.  Although He had family & friends, they could not walk that road with Him.  Indeed, some were so concerned about being associated with Him that they scattered and were no where to be found.  The ones most prominent in those moments were the ones striking Him, taunting Him, and spitting in His face.

It can often feel that way as a Christian.  You can feel alone as even family members and close acquaintances separate from you because of the Gospel.  The loudest voice can seem to be that of the mockers.  However, it is important that we not be ashamed of God's words (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Romans 1:16, 9:23; II Corinthians 7:14; II Thessalonians 3:14; II Timothy 1:8).  We must stand not only for the word of truth,  but stand for the truth of the word.

What is the difference?  Many people claim to stand for God's word, but do not actually believe what it says; rejecting what they do not like or do not understand in order to suit their own souls.  Standing for the truth of God's word means not trying to dismiss it, diminish its power, or deny its divine inspiration.  The truth of God's word is a sword and will cause division (Matthew 10:34; Hebrews 4:12).  We should expect that.

In going to the cross, Jesus suffered crucifixion by this world.  Likewise, we must be crucified and dead to the world (Galatians 6:14), no longer seduced by its lustful allures and defiled attractions.  This is why we must take up our cross every day.  Each day we must deaden this flesh because the world's job is to stimulate it, and as long as we live in these bodies, we will need to buffet them (I Corinthians 9:27).

So is that it?  We just have to follow Jesus to the cross?  Yes, and no.  Jesus did go to the cross, but his vision was on something else.  There was a joy which lay beyond the cross upon which He focused and it even gave Him strength to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2).  What joy?  The joy in knowing that He was fulfilling the purposes His Father had set before him (John 19:30).  I can do this Father, because it is your will for me and I desire to please you more than I desire to please my own self.

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:10-11

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He struggled to prepare Himself for the way of the cross because it would bring a separation between Him and the Father for the first time ever as He took upon Himself the sin of the world (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).  Jesus looked forward to the joy of having done the Father's will, having honored His words, and having His fellowship with the Father restored (Luke 23:46; John 4:34, 19:30). 

This joy Jesus had is also available to us today.  This is the joy of the resurrected life; being in right fellowship with the Father and doing His will.  This same joy will even give us the strength to endure the trials of the cross, knowing that in such we can walk in resurrection (Romans 6:4, 8:11-17, 12:2; Colossians 2:12-13, 3:1-3; I Peter 3:21).

While it is the cross which makes resurrection possible, it is the resurrection which manifests the power of God in our lives.  We need this power to walk out the Christian life and to be a witness to others in the midst of darkness.  As Paul stated, if there had been no resurrection, then our faith would be in vain (I Corinthians 15:13-14). 

The Mark of the Beast

"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." John 6:66

Anyone who reads the blog will know that numbers are not my thing.  However, I do find it very interesting that this book and chapter of John is "666" (Revelation 13:18).

What we see in this text is a dividing line.  A distinguishing mark between those who continue on with the Lord and those who do not.  What is this line in the sand? Faith in God's words.

In this text, we are told that many of Jesus' disciples departed from Him and walked no more with Him.  Why did they turn back from Him?  They were offended by His words (John 6:60-61).  What did they go "back" to?  The vomit and the mire of the world (II Peter 2:22).  Why did the other disciples continue on with the Lord?  Because they believed in His words (John 6:68).

It is interesting to note that the disciples who continued with Jesus didn't profess any greater understanding of what Jesus had said than those who left.  It is entirely possible that the disciples who remained were just as confused by Jesus' words, "Eat my flesh and drink my blood."  Yet they stayed because - regardless of their level of understanding - they believed that Jesus' words were the words of eternal life.  They believed that His words were the truth.  If we use our own understanding as the barometer for which of God's words are truth, then we will find ourselves like the disciples who departed.

Let me say this plainly.  When a 'professing' Christian casts dispersions on the validity of God's words, you are looking at someone in the throes of apostasy.  When people deny that certain parts of Scripture are God-breathed, they are being prepared by God to fall for a great delusion so that they will be damned (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).  God does not take the dismissal of His words lightly.  There are those who will quibble over the "name" of Jesus, yet think nothing of trampling on His holy word.  I tell you that He holds His words higher than His name (Psalm 138:2).   People, you cannot walk away from truth of God's word and still claim to be a member of God's Church (I John 1:6, 2:21). 

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." I Thessalonians 2:13

Why is it that many are moving away from the word of God as His standard of truth?  They are not going where Jesus is going.  The word of God offends them and they are choosing to walk with Him no more.

When Pontious Pilate stood before Jesus, he asked, "What is truth?" (John 18:38).  He was staring truth right in the face, but could not receive it.  This is what many Christians are doing with God.  Instead of receiving all that is truth - His word, His Spirit, His Church, His Son - they pick and choose what is comfortable for their flesh, not understanding that the spirit and the word agree (I Timothy 3:15-16; II Timothy 2:15; II Peter 3:16; II Thessalonians 2:15).

At some point - and indeed each day and every moment - we all have to decide whether we will follow Jesus.  Will we go where He is going?  Will we "keep" (believe & obey) His words until the end or will we be offended by them and thus turn away from Him?

We may have chosen to do so yesterday, but will we do so today?  We may have decided to follow Him an hour ago, but will we do so now? 

"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD:..." Hosea 6:3a

Thy Word IS Truth Series


  1. Greetings from Washington, DC! This was very insightful and a message I plan to share with everyone I can.

    Just recently, I have been praying to God for an old classmate who "believes in God but doesn't believe that Jesus is the only way to Him."

    The very disheartening thing is that he once believed, obeyed, and loved Jesus. After spending six years incarcerated, he came home with a mind polluted with 5% and Muslim doctrines. After gently asking him what happened and why he no longer believed, he told me simply because he has been exposed to other doctrines (I rebuke Satan over his mind and praying for his freedom).

    You said in your article:

    "People, you cannot walk away from truth of God's word and still claim to be a member of God's Church (I John 1:6, 2:21)."

    I had been praying for the right scriptures to share with him. He still believes in God, but doesn't understand the reason WHY there is a disconnect between Him and God. He's been praying to a God that isn't there (in the sense).

    All of your blogs are always insightful, this one was just what I needed to read...specifically today.

    Hope all is well and that your family is well also!

    Love and many blessings!


  2. Hi Jay,

    I understand what you mean. A couple of days ago, someone was telling me how they were surprised by how many professing Christians reject the Scriptures (either in part or total) as God's words. I am not surprised as I have seen this myself.

    We should certainly intercede for others because Satan will try to deceive anyone he can. We should also be mindful though that there can come a time when a person has so rejected God's truths that He Himself will turn them over to a lie (II Thessalonians 2:12). I am not saying that is the condition of your friend. I am merely pointing out that this is definitely not something to play with.

    Keep going in the Lord Jay! :-)

  3. A timely message once again - I have thanked our Father for sending this message through you - may God bless and keep you.


  4. Amen. This is definitely a timely message. The Lord has been showing me the same thing and showing me the huge importance of guarding my heart against the things of this world. Thank you for sharing.


  5. You got me again sister. Very,very timely for me. Seems I have been running around in the mall quite a bit. I can barely hear Abba's voice but.....I hear it. Thank you, Sister M. Thank you, Jesus Bro Gary

  6. I definitely want to go where Christ is going ! :) Amen

  7. (before i begin please forgive my lack of good typing skills)...i became a christian at age 13 and this year i will be 40. along the way i fell a few times as just men do, but ive never stopped believing that God is true and the only person to be completely trusted. what i know is this... it all comes down to true saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Heavenly Father. it's just like Peter said... Lord, to whom shall we go?only you have the words of eternal life. this kind of faith is saving faith and will stand up in the face of whatever we may face in this life...WHATEVER we may face and this i know. this is where you say though He slay me yet will i trust in Him. when He returns will he find faith in the earth? will we be found in the faith and patience of Jesus Christ? excuses be gone! either we believe or we dont and it's as simple as that! and our actions will bear out whether we have the faith of Christ. if He truly lives in us by faith then the same life He lived over 2,000 years ago is the SAME life He'll live in us TODAY. i know along the way we will fall but He will do what He promised in order to present us faultless before the FATHER and our lives will show forth this process of salvation as we get back up from these falls reaching higher heights and deeper depths with God working ALL things together... as promised. the bottom line is the trumpet is being blown in zion and both wicked and righteous are being warned. this is simple because God's aim is to save we convolute because we want a cloke but there is no cloke. Christ has come in the flesh and just as HE is so are we to be in this present world so... there is no more cloke! we had better work while it is called today and be working out our own salvation, saving ourselves from this untoward generation, washing our garments white in the blood of the closing comment is this, we follow maps to get from point A to point B and the LORD JESUS CHRIST is the only map to eternal life with the Heavenly Father so if that's truly our desire and not pleasing self then we will do what's required, what's neccesary to achieve that end. so much more can be said on this topic but that's all for now. let all of us in Christ go away and come back in power as the word and pastor price has preached so we may be little Christ's proving the good acceptable will of the FATHER. The LORD is coming, will we be ready?.. even so, come Lord Jesus.

  8. Hi Anonymous,

    Amen! It is about saving faith. It is not a one time faith or a faith that continues for a while, but a faith that continues to the end.

    "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." Hebrews 10:38-39

    It is God's work, but we must yield to it.

    Thanks for adding those thoughts.

  9. That is so GREAT @ Anonymous you got saved at 13. I'm 16 its better early then never!! LOL

    @ Latter Day LOL, I want to make it into Gods Kingdom!I know we all do :)


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