Highlighted New Testament Bible

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

St Matthew, Cahpter 16, verse 24, The Cross of Man: Death!:

Our paragraph topic is:  (The doctrine of the cross) Part 1.   

Christ rebuked Satan in his attempt to thwart the will of God.  Now it was time to rebuke man and instruct him as to God's will for all mankind.  Christ came that man could have life.  Christ came that man would no longer suffer the fate of judgement.  Christ came that man would be lifted up from the judgement of sin and restored to sanctification through his sacrifice.  And Christ came to cancel the actions wrought by Satan in deceiving Eve and Adam to go against the will of God.  For God declared that disobedience would bring death to man.  And death, which did not exist before, entered the world through that disobedience.

And when time was fulfilled Christ gave up his heavenly throne and became man.  He gave up all his power and glory and majesty so that man may be redeemed.  He became a pauper instead of a rich man.  But this transformation was not enough.  There had to be temptation by Satan.  There had to be torture by evil.  There had to be torment by the minions.  There had to be morning and weeping and pain.  And finally there had to be death. 

And this was the example set by Christ as to the path of sanctification and glorification through him.  Man must suffer.  Man must be tempted.  Man must have pain, and morning, and weeping and finally death.  Man must have his cross.  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Follow me, he told his disciples and the people around him.  He gave them the path to follow.  He gave them directions.  He showed them the way.  Take up your cross.  Deny yourself.  Follow me, he told them.  He spoke to them then, just the same as his words tells us today.  Deny yourself!  Deny myself is not what most want to hear today.  For there is so much for us to have.  There is so much for us to want.  There is so much for us to see, do experience, to live, to enjoy in this life, in this world.  Why then should we deny myself?  Why then should we give up having all that is for us to have, simply because Christ said to do so some two thousand years ago? 

We live in a world where all pleasure and desire is placed at our feet if we just seek it.  We are led to believe that simply by our hard work, devotion to the principles of this world, that we can have all that we desire.  For, there are ample examples of those who have made it in this world and live a life of joy and pleasure.  Or so we are told and led to believe.  And death awaits us all.  Death stands by in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to steal us away from this good life. 

We live our lives in fear of death.  We live our lives attempting to protect ourselves from the uncertainty of death.  With enough wealth we can have the right doctors, lawyers, and specialists that will keep us alive and healthy to enjoy the potential of the good life.  Non would seek to conquer death.  Non would seek to challenge death.  Non would enjoy the prospects of what death brings for fear of loosing the potential of the good life here on this rock.  And yet this is what Christ instructed us to do.  Take up your cross!  Take up your death and embrace it with joy!  For it is through death that we are transformed.  Christ gave us that belief, that certainty, through his resurrection.  For through him we have life.  Through his sacrifice, through his death, and through his resurrection, we have life eternal.

Follow the example.  Take up your death and embrace it.  Take up your cross and enjoy its meaning.  For through it and with it one comes home to the Father.  Through the cross one has life and life eternal.  Through death, the cross, the love of the Father awaits all who follow Christ in this life.  He awaits your decision.  He awaits your choice, for the choice is yours.  Choose the world or choose Christ.  Choose life or choose death.  Choose eternal joy and happiness or choose suffering and eternal damnation.  The choice is yours.  Come!  Follow the path set before you.  You have come this far to this point in reading this message.  Take the next step and know the truth of who you are in Christ.  If you think that the world has joys and pleasures to offer, come know the eternal joy and peace in ChristChrist, your savior awaits.  The Holy Spirit will be your guide and counselor. 

Read the sign of the times! Read the Highlighted New Testament Bible and lift the scales from your eyes that you may see, that you may know, that you may find the truth of who you are in Christ. Read it as though you would read a good book, from cover to cover, and see for yourself. Do not study it in parts reading one passage and then skipping to another, but read it for understanding. Read it for knowledge. Read it for faith. Read it that your eyes may be opened, that your ears may hear, that your heart may be filled with the light of Christ. The Holy Spirit awaits you. Christ seeks to know you. Open the door and let him in!

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