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Devotionals    H3'ed 3/23/16

Good Friday -- Humble Triumphalism and the Fellowship of His Sufferings

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Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. -- Philippians 3: 8-11 (NKJV)

We are in the middle of the holiest week in our faith. This week is supposed to really mean something to us. It ought to resonate in our Spirit. The work of the cross. The sacrifice of Christ. The sufferings; oh beloved, the sufferings. I remember being raised Catholic and not understanding why they called it "Good Friday." After all, what they did to Jesus sure didn't seem good. What He had to go through sure didn't seem good. Now as a born again believer I understand that it was supposed to be me on that old wooden cross. The scourging He took was supposed to be mine. The crown of thorns shoved into His brow was supposed to be mine. The spikes through the wrists and feet were supposed to be mine. The spear in the side was supposed to be mine. The sufferings were supposed to be mine but He took them for me and praise God that is good.

The Bible says that God wrote these things down in Scripture that we might learn from them. That the Word of God is good for all teaching and correcting. There are warnings after warnings in the Bible about these end times we live in. Warnings about the Great Apostasy we see occurring within the walls of the church today. Yet despite these we see the falling away intensify as man's defiance before God deepens. Of course they cannot see it. They get dressed up every Sunday and play church. They pay their money to support their apostate church. They deify their pastor and his heresies. They deify their church and worship at the altar of their new building fund. They throw 5% of the millions raked in towards missions so they can ease their souls about how much money is wasted on the esthetic carnality of their church production. I used to wonder how people can do it. How could they openly profess Christ yet participate in the corruption of His bride? Sure there are many who are falsely converted due to the flawed purpose driven model but how can someone genuinely converted be so deceived? Then I am reminded every year during this week how far removed the church is from the sufferings of Christ.

The sufferings of Christ? What are you talking about preacher? Exactly. Of all weeks in the year, this is the one we should hear about the crown of thorns and the blood dripping into the eyes of Christ. We ought to hear about the spear thrust into His side. We should be hearing about the scourging and the carrying of the cross down the Via Dolorosa. We won't however in the vast majority of churches in this country. We will not hear about it on Friday and we certainly will not hear about it on Sunday. We will dance and sing songs of merriment about the tomb being empty and Jesus being alive but nothing about how we got there because the church today is all about the crown of glory. The crown of thorns? Ehh"not so much. Why? Because you can sell the crown of glory. You can market that into a four part sermon series that will sell tapes and DVDs. You can convince the unsaved goats to come back and join your social club by promising them this fantastic crown of glory. That they are destined to reign. That this is their best life now. It is palatable. It is seeker friendly. But beloved, you do not get to the crown of glory without first sharing in the crown of thorns. We do not get to the empty tomb without first stopping at Calvary.

The apostle Paul understood this when he penned the Letter to the Church at Philippi through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Our key verses today reflect these truths and provide further insight for us to consider during this most reverent of weeks. Let's take a closer look at the statements made:

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

The church today is not about loss. It is all about gain. It is about promising all of the carnal desires of our flesh. You want to have your sin and pretend you are saved too? We have the hyper grace preaching of Joseph Prince for you. You want to believe that greed and money are godly? Prosperity preaching on the menu! You want to feel and act justified in the belief that you are actually God? Word faith preachers like Osteen and Meyer will line up for your attention. You want to be able to decide what is important based on your experiences and feelings instead of the Bible? The lying signs and wonders of Bethel and IHOP await you. This is clearly what we have been warned about:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, - 2Timothy 4: 3 (ESV)

This verse says we will seek out and gather around us such teachers. Look how vociferously Christians defend their favorite false teacher. The Bible? Who cares? The slaughtered sheep? Hey, they should have known better. So what are Christians taught about loss? Sacrifice? Suffering? Nothing. That's for suckers. But look at what Paul is saying here beloved. The reason why the carnal things of this world Paul considers loss is that they cannot measure up in value to actually knowing Christ Jesus! I do not mean the superficial fake Jesus we see slickly marketed in churches today. Easter spectaculars to wow the senses and dull the Spirit. One mega church is starting a marriage series this week themed around James Bond. Yeah, that is really grasping the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus. We continue in the key verses:

For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him,

In this simple thought is the secret to the relationship between us and the world versus us and Christ Jesus. The Seeker Friendly Industrial Complex has sold the notion that you can have both. You can have your best life now and eternal life! You can be destined to reign now and in heaven! Except these are cleverly crafted lies beloved. If this is your best life now then by definition you are going to hell. The Bible speaks about the last being first so if you are destined to reign now, do not be surprised if you are not reigning in eternal life. Jesus cannot be any clearer:

And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." -- Matthew 19: 23-24 (ESV)

Beloved this does not have to be material worth either. Anything we value more than Christ can prevent us from entering heaven. Look at the equation Paul outlines for us here. In order to gain Christ we must suffer the loss of all things in this world. Not only that, we must look upon the things of this world as utter garbage. That is what rubbish means! We cannot dance on the fence between the world and Christ. There has to be a clear delineation between the two. That is why the Bible says we can have no fellowship with darkness. We can have nothing in common with this world because it detracts from Christ. The more we are found in the world then the less we are found in Christ.

Yet what does the modern church strive for? Relevance. They seek to be relevant to the very people they need to be different from. They seek relevance with the world which distances Christ be default. They think that they can lure them in with the utter, shameless carnality of the world and them slip them a Jesus "mickey" at the end of service. It does not work that way. If you reached someone with carnality then only carnality will keep them. If you reached them with the Gospel, then Jesus keeps them. The more the church tries to mimic the world, the further Jesus Christ is from that church. The church needs to stop being a whore with the world and treat those things as utter garbage to be disdained. Then they gain Christ. Next in the key verses:

not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith --

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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