GOD's ARMY, CONTENDING for the FAITH
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murjahel

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TESTED AND REWARDED

 

Matthew 10:37-42

37 He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.

40 He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.

41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

 

 

Verse 37

He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me

To love anyone, or anything more than the Lord, is breaking the first commandment. Yet, in life, the loves, desires, hopes, dreams, can fight for preeminence in our hearts.

 

One time some many years ago, I had been going through a tough time, and on a short trip one day began to pray, or should I say 'complain' to God. In my prayer, I uttered in frustration, 'Where are You, God!?' Suddenly, God answered: "I am right here, where have you been?' I began to weep, for I realized that God had not left me, I had become too far from Him. I had let things and people in my life distract me from the love and worship I should have been giving Him.

The hindrances of life, the cares of this world, can so distract some of us, that we forget to come to worship and adore Jesus far in excess of any other person or thing. Some backslide totally, lose their love for God and for mankind, become self centered and do not even desire God. The overcoming of those hindrances that brought either of those conditions, needs handled.
There is the old story of the boy who sent his girlfriend a letter. It read: 'I'd swim the deepest ocean, climb the highest mountain for you. By the way, I'll be over tonight if it does not rain."

That is the kind of devotion some give to God too. They make verbal commitments, but the circumstances of life seem to prove their loving declarations to be far short of verbal commitment.

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We have commandment to love God supremely. Yet, some love Him when convenient. Some love Him if the 100 fold blessing comes right now, and not awaiting in heaven. Some love Him if there is no problem, no trial to be battling. If we want to be in intimate fellowship, we have to love Him supremely. Loving Him that way has us to separate ourselves from that which drags us down.

1 John 2:15 (KJV)
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


Then we need to surrender all to the Lord.


Matthew 16:25 (KJV)
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.


And we need to lay aside the weights, the distractions, the cares of life that try to keep us from His presence.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

In this sermon of ordination, we find Jesus has shown some hard tests that one ordained into discipleship will face. There will be world persecution, which we are to meet with fearless consecration, fearless preaching, and fearless faith. There will be family persecution which the Lord shows here must be met with putting Jesus first. There will be a daily cross to bear which we can do only if we are walking with, following Jesus in self denial.

 

Jesus continues with this ‘cross bearing’ message.



Verse 38

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me


Jesus often taught the following of Him, bearing our cross.


Matthew 16:24 (KJV)

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.


Mark 10:21-22 (KJV)

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

 

This is quite a challenge, in fact, it is more than that, it is a command. We are to bear a cross. Crosses are heavy, and they are not just a weight, they are a place where we will be nailed, lifted up for the world to mock, and left to die there. Yet, there is also a resurrection for us. We do not bear these crosses to be defeated there, but we bear the cross to go to the victory Jesus has assured us by His cross.

 

Jesus was betrayed by a friend. This broke His heart, and the day that surpasses all previous days of history had begun. Jesus was led to Caiaphas’ house and was falsely accused. Then they took Him to Pilate, and there He was again falsely accused. Pilate questioned Him, and then Pilate sought a way to not have this obviously innocent man to be punished. He gave the people a choice between a feared and hated criminal, named Barabbas, and this Jesus, a healer and teacher of righteousness. The people chose to have Barabbas freed. Jesus was then beaten, spat upon, mocked, crowned with thorns.


CROSS BEARING =
SYNONYMOUS WITH BEING ORDAINED A DISCIPLE

 


Crucifixion was not a mode of punishment of the Jewish people. The Maccabean King, Jannaeus, did use it once to kill over 800 in Jerusalem once. Even the Romans did not use crucifixion until the time of Caesar. During the last siege of Jerusalem 68 to 100 crosses a day were utilized for crucifixions. The soldiers began to amuse themselves with variations of the crucifixions. Crucifixion was of Phoenician origin, and Rome had later adopted it. The punishment was reserved for only those crimes of idolatry and blasphemy.

 

There were three kinds of crosses used. The Andrew’s cross was a large X, the crux commission was a T, and the Latin cross which was a t. Most believe it was the last one, for a sign was posted above the head, and this is only possible with the third one.

 

The location of the crucifixion was called ‘Golgotha’, which means ‘the place of the skull.’ Some think that ‘skulls’ littered the area, and therefore it was called that name. Yet, it was illegal to allow skulls to lay around, so it is likely due to the shape of the hill that the place was called ‘golgotha’. The site is located two to three minutes from the roadway, and it has a high, rounded, skull-like rocky plateau, with a sudden depression beneath, as though the jaws of a skull had opened.

 

The trip to Golgotha, for a crucifixion, began. Six soldiers led by a centurion walked with Jesus. One carried a sign, supposed to notify on-lookers of the crime of the criminal, but Jesus’ sign said, ‘This is Jesus, King of the Jews’. The walk was a long one, walking about the town, so many would see and know the fate of criminals. Jesus was weak from the 39 stripes, the mocking and jeering had weakened His stamina, and the long night of no sleep made Him unable to carry this heavy cross. He fell under the weight of the cross. The soldiers pressed into service a slave from Cyrene, named Simon.

 

The Old Testament had prophesied that the Messiah would be weak in His crucifixion time.

Psalms 109:24-25

"My knees are weak from fasting; and My flesh has grown lean, without fatness– I also have become a reproach to them; When they see Me, they wag their head."

 

 

Verse 39

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it ...


The cross bearing life is one where we deny self gratification often. Surely the Lord wants to bless us, give to us, provide for us, but in our service as disciples to Him, there are often times that life seems to be a cross-bearing life.

 

Whoever lives a life of seeking only self-gratification will lose it; whoever puts to death the human desires, to instead have spiritual goals, will gain true life, and know a peace and joy that passes understanding.

 

Verse 40

He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.


The word ‘receiveth’ is the Greek word, dechomai (G1209), meaning to accept, approve, embrace, give ear to. When the disciples of Jesus are thus accepted, then their message is also accepted as truth. If we preach Jesus Christ and God, both will be received if Jesus is received. If men will not hear of Christ or God, then they do not receive the disciples sent by Jesus.

 

Verse 41

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward


If we accepted a false prophet, who was imitating a true prophet, we would not be rewarded good. If we received such or bids him God-speed we become partaker of his evil deeds.


2 John 1:9-11 (KJV)

9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.



So, we must not every teacher, prophet, pastor, expect to be rewarded. We are judged for the mistake. We are told, "by their fruits ye shall know them" and we are to determine whom to bless and whom to receive. We must to receive, to bless, to be hospitable to the truly righteous.

 

Verse 42

little ones... cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward



The smallest of blessings that we give, even to the youngest of the children of God, if done with the right motive, will be blessed and rewarded.

The reason this is stressed here, is that the ‘cross bearing, persecuted, suffering life we oft times have to endure is going to be rewarded. The cross may be heavy, but the rewards are great.

 

Luke 9:23-26

"And He said to them all: If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whomsoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it."



THE CROSS BEARING LIFE IS OFFENSIVE TO OTHERS,

AND EVEN TO THE CARNAL SAINT.


Galatians 5:11

"Then is the offense of the cross preached."



The offense of the cross has never ceased. To suppose that it would - is absurdity. The religion of Jesus is the most peaceful, mild, benevolent, and yet history has shown it to be the most attacked and hated. The sinners are offended by the cross. The times of the early church were well-acquainted with the cross. The worst of sinners were put upon crosses and were made to die the most humiliating deaths upon crosses. To be told that the Savior of the world, the Son of God, the Messiah, was put in such a humiliating place for our sins was repugnant to those of that day. It offended them.


Mankind has never liked to admit that he has sinned.

Romans 3:23

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."


Mankind deserves death, but they are unwilling to admit it.

Romans 6:23

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."


Mankind is too proud, and wants to cover sin, and wants to call their sins to be mistakes. The cross humbles mankind. To defend against the humbling effect of the cross, mankind takes offense, and is angered by the cross. They consider it to be foolishness.


I Corinthians 1:18-24

"preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish."



People of the early church period wanted to think they could save themselves. People today think likewise. Government cannot save your soul. The United Nations cannot save your soul. No charity can save your soul. Turning over good leaves cannot save your soul.


Sinners of the early church period protested the religion of the cross, and wanted to proclaim that they could be "all right" if they did their best. Any who believe otherwise, are persecuted. Believers are called "old fashioned", "fanatics". Believers in the cross are criticized, called 'weak minded'.

 


I John 3:13

"Marvel not if the world hate you."


Many in Christianity today have also been offended by the cross. Many have done away with songs and sermons on the blood, and on the cross. They reject doctrines on Christ's death and sacrifice for us. They do not want the cross, for they do not want to admit there is a real hell, or sin that could send them there. So many churches preach a bloodless, cross-less gospel. They substitute "social change", "riot", and "marches".


Those in the early church soon began to wear small crosses on a chain or ring about the neck. They loved the cross, they valued what it meant. They wanted to wear such a symbol. Yet, the Lord wants to have us to do so much more than wear just a symbol. The Lord has to us to "take up a cross, and follow Him."


Though the world hated the symbol, though the whole idea of a Savior, a Messiah Who would die such a horrible death was repugnant to mankind, still the saints of the early church proudly wore a small cross around their neck. It meant reproach in greater measure, for it identified them to the world as a believer in the Jesus Who died upon an old wooden cross as a horrible criminal would.


In the Psalm quoted by Jesus while He hung upon the cross, we see how He was feeling at that time.


Psalms 22:6

"But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of people."


We all must bear a cross for our Lord. This will involve suffering, agony, pain, sorrow, etc.


Psalms 31:11,13

"I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance; they that did see me without fled from me ...For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life."


Because of the cross, because of the life we must live for the Lord, and because of the message we must proclaim to this world, we find a cross that is difficult to bear. Our friends will reproach us, our friends will even lie against us, misunderstand what others tell them about us, will believe every lie told about us. They will take counsel against us, plot against us.


Psalms 41:5

"Mine enemies speak evil against me, When shall he die, and his name perish?"



BEARING THE CROSS LIGHTLY


Despite all of the aforementioned, this cross that we are to bear, following our Lord to some personal calvary, is not as heavy as some would pretend.



Matthew 11:30

"My yoke is easy (good), and My burden is light..."


Jesus said that the Pharisees 
"bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne... and lay them on men's shoulders." (Matthew 23:4). Yet, our Lord asks us to bear a light cross. Some of today's congregations are like the Pharisees, and want a religion that is heavy with burdens. Many congregations want Christianity to be hard and troublesome. The early church battled the same tendency. They wanted to make the burden carried by those in the church to be heavier than planned by the Lord.


Acts 15:10

"Why tempt ye God to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"


Some in the early church wanted to make the burdens carried to be heavy. Jesus came to bear our burdens, and told us to do what He did. Therefore, we should be trying to lighten the burdens of others, not adding to the burdens. Some add rules, regulations, laws, and heavy weights to the faith. These are not the ‘crosses’ we are to be carrying, and if we add all those to the ‘crosses’ we are bearing far heavier crosses than Jesus ever intended.

 


Matthew 11:28

"Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden."


We are told to 
"learn of" Jesus. The Lord Jesus is called "Rabbi"(teacher) 80 times in Scriptures. He is a great Teacher. Jesus can teach us much. He tried to teach us how to carry a cross, but to carry a light, non burdening cross.


Jesus said:

John 14:1

"Let not your heart be troubled!"


The cross should not make us be troubled. The same burdens carried by some saints are carried lightly, as others carry those burdens as though they are so very heavy.


Notice how willingly Paul carried his cross.

I Corinthians 4:12-13

"And labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the offscouring of all things unto this day."


The reason some can carry the cross so lightly is the same as that of a miser carrying a bag of heavy gold coins. He seems to bear the load lightly, for he values the heavy weight. A person who is lifting shovel after shovel of dirt and rocks as he digs up a treasure, does such with joy and anxiousness. The weight did not make him avoid the heavy work. It is the idea of the value of weight that makes the difference.


Paul said:

"I glory in mine infirmities.".


He had learned the value of the burdens that he carried. As hard as it is to realize, we need to comprehend that the Lord's
"yoke is good". There is good in the burden of the cross that we bear.


II Corinthians 4:8

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed."


Moses had to choose to bear the cross of shame and reproach for God. He had to choose that life over a life of riches, ruling Egypt, and power. It could have been a difficult decision, but Moses made the right decision.


Hebrews 11:25-26

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of reward."


The Lord wants us to bear a cross.

Luke 9:23-26

"And He said to them all: If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whomsoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it."


After we have borne a burden, and the Lord has delivered us through it, we can usually see the good that came from it. But the Lord wants us to realize as we are still bearing the burden, that it is good. Faith can move mountains, and faith can make our cross, our yoke, and our burdens be lightly borne.


One key to the realization of such is to learn to submit willingly to the cross. Some will struggle against it, and fight to not carry it. But if we willingly submit to the cross that we bear, we will find that it is only a light cross. It may look heavy, and burdensome, but our faith upholds the heaviest burden lightly.


The happy ending may be years away, the suffering may still be counted good, because we know, in faith, that God will make all things "work together for good." Faith will still work in the dark, and when we can in the natural see no way for things to work out.


II Timothy 1:12

"For the which cause I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."


Everyone has some kind of burdens, but only the Christian has "good" burdens.

Romans 8:28

"All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose."


Meekness is bearing a heavy burden lightly. The Lord told us to "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly." Christ bore a heavy burden and bore it meekly. He wants us to be like Him. If we reluctantly resolve to bear the burden only as long as we must, we are not meekly bearing the burden. Anxiousness to not bear your cross makes it heavy. To struggle to get rid of the cross makes it heavy. To scoff, sneer, and scorn the burdens makes them heavy. We need to learn to be content, no matter what state we find ourselves in. When we become happy for the cross, when we rejoice in our sufferings for our Lord, the burdens become light.


I Peter 3:14

"But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled."


I Peter 4:14

"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified."


Meekness is an unnoticed virtue. It is so quiet that we do not find others praising us for it. Christ bore His burdens so lightly, and happily, that the disciples kept thinking that they were going to Jerusalem to install Him as King and Messiah, but He was on His way to the crucifixion.


Today, while many are on their way to victories, you would think they were on their way to a crucifixion. They fear and dread, complain and scorn the littlest trials. They do not bear the burden lightly, but murmur against God and the burdens.


Some people want others to notice every burden they carry. They want to talk of every trial, every financial crisis, every persecution. They have a "Pity-Me! Complex". Meekness is not an unnoticed virtue by God. If we willingly accept the cross, bear it with pride for our Lord, and do not struggle, complain, or sit in exasperation at the crosses we bear, the Lord is well pleased.


I Peter 4:12-13,16

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on His behalf."


II Timothy 1:8

"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."

 

The cross, that we are asked to bear, is a light cross. It is light and easy to carry, when we willingly accept it from the Lord. We can bear it proudly, for we are suffering for Him. We can know that the Lord will deliver us from all these trials we bear.


The rewards in heaven will be wonderful, but we will still glory in the cross, for without it, there would be no rewards.


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murjahel
John
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