In my last post I started talking about our view of the cross. Paul said that we need to preach the Good News without emptying the cross of its power. Jesus gave some pretty clear instructions to His disciples about it.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The key assignment was to preach and make disciples. Disciples are those who have chosen to participate with God’s ongoing work of salvation in their lives. Then, they are to baptize those who believe this message.
The baptism is secondary to preaching and making disciples. What are we to preach? The Word of the cross. That’s what makes disciples.
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
It’s clear that discipleship and the cross go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Unfortunately, we have a lack of disciples these days. Maybe it’s because we don’t preach the cross as we should.
I Corinthians 1:18 says that the Word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing – literally, those who are being destroyed. There are many believers who are being destroyed because of our de-emphasis of the cross.
They are downtrodden, overcome by the world, and bound up by all kinds of sin and addictions. Our lives, homes, and marriages seem to have the same sicknesses as the world without Christ. The world no longer looks to the church for answers, because we don’t look much different than they do.
We wonder why we can’t get the victory. These verses make it obvious that without the life changing power of the cross, we’re fighting a losing battle. It’s time to turn this around and bring the victory in this area. We need to get back to the Biblical foundation for our lives.
We need to restore the Word of the cross. But, for some reason, we resist this work. We seem to have come to the conclusion that the cross is only for the unsaved. Why does Paul tell us that it’s foolishness to those who are being destroyed? Because the cross is for those who want to move on to maturity.
Literally, this verse tells us that the word of the cross is a manifestation of God’s power in His people. But it’s not for all. It’s the power of God to those of us who are continuing in the ongoing work of salvation in our lives. This is why we shrink from it. We don’t like the sound of the cross. When we think of the cross we think of humility, weakness and pain. Could this really be the road to power?
Jesus’ command to carry the cross is not a call for unbelievers to come to Him. It’s a radical command to follow Christ by giving up all other desires. To pick up the cross means to lay everything else down. To follow Christ means to ignore all other paths. This is a message that gets lost in our generation’s search to experience the best that the world has to offer.
I’m not talking about whether you’re saved or not. You can be saved and on your way to Heaven, yet ignore the call to the cross. It all comes down to discipleship.
Question: How do you define being a disciple of Christ?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014