What I would like to share in this blog post is something so foundational, so fundamental, and so basically essential to the Christian life that we have totally missed it! It is one of the main reasons why Christians fall away from the Lord. It is also one of the main reasons why believers stop living the life of the ecclesia. That is, the genuine Christ life of His body.
Some evangelists are spreading the very misleading “gospel” that all you need to do is come on forward and “repeat after me” the so-called sinners prayer. But let me ask you this: Did Jesus Christ or the apostles ever do this? Dear brothers and sisters, I propose to you this one (very clear) proposition. Could it be that the reason we have so many weak Christians today is because of our incredibly weak, insipid, and shallow gospel? Are we presenting the gospel the same way that Jesus did? Well, let’s take a quick look at some of these passages.
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.” The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” Luke 14:16-21
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
It seems to me that the good news that Jesus and the apostles preached was a gospel of tremendous cost to the disciple (or follower). In fact, the call to follow Christ is one of losing your own life and taking up His life. And what is this life? It is the life of the cross. And you know what happens to someone on a cross!
The Good News
Now, I am not here to preach to you a gospel of fear, death, and destruction. But rather, just the opposite. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of life! But not your life. Not my life. God has no desire to improve your life. He wants to give you a new life. His Life! You see, it’s really not about you anymore at all. He gives you His life so that now, instead of living by your old life (from Adam) you can live by the eternal of the NEW Adam! And that is life eternal, indestructible, the very life of God Himself!
The New Creation
This is called the “new creation” in the New Testament. Paul goes to great lengths to share with us this new creation. He writes about the old man (Adam) and the New Man (Christ).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And this life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Alright, if all of this is true (and it definitely is!) then why do so many believers continue to live the old life with the carnal nature? And when I say carnal
nature I am not only referring to grossly repulsive thoughts and behavior. The “old man” also includes the legalistic pharisaic nature of man! You see, it’s all carnal if it proceeds out of the fallen human life.
Dear saints, the only life that produce true spiritual fruit is the life of God Himself! But the good news is that if you are a born again believer, then you have that life within you!
But now the critical question is: “how do you learn to draw from the Life (God’s Life) within you instead of your own fallen life?”
Well, the answer to that question would take a lot more than a few blog posts! But not to worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging. There is a book that I wrote a few years ago called “The Temple Within”. It will greatly help you to get started on this path of living by the indwelling life of Christ. And here is the website link where you can get the book:
The Temple Within
Now, before you attempt to begin learning how to live by His life there is something that is critically important for you to understand. And that is simply this: you will need to “burn the ships”. Now let me explain where that phrase came from.
Around the year 1519 there was a Spanish explorer by the name of Hernandez Cortez. He took a fleet of ships with him and sailed from Spain to conquer the Aztec empire in Mexico. After arriving there with his men and fleet of ships he told them all that they would not be returning home to Spain. They would all now live in this newly discovered land! So, he had all of the ships burned.
So “Burn the Ships” means that there is no turning back. Brothers and sisters, when we follow Christ there is no turning back. Remember Lot’s wife? It’s a totally new life and we can no longer live by the old (carnal man) life. So I must ask the question: have you burned all of your ships? Or are you still hanging onto the old ways of knowing Christ and living out His kingdom?
Check out this video by the band For King and Country: