x421.......Your Cross = Your Ministry--and any man can have it!
"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.He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. (Matthew 10: 37-40)
21* ¶ From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22* Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23* But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. 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. 25* For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26* For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mathew 16: 21-26)
Here Jesus describes His ministry--His service to the world--which is to lay down His life (the definition of ministry)---
42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45, KJV).
In Matthew 16, Peter is still functioning in the wrong concept of God's kingdom. He would like Jesus to become ruler over Israel--and to defeat the Roman government--and be a king with authority over others--as is the worldly way of operating. Jesus answers him in this way--
".......Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou severest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
Jesus is saying here that this way of thinking is against God--and in fact from the devil. Peter was thinking in the worldly way of operating--which is rulership and exercising authority over others. Jesus is describing exactly what ministry is--serving others--in fact as He says in Mark 10:45 it is the act of laying down ones life for others--and it is the taking up of the cross--it is the bearing of Gods burden for others--it is not self glorification nor is it rulership over others. Ministry is specifically not authority over others--this is exactly the opposite way of operating--it is exactly the opposite of the way that Gods kingdom works. It is the way that the world works--it is the way of men as Jesus says--not the way of God and His kingdom.
17* ¶ And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 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. (Mark 10: 17-22)
The rich young man was justified before God. He had done his best to obey the laws of God as they stood at that time before grace (we should always remember that the old covenant was still in effect before Christ went to the cross!!--keeping the laws was the best one could do, before grace through faith in the blood came to mankind--this would do away with much of our confusion about the words of Jesus!!) . But Jesus was asking him to do 2 more things--first to sell what he had and give to the poor. (a concept that we balk from in our church of today--but a concept which was central to the church of the Bible--giving to the poor) The second thing Jesus asks is that the rich man "take up his cross and follow him", This means that Jesus was asking him to serve God--to follow after Jesus way of ministering --which was not to rule others with authority but rather to serve others--to lay down your life. The rich man, it has often been said, did not want to part with his possessions---but this is true only in part. He also did not want to give up his worldly "rule"
note that this same man is called a "ruler" in the Gospel of Luke--
18* ¶ And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 18:18)
This man was not only just wealthy--but he was also a ruler in the worldly sense. MONEY AND RULE ARE INTERTWINED IN THE WORLD. He had been a good man and Godly--but beside being unwilling to give up his wealth toward the poor (which is one part of Godly ministry)--he was not willing to give up his authority--his rulership over others--and as Jesus said--"bear the cross" and serve others. the rich ruler was not interested in giving up his rule and his authority.
23* 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. 24* For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (Luke 9: 23-24)
Jesus says "to them all" and to "whosoever" that they can "take up his cross"
We each have a personal "cross to bear"--this is not some personal problem we face--rather it is the burden which God has given us for a particular ministry--to serve people and thus serve God. God has burdens--crosses for all of us to bear--daily---this is our ministry unto Him--and it is essential to our lives as Christians. ------------------
Lu 14:27* And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
WE are not called to be "silent disciples" the word disciple means student--but when Jesus refers to a disciples--a student--He is speaking of people who were afforded "on the job" training! He is speaking of bearing a cross--doing ministry--serving God--and then saying that this is the requisite to being a disciple. The system we operate under relegates most to being "silent disciples" people who are "under authority" and therefore not "qualified" to be serving God. this is totally unBiblical and limits God's move in the earth.
In the churches of our day and age, we are often correctly taught "Christian empowerment". We are taught that we can all come into the presence of God. Christians everywhere are meeting God, drawing closer to Him, coming to a deeper place of worship toward Him. Yet, we are taught that as we draw closer to God, we ought to seek to be prospered by Him. We are encouraged to believe that God will make us richer--give us more money!! This is the subtle and incorrect system of the church--the encouragement toward the majority of the people is for them to gain monetarily--so the tithe will grow. We are thoroughly convinced that God wants us to build the church on money--on the operation of a building--on the gaining of property and money in the earth. The Bible tells us that it is the gifts of ministry, flowing through all the body of Christ--that will "edify the body". It is the ministry gifts operating freely in all Christians that will grow the church--by getting people saved--healed--delivered--fed and released.
This is how the Bible says to grow God's kingdom--we keep wanting to build His kingdom by the rules of the world. Tradition tells us to build an empire--the Bible tells us to build a free network.
In church we teach "meet Jesus and get prosperous".
The Bible tells us to meet Jesus, take up our cross and die to the world.
Serving God is REAL prosperity!