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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 148 countries and all 50 States and The District of Columbia in the U.S.

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Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

THE CROSS COMES BEFORE THE RESURRECTION


VIDEO LINKS TO THIS MESSAGE

THE CROSS COMES BEFORE THE RESURRECTION - PART 1

THE CROSS COMES BEFORE THE RESURRECTION - PART 2

THE CROSS COMES BEFORE THE RESURRECTION - PART 3






THE CROSS COMES BEFORE THE RESURRECTION
“And Jesus said to them all:  If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  (Luke 9:23)
The resurrection season we call Easter is a wonderful time of celebrating the life, and  resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Some people may feel bad about the fact that Jesus had to died.   Listen to what Jesus said about His death and resurrection: "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." (John 10:17-18).
Jesus was able to bear His cross because of what He saw in the future.  You and I have a great future.  Jesus was able to see Heaven and His Father.  He had been with Him before the world was created and He knew he would soon be with Him again.  This is what He wants us to see. 
We need to understand that the important thing about the Lord’s death and resurrection is that it was planned before the beginning of the earth:  “ He came to Earth to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:26-28)
Some people have a cross of poor health.  Some people bear a cross of being abused as a child or as an adult, which has led to poor self-esteem and emotional problems.  Some people bear a cross of having little of this world’s economic goods.  These are crosses that either other people have put on us, or we have put on ourselves.
The spiritual application is this: Sometimes the Lord removes our crosses from us, and sometimes He helps us carry them.  Each day it may be difficult to keep going, but He wants us to “take up” our cross and “follow Him”.
Jesus chose to endure self-denial during His time on the earth and to die on the cross for you and me.  He wants us to follow His example.   “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).  
Taking up your cross does not mean that you cannot be happy.  Throughout the New Testament we are taught to “rejoice”, to think positive and to live a life of love and service.  Even though you have a cross, you keep your eyes of Jesus.  That is why He said to “follow me”.  If you are following Him, He will be in front of you and you will have the strength to make it.  He is not asking you to walk where He has not already walked.
Taking up your cross and following Jesus may require you to endure some hardships. Paul was able to heal many people and be a blessing to many others, but Paul had a physical illness that God did not cure, even though Paul himself requested this healing several times.  This does not mean we do not pray for healing, deliverance, or victory.  In many cases the Lord will give us the desires of our heart.  But sometimes we have to “take up our cross” and “follow Him”.
“For this thing I besought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”   (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)
The last few days of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, were not filled with healing, social ministries to the multitudes, or trying to reform religious institutions.  He did spend most of the three years of His ministry doing these things.  However, His last days were spent in giving important instructions and examples to His disciples and to you and I.
One of the last things our Lord did was to have a meal with His disciples.  We know this as the “Last Supper”.  This was a meal that all Jewish people were having called the “Passover”.  This was a meal for them to remember their deliverance from captivity from Egypt. A lamb was killed and the blood was put on the doors of all the Jewish houses to protect them from the “death angel” who would come that night to take the first born of anyone who did not have the blood on their door.  This would demonstrate the power of God to the Pharaoh and cause him to release the Jewish nation from slavery.  Jesus would become that lamb for you and I. 
Early in His ministry He was identified as that Lamb. “The next day John sees Jesus coming to him and says, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).  He would deliver us from sin by shedding His blood for us.  God had this planned for you and I.  “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
Regardless of the cross you are bearing today, the Lord Jesus wants you to “take it up”, and “follow Him”. Don’t allow your cross to turn you into a victim.  Allow the Lord to help you carry it and experience a victory over you problem. The cross you bear will one day turn into a resurrection.  
Taking up your cross and following Jesus does mean that there is some self-denial involved.  This may take the form of service to others.  The Lord may also ask you to use some of your time, money, talents and skills to help others.  But everything you give to the Lord will be blessed and multiplied.  “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
Remember after the carrying of the cross, and the crucifixion, there was a resurrection.  You and I have a resurrection and will share in Christ’s glory. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).  There is much to look forward to in this life time and the one to come if we will “Take up our cross daily, and follow Him”.