From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 1- Continued
Thank God for that inborn confidence and assurance in the hearts of His people that the “hour has come” for the unveiling of the Sons of God; that the eternal purposes of God in the Church are about to be revealed; that we stand now on the brink of Jordan prepared and ready to follow the priests of the Lord and the ark of the covenant into a new experience in Christ; down into death and humiliation and abasement in Jordan, but up on the other side into life and victory and authority in Canaan. Let us constantly bear in mind the rules and principles of Christian warfare; namely, that we conquer by yielding, we receive by giving, we overcome by being defeated, and we live by dying. There is no other way except the way of the Cross. The Cross of Christ stands out on the horizons of time and eternity, not only as the means of pardon from sin and the gateway to Eternal Life–but as the one and only principle of Christian conduct. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:24, 25). GHW
I do not think we realize the contrariness of the Cross to our carnal wisdom. In 1 Corinthians 1:17-25, the apostle Paul writes:
17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. 18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
As Bro. Warnock writes, “Let us constantly bear in mind the rules and principles of Christian warfare; namely, that we conquer by yielding, we receive by giving, we overcome by being defeated, and we live by dying. There is no other way except the way of the Cross.” What I hear in this is that Christ’s path to victory is our path, as well. It is certainly not our natural inclination to yield, give, accept defeat, and die. But unless we do, there is no place for resurrection power in our lives.
A disciple is one who lives under discipline. Although I have used this passage many times already in this series, let us look again at Hebrews 12. There is no other passage with such a pointed message on the benefits of discipline.
“1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘ MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.’ 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (Heb. 12:1-13 NASB).
We are often the ones with weak hands and feeble knees that need strengthening, crooked paths that need to be straightened, and healing in our lives, rather than being put out of joint because of the discipline we are called to. Jesus knew this when He said in Matthew 16:24-25, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”