John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me (experientially through relationship, intimacy, and time spent with the Lord), even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again
The more intimacy we have with Jesus, the more that the Father will require us to lay down our lives at the foot of the cross, so that we make take it up in the power and freedom of God.
Intimacy brings us to a place where God can trust us with His power.
Phi 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself (Voluntary humiliation. A once and for all decisive act that must be constantly carried out as a responsibility of the person himself or herself.) and became obedient unto (until) death, even the death of the cross
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
The more that we humble ourselves with the Lord at the foot of the cross, the more that we will be exalted to the highest place of rank and power with Christ.
Christ was extolled most highly. He acquired supremacy in title and nobility. We are in Him and will be raised up in accordance to our obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Heb 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness (exultation and extreme joy) above thy fellows.
Extreme joy from being free in the Lord comes through obedience to God in the love of righteousness and the hatred of what is evil.
Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
The church suffers from an extreme case of double mindedness. The word
means to have two souls or be swayed by two worlds or mind sets.
Gal 6:14 But God forbid (May it never happen to me) that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified ( perfect tense) unto me,
The effect of the world on Paul is nothing; it is dead to Him. It stands crucified to him, and its influence on Paul will never change, they are permanent. It is a past action with permanent results. This is the meaning of the perfect tense in which this verb is found.
Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth (inward strength and force, to have strength to overcome health, ability, capacity) any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Only Christ being formed and birthed in us is of any ability for us to overcome and get the victory in the things about this life.
Without the revelation of Christ which comes through the cross of Christ destroying the old nature, so that Christ can be revealed, the church is powerless.
The cross works in proportion to our obedience to the Holy Spirit.
The cross is what reveals Christ and defeats the devil. If the cross is not preached the church remains weak.
Satan is quite happy to oblige the church in all the socio cultural issue that it wants to, as long as Christ is not manifested fully through the church
2Cor 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. We don’t look at men in a fleshly way anymore
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The old things passed by. Only the newly manifested creation who is Christ Jesus in us, the hope of glory, can cause all the old sins and hurts to pass by.
This is why Paul cried out in the following verse!
Ga 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,(as a baby being formed in the womb)
Paul’s entire focus was the revelation of Christ through his life.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed( don’t take on the outward form or fashion of the world by a disobedient walk with the Lord) to this world: but be ye transformed( metamorphosis; or attain to a complete and radical inward change and becoming a totally different individual) by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove ( only when we are radically changed can we then test, approve and possess for ourselves the mature, well pleasing, and good will of God) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
“Metamorphosis”. Remember the example of the lowly caterpillar being transformed into the beautiful butterfly. Metamorphosis? What about the tadpole being transformed into a frog? Total and radical change! Guess what? That is exactly what the Lord wants out of our lives.
The death of ourselves on the cross and the resurrection life of our Lord within us should be so extraordinary, that we become lovely and free butterflies for His glory. Unrecognizable as a tadpole is from a frog because Jesus lives big in us, should find us with no former remembrance of our “tadpolish” existence.
Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring (always agonizing in an athletic struggle, fervently) for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
We are to be brought to a place of spiritual maturity in every aspect of our lives; and having a full assurance and understanding of everything that God has willed for our lives.
We should know and understanding every aspect of what God has called us to do and willed for us, and do it with all spiritual maturity.
Mt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Reach the same stage of maturity as the Father is in possession of, in every aspect of our lives. This is the Father’s perfect will.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Much inward strength and capacity has the prayers of a righteous man to show itself efficient, active, capable and full of energy.
Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation ( stretching out of the neck to observe) and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness,
As Christ is magnified and made great in his life, the power of God within Paul brings much freedom to him. Paul can live out the gospel in confidence, candor, fearlessness, unhindered in every way.
The Apostle Paul’s desire was to take his life and use it as a magnifying glass that would make Jesus Christ great. His expectation is one of stretching out his head to be able to anxiously observe this process becoming a reality in his life.
Phillip 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Utterly carry out, finish and achieve to completion everything that has to do with your salvation. Utterly finish it! Do not leave anything lacking! Therefore growing up into Christ in all things, by completing all things. We cannot leave one stone unturned of what God requires from us.
Matt 10:37 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.
The word for love in this scripture is affection for Jesus above that of anything else. Having a greater affection for anything in this life makes a believer unfit and unprepared to follow Jesus. He is unable to adequately respond to the life and the call of Jesus. There will be a lack of balance between the believer and Jesus himself. He will not deserve Jesus.
Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
A life so in tune to the Lord and seeking God’s face so abundantly that Paul can preach the “past finding out or unsearchable” riches.
The riches of Christ are undetectable and fathomless. This is because the life of Christ is hidden in us. These undetected riches are manifested only by Christ’s revelation in a life so yielded and pure so that Christ Himself can be seen.
The Christ Himself and the kingdom of God, lies in secret, in the form of a mystery that must be revealed, it cannot be seen.
Paul’s prayer is that through his life and ministry, all believers’ could be enlightened in their understanding, about what their participation and share in these hidden treasures and mysteries are.
Luke 5:10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
These disciples literally sent off, gave up, left all. It is an attitude of the heart.
To follow Jesus is to follow Him and live the same life, which He lives. It means to travel with Him on the same path that He travels on. It is symbolic of an exterior call, but with an absolute commitment to one exclusive Master, Jesus, whether by life and even by death, if necessary. The believer participates not only not only in salvation but in suffering as well.
Matthew 16:24 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.
If any man or woman wishes to come after Jesus then he or she are commanded by Jesus to lose all connection with themselves and any interests outside of the Christ.
We see that Jesus commands His disciples to “Follow Him” in the above scripture. He chose this word very carefully. This particular injunction appears 77 times in the New Testament. In actuality the word “follow” is defined as a union in traveling the same road. It is an oneness with the pattern of Jesus’ life, His ministry, and even of His death, if necessary. This is why the apostle Paul said, “Be a mimic of me, even as I am also a mimic of Christ ”as found in 1 Corinthians 11:1
Secondly, is the concept of “denial”. This is our “once and for all confession” that we have no connection with ourselves and our interests outside of those of Christ.
Matthew 16:24 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.
Matthew 26:34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Look at the illustration of Peter’s denial of Jesus in comparison to Jesus’ command to deny ourselves. As you will notice, it is exactly the same word! Can you imagine how vehemently Peter disavowed that he knew, or had any relationship with the Master? This should be our same attitude in denying ourselves for the sake of our Lord?
Thirdly is the notion of “forsaking”. This is the act of our bidding farewell to, and renouncing all that will not glorify God.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot ( absence of dunamis power) be my disciple.
If we are not separated and set apart from all that we have in our hearts for the sake of Christ, we will not have the dunamis power to be a learner of Jesus. We must take leave of, or bid farewell renounce an all that is not the Lord.
Matthew 14:19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
He that comes upon, hits upon, and holds on to his own selfish life for his selfish gain, shall bring himself to ruin, destruction, uselessness and misery through his corrupted self.
He that ruins, destroys, and wastes away his sinful existence for the sake of the Lord shall discover, recognize, acquire and real life from the Lord for himself.
2Cor 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
I will very gladly incur personal cost for your Christian well-being. I will pour my very soul out for your progress in the faith. I will exhaust myself by spending and using myself up for your spiritual maturing in Christ.
Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
I persecute, pursue, and overtake, in hope that I can grasp, seize, and make my own, all of what is contained in what Christ originally grasped and seized me for.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Therefore I neglect and no longer care for what is behind me. I stretch myself out and towards, and run swiftly after what is before me. The direction being, the mark of the goal of the high price of unbroken fellowship of Christ’s resurrection life, and the hope of His calling for me.
1Cor 9:24 Know ye not that they which run (to run and spend my strength in attaining to something) in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.(to possess and make my own.) Jesus said that He glorified the Father by completing all that the Father had placed before Him to do.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery (the agony of athletic competition) is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
Our Christian lives should abide in the exhilarating agony of strenuous athletic discipline. If we are experiencing boredom as believers, we are missing out on part of Christ’s destiny for us. Every great work of God has been executed on bended knees.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
Our faith must contain a clear perception of God’s vision for our lives. “Without a vision the people perish.” We must not walk obscurely, as those who do not know the voice of God. We must not trash the air aimlessly with those things that Christ has not called us to, no matter how noble or praiseworthy they might be.
Our time must not be wasted by the missed discernment of God’s will; too much is at stake! Our punch must be sure; we must strike straight and not spare.
27 But I keep under my body (To beat the body black and blue, or get a black eye), and bring it into subjection (make my body a slave to the Spirit of God) lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The love of God and the love of the world are opposed to each other. Either you love one or love the other. What the world values, Christ abhors
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Of no account do I make my life or hold my life in honor, so that I may complete my course on the horse track on which I am racing upon with joy, and the ministry that I received from the Lord to testify fully and thoroughly of the glad tidings of the grace of God.