Dec 27, 2012
Dying For the Gospel
Jesus died and rose again to purify our hearts…
deliver us from the power of sin…
and forgive us from the penalty of sin which is hell.
There is also something else He came to deliver us from.
Forsasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; AND DELIVER THEM WHO THROUGH FEAR OF DEATH WERE ALL THEIR LIFETIME SUBJECT TO BONDAGE.
He came to deliver us from the fear of death.
The fear of death holds people in bondage and as a result they are never able
to submit themselves to the will of God to accomplish and fulfill
the ministry He has for them to do…
because they fear the consequences.
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.
Paul would never have been able to fulfill the ministry God had for him and finish his course if he had counted his life dear unto him.
PLEASING GOD AND DOING THE WILL OF GOD,
was more important to Paul than his own life.
Whosoever 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; but whosoever shall LOSE HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE AND THE GOSPEL'S, the same shall save it.
Notice there is a distinction between the Lord's sake and the gospel's.
Many live for the Lord and serve Him by reading their bible, praying, living clean and moral, but never make any sacrifice to advance the gospel.
The real persecution, sacrifice, suffering, reproach,
and cross bearing comes for the gospel's sake.
Making an effort to advance the gospel
in a world that is hostile to it.
Saving our life and being unwilling to lose it renders us ineffective.
Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,
it abideth alone: but if it die, it will bring forth more fruit.
We will never bring forth any fruit until we are willing to lose our life
not just for the Lord's sake but also for the gospel.
This is one major reason there is so little genuine fruit in our day in this country.
It is so much more than just being willing to take a bullet in the head
rather than deny the Lord and go to hell.
It is daily laying down our life, denying ourselves,
and allowing the Lord to live through us.
Sin certainly needs to be preached against but sin is so much more than just the lists we see in 1 Corinthians 6 and Galatians 5.
It is exalting our will above God's will
and living for ourselves rather than the glory of God.
Luke emphasized we must do this daily…
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.
Jesus said He had power to lay His life down …
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life,
that I might take it again. No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of my Father.
and He gives that same power to His followers …
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:
and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
To be a witness meant to be a martyr…
And they OVERCAME HIM by the blood of the Lamb,
and the word of their testimony; and
THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO THE DEATH.
We will never be able to overcome the attacks of the devil
to stop us from serving God, fulfilling His purpose, and bearing fruit
as long as we hang onto our lives and are UNWILLING TO DIE.
We are only fooling ourselves if we think we will not deny the Lord
on the threat of death when we deny Him on a regular everyday basis
by refusing to lay down our lives
FOR THE SAKE OF HIM AND THE GOSPEL.
HANDS TO THE PLOW!
~ By Brother Micah Armstrong.