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They Are Enemies of the Cross

November 23, 2014

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Post 2012 02 10 HPIM0892

They Are Enemies  of the Cross

The apostle Paul  had led  a life  of extremes  —  and with good personal reasons.     As a  “good”  Pharisee,  he totally opposed Jesus  and all Christians.     Because Paul  had no understanding  of how Jesus  really was  the fulfillment  of all sorts  of Old Testament prophecies,  all he could think  was that Jesus  was a blasphemer  and liar  of the worst sorts.     In his zeal  to get rid  of all blasphemers,  Paul persecuted  the early church  by dragging Christians  out of their homes  and throwing them  into prison.     He witnessed against them  and approved  of their being stoned  to death.

Such was his self-righteousness,  pride,  and zeal  for getting things done  his way.     But,  when Christ appeared  to him  and revealed  the truths  of God’s plan  of salvation,  Paul was mortified  to realize  that he had actually been opposing God  with all the hatred  that was  in his heart.     The resurrected Jesus  let Paul know  that he was  to become  a preacher  of truth  and suffer many trials  and tribulations  because of his preaching.     Then,  in a complete turn-around,  Paul humbly accepted  his lot  from the Lord,  realizing the utter importance  of being totally obedient  to God Almighty  —  and not  to his misguided feelings.

That said,  as we read  Paul’s letters  to various churches,  we can easily see  how he was always  instructing people  to live  on the straight  and narrow path  of obedience  to the Lord  in truth  —  not according  to their own personal feelings,  desires,  or understandings  —  but with faith  in God’s love  and salvation  through Jesus Christ.

When the Philippians  were struggling  to live  for God  in the right way,  they often were challenged  by so-called fellow Christians,  who wanted  to force ungodly ways  upon them.     Because they were confused,  Paul’s heart  was breaking  for them  —  and he had  to warn them  in Philippians 3:18-19,

For many walk,  of whom  I often told you,  and now tell you  even weeping,  that they are enemies  of the cross  of Christ,  whose end  is destruction,  whose god  is their appetite,  and whose glory  is in their shame,  who set their minds  on earthly things.

For our citizenship  is in heaven  from which also we eagerly wait  for a Savior,  the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul  could say that  because he himself  had been one of those  “enemies  of the cross”.     But,  after instruction  from the Lord  and time  in deep searching  of God’s word,  Paul had all the proof  he needed  to realize  that salvation truly is  in Christ alone  —  no matter what the opinion  of the world might be.     With his positive assurance,  Paul was now willing  to suffer many great hardships  and even die  for the truth  of the gospel.

As Paul willingly suffered,  he refused  to back down  from the truth  in an effort  to have his punishments lessened.     Now,  Paul had a zeal  for the truth  —  and not a zeal  for promoting  his own opinion.     As Paul suffered beatings  and imprisonment,  he was honored  to be counted worthy  by the Lord  to have an opportunity  to stand up  for the gospel.     Paul even joyfully endured punishments  because he realized God’s love  for him.

In the strength  of God’s love  and the promise  of heaven,  Paul says  in Philippians 4:13,

I can do  all things  through Him  who strengthens me.

And  —  so can we,  as we lean  on the love  and salvation  of Jesus Christ.     Instead  of being an  “enemy  of the cross”,  figure out God’s love  for each  of us  by studying His word  —  and know  that you can have confidence  in His salvation  —  so much so  that you are always glad  and willing  to live  and witness  according to His eternal truths  —  and not according to misguided feelings.

As we let God  strengthen us  in His truths,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     My Lord,  thank You  for changing Paul  —  this  “enemy  of the cross”  —   into a true witness  of Your love  on the cross.     May we always serve You honorably  because  of the greatness  of Your love  and sacrifice  for us.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

A 2.67 year old says  I Pledge Allegiance

Pray for our country.

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect, but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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