[Originally part of a longer same-titled post written for Facebook on June 15, 2011, as number six of a 12-post work called My Day, My Thoughts and Understanding; edited for length, focus and message continuity.]
Thoughts and Understanding No. XI
“You know, church has become so commercial until we have gotten away from its true purpose. It has become such big business until we allow people to operate and function, as long as they have something to bring to the table. People are now more concerned about recording and living in the life of the rich and famous, rather than knowing Jesus. But the true purpose of the church is soul business not big business; I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have nothing and know Jesus, than to have everything and not know Him. You need to confess Him today…”
– Bishop Hezekiah Walker, “Do You Know Jesus”, 20/85 The Experience album (2005).
“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. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul [Matthew 16:24-26]?”
“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me [Mark 10:17-21].”
If I may explain These Nails, it is a song I’ve heard by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers, in which they sing of being held to the cross of Calvary by the nails that Christ placed in them. As based on the scripture, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me [Galatians 2:20].” In the spiritual sense they are crucified with Christ, and therefore cannot do what they want to do and cannot say what they want to say because it is not them seeking their own will, but now Christ lives inside them. Think of it like this: I’m crucified with Him, and so the nails in my feet make me walk right before Him, the nails in my hands make me work those things that are pleasing to Him, the crown of thorns on my head pierces my mind to think right, and the spear in my side wounds me when I become comfortable in living wrongly; this is how close and personal with Christ we are supposed to be. The cross that Jesus carried, being a spirit in man, was a physical one; ours is a spiritual cross (and it is a heavy cross) that is to be carried by faith in Jesus Christ. Christ carried his unto death, and so must we do likewise if we say we believe. Many times to several different people Christ actually told them to “take up the cross, and follow me (mentioned above).” Was He prophesying of how He would die? Yes He was; and He was also telling us how to live. If for any reason you want or pray that Christ keeps you near HIS cross, it’s obviously certain you must have not been carrying YOUR OWN… There is a song by James Cleveland titled No Cross, No Crown that says there is a cross for everyone, and if you don’t take the persecution, if you don’t endure the pain, if you don’t live holy; if you don’t carry your cross, you won’t wear the crown.
We need to get the nails from the Christ’s cross in ourselves. Christ has said that He is the truth and the only way into Heaven [John 14:6]; if anyone tries to get in another way or believing another gospel they are a thief and a robber [John 10:1]. If you ever read something Christ said and wonder what He meant, keep in mind that He is a spirit, the Holy Spirit, in man- giving spiritual answers to natural-minded questions, because the answers we seek in this natural world cannot be found here (remember, Jesus is the answer). Where it said to trust in the LORD with all your heart, He meant that because He is the only one we can trust. After all, in this world and in this life things are unstable and constantly changing so it would do us well to have something to hold on to that doesn’t. God and His Word doesn’t change [Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8]; He still requires the same thing out of His people now that He required when He led them out of Egypt [Deuteronomy 10:12; Micah 6:8], and also when Christ died on the cross.
Since I mentioned it, the “Egypt” that the LORD brought His people out of in Exodus was a territorial/physical state of slavery, and the “Egypt” that the Christ led His people out of was a mental and spiritual state of slavery. To get out of this spiritual slavery we must believe on Him who was sent, and do as He says. He said how to believe when they asked Him about it; He said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me [John 5:39].” Don’t follow the crowd, don’t accept the first thing you hear, don’t believe the hype or some random saying unless you can find in the Bible. The Bible is the authority on Christ because the men He walked with, talked with and taught personally are the ones who wrote it. Don’t read the Bible and say, “oh this is what He means…” no it is not. Believe as the book is written; do not apply your “education” to the Word of God (you will misinterpret it), and don’t pick out just one scripture to believe (do use a dictionary or such to learn and understand words you don’t know); find a good Bible-trained, Holy-Spirit filled pastor or teacher to lead and teach you all these things, and all the scripture. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works [II Timothy 3:16-17].” You have to know and believe (and preach if you are a preacher) the WHOLE book in order to be right with God. Christ said, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water [John 7:38].”
What shall we say to these things then?
“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them [John 13:17].” “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope [Romans 15:4].” Believe in Christ with all you have, and if you find that hard to do believe in the works He has done [John 10:38], and you’ll do greater works than He did. The man wasn’t a chef and didn’t have any culinary skills, but he fed over five thousand people with two fish and five loaves of bread (that’s seven items). He walked on water, He told a storm and the sea to be still, and He healed sick people and raised dead ones (think of the significance of these things). When He died, He rose again. He knew more about the Law then the scribes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees and then lived the Law in front of them. As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ is the Law. Know that proper faith, good faith, strong faith, comes by knowing the Word… “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?… But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God [Romans 10:14-17].”
To those who have not obeyed the gospel, instead choosing to believe what they want, not seek the truth of the gospel or make it up as they go, the “only God can judge me” types of people, God has said “…Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children [Hosea 4:6].”
…if your cross comes up short, you won’t “cross” over…
Don’t pray anymore that the LORD keeps you near His cross; pray that He gives you the strength to carry your own, that when the time comes to die on it, you can rest in that blessed hope knowing that you’re bound for Glory. I pray that These Nails that held Jesus Christ to the cross ever hold us together with Him in His truth, by faith in His word. I pray that the Nails in His feet help us to walk right before Him in His holiness all the days of our lives. I pray the Nails in His hands lead us to work that which is good in sight toward one another; not striving, warring or contending one with another. I pray that the crown of thorns that was placed on His head pierce our minds and have us to think what He wants us to think, even as He thinks. If we believe in Him today, and confess that He is Lord, may each of His wounds serve to heal ours, whether they are physical or spiritual, and may the blood from His side wash away our sins and the water refresh us and give us the new life in Him that was promised us, before the world began.
In Jesus’ name…