Monday, 10 January 2011

Enemies of the cross

Sphere: Related Content “For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ” Phill.3:18 NLT

A careful examination of this passage shows that the people Paul is calling enemies of the cross of Christ are not men outside the church. Perhaps, they were once disciples and believers in Christ but now have become enemies of the cross. That is why Paul talks about them with tears in his eyes. Why tears? Firstly because they have been deceived and lost. Secondly they have the potential to deceive and become a bad example to others. Hence Paul’s admonition: “Pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example” Phil.3:17.

Also from Vs18, it’s as if these people have some cloaks on them which can deceive except you look very carefully. It’s as if there are things in their lives that you look at and you conclude that they are disciples except their conducts. If you look at the way they live, you will discover that they are REALLY enemies of the cross of Christ.

There are 4 characteristics Paul gives us here for these enemies of the cross of Christ:
1. Their god is their appetite: The reason why they are in the church and teach and say what they say is because of their belly. Their appetite drives them. There are people that have been pummeled with the deception: ‘sow seeds into the life of the man of God’. So since last December, they have been sowing – seed for children because it was Christmas (pity those who are either childless or have problematic children), seed for cross over because the year was coming to an end, seed of new year because the year just began, seed for covenant after the fasting and prayers, seed for the new month, seed for the new week, Easter/resurrection seed so that every dead around you will rise, seed of quarterly thanksgiving, harvest seeds, pastor’s birthday seed, pastor’s marriage anniversary seeds, promotion seed, favour seed etc. I can go on and on to list the different names that deceivers have used to exploit gullible and vulnerable men and women in order to enrich themselves. All they scheme is how they can get more to satisfy their appetite.
2. They brag about shameful things – in fact, they glory in them: A man once was telling a story how he gave “Holy Ghost” slap to his interpreter on the stage because he was making some mistakes while he was preaching. He lost his temper and slapped another man’s servant in front of the congregation and has the audacity to talk about it without remorse! A brother abandons his wife and children and gets entangled with another woman and some churches still carry him in honour even give him some positions because he has money. Lord Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God. But we have changed it by the way we live saying, ‘man shall not live by the Word of God alone but by any bread you can lay hands upon’. Many shameful glories! Somebody just finished killing another person he considers to be his enemy by 12.00am in the midnight through ‘dangerous prayers’ and witchcraft using the ‘name of Jesus’ and comes in the morning to give it as a testimony and we brag about it.
3. All they think about is this life here on earth: When the Bible is saying that we should set our minds on things above, the enemies of the cross say no we should set our minds on the things of this life. The cross gets us to die to this world and be alive unto God but they teach contrarily. They teach both by word and deeds that we have to be very much alive to this world. The components of the world have to do with the lusts of the eye, lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. (1 John 2:16). All the rat race and scheming for privilege, power and position even in the churches focus us here and make us forget that we are citizens of heaven. They make us live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
4. Their future is eternal destruction: Paul concludes that eternal destruction is actually the end of those that live as enemies of the cross of Christ it is not possible to live for this world and heaven at the same time. We cannot set our minds on both the things that are above and the things of this world altogether and expect to carry our cross daily. These all lead to confusion in this life and eternal destruction in the life to come. No wonder Paul was saying it with tears in his eyes.
May God help us not to live as enemies of the cross Christ! Amen.
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