“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).
These are those who take up the cross of Christianity, which is an ecclesiastical symbol, rather than take up the cross of Christ, which is a place of death; they are “crossless Christians” and the world is full of them. Millions turn away from Jesus because they will not meet His conditions; like some of His followers during His lifetime on earth, they say in their hearts, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). He watches them as they go, for He loves them, but He will make no concessions. Admit one soul into the kingdom by compromise and that kingdom is no longer secure; Christ will be Lord, or He will be judge; every man must decide whether he will take Him as Lord now or face Him as judge later.
“The one rejecting Me and not receiving My Word (rhema), has one judging him; the Word (logos) which I spoke, that will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Be careful, therefore, which cross you take up. He will not again be put on trial; His life upon this earth is the only testimony necessary and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is the only proof required.
He calls us in three steps; firstly, He says “come!” and as we respond, we become His sheep; then He says, “Follow Me!” and, in doing so, we become His disciples; finally, He calls us to “Abide!” and, when we do, we become sons of God by adoption and thus, brethren of the only begotten Son.
He calls out to us today; “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Some will rise up and go after Him, but others will instead, give heed to the gravitational pull of the flesh and settle for the comfort of religion and the “doctrines of men”. Thus, there opens a gulf between true believer and believer, between those who will and those who won’t. This is how it must be, because a sifting of the tares from the wheat, of the sheep from the goats, must take place; He came to divide;
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:32).