We as humans think we have to do things to better ourselves or get ahead in all we do on earth, well not so in the kingdom of God. Sadly this wrong thinking has infected the thinking of many Christians to the point where they are deceived to the truth of the Gospel message. After all it is so much easier to do something than to become something. It is much easier to build a big international ministry traveling around the world preaching and teaching the good news of the Gospel than to allow God to open up to us what we consider to be the hidden secret areas of our lives. Those secret sins or worse our flaws we ignore and God ignores until it is time for them to be dealt with in our lives. We are really good at ignoring areas in our lives, maybe not frank and open sin, but areas none the less that God desires to expose and reveal to us. So in the church it is easier to do programs and activities than to abide, evolve, and become like the Father’s precious Son Jesus Christ. Knowing the Body of Christ is made of raw material; redeemed humanity God’s emphasis and number one goal in all the world is building a Spiritual Body of Believers and not upon redeeming the world. And to do this He uses a cross as a tool on which to open our understanding. Not too many people want to volunteer to be crucified on a cross, but you will find Christians will stand in line and even give their treasures to be involved in doing something they can be proud of or even get a plaque for. Oh no, when Jesus first introduces the cross it is to Christians. Jesus never places a cross on anybody. It is our volitional power of will to choose. Jesus does not lay a cross on us so we can love Him! No, we voluntarily take it. He never imposes it; it will be the instrument on which we will be slain. Our cross will be the most liberating and sets free everything in salvation and the things of God. If we sidestep the cross and miss its ministry we will go to hell. The cross is the instrument of death, but it brings a fuller revelation to our hearts and lives than that of any other agency in God’s economy. John Wright Follette said, “The more spiritually-minded we are in heart and life, the more we can understand the revelation of God, and the more we understand the cross.” Now please know I am not speaking in literal terms however, some Christians around the world are literally hanging on a cross and dying, but I am talking in spiritual terms. Your cross and my cross will vary according to the disposition and the calling of our lives so we do not have the same cross in that sense, but everyone will have one to bear. Never forget your cross is your crown in disguise. No where in the Bible do we see this truth revealed more than in the story of the Rich Young Ruler. What a title, he was: Rich (what is seems we all want to be) Young (what it seems everyone is striving to maintain) and a Ruler (power and authority what people admire), he seemed to have it all. In Mark we read an encounter the Rich Young Ruler had with Jesus. “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? 18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19Thou 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. 20And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21Then 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. 22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:17-22) Please notice the Rich Young Ruler was zealous “he came running” after Jesus, he was respectful “and kneeled to him” he even called Him “good Master” he knew who Jesus was and asked, “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life” please notice he did not say “what shall I do to go to heaven like most Christians. The Rich Young Ruler is the pattern and portrait of the typical (non- denominational or denominational) Christian of today. They know what to do and say to be called a Christian, but have missed out on the real work of becoming like the “Good Master.” The focus is not on a relationship with God and His work (Ephesians 2:10) in their lives, but on doing things to earn eternal life. In John Jesus tell us what “eternal life” is, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Knowing God not working for God is “eternal life” knowing God personally, not with our emotions of feeling, but by the small still voice that resonates in our spirit instructing us to move in what He wants us to do. I am amazed at the number of times God speaks to me not with an audible voice, but a small still voice that is later confirmed it was God speaking by coming to pass what I asked and God told me would happen. The Rich Young Ruler knew and was all of these things yet he was missing the point and the ultimate goal of God of what it really means to inherit eternal life. Jesus automatically corrects and aligns the Rich Young Ruler thoughts correctly and says, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” Now I was not there, but if I was I believe I would have seen the countenance of the Rich Young Ruler drop as his hands hung at his side. Next Jesus does something strange something I have never understood, Jesus takes the Rich Young Ruler to the law, and not grace or mercy, to show him the error of his ways. Well, there is a spiritual principle moving here that is almost always missed today in this non-consequences for our actions or no accountability for our bad behavior society in which we live and worse this thinking is the mainstream thinking of most Christians. If I miss it, well God will forgive me and I promise I will do better next time, but that my friend is not the way God operates. Here Jesus takes the Rich Young Ruler to the law, because it is the law, not grace, mercy, and forgiveness that shows us our sin and if we do not allow God to show us our sin then we can never be saved. Paul tells us in Romans, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:19-24) It is the law that brings us to Christ, that shows us of our need for Christ. This is what Jesus was doing with the Rich Young Ruler (and what Jesus does with us all), but please notice the Rich Young Ruler’s response when Jesus brought him to the place of totally selling out, Jesus said, “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 10:21) When Jesus said this and as the Rich Young Ruler was kneeling down (often an outward sign of religious worship) he thought there was nothing he had to do. Ah, but Jesus said, “One thing thou lackest:” Now if Jesus would have said go and sell what you have to the poor giving them a good deal he could have done that, but that is not what Jesus wanted Jesus wanted the Rich Young Ruler to sell totally out and give what he had to the poor. The Rich Young Ruler knew what to do, he knew the law, he knew how to be a good Christian, but could not sell out to what Jesus wanted in obedience. Selling out in obedience is what Jesus wants not all of our doing for Him or our rituals and traditions we call religion, all of the doing we do to make us think we are serving God in Spirit and truth, but in reality we are deceived to the real truth of the word of God and the real truth of walking with the Lord. Now the Rich Young Ruler also knew in his heart (like many Christians today) he could not do what Jesus wanted and the story sadly ends, “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:22) This is the last time we hear of the Rich Young Ruler. The Bible is full of examples where an individual is brought to a place spiritually of decision before God and moved not according to what God wanted for their lives; Saul, Jonah, Sampson, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira all readily come to mind. In all of these examples they lose their lives early or pay a horrendous price as in the case of Jonah. Dear friend we MUST take heed to ourselves my brother and sister when God draws our choice MUST be to move according to what God wants for lives. The consequences of our wrong decisions are far reaching, even further than our moral lives and the impact it has on the lives of others.

The Bible is an amazing book, the more I read it the less I know and what I thought I knew I find out I really did not know it at all, funny how that works. This is the operation and ministry of truth in the word of God and in our lives. But in Genesis just six short chapters after God created man the Bible says, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:6-7) Wow God repents what a lesson for us, but God repented not of His sin (like we need too), but of “making man on the earth and it grieved him at his heart.” Wow God has a heart, but God’s heart was grieved because, “ . . . the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) It was the things man was doing and saying that caused God to destroy His most precious creation, man. So too today as I look around the earth (and especially at the humanistic approach to God of the church worldwide) I see the wickedness of man ever increasing in the earth and it is God’s longsuffering and patience (not His mercy because mercy always comes after judgment) that is preventing God from smiting man and the world again. We must never mistake God’s longsuffering and patience for His grace and mercy. I “truly” believe this time of judgment and wrath “as it was in the days of Noah” is coming very soon. What shall we do to escape His wrath to come? Believe it or not God does have a big stick and is able and willing to use it, despite what the most of the denominational religions teach. You have to be a total fool to not believe this. What shall we do? Well not what the Rich Young Ruler did, but we must totally sell out to God in obedience and take up our cross (not the cross of Jesus) and become (a process of dying to our desires, thoughts, plans, dreams, etc.) a follower of Him, knowing Him. There and there alone is eternal life.