Tag Archives: cross of Christ

Chasing Your First Experience with Christ

Many young Christians get entangled in the trappings of the first flush of Christian love that they experience. Christ’s amazing, selfless love many times overpowers them. They experience tremendous joy and love. And then, a bit later, the rush of that first, fine feeling of the love from above subsides and seemingly leaves them.

Instead of seeking more of His plan and purpose and seeking the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” the babe in Christ stays there in that congregation or circle, glued to a belief that if they stay right there, the Spirit will return and give them that same feeling again, just like what happened before. It is as if they are a prisoner of their own experience with God; it is just the first step.

I am not putting anyone down here. I speak from personal experience. A babe in Christ is like the thrill seeker going after that first high. But that first experience with God is when He calls us. The second will not be like the first. They don’t realize that spiritually young children of God are mostly alive to what they can receive of the Father. It is not about us feeling good. It is about His Spirit growing in us and manifesting His love through us. The rest of the journey is about how God works out His growth within us

In the above scenario, we see a picture of a child of God, a “babe in Christ.” They are held in the “play pen” of the music and activities of the church house or the study group. The pastors and teachers do not feed them with “the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby.” They learn about Christ having existed and some of the things that He did. They are not taught about how His Spirit grows and lives in us. They are not taught the “cross experience” (Romans 6) whereby we are crucified with Christ, which allows our old sinful nature to perish through belief in Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the seed beginning of His growth in us. And without this knowledge, “babes in Christ” will wither on the vine. Their pastors and teachers will be held accountable.

God wants us all to grow, and we cannot grow like He wants us to grow spiritually if we persist in trying to recapture those first few experiences that God called us with. Paul said that we must leave them in order to grow to full potential. “But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3: 13-14). The “high calling” is not being a child of God; it is becoming a manifested son and daughter of the living God.  God wants us all to grow up spiritually and become like the early apostles and prophets.

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Banishing the Ghosts of Egos Past

In a moment of weakness, Christians will say that their “flesh” just took over, and, well, they sinned. This is not the whole spiritual story. It is old leaven teaching that is false and contradicts what the scriptures say. The Word says, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh….” Crucified flesh is dead flesh. Let’s look a bit deeper into “flesh” because it is not our epidermis.

Sarx is the Greek word that is translated “flesh.” Thayer’s says that sarx is “the animal nature of old man Adam. It is the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence and, therefore, prone to sin…” It is the whole lost Adamic man, body and soul, that St. Paul refers to [See Gal. 5:16-19 and Rom. 6 & 8].

After we come to Christ and give our heart to Him, vestiges of the old nature, or rather ghostly memories of the old life come into our new life. It often is through a thought or an imagination or a reaction to certain stimuli that reminds us of what we used to be. These negative thoughts are whispered into our ears by a dark angel. Instead of standing on the word that says we have a new life where “all things have become new,” the spirits of egos past come back to haunt us to see if we really believe His word. They come by our adversary, the devil.

Temperance, then, is that aspect of the divine nature where we overcome these thoughts through cleaving to the truth of His word. The self-control that it brings is a result of the presence of the Spirit in our hearts. Temperance is the addition to the faith that dispels the vestiges of our old life. The truth as to what is taking place makes us free of the confusion.

If we “walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The Spirit and the sarx, which is represented in vestiges of our old life, are opposites. The flesh is rooted in appeasing the old self. The Spirit is rooted in selflessness.

Many people teach that after receiving Christ, these two natures are at war in the Christian. This is not true. Again, many say that this old carnal nature still lives in a Christian. But the Bible says  just the opposite. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lust.” (Gal. 5: 24). Furthermore, Christ said, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit” (Matt. 12:33).

The old carnal sinful nature has been put to death in Christ. We may not feel like it at times, but in God’s eyes our old nature is dead with Christ on the cross–whether we feel it or not. There are still some habits and faults, to be sure, that must be dealt with as we add temperance to the seedling of faith now planted in our hearts. These spiritual attributes come with maturity in Christ “till Christ be formed in us.”

The Spirit of God says that our “old man is crucified with Christ.” Just like the subjects of a natural king did in the days of old, we rather have surrendered to the truth expounded to us by the apostles and prophets of God–that God has in these last days “spoken to us by his Son,” the “Prince of peace.” God’s Son, the Christ, is “the heir of all things,” and by him God made the worlds (Heb. 1:2). Christ is the “King of kings.” He is the Logos, “the Word,” the Plan and Purpose of God. If we get in line with the King and His thoughts, then we will be right with God. It is His sovereign word that has spoken: Our old life has died on the cross with Christ. Period. Whether we accept the fact or not. Lost man becomes found when he believes it.

The Modern Ego

The angst of the modern ego erupts from this molten thought: There is Someone else who is over us, in charge of us, more powerful than us, more knowledgeable, wiser. In a word, we humans must come off our high horse and surrender to the King of the universe, known in English as Jesus Christ, but whose Hebrew name more closely resembles the Hebrew name Yahshua.

If you could boil down man’s spiritual problems, you would scrape off the bottom of the pot a spoonful of humility. Humility comes when we realize that there is a Supreme being who is immortal, and we are mere human beings, frail and, oh, so mortal. He knows all things, and it is our privilege to be privy to some of His secrets and mysteries. When He says that our old sinful nature, with all its selfish, egotistical carelessness, is dead, then it is gone. We need to believe Him! He says that our old nature died with Christ. In His eyes and in His mind, we have obtained from Him a new life. He has spoken His word about the matter. It has come to pass. Since He believes that we have a new life, then our new life in Him is the truth. Believing Him transforms us into the answer to all our problems. We start there in what His word says. Our feelings and imaginations must conform with what He says about our spiritual condition. Always remember this: Our feelings and emotions will let us down.

Our spiritual walk must show that we believe Him–that He is all powerful and is everything good in this world, and we are but “a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Without Him we are doomed to wander in our lowly estate, destined to inhabit the dusty chambers where no cry escapes. This should change mankind’s direction.

But what do most humans do? We strut and preen the feathers of our pride which has deluded us into thinking that our mean and insignificant thoughts surge from an intelligent mind. We believe that we are in control, that we are the captains of our own fates…until we first peer directly into Death’s empty eyes and realize that the time of our departure is imminent. This crushes and grinds our thoughts to powder, now mixed with tears, which makes a merciful balm-of-Gilead that anoints our eyes that we may finally see another face, the royal countenance of our King.

And what will we encounter? We will see Him as the sovereign King, first in all things, but humble and merciful to us His people. When our hearts truly look at Him this way as our King, then we will have come home like the prodigal son did, and He will deal with us as family. And He will say to us, “Well done thou good and faithful servant…”    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[From Journal entry dated 12-9-12. This will be used in a chapter in my new book that I am working on now entitled The Additions to the Faith, to be published in 2023]

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The Difference Between 1st and 21st Century Christianity

The difference between 1st and 21st Century Christianity is vast. The God worshiped is the same, of course. But it is a question of focus.

The central point of the early church teachings was to introduce to both the followers of Judaism and to the pagan masses the Savior and His Passion. Neither of the two audiences believed the story of the Savior and His death, burial, and resurrection upon first hearing.

In the early disciples’ writings preserved for us in the New Testament, we find the “apostles’ doctrine,” which is the teachings of Christ concerning His kingdom and our place in it. To the Jews they taught that Christ was the Messiah prophesied of old and that He is the Son of Yahweh of the Old Testament writings. To the Gentiles they taught that Christ is the true God and Savior of the whole world. They were powerful advocates with His Spirit confirming with many signs and wonders.

The Difference

The early church was starting at ground zero. Most Jews rejected the Messiah, and the pagan masses clung to their false gods. So they told them about Jesus Christ of Nazareth and His love for them. This was a message that they had not heard before.

But today it is different. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of professing Christians reside all over this planet. It’s like that commercial: Q: Did you know that Christ is the Savior of the world?  A: Yes. Everyone knows that.

Today billions of Christians don’t need to be introduced to Christ and Him dying for us. What we need to know are the spiritual intricacies of what His death, burial, and resurrection mean in our own lives and how that ties into the greater plan and purpose of God reproducing Himself–in us! We need to know how His plan and purpose will come to pass since we as Christians are smack dab in it; we are, after all “the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Oh, we do need to know how to get from being puny and powerless little babes in Christ to being the “fulness of Him.” In other words, to be like Christ.

And the early apostles planted the seeds on how to get there in our spiritual growth. But man’s religious Christian leaders have been stuck in the First Century, continually teaching their flocks today about Christ, seldom mentioning how to ignite the power of the Spirit in a believer’s heart and how to grow to become part of the “manifested sons of the living God.”

Why are the pastors and priests today still preaching sermons about Christ and not about how to become like Christ? Most don’t know, for they were never taught by their mentors. And if they do find out, they become afraid of their jobs, for most are hirelings, and they did not “count the cost” to fully follow Him. They are purveyors of weak pablum, for they have not “purged out the old leaven” of hypocrisy and falseness.

And yet, the early apostles sowed seeds for our growth as Christians in the 21st Century. They told us what would thwart our attempts to grow spiritually. Yes, they gave us the timeless truths of His salvation, but they also warned us of the treacherous times to come. They warned us of the blasphemy of some in the last days who would be selfish, ungrateful, unholy, hateful, and be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” They warned of evil seducers and how it would get worse and worse in their deceiving of Christians (II Tim. 3: 1-13). They called them “false prophets” and “false teachers” that will definitely “bring in damnable heresies” into the church congregations (2 Pet. 2; Jude 3-12).

And this is the tough one to swallow; they warned us that these deceivers would come to us as Christian pastors and teachers. Even in Paul’s day, the heresy had already begun. “False apostles and deceitful workers” were already “transforming themselves into the apostles of light. And no marvel: for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11: 13-15). I believe that many pastors today are sincere and have been deceived through the false teachings that started way back in the day.

And so these old leaven teachings are passed on down from generation to generation. That is why the deeper things are not taught. Our adversary does not want them taught; he does not desire God’s plan for His body to come to fruition. Satan does not want us to grow. He does not want us to dig deep and grow up into Him.

Some Deeper Things

We all know that through His great love for us, Christ offered up Himself on the cross unto death. However, it is not enough to believe that He died, was buried, and was raised from the dead. We must believe that our old sinful nature died with Christ on the cross. When He died, all the sins of every human being died, also. When He gave up the ghost, our old heart, old spirit, and old nature died along with Him. Then we are buried with Him, and then we are “raised to walk in a newness of life.” It is all right there in Romans 6.

“He that is dead is freed from sin.” When we truly believe in His resurrection, we are believing in our own resurrection. For at the moment of Christ’s death, He took on Himself the sin of us all. He died as a sinner. He was our scapegoat offering for sin. That was us up there on the cross. That’s why the apostle Paul tells us, “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3: 3).

But this message is not preached very often. Not many anymore want to be told that they have to “reckon themselves dead” on the cross and let their old sinful selves die, and then by faith in Christ’s resurrection, be risen with Him (Col. 2: 12). Not a popular message. Most would rather hear about Christ dying, not them dying.

Now when we really believe this, astounding things happen. The hand that stole, steals no more. The eye that lusted and coveted no longer yearns for things it cannot have. Cursing vanishes. Joy replaces bitterness and despair. We become new creatures in Christ.

This transformation, of course, is provided by our Savior through His great love and mercy. This is wonderful, but it is only the first step in “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” But this puts us on the right track, on the way to growing up and maturing into the full grown sons and daughters of God.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hidden Wisdom and the Power of God

It is hiding in plain sight, this great mystery that the apostles and prophets wrote about. It is not in man’s old nature to see and understand what it is, for this hidden wisdom of God entails attributes that are completely opposite of the old nature man is born with.

In fact, when old man Adam glimpses the hidden wisdom in operation in a human’s life, it appears as foolishness. But God has chosen the foolish, weak, base, and despised things on this planet to confound the current powers that be–those humans who think that they in their own strength and position rule their own destinies (I Cor. 1: 25-29).

So just what is this wisdom of God that is hidden from men? What is this secret mystery of God that He withholds from carnal man’s eyes? The answer is in that first letter to the church at Corinth that the apostle Paul wrote.  In it he upbraids them for their lack of spirituality, citing many instances of their carnality and lack of the Spirit.

Paul explains early on in the letter that he was not coming to them “with enticing words of man’s wisdom,” but in the Spirit and its power” (2: 4).  They were hung up on following the teachings of a man. Some were saying, “I am of Paul and I am of Apollos, and I am of Cephas” (1: 12).  Sounds like, I am of Luther; I am of the Pope; I am of Wesley; I am of Russell; I am of…ad infinitum. Denominationalism was already in full bloom by AD 59. “Only by pride comes contention.” And such contention as seen in the modern day churches comes in believing that they are the only ones who have the truth.

It is this vain glory that causes the divisions and schisms in the church (1: 10-17). Most denominations, distrustful of each other, labor in carnality, thus showing a lack of the wisdom of God.  We all should be “perfectly joined together.” But how? “By having the same mind.” Which mind? “Let this mind be in you that was in Christ,” which was a mind of humility, which is exemplified in the cross.

The Preaching of the Cross

The cross experience is for us to go through, not just observe in another.  Man’s wisdom looks at this as the man Christ dying on the cross for our sins.  But Paul speaks of the hidden wisdom of God as “the preaching of the cross” and what it spiritually represents.

Had the rulers of this world in Christ’s day known of this hidden wisdom of God, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”  Make no mistake of who they were.  They were the offspring of Edom who had converted to Pharisaism and by Christ’s day held most of the top posts in the religious hierarchy of Jerusalem.  They were the chief priests and religious henchmen who conspired on trumped up charges to get rid of Christ.  They goaded the people and the Romans to crucify Him, which is just what God wanted them to do. They thought in their carnal man’s wisdom that they were getting rid of Him, when they were in reality ensuring that “the cross” and the humility of God that it signified in the hearts of all mankind would ring down like joyful bells through the ages.

Of course, if the rulers at Jerusalem knew of this hidden wisdom of humility, they would not have crucified Christ.  For His cross experience put to death our old sinful nature, which was placed upon Him just before He expired on that cross.  Not only our sins died with Him that day, but also our old sinful carnal nature died as well. When He died, our old sinful self died; when He was buried, our old lives were buried with Him.  When He was resurrected, we were also “raised to walk in a newness of life.”  We are free from the bondage of having to sin,” for “he that is dead is freed from sin.” Those who believe this become “new creatures” by faith, and we receive His Spirit within and receive a new heart.

This is the preaching of the cross.  This is the hidden wisdom; this is that special knowledge of God that is hidden from carnal man and definitely hidden from the rulers of this world system, as it was hidden from the rulers of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. This act of humility–giving up our old lives–is the cross experience and is the hidden wisdom put into action in our hearts.  It is the only sacrifice that God is pleased with, for it takes faith.  It takes believing that He has done all this for us.

Those who go through this cross experience receive the resurrection power of the Spirit into their new hearts and their lives begin to change, and through proper nurturing, they will grow up into Him and He in them. But they are the desperate ones to change, and they will love much, for they will know that they have been forgiven much.  In this crucible lies the hidden wisdom and the power of God.     KWH

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“You Gotta Die Before You Live”–New Song on the Cross Experience of Christ

People talk about the cross of Christ a lot in some churches, but few teach the central truth about what that experience does in a human life.  Our old sinful self, our old heart, must die with Christ, “who was made to be sin for us.”  We identify and repent of our sinful ways by surrendering to this death on the cross.  Then we “are buried with Him” in an immersion of that old self into His death {water baptism being the type and symbol}.

Then, by believing that Christ literally rose from the dead the third day, we too can be raised from the spiritually dead, and we are then “raised to walk in a newness of life.”

HalleluYah!  This is real biblical way to repent–“by faith in the operation of God that raised up Christ.” This is what this song is about.  I wrote it back in 1975; it speaks of the  great paradox–life out of death–just like a seed buried in the ground.  This is a great mystery “kept secret from the foundations of the world,” and I am blessed to have been given it to share with the world–in a song.”  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

You can see the video and hear the song that contains these revelations here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeDb5WdFHS0

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