Dead Men Wanted       By: David Ravenhill

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Crucifixion was the equivalent of being sentenced to the gallows, guillotine, electric chair or the firing squad—only much more painful and long lasting. Of course, all had the same final result: death. The cross brought a finality in every area of a man’s life. He was dead to the world; dead to his friends and family; dead to his pride and ambitions; dead to self interests; dead to future plans. Yes, the cross ended everything in a man’s life. Paul said; “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” He went on to say; “I am crucified to the world and the world is crucified to me.”

Small wonder then that we hear so little teaching or preaching on the cross today. Jesus challenged every one of His followers to take up their cross and follow Him. Today the church has virtually eliminated any and all reference to the true biblical message of the cross. This is no more strikingly evident than in the title of one of the most popular “Christian” books on the market today, Your Best Life Now.

Let’s face it, self hates to die and lose its pre-eminence. We do everything we can to make self look good, smell good and feel good. We relish those who pamper us, coddle us, fuss over us and help us. We flock to those who tell us how we can become even more self-centered and selfish than we already are.

Enter almost any Christian bookstore and you will see any number of self-help books dealing with everything from dieting to dressing for success. The apostle Paul perfectly described the attitude in much of today’s Church when he warned Timothy that in the Last Days men would be lovers of money, lovers of pleasure, lovers of self, more than lovers of God. (II Timothy 3:1-5) It is obvious that self is the root here. Money provides the means to pursue pleasure in order to ultimately indulge self’s ferocious appetite. Yes, it’s all about me and mine. We live in a hedonistic world where our only concern is, “What’s in it for me?” Let’s face it, if you trace the source of self to its origin, you arrive at Lucifer’s diabolical plan to usurp God’s place of supremacy and authority with his own. Perhaps Lucifer would have coined his autobiography, My Best Life Now.

Every fallen son of Adam is driven by this same overwhelming urge to “do it MY way.” But it is only when self is dethroned that God can take His rightful place as Lord and Master of a person’s life. Self is so powerful that the only way to successfully deal with it is through the cross.

Peter warned that there would come a time when false teachers would enter the church bringing with them damnable doctrines… “even denying the Master who bought them…” What could do more to deny Christ than to live for self rather than for Christ?

One of the great messages of Christ was that His Kingdom would tolerate no rivals. He made it perfectly clear that those who would follow Him would have to follow Him to Calvary.

Make no mistake about it: Those who preach a man-centered message are enemies of the cross and God’s Kingdom. This whole new emphasis on “seeker sensitivity” places the focus on man and his importance, rather than on the King and His Kingdom.

I suspect that those preaching this “gospel” are doing more to further the kingdom of Satan than even some of his most powerful demons.

What the Church needs in this hour are not those who are championing the self-life but those who are living for Christ. We don’t need more leaders who have a vibrant, thriving self-life. We need men who have learned the secret of dying to self. We need men dead to themselves and alive to Christ!

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David Ravenhill
has worked as a missionary, pastor and teacher for over 40 years. He shares the passion of his father, Leonard Ravenhill, for the Body of Christ to return to holy living. For more on David Ravenhill, visit www.davidravenhill.net