The Cross Part 1

1. There is no service to Christ which is without a cross. As it is written, " He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matt. 10:3838And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38).) This chapter is the Lord's " charge " to His apostles, telling them what they and the church would have to expect from the time of His death. The part of the chapter more immediately connected with this verse is from verses 32-42, which seems to me to read thus:- " According as those who on earth standing in the place of my servants confess or deny me before men, so will I confess or deny them before my Father in heaven: [nature would say, 0 we will all confess Thee; therefore Jesus goes on to tell the difficulties of so doing, for the result is both painful, and, among men, disgraceful]: the result of so doing will be family discords of the worst kind." If any man says, " Christ is in God for me; henceforth I will live here only by and to Christ," he gets thus at once out of the center man knows, and everything and everybody is against him. Man judges of everything by its present RESULTS; the present results of the truth are painful, and as man thinks disgraceful: yea, most shameful! " A fine religion," he would say, " to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother," &c.* Therefore, "he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me." This was addressed to the twelve more particularly, as servants of God; yet in principle it is true of every disciple's service. If you read the chapter you will see this.
(* But so it is; and the cross is to the disciple morally just what Jesus' cross was literally to His mother and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene, and the disciple whom He loved, when standing by it. (John 19:2525Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25).))
Cruelty, shame, and disgrace, are the three things which service to Christ will gain for you from earth. For the cross of Christ is not a thing which can be used merely to moralize or to obtain a good or healthful influence over men's minds. It is either eternal life, delivering a man into the liberty of a son of God, or it is the manifestation that Satan is blinding his eyes.
The formalist, the moralist, the philanthropist, the amiable man, the improver of society, the devotee, the bigot, the socialist, can all, though self is working in them differently, find grounds to go upon peaceably together; in fact they have one center, " self," though it may work differently in them; and therefore self-love in the whole party will vindicate self for the others. But let a man get God's grace in the cross as his center, made known as it is by the power of the Holy Ghost, and he becomes a speckled bird on earth: and he can bear it; for if earth and Satan its prince, and men his subjects, are against him, heaven, and God, and Christ, and the Holy Ghost are for him.