Acknowledging Christ

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. Genesis 37:3-11

This scripture refers to the church. We see here that Joseph saw a vision, or a dream. And this dream, though maligned by his brethren and over which Joseph would suffer much – this dream would become the ultimate reality. Everything would work out exactly according to the dream that Joseph had been given.

Likewise, we see that, just like Joseph received God’s plan or revelation of Christ, the apostles also received the gospel through revelation. The word ‘revelation’ is spiritual vocabulary. Even before the church proper had begun, Jesus set the foundation upon which the church would be built: it was upon the revelation of Him as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The word “Christ” is not a name. It is a title, and it talks about Jesus the Son of God, who would come and suffer and die to take away the sins of people.

The revelation of Christ is the foundation of the church. Paul says in Galatians 1:11-12, “11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Just like Joseph, this revelation would not be an easy gospel for the apostles to carry; they would suffer much for it. The Lord told Paul as much through Ananias: “… For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Act 9:16

Just like Joseph, the apostles would suffer at the hands of their own brethren, the Jews, for something that was revealed to them by God!

But we also need to understand that what was revealed to the apostles was not just a teaching, but a way of life, a life that would go against the worldly current. The revelation that the apostles received concerned God’s Son, Jesus Christ, in whom is the totality of life: the suffering, the dying and the resurrection life.

I am of the firm opinion that ultimately the church will have to acknowledge God’s Son, Jesus Christ, just as Jacob’s sons did with Joseph. Now, I am not talking about the initial acknowledgement where we confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. I met a girl recently and as I was sharing the gospel with her she told me, “Pastor, I have received Jesus into my life already, but I am still living a life of sin.”

Clearly, something was missing in her life.

Acknowledging Christ here means living the crucified life. It is this life that the Apostle Paul speaks of in Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”;

And, in Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

The word “ultimately” means “eventually”, “finally”, “in the end” (thanks to my Thesaurus).

That means that initially, and in-between, the church will have all the freedom to run after every other doctrine they wish to run after – just like Joseph’s brothers did. When you read the above account in full, you will see that while Joseph was suffering in Egypt, Judah was gallivanting all over the land and doing the most abominable things. None of the other brothers’ lives are revealed, but I imagine that if Judah was (as the Bible indicates) the noblest of them all, then the other guys’ lives likely must have been open sewers! (Except, of course, Benjamin, who stayed steadfastly close to his father’s side).

You cannot walk in victory over sin if you are not walking in the revelation of the cross!

It is an undeniable fact that there are many options – many doctrines – that are open to the church today, and nearly all are designed to allow the Christian to walk freely on the broad and wide road (Mat. 7:14).

God’s people will run after miracles and signs and wonders. They will dance all the way to the bank under the influence of the gospel of prosperity. They will declare that as the “King’s Kids”, they have every “right” to this and that. They will hearken to many other things, things of the flesh.

But above all, they will reject the gospel of the cross. It will not be attractive to them. Some even, failing to catch the revelation, will claim it is a cult.

But God’s plan and purpose is right there, in the cross. The gospel that will finally take the Bride, the church to the Bridegroom, Jesus, will be the gospel of revelation of the cross, where men and women learn to deny self, crucify the flesh and live the resurrection life.

This is the gospel that I am convinced that the church will ultimately have to bow down and acknowledge – the gospel of the cross, because you cannot detach Jesus from the cross.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not an easy life. The Apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 1:13-16: “13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

We are called to live a holy life, and that holiness is found in the revelation of Jesus Christ. In Him – in denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Christ – we find the grace to live the kind of life that pleases God, a holy life wherein when the Bridegroom comes for us He will find us without blemish, spot or wrinkle. Hallelujah!

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