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Which Christ Do You Worship?
Having a Vision of the Exalted Christ
by Tom Brown

Your vision of Christ will affect the way you live.

For example, if you have a vision of Christ as the humble, poor man from Galilee, then you will imitate Him. You too will believe that God wants you poor. On the other hand, if you have a vision of the crucified Christ, then you will live a crucified life—filled with sin-consciousness.

I believe that those visions of Christ are inadequate because they don’t tell the complete story. The reason is because Christ is no longer the poor man from Galilee, and He is not the Lamb on the cross anymore. No, friend, Jesus Christ is now exalted to the right hand of God the Father, and He is Lord of all.

So why does your present vision of Christ affect the way you live? Consider 1 John 4:17:

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (KJV)

Notice that this Scripture says, as he is, so are we in this world. It does not say as He was, but as He is.

Do you see the ramifications of the vision you have of Christ? You will imitate the Christ you worship.

Poor Man from Galilee

People that are against the message of prosperity eventually point out how the Scriptures portray Christ as poor.

They say, "He had no where to lay his head. He lived off of the donations of others. He didn’t have much."

I’m not interested in arguing the point of whether or not Christ was rich on this earth. For sure, as far as His condition prior to the incarnation, definitely, in comparison to His state in heaven, yes, He was poor on this earth. But you see, we are not called to imitate the lowly man from Galilee.

Many try to follow Christ’ pattern as the Gospels portray Him. This is why monasteries were built, and vows of poverty became norm. What were many trying to do by joining monasteries and vowing poverty? They believed that they imitated the Christ they saw in the Scriptures. Unfortunately, they imitated, not the exalted Christ at God’s right hand, but the Christ in Galilee.

Unfortunately, As Christ was, so are they in this world.

The Crucified Christ

There are those in the body of Christ, who go past the earthly ministry of Christ and come to the cross. Their vision of Christ is on the cross. Yes, Christ died on the cross for our sins, but our vision of Christ should not be Him on the cross. He’s not there anymore.

Yet, you can visit homes all over the world and see crucifixes decorating walls. This seems to be the picture of Christ of many. So what’s wrong with that? It produces a sin-consciousness, guilt, shame, and condemnation in so many sincere followers.

At the cross, Jesus took your sin and guilt. If you envision a crucified Christ you’ll feel guilt and shame.

Have you ever seen a movie or play about Christ, and when it’s time for the scene of the crucifixion, is your heart filled with pain and guilt when you see the sufferings of Christ? My heart breaks every time I see a portrayal of the crucifixion. Yet, imagine having that vision in your home everyday. No wonder the church is filled with shame and guilt. For sure, you should remember the crucifixion, but move on to the victory.

I talked to a man who said to me, "I just don’t believe in the message of you faith ministers. You talk about living in victory and abundance. Well, I’ll tell you what I believe. I believe in living a crucified life, not a successful life. I’m a cross man!"

I disagree. I’m not a cross man, I’m a throne man! That’s the difference.

In this world you will become like the Christ you worship. If you see Him on the cross, then you will try to live a crucified life, but if, like me, you see Him on the throne, then you will live a throne life.

Someone might say, "What do you do with the Scriptures about taking up your cross?"

Christ on a Journey

Matthew 6:24 says,

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Jesus said to take up the cross and follow me. "Follow me" is a favorite phrase of Christ. The word for "follow" is the Greek word akoloutheo. It literally means to accompany on the same road. It implies a journey.

In other words, Jesus was saying, Come on the same journey with me. In this journey I’m taking up the cross, so follow me there to the cross, and take up your cross like Me. You see, while Christ was on the earth, He was on a journey. He was moving toward a destiny. The destiny was the throne. To get there, though, Jesus had to go to the cross.

He told His disciples that they were going to the cross as well. But He was not staying at the cross. The cross was transitory. It was the path to the throne.

Today, Christ is not on a journey. He completed the journey. This is why the Hebrew writer says that "Christ sat down." He finished His journey. He’s arrived!

In the Epistles, the call is never to "follow" Christ. The word in the Epistles is mimetes. It means imitate. Sometimes translators translate this word as follow. It means different than the way Christ meant it.

An example of this word is in 1 Corinthians 11:1:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

The word follow is the Greek word mimetes, it means mimic or imitate. It does not mean to accompany on the same road. Nowhere in the Epistles is there ever any call to take up the cross. That call was exclusively to the Apostles, and was in affect until the ascension.

I Have Been Crucified

Now you’ve begun to understand Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I have been crucified with Christ, not I am crucified. It’s true that the King James Version translates the phrase in the present tense. Perhaps the translators still saw themselves on the cross. However, the literal Greek is in the past tense.

I am not crucified with Christ anymore. I have already taken up my cross. I’ve been to Calvary. I was there in the mind of God with Christ on the cross. But I continued with Christ on His journey to paradise. I still followed Him to hell. From there I journeyed with Him to the dungeon where the spirits were banished in Noah’s generation (see 1 Peter 4:19-20). I was there in the tomb where Christ rose. I rose with Him. I followed Him to Galilee where He ascended into heaven. I went up into heaven with Him. And now I am seated with Him in heaven as co-regent.

You might say, "Pastor Brown, where did you get all this from? This sounds far fetched."

I got it right out of the Bible. Ephesians 2:4-6:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

You are identified with Christ. You died with Christ, you were made alive with Christ, you were raised up with Christ, and you were seated with Christ in heavenly realms. Can’t you see it? You journeyed with Christ until you arrived at the throne.

Do you see yourself on the throne? Or do you see yourself on the cross? It can’t be both.

What vision do you have of Christ? Christ on the throne, or Christ on the cross? Your vision will affect the way you live. You can live on the cross and suffer shame and guilt, or you can reign on the throne and experience victory.

The Lamb on the Throne

John had a vision of Christ as the Lamb. But the Lamb was not where you would expect Him to be—on the cross. No, the Lamb was on the throne. He writes:

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne... (Revelation 5:6)

The Church gives an incomplete picture when she portrays the Redeemer at the cross. No, the Church must preach that the Redeemer is at the throne. And He beckons His followers to come to the throne with Him.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Rev 3:21)

Do you see it? Christ had overcome. He overcame the cross, sin, and shame. He is now on the throne. Only overcomers can sit with Christ. Are you willing to be an overcomer and sit with Christ, or are you satisfied hanging on a cross? Do you want to go up higher or stay below?

Live as an overcomer, and rule and reign in life with Christ!

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