THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”. (1 Corinthians 1:17-18)
We are living in a day when the message of the church is changing. Pastors, Churches, and even whole denominations, are moving away from the old rocked cross message of salvation through the blood of Jesus, and are moving toward a message of salvation through social activism, humanism and good works. The old bloody message of the cross is quickly being replaced by a bloodless message that lacks power, which lacks hope and has no life. Instead of hearing the devastating, but life changing news that men are sinners and will face the wrath of God one day, people hear a message that tells them, it’s all well and you can do anything once you’re a member of the local church and pays your tithes regularly it’s alright and you’re okay.
Well, I would like to take the same stand that the Apostle Paul took all those years ago. When he wrote to the church in Corinth, Paul reminded them that he had been called for one purpose and that purpose was to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. That message was to be his focus and that message was to be his ministry and that message was to be his life to live forever.
Today, I would like to restate the old, old message. I would like to remind everyone in this building about what happened that day when the Lord Jesus died on the cross at Calvary. Because it was that event, which took place at Calvary 2,000 years ago that altered the future for every person who places their faith in the One Who died there on the cross that day.
Please join me as we revisit the old, old story once again. I would like to take you back to a little hill just outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem, where we will encounter an event that purchased and provided salvation for every person who receives that event as their very own and is because of them the event came to pass. Let’s return together to the cross of Calvary, and try to grasp The Message of The Cross! As we do, please let the Lord speak to your heart and if you have never been saved, I invite you to come to Jesus today for salvation through His precious blood.
I. THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS
(A). A Strange Message.
That there should be life out of death. The Jews were looking for a Messiah Who would throw off the Roman yoke and give them liberty from their captors. They totally missed the fact that their Messiah would be One Who would suffer for the sins of the people, Isa. 53:1-3.) The message of the bloody cross of Jesus is still a strange message to those who have never experienced its life changing power. To them it is “foolishness” Holy Scriptures declares. This word comes from the same word from which we get our word “Moron“. To the lost the idea of trusting a suffering, bleeding man for salvation is moronic. 1 Cor. 1:21-24!)
(B). A Shocking Message
A brutal, awful death was experienced there on that cross. The death Christ died on the cross was one of absolute torture. You and I cannot even begin to imagine all the pain that Jesus was forced to endure for our sake. Allow me to refresh your mind this morning about the terrible price Jesus paid for me and you as He suffered for our sin that day.
- Scourged – 27:26. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered [him] to be crucified.
- Beaten – Luke 22:63-64. And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote [him]. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?
- Spit upon – Matt 27:30. And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
- Beard Plucked from His Face – Isaiah 50:6. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
- Mocked – Matt 27:26-29. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered [him] to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band [of soldiers]. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put [it] upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
- Stripped Naked – Matt 27:35. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
- Nailed to the Cross – Matt 27:38; Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
John 20:25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
The ancient Assyrians were the first to “crucify” their victims. However, they did not nail them to cross; they merely impaled them on sharpened stakes and left them to die a horrible death that often took several days. When the Romans came along, they streamlined the method and added the little touch of actually nailing their victims to the cross. This method of death usually took several days as well.
- These truths don’t even begin to scratch the surface of Jesus suffered for you and me. Isaiah 52:14. says “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men”. His was a bitter cup, but one that He drank of willingly so that we might be saved. Luke 22:41-42. says “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”.
To hear the details of Christ’s death on the cross is disturbing! But, it is a necessary truth that must be proclaimed and must be heard before there can be salvation. Beloved, there is only one way for you to get to God and that is by the way of the cross. There is no salvation apart from faith in the work done and finished of Jesus on Calvary cross!)
(C). A Simple Message to You.
Not clouded by demands and details, but delivered in simplicity and clarity. One of the problems with the modern church is that we have tried to attach too many conditions to salvation. However, the Bible is clear when it tells us that the way to be saved is for the sinner to accept by faith what the Bible says and teaches about Jesus and His atoning death on the cross. The Book of Roman 10:9-10 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. This is what the preaching of the cross is all about. It is not about you quitting your sins. It is about you coming to Jesus by faith. It’s not about turning over a new leaf; it’s about placing your faith in Jesus and confessing Him alone for salvation.
II. THE PURPOSE OF THE CROSS
(A). Is about Making A Statement:
Ever since the Old Testament times, the Lord has been telling us of His love for them, Deut. 7:7-8; Jer. 31:3. However, in Christ’s death on the cross, God was able to declare boldly, for all to see, His boundless, matchless love for the lost of this world.(Roman. 5:6-8) The cross is God’s statement of love to the perishing world. John 15:13.
(B). Is about Providing Salvation:
The Bible, tells us that there is no other way to receives forgiven or to be cleanse from sin, but through the sacrifice of an innocent one of the guilty one, Hebrew 9:22. says “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission”. This is seen back in the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, Genesis. 3:21. This same line of thought continues all the way through the days of the Tabernacle and the Temple. There, sin was atoned for by the blood of sheep, bulls and goats, but it was never taken away, Heb. 10:4; Heb. 10:10-11. However, the Lord Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of humanity. What He did, His death on the cross forever settled the sin debt of man, Heb. 10:12-14; Heb. 9:24-28. It is clear here. If not, then listen to these two precious passages of Scripture, Rev. 1:5; says “And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” and again in, 1 Peter 1:18-19. says “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”: By the way, the word “saved” in this verse means, “to keep safe and sound, to rescue from all harm and danger; from destruction and from perishing” Sounds to me like when a person comes to Jesus by faith and gets saved, it’s all done. That person does not need to fear losing his salvation because God is faithful to his Word of promise. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand”, John 10:28.
(C). Is about Defeating Satan
Ever since the Lucifer sinned and became the devil, he has been in the business of trying to hinder the work of God. He loves nothing better than keeping souls in bondage and seeing them condemned to Hell, Eph 2:1-3. But, when Jesus went to the cross, I am of the opinion that the devil thought he had won the victory that day. I am sure he rejoiced when Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” But, what the devil did not know was that the Lord Jesus wasn’t planning to stay dead in the grave forever. Maybe the devil should have listened closer and he would have understood that Jesus did not say, “I am finished!” He said “It is finished!” You see, when Jesus died on the cross, He did not die to stay dead, but He rose from the dead three days later and nailed old slew foot’s coffin lid shut! The Bible tells us that the victory over the devil is found in the blood of the Lamb, Rev. 12:11. Satan is defeated absolutely. He may roar like a ferocious lion and he may try to keep you from God, 1 Pet. 5:8, but he has been defeated by the power in the blood of the Lamb of God and you do not have to remain his prisoner any more from today. There is power in the blood of Jesus to set you free.
III. THE POWER OF THE CROSS
When the power of the cross is appropriated, three great and wonderful things take place. What are they?
(A). Power of Sin is Broken forever
When a person places his/her faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that person is forever changed. The chains of sin are broken, Rom. 6:14, and they are made into a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17. Now, the new born believer does not have to live his life in bondage to sin, Rom. 6:6. The blood has the power to change every life touched by it. There is a real wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb.
(B). Hell Is Defeated forever
The blood of Jesus bought individual and will never experience the flames and fires of Hell. One of the most precious verses in the Bible pertaining to this subject is found in John 5:24. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”. Here, the Bible tells us that we will never come into condemnation. Romans 8:1, confirms this for us. It says “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. Thank God, no child of God will ever have to go to Hell; Satan will not get his wish. This should make us rejoice this today and always.
(C). Heaven Is Delivered forever.
The blood is the key that unlocks the gates of glory! When the blood is applied, the child of God becomes instantly destined for an eternity in Heaven with the Lord. That is His promise to every believer, John 14:1-3. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also”. And, there is only one way to get to that glorious place, John 3:3-7. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again”.
When John Wesley the Evangelist, was returning home from a service one night, he was robbed. The thief, however, found his victim to have only a little money and some Christian literature. As the bandit was leaving, Wesley called out, “Stop! I have something more to give you.” The surprised robber paused. “My friend,” said Wesley, “you may live to regret this sort of life. If you ever do, here’s something to remember: ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin” The thief hurried away, and Wesley prayed that his words might bear fruit. Years later, Wesley was greeting people after a Sunday service when he was approached by a stranger. What a surprise to learn that this visitor, now a believer in Christ as a successful businessman, was the one who had robbed him years before. “I owe it all to you,” said the transformed man. “Oh no, my friend,” Wesley exclaimed, “not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ that cleanses us from all sin!”
Has the blood been applied to your life? Is your name written down in Heaven? Is your faith in Jesus and in Him alone? If you need to come to Jesus for salvation this morning, this altar is open. If you need to come and get you walk with God straightened out, this altar is open. You come while the Lord is dealing with your heart today. Come now to Jesus, He is calling You today, Come!