Summary: To abandon the blood-stained cross is to abandon the power of the gospel.
INTRO: 1. Mel Gibson’s movie called “The Passion of the Christ” has stirred a great deal of response throughout our nation…some I truly expected, some I find more disturbing.
a. It came as no surprise to me when the press, which glorifies the filth and immorality of Hollywood, to come out swinging against anything that would promote what Jesus did at Calvary.
b. But the most disturbing things I’ve heard is from so called ‘ministers’ who object to such a graphic depiction of what truly took place on Calvary.
2. I come to realize that this film flies in the face of what many churches have turned the crucifixion into… a more sanitized scene, sugar coated, a more politically correct cross…less the suffering, less the wounds, less disturbing to our more modern day “civilized” world.
a. In the process our faith has become bland, unthreatening and mediocre.
b. To abandon the blood-stained cross is to abandon the power of the gospel.
3. But let me make something quite clear to you tonight, Jesus didn’t merely die for you…he suffered beyond our wildest imagination.
4. You can have your kinder, gentler Calvary if you want…but give me that Blood-Stained Cross that I may never, never, never forget…
a. Every stripe that laid open his back.
b. Every indignity that was heaped upon him.
c. Every nail that pierced his hands and feet.
d. Every thorn that opened his brow and head.
e. Every blow that sent him reeling to the ground.
f. Every wound that ‘poured out his blood.’
g. Every ounce and inch of that cross where he ended it all.
5. A gospel that does anything less than manifest that cross has moved away from what is at the core of Christianity.
a. Paul made it clear that he wasn’t merely out to preach Christ, but was
2:2 …determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
6. Tonight I’m here to call the church back to that cross, to remind us that the preaching of that Blood-Stained Cross isn’t merely important but it is essential to the church.
a. How far have the modern-day church moved from preaching Calvary… we’ll preach prosperity, preach a Christianity that is devoid of suffering, preach faith…but let me tell you it would be hard pressed to find the early church preaching anything less that the ‘Gospel of the Cross.’
7. Paul makes it clear in our text what he means…
a. Calls it in verse 18 “The preaching of the Cross.”
b. In verse 23 he unapolegetically declare “we preach Christ crucified.”
c. In 2:2 he reveals it’s more than a message, but the focal point of his preaching… a holy determination to preach “Christ and him crucified.”
8. This is not merely Paul’s sentiment to one church but to the…
a. Galatians he declares…
Gal. 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.
10. Not only is it the focal point of the early church, it is also the focal point of heaven throughout eternity.
Rev. 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
11. But what is the nature of this blood-soaked gospel, how can we expect it to be received… how are we to be steward of this powerful truth?
I. THE GOSPEL OF THE CROSS IS OFFENSIVE
a. May I say to you tonight, if you don’t shutter when you look at the cross… you’re looking at the wrong cross.
b. If you don’t find what he went through as shocking, then you’ve lost sight of what He really endured for you.
c. It shouldn’t surprise us to feel the way we do when we look at that blood-soaked scene called calvary, because our flesh finds that scene offensive and pleads for us to look away… but we just can’t…that’s the power of that cross.
d. Here in our text Paul reminds us that this gospel will never be embraced by this self-centered society… because this cross flies in the face of all that man stands far.
e. This gospel has always been an insult to our world, nothing has changed about that.
A. TO OUR RELIGIOUS SENSITIVITIES.
1. Paul says of this blood-stained gospel
Vs. 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock,
2. The Jew built their hope of salvation on the accumulation of righteous deeds and actions.
3. The cross insults the religious mind, by declaring that all your efforts are in vain without the cross.