Summary: As Christians our lives are meant to be centered on the cross
Centered on the Cross
October 2, 2005
I grew up near a small town called Centerburg. When I was growing up, Centerburg was the home of the local mill where we purchased feed for our animals. It was home to the pharmacy where my grandmother got her prescriptions. The bank in Centerburg had my first savings account.
The biggest claim to fame for Centerburg is the reason for its name. Centerburg is the exact geographical center of the state of Ohio. There is still a sign outside of town that says the heart of Ohio. Why am I telling you all of this?
A few weeks ago I was asked an unusual question: what is the most important thing in the church? I gave a quick answer and moved on. As I thought later, the question continued to follow me. The more I thought about it, more things came to mind. I could have answered that question in many different ways. Even my answer of Jesus seemed incomplete.
I thought that maybe the area of outreach is most important because we are meant to reach people for Jesus. Perhaps the area of worship is most important because that is where we gather to experience Jesus. Maybe the area of ministry is most important because we meet the needs of others in Jesus’ name. All of these things are important but what is the most important?
Last week as I came into the sanctuary for prayer time, it hit me. The most important thing in our church needs to be the cross. The cross is the center of everything it means to be a Christian. The cross stands at the center of our theology. The cross is the center of biblical prophecy. The cross is the center of our purpose. The cross is the center of our message. The cross is the center of our methods.
The cross is God’s centerpiece on the table of time - Paul Guttke
Just as Centerburg is at the center of the state; the cross is meant to be the spiritual center of your life. The cross is where God poured out His judgment on Jesus and where He pours out His mercy to us. The cross is an unusual mixture of pain and peace, suffering and salvation, loss and life. The cross is the most important aspect of the church. The only question that remains is this: do we have the cross where it needs to be? Is your life centered on the cross?
This morning I want to explore the reality of the cross and it’s rightful place in our lives. Paul gives us a glimpse of this in his letter to the Galatian churches. Open your bibles to 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. Galatians 2:20
The cross is the center of our reality
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The main fact that most Christians seems to forget today is that we are called to die. Maybe not die in a physical sense but to die in a sense of self. It is impossible to follow Jesus without dying to yourself.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. Matthew 16:24
When Jesus enters our lives He issues a call to come and die. It is a call to take up your cross, give up yourself and die to your will. Why is this so crucial?
We live in a world where self is exalted above everything else. We live in a world where selfishness is its own religion. We bow down and worship at the altar of I, Me, My, Mine and Myself. We live to do little else but please ourselves and we sacrifice anyone or anything that gets in the way. We are desperately seeking to please ourselves. We sacrifice relationships, values, beliefs and even our Christianity to have self satisfaction.
The Wonderful Cross
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find that I may truly live, Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross, all who gather here by grace draw near and bless your name
The desire of Jesus is that we totally embrace the life He has to offer. The only way to experience the life that Jesus offers is to die to yourself. In other words give up living your way by your standards. Jesus wants an act of self surrender to start your new life with Him. However, we are wrong if we think this is a one time situation. Jesus desires us to carry the cross each and every day that we live. Is your life centered on the cross?