Summary: As Easter approaches, we want to have a better understanding and a deeper revelation of what God did for us at the cross.
Begin today- focus our hearts on- death/resurrection.
As Easter approaches, we want to better understand- have a deeper revelation of- what God did for us.
The death/resurrection of Jesus Christ- nice story, an historical fact, but do I understand its significance.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist
Most important to establish- God came as a man.
Jesus Christ is Jesus the man and Christ the God.
He was all Man/God- therefore He was qualified to die for sins of all mankind.
17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. NLT
Christianity, as the world knows it, started with the death of a man on a cross.
The cross speaks of shame, guilt, failure, death.
But the Cross of Christ, along w/resurrection- is central to the Christian faith.
1 Cor 1:23-24
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. NASU
The power/wisdom of God is released in the cross.
The cross of Christ is one of the most powerful symbols of truth the world has ever known.
Out of death comes life- a pattern God built into the very fabric of the universe.
Jn 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
This is a natural picture and one of Christ dying for us
We see this in Paul’s life- we see him in his humanity-
2 Cor 1:8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
We also see Paul the natural man, in Christ …
Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. NASU
Paul sees himself dead to the desire of this life, so he can live for the purposes of God.
He saw his life in terms of the natural/eternal.
To live the Christian life is to live a paradox.
2 Cor 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
A Christian is both earthen vessel and treasure within.
It is not a question of getting to the place where people no longer see the earthen vessel.
It is people seeing Christ alive in the earthen vessel, in your weakness, that brings glory to God.
It is me in all my brokenness allowing Christ to live within me that gives people hope for themselves.
When he is strongest in the Lord he is often most conscious of inability; when he is most courageous he becomes aware of fear within; when he is most joyful a sense of distress breaks upon him. This paradox is evidence that there is treasure in the earthen vessel. Watchman Nee
Paul demonstrates this reality, this paradox …
2 Cor 12:7-10
Watchman Nee tells this story …
He was once seriously ill. The doctor reports were not good. He prayed God would heal him. He had moments of strength but constant relapse. As read the story of Paul’s thorn in the flesh and prayed he had this revelation: He saw a boat unable to pass because of a large boulder jutting out five feet into the river. He had been asking God to remove the boulder, but God challenged him. Is it better to have the boulder removed or to let the Lord raise the level of the water five feet?
Man’s weakness does not limit the power of God.
God’s rich treasure can show itself in our weakest moments- God can bring life out of death.
There is great power in the cross of Jesus Christ.
For a disciple of Christ, this is a cycle of death and life- dying to self to walk in resurrected life now.