Summary: Was the cross and all of its barbarism necessary or was there another way? It calls us to decide whether Jesus wa Liar, Lunatic or Lord.
Did Jesus Have To Die?
(The offense of the cross)
Did Jesus have to suffer and die?"
To say that it was necessary causes Christians no problem at all.
In fact, the story of the cross, or forgiveness of sins, of paying our ransom, or the just dying for the unjust... THE GOSPEL... is, for us, the sweetest story ever told.
We never grow tired of hearing of it because it proclaims God’s unbelievable, unfathomable love for us.
We can sing the words of the old hymn...
"I love to tell the story, twill be my theme in glory, to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love"
But Paul, in our scripture found that the preaching of the cross was not so well received by the unsaved.
In fact, Paul referred to the cross as "an offence."
Paul found that the preaching of the cross brought great rejection and persecution. Why?
Well, the gospel of the cross flies in the face of many of man’s favorite misconceptions...
it destroys the lies of Satan.
The cross, the unfiltered, unadulterated cross says some things make people very uncomfortable.
Today I want to look at a few of the offensive things that the cross says.
The Cross tells us that
1. SIN IS REAL.
Most people don’t like to use the term "sin." It makes them uncomfortable.
Sin says there is an OBJECTIVE measure of right and wrong. That morality and goodness are not determined by each society or by each person.
It says we are not free to determine for ourselves what is right and wrong for us. . . but that God has a concrete unchanging standard by which we are to be judged.
That is offensive to people.
If each of us could determine right and wrong for ourselves, God would not call it sin... and there would be no need for us to repent.
The dying, bleeding body hanging on that cross is God’s shout from heaven that SIN IS REAL!!!
The cross also says...
2. The Consequences of Sin are Real.
The gospel says, "The wages of sin is death."
And "The soul that sins, it shall die."
Conventional wisdom says, "Maybe it is sin, but it is not that bad."
It was just a little lie that I told...
it was just a small thing that I stole...
it was just a little joke.
We love to use the term "little" for our sins. Compared to the sins of other people, our sins are small. Compared to eternity in hell, our sins are small.
But are they.
I need an adult volunteer. Please come up here.
I have a glass of water from the tap. Good clear well water. Some of “Take a drink.”
I have asked to bring a glass of water... straight out of the toilet bowl.
" bring it up."
(((Switch glasses around and ask volunteer to drink it)))
(((Take dropper of water from each cup and drop into third "clean’
Will you drink it? NO!!! It is only a little bit dirty. That doesn’t really matter does it?
How about a unit of blood you are about receive after an operation and the Dr. says, "It has a little bit of aids in it." Would that be acceptable?
Why would we expect God, Holy and Righteous God to accept someone into his house (heaven) that was filthy and vile?
Would you allow a person into your house who was a little bit of a pervert?
Neither will God!!!
The offence of the cross says
3. Hell Is Real and all lost persons are going to tell.
We don’t want to believe a loving and good God could let someone go to hell.
We think God should just forgive everyone and let everyone go to Heaven.
If I write up a petition saying
pardon all criminals
Tear down the prisons and
do away with all of the laws
get rid of the police force and courts.
Would you sign it?
Not one of you is in favor of releasing all of the criminals into society.
Should we expect God to just throw open the doors of Heaven and let everyone in?
The cross says there is a hell and it is a horrible place.
If there was no hell there would be no cross.
If there was no hell, then it would not matter if we were all sinners... there would be no negative consequences. If we were going to heaven any way... Jesus would just have stayed in Heaven and waited on us to get there.
The offence of the cross is...
4. That a loving Father would not allow His Son to suffer like that.
To watch The Passion, and see Jesus beaten repeatedly and intensely for 90 minutes is more than most of us can bear. It gets to the point that we want to say, "ENOUGH ALREADY!!!"