Summary: Heroes have emblems that identify them (Superman, Batman), I suggest that the cross is the emblem our faith . . . it identifies us with our Christ.
The Courage The Cross Gives
Good Friday 2016
3/25/16 CFBC, Chester, IL Dr. Mike Fogerson
A Heros have emblems that identify them (Superman, Batman), I suggest that the cross is the emblem our faith . . . it identifies us with our Christ.
1 What makes us different is not the fact that we claim that God is alive (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism all say God is alive.)
a The compelling distinctive of our faith is that God died.
aa Christianity is the ONLY religion that brags on the death of its leader.
bb This notion is so shocking, a consumate splendor in monstrous horror, scandalous, that no earthly mind could have conceived it. . . it came from heaven.
b The cross is the balance beam of Christianity.
2 When you truly see the cross it fills up your whole screen.
a It’s the elephant in the room, inconvenient truth.
aa People seem want to avoid talking about the cross because it may offend someone.
bb It’s easier to talk about God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, grace . . . but the cross is ugly, painful, offensive, brutal.
cc Jesus didn’t mind talking about the cross, “And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12.32).
b The cross has a gravity all its own: you don’t have to defend the cross . . . just embrace it and it will draw people to Jesus.
c When you see the cross how can we just go on with our day?
aa How can we ignore our Savior’s nakedness, wheezing, gasping lungs, fire in His eyes or the flame in His heart?
bb The blood is our banner and the shame is our glory.
cc We had a pretty nice religion going on . . . until the cross came along and changed everything.
B The cross came in like a tsunami and swept the place the clean of dignity, modesty, propriety. (Nothing is safe because the cross demands everything.)
1 The cross ripped the innards of Christ out and it rips us up too.
a It will sweep us to our death . . . but only in losing our life do we find life.
b (Matthew 16:25 (NASB) "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
2 If you want to see what’s inside a person, nail them to a tree, and what’s inside will come out.
a Jesus was pierced on the cross and here’s what came out of Him. . .
aa Forgiveness: Luke 23.34 (While they were driving the nails into His hands.)
bb Promise: “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23.43). Thief who was executed beside Him.
cc Compassion: “When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nerby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your shon.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time, this disciple took her to his own home” (John 19.26-27). Jesus took care of His mother’s care.
dd Loyalty: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27.46) Even in His darkest hour, He still called out to His Father, “MY GOD.”
ee Longing: “I thirst” John 19.28, Jesus longed for His Father.
ff Confidence: “It is finished” John 19.30. The work of the cross was accomplished.
gg Surrender: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23.46
b The executioner who crucified Jesus was so stunned at what came out of Jesus he said, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15.39).
C Imagine, Jesus created His human body for crucifixion (Who else would have done it?)
1 I can picture the Father saying, “Son, are you sure You want to put all those nerve endings in your hands? Feet? That’s right were they’ll be putting the nails, son.”
a Yes, Abba, I know. I want to feel their sorrows in the very depth of My being.
b No one can look at the cross and say, “God doesn’t understand my pain.”
aa You can’t get any lower than the cross.
bb The cross is full of suffering & glory.
2 Whenever I’m hurting . . . when I can move forward . . . the devil whispers in my ear the ancient words “God is withholding from you”, . . . I want to make my way back to the cross.
a I say they’re ancient because that is what Satan whispered in Eve’s ear in the garden. “God is withholding from you the fruit that would make you everything you were meant to me.”
aa God is withholding from you the healing you need . . .