Summary: Why do Christians wear a cross? What is its meaning to the church? In this message we are going to look at 4 images that will help us understand the place of the cross in the life of the believer.
Illus. In Texas last week, an 18 year old man was arrested for wearing a noose in public. As Jewelry.
Seems kind of morbid doesn’t it? A noose is an instrument of an agonizing death. It represents vigilante law, I would never be proud to wear a noose.
What about an electric chair? Did you know you can actually get an electric chair pin to wear on eBay? It comes in either gold or silver.
A symbol of capital punishment…I don’t think I’d wear one, no matter how many people said, “Wow Art, that looks really good on you.”
Even if they said it made me look thin…I wouldn’t wear one.
What about a cross? Oh that’s different? How?
Crucifixion on a cross was a form of capital punishment reserved for only the worst criminals, like our electric chair.
Yet we wear a cross around our necks.
Think about it…the cross was the way Jesus was executed.
If your brother was killed in a drive-by-shooting, you wouldn’t wear a silver assault rifle on a chain around your neck.
If one of your ancestors had been lynched, you wouldn’t wear a golden noose!
Had the early church hired a Madison Avenue marketing group to help them come up with a logo for the Christian faith, I don’t think a cross would have been anywhere on their list.
It was such a revolting, shameful and offensive symbol!
To the Jewish mind, being nailed to a cross was such a shameful way to die that they considered any who were crucified to be cursed in God’s sight.
Ok, so why do Christians wear a cross? What is its meaning? This morning we are going to look at 4 images that will help us understand the place of the cross in the life of the believer.
As we look at them I want you to keep this scripture in mind:
“I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” - Romans 12:1
1. The First Image is of a Courtroom.
Let me ask you a question…What does a line that goes down the middle of the road mean? Solid line, no passing. Stay on your own side of the road.
Dotted line, like one in picture means you can pass if there is nothing coming the other way.
Whether solid line or dotted line, reminds you that you are supposed to drive on your side of the road, and the guy coming the other way is supposed to stay on his side of the road. Right?
What would happen if you were driving back and forth across the middle line and a police saw you?
The Bible consistently presents God as the judge of the universe! In this universe there is a fixed pattern of right and wrong that God has woven into the fabric of life. They are His laws.
Illus. Few years ago I told my 6 year old son not to touch some breakables. He creeped closer and closer to them. I asked him, "What’re you doing?" he said, I’m trying really, really hard not to touch them.
All of us have failed at times to conform our lives to what God says is good and right.
The Bible’s word for this is “transgression”, which means to “step across a fixed line”.
All of us have transgressed God’s absolutes. We’ve crossed His line that separates right from wrong! As a result we stand before God guilty of breaking His law. We stand before Him as transgressors.
But, it’s God’s desire that no one should perish, but that all would have eternal life. But His Word also says that he cannot allow the guilty to go free, to go unpunished. Because He is just!
So there is a dilemma.
Now in our legal system, if a person is suing me in civil court over an injury or damage to their property, and they know I feel bad about what I did, that person is free to drop that suit and forgive me.
But, if it’s a criminal matter, a violation of the law, then the injured party can’t just choose whether or not I’ll be prosecuted. The court has an obligation to seek justice, even if the injured party forgives the person who broke the law.
So, the question is, How can God show forgiveness to people who have stepped across the line, without compromising the integrity of His justice?
If God just looked the other way, He’d compromise His integrity and He’d no longer be righteous. He’d no longer be just!
This is a problem that even Daniel Crandall or the slickest defense attorney can get us out of. Here’s God’s solution: