Summary: Does not sound very appealing in winning people to Christ. WE understand in dying we gain.
Take up the Cross
Not a Fan series
In church planting we employ several marketing tips from the business world. One of the biggest marketing tips is to have a great slogan. Make your product so appealing the public will see that they cannot live without it. Lets see how that works
I am going to show several slogans and I want you to write down the product or the company.
**1. We bring good things to life
2. Melts in your mouth not in your hands
3. It’s everywhere you want to be
4. The Ultimate Driving machine
5. Just Do It
6. It keeps going and going and going
7. You’re in good hands with….
In remembering the slogans you might even remember the symbol. These companies worked hard to attract as many people as possible. What slogan and what symbol represent the Church.
***COME AND DIE with the symbol being the Cross.
Nobody likes to talk about death. When someone dies we usually sugar coat it with, they passed away, they expired, they have gone on to a better place, no longer with us, kicked the bucket, bought the farm, pushing up daisies…you get the idea.
The slogan for following Christ sounds like something out of a horror picture.
****Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way:
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and DIE
The symbol is not much more appealing. It is an instrument of torture and death. Why couldn’t the symbol be a dove/peace, a rainbow/hope, a shepherd’s staff/protection. Why choose two bloody posts? Does not seem very attractive.
For the most part we tried to make it appealing, we plate it in gold and make a jewelry piece, ornaments, and the like. But to those who first heard these words, the cross was repulsive and brutal.
It was a means of execution that the Romans used to force submission. Sometimes they would crucify up to 2 thousand at a time and line the streets with the crosses and the bodies hanging on them to show, this is what happens to those who oppose us.
****The Cross is a Symbol of Humiliation
There were cheaper, quicker ways to execute back then. Stoning, fire, sword, or beheading would be quicker and cheaper. In order to execute by crucifixion it would take at least 4 soldiers and one Centurion. Why crucifixion, it was a way to humiliate, to show the world this person is nothing compared to the power of ROME.
We read in the Bible how Jesus was humiliated, stripped and beaten by the Roman soldiers. Yet Philippians 2 tells us that the followers of Jesus should have the same attitude. Jesus made himself nothing to be like us, He is the Creator of the World, the Savior, the King of Kings, and he made himself nothing, humbling himself to death, even death on the Cross. We who claim to be followers should have that same attitude. It is not about me, it is all about HIM.
Carrying our Cross can be humiliating at times
****The Cross was a symbol of Suffering.
The Romans knew how to make their victims suffer. They would strip them, tie them to a post hands stretched out so the back would be tight. They did not count the lashes, but knew how to save them for the crucifixion.
The Patibulum was the cross piece, weighed about 125 lbs. It would be placed on the shoulders, possibly exposed vertebrae, and forced the victim to carry it to the place of their execution.
Carrying our cross can be painful at times
I have to ask myself at times, am I carrying my cross for Him? When was the last time the following Jesus cost us anything? A friend, a job, a promotion, a marriage, when was the last time we were mocked for our faith? If following Jesus is not painful at times, we might wonder what path we are on.
***The Cross a symbol of death.
Jesus invites his followers to Die to themselves
To Die to our desires
To Die to our pursuits
To Die to our plans.
We come to Christ that is the end of us.
Carrying the Cross meant one thing, Dead Man Walking.
With all this talk of Death, how do we make Christianity appealing?
But this is essential in Christian growth. Paul tells us 1 Cor 15:31
I die every day
We have now become very familiar with Luke 9:23, but what about the verse after it?
This is how we make Christianity appealing: In dying we gain.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
1CO 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.