Summary: The first in a 4 part sermon defining and introducing our new Mission statement
The Beauty of the Cross
Today, we begin a series of sermons that will guide us through a study of the meaning, power and effect of Calvary’s Cross.
It is an old common saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The cross of Jesus was a rough and ugly instrument of torture. It had no beauty in itself. As we think of the cross in 2006, we see an ornament, a precious piece of jewelry, or a religious symbol.
Why is the cross so attractive to us and bring us joy and peace when we see it? It is because of the special meaning that Jesus gave it by His sacrificial death.
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I. The Humility of Christ gives the cross beauty.
• Vs. 6,7
It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, "What will you give me if I release you?" "The half of my wealth," was his reply. "And if I release your children?" "Everything I possess." "And if I release your wife?" "Your Majesty, I will give myself." Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!" With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, "I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you- -the one who was willing to give himself for me."
• Jesus is God.
• He created the world and had power over all of it
• He created man and is his master and God.
• He humbled Himself and put aside much of His Divine qualities to become a man because He Loves us.
• We cannot even begin to imagine the measure of love and sacrifice this took.
II. The Obedience of Christ gives the Cross beauty.
• Vs. 8
Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in ’71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn’t call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a "genius mind" when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team.
Roger later said, "I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory."
• Jesus knew the price He had to pay for my soul and yours
• He knew the incredible pain and suffering that was to come.
• God the Father knew that our sin required that someone died. “the wages of sin is death”
• Jesus obeyed and went to His death so you and I could live.
III. God’s Reaction to the Sacrifice of Jesus gives the Cross eternal beauty.
• Vs 9-11
• Because of what Jesus did, God can look at those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior, and see us as pure, and sinless.
• Jesus alone restored the fellowship between God the Father and Mankind.
• Jesus has been glorified and He was, is and will always be worthy of Praise and Worship
• The humility and obedience of Christ beatified the horrible ugliness of an old wooden cross.
• The sacrifice of Jesus can beautify and restore our appearance before God.
• The beauty of the cross is found in Jesus, and He deserves all the praise, worship and honor that we can give. All we can give and much much more.