Summary: Part of a series for Easter, the centerpiece of the gospesl, the masterpiece of the Gospels, the eternal peace God’s good news. Standing between death and life is the cross. It stands between carnal life and eternal life. God’s centerpiece of Salvation
A centerpiece is the central or most important feature. Centerpieces tend to be the focus or center of attention. Anyone who has ever attended a wedding should be familiar with centerpieces. The centerpiece of the wedding is the bride; the centerpiece of the reception is the couple. The centerpiece of Philosophy is the love of wisdom. The centerpiece of Science is knowledge, knowing how things work. The centerpiece of History is facts. The centerpiece of most religions is works. The most important centerpiece of all time is God’s centerpiece, the Cross. The Cross is the centerpiece between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Cross was the centerpiece of Calvary; Jesus hung on a cross between two thieves. The Cross is the centerpiece of Salvation.
The sinless life of Jesus was always overshadowed by the cross. The cross was seen by those of Jesus’ day as death and defeat. It was not Jesus who was defeated. It took only one swift movement of His nail scarred hand to defeat death, hell and the grave. The blood that spilled from His wounded side drowned death, extinguished the flames of hell, and completely covered the accusations of our enemy the devil. The centerpiece of God’s perfect plan for man is the Cross.
Since the cross is the central focus of God’s plan for man let’s focus on three aspects of the cross found in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, The Priority of the Cross, the Purpose of the Cross, the Promise of the Cross.
I. The Priority of the Cross
1 Corinthians 15.1 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”
The first importance of the cross is
A) The Proclamation of the Love of God (John 3.16, 1John
John 3.16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
(Remember John 17.3 defines eternal life as knowing God the father through Jesus the Son.)
** The cross was used as a way to publicly show off the shame, suffering, and slow death of the criminal that was hung on it.
1) A Public Announcement
God used the cross as a public way to show He loves us. God gave His son to the horribly painful torture of the cross to show how much He loves us all.
(A Public announcement of our importance to God)
2) A Permanent Announcement
2 Peter 3.18 “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God,”
The cross stands forever announcing accept My Son and I forgive your sin.
3) A Prophetic Fulfillment (1 Corinthians 15.3 “according to the Scripture)
B) The Provision for the souls of men
1) Christ Our Substitute
2) Christ Our Savior
Hide and Go seek
Home base is the objective of the ones who hide. The objective of the seeker is to touch them or capture them.
The cross of Christ is our Home base. It is our safe place from the clawed hands of Satan and sin. Sadly many try so hard to hide from the reality of sin and responsibility to God that they never find home base.
Home base was set up on a hill called Golgotha. Jesus Christ the Living son of God made a safe, secure, stable place where all can loose their guilty stains of sin and be safe in the arms of God.
I’m convinced many people are scared by situations in life because they have not yet found the safe place provided by God.
So that brings up the question: Have you found God’s safe place??
What did our substitute and Savior do? An anonymous writer said it this way,
Jesus came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
C) The Payment of sins debt
Everyone please pay close attention to the personal pronoun our.
10 times the word our, ourselves, we or us is used.
1) He paid our debt
He carried the sorrow, pain, shame, grief, and discipline that rightfully belong to us.
2) He died our death
The cross is the heart of the gospel, the centerpiece.
Life, death on Cross, Resurrection
Between carnal life and eternal life there must be a death.
Our death must be to self and sin with a new birth leading to devotion to God and His Son.
We in the church call it discipleship, following Jesus not matter where he leads or how it hurts.
II. The Purpose of the Cross
“But by the grace of God I am what I am,”
A) A Restoring of Man’s walk with God