Summary: The Church must be diligent to keep the main thing of the gospel, the main thing! The essence of gospel of Jesus crucified & resurrected for our salvation. Our message is not based on what people want to hear. We have a mandate to preach gospel
When kids turn sixteen, they often take an in-car driving course to prepare them for their driver’s license test. I want you to imagine with me a driving instructor who meticulously teaches the student how to properly adjust the seat and put on the seat belt, how to adjust the mirrors so that the view is as clear as possible. He talks about how to hold the steering wheel and the importance of making smooth turns to the right or left. The use of the CD player is explained in detail. The instructor has an interesting lesson on operating the air conditioner and heater, pointing out all the adjustments of air flow, heat and cool levels and fan speed. He teaches the student all the speed levels on the windshield wiper knob and where to find each light switch. The experience is enjoyable and the instructor is very pleasant and articulate as he communicates all this helpful information. However, the student is never taught how to turn on the ignition so that the power of the engine is available for the process. Many helpful things are taught, but the student is also not taught how to put the car in gear and operate the accelerator. So the instruction given is not wrong; it simply leaves out the main point; and when the main point is left out, the rest matters very little. We leaders must be careful not to make that kind of mistake in ministering the word of God. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, without entry into that reality by faith, the rest will ultimately make little difference. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes….”i The Church must be diligent to keep the main thing of the gospel, the main thing!
Last week we talked about the central place the Cross has (1) in God’s Plan of Salvation and (2) in the Church’s message to the world and to believersii. This morning I want to talk about the importance of the cross (3) in the Holy Spirit’s work in our daily lives.
We will never enjoy the fullness of life and victory if we only see the cross as a historical event that occurred 2,000 years ago. It is certainly that! Christianity rests upon the historical fact of Jesus’ death, burial & resurrection. Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:14, “…if Christ be not risen, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain” (KJV). The death and resurrection of Jesus is something that happened in time and space with eternal, cosmic consequences: a historical fact.
But Scripture teaches how that historical event affects each one of us in our daily lives and in our eternal destiny. The Holy Spirit has come to apply the realities of the cross and the power of Jesus’ resurrection to your life and mine. He opens the eyes of our understandingiii to the Provision that is ours through the Cross of Christ and He leads us in the application of the Principle of the Cross in our personal lives.
I. PROVISION of the Cross
In 2 Cor 5:21 Paul describes an exchange that occurred when Jesus died on the cross. “For He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” So at the cross our sin was placed on Christ and His righteousness was made available to all who will receive it. On one side of the transaction our sin and all the evil consequences of our sin were place on Jesus; He bore the full penalty for that sin in our behalf--and the other side of the transaction He provides for us His perfect righteousness, as a gift to be received by faith. Our sin came on Him so that His righteousness could come on us.
Isaiah 53:4-6 describes the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross that affected this exchange. “Surely He has borne our griefsiv, And carried our sorrowsv; Yet we esteemed Him stricken. Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressionsvi, He was bruised for our iniquitiesvii; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” He is the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. All the O.T. sacrifices pointed to this one final sacrifice that would deal with the sin issue forever. Once and for all Jesus offered Himself up by the Eternal Spirit unto God for our justification.viii