Summary: The story of debris from the September 11th terrorist attack transformed into a symbol of hope is touching. This sermon uses that story to show us why the cross is so special.
The Cross Means Hope
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
10Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things which angels desire to look into.
13Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
17And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
18knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
20He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
24because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the LORD endures forever. "Now this is the word which
by the gospel was preached to you.
Do you know what was going on at this time 7 years ago today?
We were all trying to make sense of what happened in New York.
Two planes hit the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center.
Those huge buildings came tumbling down!
More than 3,000 people lost their lives!
We were afraid that more terrorist attacks would follow.
We were far removed from that terrible destruction!
However, through our televisions,
we saw the faces of people who lost loved ones
in that terrible tragedy.
We saw the signs of hopelessness in their faces!
We saw the pictures of that horrible scene!
What had been a place of great engineering and construction...
became a place of destruction.
All that was left of those two marvelous buildings...
Was a huge pile of twisted steel and debris.
It was a difficult time for we Americans!
Many people tell me that they see no hope and have no future.
They say the United States is a cursed land.
They are in hopelessness.
But God offers us hope that is unexplainable.
Whenever you see a Cross, what do you think of?
In Jesus’ time, people thought about suffering and death.
The Cross was a sign of the worst torture one could suffer.