Summary: Consider the cross: 1- The death of the cross 2- The blood of the cross 3- The power of the cross
INTRO.- ILL.- The parents of a ten year old public school boy who was failing fifth grade math decided to enroll their son in a private Catholic school after exhausting all methods. The youngster stormed home the first day of school, walked right past them, charged straight to his room, and locked the door. Two hours later, he emerged for a quick meal, announced that he was studying, and went straight back to his studies until bedtime.
This pattern continued until the end of the first quarter. After school, the boy walked home with his report card, dropped the envelope on the family dinner table, and went straight to his room. His parents cautiously opened the letter, saw a bright red "A" under the subject, MATH, and rushed excitedly into their son’s room!
"Was it the nuns?" the father asked. The boy only shook his head and said, "No."
"Was it the one-on-one tutoring? Peer-mentoring?" asked the mother. Again, the boy shrugged, "No." "The textbooks? The teacher? The curriculum?" asked the father.
"No, no, no." the son finally spoke. "From the very first day of school, I knew that these folks were serious about math. When I walked into the lobby, and I saw a guy nailed to the PLUS sign, I knew they meant business!"
The cross of Christ is “the” sign to the world that God meant business! And His business was that of forgiveness. Salvation. Mercy. Grace. Heaven.
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (on the cross), that whoever believes in him (and in His death on the cross) shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world (and on the cross) to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Christ’s death on the cross was not a negative thing. Even though it was a very negative act, the idea was to produce positive results in this world. God didn’t send Jesus into world to condemn people to hell, but rather to save them from hell! And to save them from the hellishness of this world.
ILL.- Max Lucado wrote "[The cross] rests on the time line of history like a compelling diamond. History has idolized and despised it, gold-plated and burned it, worn it and trashed it. History has done everything but ignore it. Never has timber been regarded so sacred.”
No matter what people think of the cross of Christ; good, bad or otherwise, the cross is here to stay. The cross of Christ will always impact this world, with or without the movie THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. I am “for” seeing this movie, but this movie will not make or break the effect of the cross of Christ. The cross is here to stay. The death is Christ will always be a positive or a negative in this world. To believers, His death is a horrible thing, which produced a very positive result. For others, the cross is a horrible thing and they are grossly offended by it, but regardless of what people think, the cross of Christ is a fact of history! And history is truly HIS STORY!
ILL.- Lois A. Cheney wrote a thought-provoking poem:
I stand before the cross and wonder.
I stand before the cross and fear.
I kneel before the cross and weep.
I pray before the cross and rejoice.
To know the cross is to know Christ.
To feel the cross is to feel Christ.
To gaze at the cross is to gaze at Christ.
To carry the cross is to be a Christian,
And not until then.
The cross of Christ provokes wonder, fear, tears, and yet joy. To know the cross is to know the Christ, to feel some of what He felt, to behold Him, to live for Him, to live as He lived.
PROP.- Today I want us to consider these thoughts.
1- the death of the cross
2- the blood of the cross
3- the power of the cross
I. THE DEATH OF THE CROSS
Phil. 2:5-8 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!”
Jesus became obedient to death. What a strange phase? Does this mean that He didn’t have to die on the cross? I would venture to say “yes.” Death on the cross was a matter of choice for Christ. True, it was His father’s will that He die on the cross, but since Christ was still in the flesh, it was a matter of choice for Him.