Summary: Important matters about the cross of Christ: the priority, the pain, and the power of the cross.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
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!"
Brethren, 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.”
How important is the cross to Christians? It’s very important, because of what it represents and who it represents! The cross has a very special meaning to us who are in Christ. To us, the cross is not a shameful nor offensive symbol. IT IS SYMBOL OF GRACE, MERCY, FORGIVENESS OF SIN, AND THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE!
ILL.- Max Lucado wrote "[The cross] rests on the time line of history like a compelling diamond...History has idolized and despised it, goldplated and burned it, worn it and trashed it. History has done everything but ignore it...Never has timber been regarded so sacred.”
ILL.- Lois A. Cheney wrote a useful and 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.
PROP.- The cross of Christ matters to God and should matter to us. Let’s consider the following matters of importance:
1- The priority of the cross
2- The pain of the cross
3- The power of the cross
I. THE PRIORITY OF THE CROSS
ILL.- The story is told of a prosperous, young investment banker who was driving a new BMW sedan on a mountain road during a snow storm. As he veered around one sharp turn, he lost control and began sliding off the road toward a steep cliff. At the last moment he unbuckled his seat belt, flung open his door, and leaped from the car, which then plummeted to the bottom of the ravine and burst into a ball of flames. Although he had escaped with his life, the man suffered a ghastly injury.
Somehow his arm had been caught near the hinge of the door as he jumped and had been torn off at the shoulder. A passing trucker saw the accident in his rearview mirror, pulled his rig to a halt and ran back to see if he could help. When he arrived at the scene, he found the banker standing at the roadside, looking down at the BMW burning in the ravine below. Incredibly the banker was oblivious to his injury and moaned, “My BMW! My new BMW!” The trucker pointed at the banker’s shoulder and said, “You’ve got bigger problems than that car. We’ve got to find your arm. Maybe the surgeons can sew it back on!”` The banker looked where his arm had been, paused a moment, and groaned, “Oh no! My Rolex! My new Rolex!”
Brethren, that man’s priorities were all mixed up! He should have been concerned about saving his arm and his life, but instead, he was only concerned about his car and his watch.
What if God were so dumb? We’d all be in a heap of trouble! But bless His name! God knew what He was doing right from the beginning of time. And He knew exactly what He was doing when He sent Jesus into the world. And His priority was the salvation of mankind through the cross of Christ!