Summary: Do you believe that the message of the Cross is the true answer to mankind’s greatest need?

Cornerstone Church November 5, 2006


1 Corinthians 1:18-31

“There is a moving story of Steinberg and a gypsy girl. Struck with her beauty, Steinberg took her to his studio and frequently had her sit for him. At that time he was working on his masterpiece ‘Christ on the Cross.’ The girl used to watch him work on this painting. One day she said to him, ‘He must have been a very wicked man to be nailed to a cross like that.’ ‘No,’ said the painter. ‘On the contrary, he was a very good man. The best man that ever lived. He died for others.’ The little girl looked up at him and asked, ‘Did He die for you?’ Steinberg was not a Christian, but the gypsy girl’s question touched his heart and awakened his conscience, and he became a believer in Him whose dying passion he had so well portrayed. Years afterward a young Count chanced to go into the gallery at Dresden where Steinberg’s painting of ‘Christ on the Cross’ was on exhibition. The painting spoke so powerfully to him that it changed the whole tenor of his life. He was Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf, founder of the Moravian Brethren.”

– Clarence Macartney, Preaching without Notes

Are you still awed by the Cross of Christ?

Do you find hope in the simplicity and power of it’s message?

Do you love the Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross to redeem you?

Do you believe that the message of the Cross is the true answer to mankind’s greatest need?


The message of the Cross of Christ alone has the power to transform lives.

Not human wisdom.

Not human strength.

Not human resources.


“A status symbol is something, usually an expensive

or rare object, that indicates a high social status

for its owner.”


We live in a world of Status Seekers and Status Symbols.

Status Symbols of Western Society

The trophy wife

A large, expensive house

Expensive luxury cars, yachts, or aircraft

Fine clothes

A marketable degree from a prestigious university, especially the Ivy League (USA)

Expensive jewelry

Expensive gadgets

Vacation homes


We look up to the popular and powerful.


Sports Figures



Breakups, babies and betrayals monopolized the headlines nearly eclipsing the careers of actors such as Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie (who, in a future twist of tabloid fate, tie for 35th on our annual list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Celebrities.) But generating headlines isn’t enough to solidify your standing in Hollywood. A fat paycheck won’t do it, either. Only a combination of earnings and sizzle will land a celebrity a coveted spot on our Celebrity 100. To generate the list, we used a combination of factors including income, Web references, press clips, TV/radio mentions and the number of times a celebrity’s face has appeared on the cover of 26 major consumer magazines.

Celebrity 100

The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities

Edited by Lea Goldman and Kiri Blakeley 06.16.06, 6:00 PM ET

Sadly, we allow these individuals and objects to set our values or establish our happiness and joy in this world.

As Christians our being enamored with the world is clouding our vision of the church. This is led us to accept false views of “Success.”

Example: Today Size Matters

Spiritual Health use to be gauged by: changed lives or how many people came to prayer meeting.

The Corinthians believers were loosing their focus on the cross.

They had forgotten the message of the Cross.

The had forgotten the grace they had received from God.

The wisdom of the world was affecting their fellowship. Just as the society around them was divided up into various sects (at least fifty different philosophical views at that time) so was the church beginning to follow in the same manner.

1 Cor. 1:12 NIV What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas’”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Worldly wisdom seems to have captivated their attention.

Their quest for status with the world created divisions, factions and schisms.

James 4:1-5 speaks of this same issue. Quarrels and fighting come from our own lust and want for more: more money, more popularity, more power, more...more and still more.

Today we would call this Modernism:

Modernism is where we try to synthesis or conform traditional beliefs with modern and contemporary philosophy, culture, ideas and practices.

An easy illustration might be the rise of the “user-friendly” church in America. It should go without saying that we should not be a deliberate offense to an unbeliever. They might be offend by the message preached but should not be offend by us looking down on them. There is a difference!

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Eric Evans

commented on Apr 8, 2015

Good thoughts, brother! About the opening illustration - I am wondering if anyone knows "who" this "Steinberg" is in the closing illustration. I know this illustration appears in other places on Sermon Central, and even in book of illustrations by Charles Swindoll (where is appears Brother Finitzer got it). Yet I can find no evidence of "who" is being referred to online. I found one art critic, Leo Steinberg, who passed away in 2011, that had some obsession with Renascence art of Christ on the cross, but after reading about him I seriously doubt he is the one in the illustration. If you know, please post. I like to be able to verify at least some fact of what is a true illustration before I use it myself. Thanks!

Rick Finitzer

commented on Jul 14, 2015

H i Eric, I wish I could be more help to you! You are correct that I think Swindoll also used this illustration. I site it as from? Clarence Macartney, Preaching without Notes. It would be even more interesting to have your question answered. It could make the illustration even more powerful! I'm sorry I had not seen your comment earlier! May Christ bless you as you seek to honor Him in the proclamation of His WORD! Rick

Eric Evans

commented on Apr 8, 2015

To be clear - the opening illustration here. I posted this on another sermon that uses it a the closing illustration. Just trying to verify. Thanks.

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