Summary: Do you believe that the message of the Cross is the true answer to mankind’s greatest need?
Cornerstone Church November 5, 2006
THE CROSS – OUR STATUS SYMBOL
“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?
WHY WOULD I ASK THOSE QUESTIONS?
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
A marketable degree from a prestigious university, especially the Ivy League (USA)
We look up to the popular and powerful.
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.
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!