Summary: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)
Our theme for today’s sermon is “the gospel, the power of God”. World leaders, governments and experts in various fields are seeking for ways to deal with the myriad of problems facing the world today. They have not been able to find solutions to hatred, killings and wars that are taking place in the Middle East, Libya and in many parts of the world. They are struggling to find solutions to various forms of sickness and disease caused by poverty, drought and floods. Here we are struggling to deal with corruption, currency depreciation and economic difficulties. A lot of measures have been tried to combat these societal evils but with little success. Rather, many people are looking for solutions in alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex. There is only one power in the world that that has the solution, the gospel, the power of God.
Step One: The Gospel- the good news of God’s grace
a) God is love
The gospel is the good news about God’s grace. God is love and loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die in our place. We did nothing to deserve His love yet He loved us even when we “were yet sinners”. (Rom. 5:8)
b) Christ has paid the penalty for sin
Christ died on the cross to pay the wages of sin. He bore the full judgement of God on sin and shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin “so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16).
c) We are saved by grace
We are saved “By grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8) The good news is that we did not do anything to deserve eternal life but received it by grace through faith.
The grace of God leads to a blessed life. The qualities of the blessed life are listed in the Beatitudes where each sentence begins with the word “Blessed”. The qualification for a blessed life is the realisation of our spiritual poverty as a result of our sinful nature and that God is our only hope. The moment we yield to God and stop depending on our own strength, God will comfort us and meet our need. God Himself will give us a pure heart and fill us with His love and mercy. He makes us righteous to enable us communicate with Him so that we can see things from His perspective and promote peace as sons of God.
God loves us no matter what we have done and desires that we live a blessed life. This life is possible not because of anything we have done but because we have believed that Christ paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross.
Step Two: The Gospel- God’s power to save
a) Man was created with a divine nature
The gospel is God’s power to save and birth a new nature. Man was created in the image and likeness of God with a divine nature and clothed with God’s glory. Adam’s divine nature made it possible for him to communicate with God.
b) Sin cost man his godly nature
When Adam yielded to sin, he died and lost the glory of God. Sin cost him his godly nature and all of us have inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
c) Jesus Christ restored man’s godly nature
Jesus Christ became a man to restore man’s godly nature. He became a man and bore the full judgement of God on sin in our place. Christ died for our forgiveness and rose from the dead for our Justification.
The gospel proclaims the cross as the power of God. The cross has a different meaning for different people. To unbelievers it is foolishness. According to Paul, it is an obstacle to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. To the unbelieving Jew it is inconceivable that the. Messiah should die ‘on a tree’, that is under the curse of God. Paul only understood this when he realised that the Christ was cursed when He took our place on the cross to deliver us from the curse. To the unbelieving Gentile it is ridiculous to suppose that a god, one who is immortal, could die. Jesus Christ was however, fully man and fully God and He took our place and died on the cross that we might have His life. When Christ took our sinful position, He gave us His righteous position as the Son of God so that we could become sons of God.
The cross of Christ is the source of our blessing and those blessing are available to “whosoever believes in Him”. (John 3:16). We can all belong to the whosoever and receive His blessings to change our destiny, both in time and in eternity.