Summary: A sermon on the cross using basic math symbols. (Title and outline taken from Bobby K. Carden and Robert Laymance)
Sermon for 4/9/2006
The Math of the Cross
A. Scripture reading from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
B. I did not do very well in math. It was my worst subject. Thankfully my job doesn’t have much to do with math.
C. A boy age ten was doing miserably in math in public school. His parents had heard that students who attended private schools did much better in math than most students in public schools. This family had no church home and they only attended church every now and again but they decided to send their son to a Catholic school. The math papers he brought home showed dramatic improvement in his math skills. At the end of first grading period, he made an “A” in math. His parents were ecstatic! They couldn’t believe that their son made an “A” in math! They couldn’t figure out what made the difference, so they decided to ask him. The son replied, “The first day in school, I sat down at my desk and at the front of the room I saw a man nailed to a plus sign. I figured they take their math seriously here so I’d better buckle down.”
A. Today is Palm Sunday. WE celebrate Jesus coming into Jerusalem to a Kings celebration. But we also remember how just a few days after the Triumphal Entry, Jesus was betrayed by Judas and brought before the Jewish ruling council. The Jews took Jesus to the Gentile governor Pilate and Pilate allowed Jesus to be crucified on a cross.
B. On Good Friday we remember (don’t really celebrate) how Jesus died on that old rugged cross. Since we will not be here on Good Friday and since the cross is so important (especially after reading our verses), this morning we are going to discuss the cross and what it means to us. To Christ it was terrible but for us it is so sweet.
C. In every age men and women have stood at the foot of the cross and attempted to understand the meaning of what happened there. One leading New Testament scholar recently wrote an article saying that there are at least fourteen different theological perspectives of the cross presented in scripture. It would seem that the cross is so vast in its meaning that one perspective cannot simply exhaust its meaning. So to fully understand it, we must view the cross from many different angles. This morning let’s take the angle of math.
D. We are going to use the most basic of math symbols this morning in our talk.
Thesis: This morning let’s talk about the math of the cross.
I. The Cross Subtracts One from Hell (-)
A. Needful- (John 3:36 NIV) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him."
* Went from wrath to peace.
* Tell story of making Crystal mad and bringing home roses.
B. Instantly- (John 5:24 NIV) "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
* Give plan of salvation here. First step is belief but if we truly believe, we will..
C. Completely- (1 John 1:7 NIV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
* Both at the moment of baptism and also all sins thereafter.
D. Eternally- (Rom 6:23 NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
II. The Cross Adds One to Heaven (+) (went from certain death to life)
A. To the family of heaven-
1. (Gal 3:26 NIV) You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, (Gal 3:27 NIV) for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
2. Baptism adds people to the family. This is true and even more.
3. (Mark 3:33 NIV) “Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. (Mark 3:34 NIV) Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! (Mark 3:35 NIV) Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother."
4. From no family to God’s family
B. To the protection of heaven- (Psa 34:7 NIV) The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
1. What about Stephen and other martyrs?
2. (Acts 7:59 NIV) While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."(Acts 7:60 NIV) Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.