Summary: Today we continue our study in the series Hymns You love We are looking at The Old Rugged Cross

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Today we continue our study in the series Hymns You love

We are looking at The Old Rugged Cross

In 1913 George Bennard was struggling with a problem that caused him much suffering

His mind went back again and again to Christ’s anguish on the cross

This was the heart of the Gospel!

The cross he pictured was no gold-covered icon

It was a rough, splintery thing, stained with gore

As he studied on the verse Philippians 3:10, Bennard got the theme for a hymn that has become a favorite for many

The Old Rugged Cross

Bennard, an evangelist in the Methodist Church was “praying for a full understanding of the cross and its plan in Christianity.”

Over a period of time he studied more and more about the cross

He prayed and meditated on the cross of Christ until one day he was able to say

“I saw the Christ of the cross as if I were seeing John 3:16 leave the printed page, take form and act out the meaning of redemption.”

The theme was so great, it needed a song

In a room in Albion, Michigan, Bennard sat down and wrote a tune

But the only words that would come were “I’ll cherish the old rugged cross”

He struggled for weeks to set the words to the melody he had written

Bennard was scheduled to preach a series of messages in New York

And as he found himself focusing on the cross, it became increasingly more urgent to him

He sat down in Albion, Michigan again and this time the words came

“I sat down and immediately was able to rewrite the stanzas of the song without so much as one word failing to fall into place

I called my wife, took out my guitar, and sang the completed song to her. She was thrilled”

On June 7,1913 George Bennard introduced the new hymn in a revival meeting he was conducting in Pokagon, Michigan

The Old Rugged Cross soon became one of the top ten most popular hymns of the 20th century.

Read Philippians 3:7-11

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross

This cross, the cross of Jesus is the central point of all of history

It is the single event for which all of time was created

From the very foundation of the world God knew the cross of Christ would be the focal point

Even as He created man in His own image, perfect without blame, without spot

He knew one day this man would fall

And in doing so, he would need a Savior

In the days proceeding man’s creation God created time

Time had never existed before

The Bible teaches is that there is no day and night in heaven

The Son of God always shines in heaven

So God created the day and night and in doing so created time

All for the sole purpose of one day sending His Son to this earth in order to die on that cross for you and me

All life on this earth revolves around that rugged cross

As Paul in our passage contemplates what that cross represents and how we relate to Christ’s suffering

He discusses a theory that is still very prevalent even today

The theory that we can earn our way into heaven

“But what things were gain to me though I counted loss for Christ” he writes

In other words “All those things that I might count as profit, I now reckon as loss, for Christ’s sake”

What things? His credentials

Paul had the credentials

He says “I was circumcised when I was a week old

I am a Israelite by birth, of the tribe of Benjamin

A pure blooded Hebrew

As far as keeping the Jewish Law is concerned I was a Pharisee

And I was so zealous that I persecuted the church

So far as a man can be righteous by obeying the Law

I was without fault

But all those things that I might count as profit, I now reckon as loss

Paul says if anyone thinks he can trust in external ceremonies I have even more reason to feel that way

If anyone can earn their way into heaven its me

But not so

All those things are meaningless

All that counts is the righteousness given to us by the sacrifice of Jesus on that cross

An old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame

Crucifixion was a form of execution that the Romans had learned from the Persians

The Persians had developed a method of crucifying victims by impaling them on a pole

Later cultures developed different methods of crucifixion

And Rome employed several of them

By the time of Christ, crucifixion had become the favorite method of execution throughout the Roman Empire

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