Summary: As we meditate on Christ’s Seven Words from the Cross, we will learn so much about the amazing grace and wonderful love of God!
EASTER SUNDAY - THE POWER OF THE CROSS
Why am I away from my family on this Easter weekend?
KEY TEXT: “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.” (Acts 20:24).
I’ve come here to share Good News!
STORY: At the head table in the cafeteria, of a Catholic boarding school, one of the nuns had placed a big bowl of bright red, juicy apples. Beside the bowl, she placed a note that read, Take only one. Remember, God is watching. At the other end of the table was a bowl of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven. Beside the bowl, was a little note scrawled in a child’s handwriting which read, Take all you want, God’s watching the apples.
This humourous anecdote shows how many different people have a wrong concept of what God is like. God’s not like that! We’re going to look at the Cross today to see the love of God.
I. THE SINFUL NATURE OF MAN:
“As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
“For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a).
People don’t have to ‘learn’ to be sinners – we are born with a sin nature! We need to understand this fact about human nature first of all before we will appreciate what a wonderful gift God gave us through the gift of His son, Jesus! Mankind is not ’basically good’ - we are sinful!
II. THE LOVE OF GOD REVEALED IN THE CROSS:
· “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Oh, if we would mediate on the Cross!
· “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13). God wants us to behold - to take a look at - His love!
MY TESTIMONY: When I became a Christian, Jesus transformed my life.
“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God – all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.” (Romans 5:11, NLT).
THE CHALLENGE: BEHOLD THE LAMB!
“Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37).
SONG: The Old Rugged Cross.
CHRIST’S WORDS FROM THE CROSS:
As we meditate on Christ’s Seven Words from the Cross, we will learn so much about the amazing grace and wonderful love of God!
1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
The first word speaks FORGIVENESS to us. Amazing grace! God’s undeserved favour.
2. “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.” (Luke 23:39-44).
This second word speaks HOPE – it’s never too late, and no one is ever too far gone! If you’re believing for the salvation of a family member, never give up.
3. “Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Woman, he is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “She is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:25-27).
This third word speaks about the importance of FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
4. “At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).
This fourth word speaks of SUBSTITUTION . On the Cross, Jesus became our substitute, and took our sin upon Him, and gave us His righteousness as a free gift. And because God forsook Jesus on the Cross, God will never leave or forsake us!
5. “Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, “I thirst.” (John 19:28-29).