Summary: Sermon dealing with the resurrection, both of the saved and lost. We will be resurrected but what then? Which resurrection will we be a part of?
By Pastor Jim May
At the darkest hour of history, on a little hill called Golgotha, three men were crucified for crimes against the state. Two were thieves, no doubt tried and convicted of terrible crimes, who had been sentenced to die to pay the price for their crimes.
But the man in the middle was Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter’s son, who had never committed a crime worthy of death. He had been arrested illegally in the middle of the night because of the jealousy of the religious leaders and the High Priest of Israel. He had been brought before the Sanhedrin Council to stand trial and was falsely accused, convicted and sentenced to death according to Jewish law at an illegal trial. Then he was taken to the Roman authorities so that they could carry out the sentence of death. Pilate, the Roman governor, disliked the idea of being forced to execute anyone on the say so of the Jewish courts, but just to keep peace he passed sentence on Jesus.
Of course we know that Jesus death served a far greater purpose than to allow peace in Jerusalem between the Jews and the Romans.
Romans 4:25, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."
Before the first pinpoint of light burst forth as commanded by God at the dawn of creation, and long before the first man was formed of the dust of the earth and given the breath of life, God ordained that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, would one day, die upon that cross for the sin of man.
God’s crowning touch of creation, man that he had created in his own image, had fallen into sin and become separated from God. But God’s love wouldn’t let it stop there. God loves us so much that he had formulated a plan to bring us back into right relationship with him. He bridged the gap that had been created by sin with a cross and with the blood of his own Son.
When Jesus hung on that cross, he took upon himself the sin of all men for all time. There is no sin that we can commit that Jesus hasn’t already paid the penalty for. We are under a death sentence, from the moment we are conceived into this world. We are destined, by default to die in sin. But Jesus made a way! He shed his own perfect blood as payment for our sin, and by his own blood he has redeemed us to himself.
Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
We hear a lot about the preaching of the cross, but not too many people want to mention the blood.
The cross was nothing more than an instrument of death and was used commonly in the Roman Empire to execute criminals. It was no more an object that we should worship than an electric chair or a lethal injection. Why should we worship the cross?
What makes the cross so special is that Jesus hung on it while he paid the debt for our sin. The cross means nothing without Jesus. Don’t put your faith in the cross; put your faith in Jesus and his shed blood. Jesus is the focus here, and the blood that he shed for you and me, is the only things that matter.
You can preach the cross all day long, and it won’t take away one sin. The preaching of the cross without the blood of Jesus is foolishness. But if you preach about Jesus and his shed blood, then souls can be saved and sin can be washed away! The power is in the blood of Jesus, not in the cross! Don’t put your faith in the cross. Put your faith in the Blood of the Lamb!
What can wash away your sin? The cross? The tomb? NO! Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Now I realize that when preachers talk about the power of the cross that they are referring to the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus upon that cross, but lately there has been a lot of talk about the cross, the cross, the cross – but you just don’t hear them mention the blood of Jesus as much. What good is the cross without Jesus? It’s nothing but a symbol. It’s almost as though the cross has become the center of worship.
Secondly, the preaching of the cross that we hear so much of today, seems to center upon believing that no matter what you do the cross will bring forgiveness and you can never sin enough to lose your salvation.