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Summary: • Growing up I saw different perspectives of the cross of Christ. • For certain denominations it was a kind of fascination and looked up to be an idol. • Many wore miniatures of it as earring, finger rings, around their neck and even some around their w

Illustration:

• Growing up I saw different perspectives of the cross of Christ.

• For certain denominations it was a kind of fascination and looked up to be an idol.

• Many wore miniatures of it as earring, finger rings, around their neck and even some around their waists. Used in fashion and designer clothing today.

• One could see it on church steeples, inside homes and on bumper stickers on and inside cars as hangings in order to profess Christ.

• The bad guys in eastern movies had it around their necks and this saddened me a lot.

• For the Jews, Greeks, Romans & Gentiles it was a sign of weakness. Even today …….

• Constantine used it for the first time on his Kingdom’s flag.

• Many European countries did the same and slowly it became the emblem of the Crusades against non-Christians.

• There is a gentleman on television who carries it around the world to proclaim Christ.

• Many in the world today have seen it but do not even know what it represents.

• Today we will see what the CROSS of Christ really means and what it represents and how do we respond to it OR How are we supposed to respond to it?

Read 1 Corinthians 1: 17 – 25

Introduction: The death of Christ was already prophesied in the OT a number of times but the passages from Psalm 22 & Isaiah 53 are one of the most vivid and graphic evidences of what was to come. As an instrument of death the cross was detested by the Jews. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the high priest & even Christ’s disciples did not reflect on the scriptures to affirm this prophecy. What a shame!

The cross was an emblem of a slave’s death and a murderer’s punishment, the cross was naturally looked upon with the profoundest horror. But after the celebrated vision of Constantine, he ordered his friends to make a cross of gold and gems, such as he had seen, and "the towering eagles resigned the flags unto the cross," and "the tree of cursing and shame" "sat upon the scepters and was engraved and signed on the foreheads of kings." His mother Helena went to Israel to research on Christ’s Cross …....

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), Galatians 3: 13.

1. Purpose of the Cross (vs. 17 – 19)

(a) Hang your BURDENS on the Cross: [Matthew 11:28]

David has expressed the cry of the burdened heart. Consider his burden:

He feels that he is about to be inundated and overwhelmed.

He is depressed and weary from his weeping.

He faces injustice and enemies who are too many and too powerful for him.

For years Everett was burdened with the memory of a college prank that had cost the life of one of his college chums. He was oppressed with nightmares and depression. He could not shake the memory. His work suffered, his relationship with his wife deteriorated, his health declined. He denied himself the joy of living. He was burdened!

Did you ever feel like that? Have you ever felt that the weight of the whole world rested on your shoulders? That the burdens of life would mercilessly grind you into the dust? Jesus Himself would endure such burdens. Maybe you labor under the heaviness of

Fear and anxiety. The violence of our society, the corruption in our systems, failing health, the hype about computer crashes in the year 2,000 have you in a dither.

Emptiness and futility. You can make a living but have not made a life; you have a house but your home is in disarray, you have a bank account but are bankrupt in terms of peace and joy.

Doubt and uncertainty. Does God really love you? Can He really make a difference in your life? Can He accept you as you are and transform you?

Pain and anguish. It hurts just to roll out of bed; each step you take is a marathon, climbing a porch is like scaling Mt. Everest.

Burdened heart, there is release and help:

"Do not be anxious then, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ Or ’What shall we drink?’ Or ’With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:31-33.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." John 14:1.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6, 7.

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