Summary: I WANT TO SUGGEST TO YOU TODAY THAT THERE IS ONE RELATIONSHIP THAT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME. WE CAN HAVE FULL ASSURANCE OF THE FUTURE BASED ON THE CROSS OF CHRIST. HE DOESN’T WANT US TO LIVE IN FEAR ABOUT THE FUTURE.
WHY I PREACH THE CROSS
THERE IS A STORY ABOUT A LITTLE GIRL WHO PROUDLY WORE A SHINY CROSS ON A CHAIN AROUND HER NECK. ONE DAY SHE WAS APPROACHED BY A MAN WHO SAID TO HER, “LITTLE GIRL, DON’T YOU KNOW THAT THE CROSS JESUS DIED ON WASN’T BEAUTIFUL LIKE THE ONE YOU’RE WEARING? IT WAS AN UGLY, WOODEN THING.” TO WHICH THE GIRL REPLIED, “YES I KNOW. BUT THEY TOLD ME IN SUNDAY SCHOOL THAT WHATEVER JESUS TOUCHES, HE CHANGES.”
THIS LITTLE GIRL WAS A VERY OBSERVANT CHILD. WHEN WE TRULY PREACH ABOUT THE CROSS, WE SPEAK OF THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF GOD IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE.
I HEAR SO MANY PEOPLE, WHEN TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE, SPEAKING OF THE UNCERTAINTY OF IT. JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF THAT PEOPLE HAVE PLACED THEIR FAITH IN FOR THE FUTURE HAS FAILED.
I WANT TO SUGGEST TO YOU TODAY THAT THERE IS ONE RELATIONSHIP THAT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME. WE CAN HAVE FULL ASSURANCE OF THE FUTURE BASED ON THE CROSS OF CHRIST. GOD WANTS US ALL TO BE PERSISTENT AND PASSIONATE IN OUR PURSUIT OF FULL ASSURANCE. HE DOESN’T WANT US TO LIVE IN FEAR ABOUT THE FUTURE. HE WANTS US TO KNOW BEYOND ANY DOUBT, THAT IF WE WERE TO DIE TODAY, EVEN BEFORE THE END OF THIS SERVICE, THAT WE CAN ENJOY THE FULL ASSURANCE OF AN ETERNITY SPENT IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
2 TIMOTHY 1:12: “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.”
TODAY I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU WHY I PREACH THE CROSS, NOT ONLY AS THE ONLY WAY FOR SALVATION, BUT ALSO THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE A VICTORIOUS LIFE IN THIS WORLD. I BELIEVE THAT PREACHING THE CROSS IS: CRUCIAL TO PEOPLE TODAY
TO PREACH THE CALL OF GOD
TO BE GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE
DEMANDS A COMMITMENT
CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE:
WHEN PAUL WRITES FIRST CORINTHIANS, HE IS DEALING WITH A YOUNG CHURCH WITH MANY ISSUES. ONE ISSUE WAS THE DIVISION THAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE CHURCH. THE DIVISION RESULTED FROM THE PEOPLE LOOKING MORE AT THE MESSENGER THAN AT THE MESSAGE.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:12: “What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."”
PAUL WANTS TO TEACH THE CORINTH CHURCH, AND HE WANTS US TO REALIZE AS WELL, THAT, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF CHRIST, THE MESSAGE IS ALWAYS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE MESSENGER. IT’S NOT WRONG TO RECOGNIZE SOMEONE AS A GOOD SPEAKER OR LEADER IN THE CHURCH, BUT THAT SHOULD NEVER BE THE MEASURING ROD FOR ALL SPEAKERS. PAUL WANTS US TO REMEMBER IS THAT IT IS THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS THAT GOD USES TO DRAW PEOPLE TO HIMSELF.
HE WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND WHEN WE LOOK AT THE MESSENGER WE ARE LOOKING AT A HUMAN ELEMENT. WE ARE NOT PERFECT, NOR DO WE HAVE THE POWER OF THE MESSAGE. PEOPLE WHO ARE SWAYED BY THE MESSENGER ARE NOT NECESSARILY BEING TOUCHED BY THE MESSAGE.
THE DANGER IS THIS. PEOPLE WHO ARE SWAYED BY THE MESSENGER ARE COMMITED TO THE MESSENGER. WHEN THE MESSENGER LEAVES WHAT HAPPENS? MOST TIMES THE PERSON COMMITED TO THE MESSENGER LEAVES AS WELL.
PAUL, IN THIS PASSAGE, IS DIRECTING THE PEOPLE WHERE THEIR FOCUS SHOULD BE AND THAT IS ON THE CROSS. THIS IS THE MESSAGE THAT’S ETERNAL. THIS IS THE MESSAGE THAT GIVES LIFE, HOPE AND POWER TO PEOPLE THEN, AND NOW.
LET’S CONSIDER SOME OF THE ELEMENTS OF WHY I PREACH THE THE CROSS, AND WHY I CONSIDER IT TO BE ESSENTIAL TO THE FAITH.
POINT ONE: I PREACH THE CROSS BECAUSE IT IS CRUCIAL TO THE FAITH:
I PREACH THE CROSS BECAUSE IT IS CRUCIAL TO THE FAITH. PAUL TEACHES US IN THIS PASSAGE THAT TO PREACH THE CROSS IS TO PREACH THE WISDOM AND POWER OF GOD TO THE WORLD.
THE CROSS AND THE RESURRECTION ARE CRUCIAL TO GOD’S PLAN TO SAVE HUMANITY FROM SIN, DEATH AND HELL. PAUL IS CLEAR ABOUT THIS.
“14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”