Intro: WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS (Isaac Watts): When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God!
Bad News is Good News: the person who they thought would save them from Rome, deliver them from hell, provide for them, and rule over them was going to die an embarrassing death.
Jerry Vines wrote: “If you really want to understand what Christianity is all about you have to go to the cross. If someone said to me, ‘What is Christianity?’ I’d have to explain the cross to them. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved, it’s a wonderful gift – it’s the power of God.
I cannot explain to you what salvation is without taking you to the cross where Jesus died, where God died. At the cross we see humanity at its worst. With wicked hands they took Him and crucified Him. At the cross we see God at His best…All of the facets and all of the shades of the meaning of the love of God come together at the cross. God put it together at the cross.”
The Empty Tomb proves that He was who He said He was, but the Cross saved us.
He was a substitute, absorbed my guilt. I’m not going to hell over a mystery.
SURVEY – to look carefully and thoroughly at something to appraise it.
THE CROSS HEALS AND RESTORES: 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” NIV
Healed – alleviate a person’s distress or anguish.
Physical Healing – not everyone is healed, but Spiritually they are. Restores a broken relationship.
THE CROSS MAKES HIS WILL CLEAR: Luke 9:23 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” NIV
I die daily – walking according to God’s will brings peace and direction.
Most problems are the result of selfishness – of not carrying our cross.
THE CROSS OFFERS HOPE TO A DYING WORLD: Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” NIV
There is only 1 HOPE – Joy led to endurance – “fix” your eyes on Jesus: direct one’s attention and mind steadily and unwaveringly toward Christ.
Endurance [suffer patiently] as you carry your cross is a mark of genuine faith.
THE CROSS SET US FREE Romans 6:6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” NIV
The old man and the new man cannot be friends – he died but we can keep resurrecting him.
“If I’m dead to sin why is it still alive in me?” You have to crucify it daily – daily i die.
J.C. Ryle noted that “holiness will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight…There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves.” Ryle continues, “Our sins are often as dear to us as our children: we love them, hug them, cleave to them, and delight in them. To part with them is as hard as cutting off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye. But it must be done. The parting must come.”
IT SEPARATES ME FROM THE WORLD Galatians 6:14 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” NIV
The world boasts against God – “Look what I’ve done; see what I’ve accomplished.”
Those outside of God’s salvation are connected to the world – they resemble it.
IT BRINGS PEACE TO AN ANXIOUS HEART Colossians 1:20 “And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” NIV
“There is no peace until we see the finished work of Jesus Christ—until we can look back and see the cross of Christ between our sins” (D.L. Moody).
Worry, Fear, and Anxiety are all rooted in a perceived outcome.
IT BRINGS ETERNAL LIFE: Philippians 2:8 “And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” NIV
The most shameful death imaginable – we are dead to God – we are lost without Him – the Cross reconciles everything.
HOLD ON and BUCKLE UP: Excerpt from, When God Weeps, by Joni Eareckson Tada, “[The guard] raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has the power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together.” The victim wills that the soldier live on – He grants the warriors continued existence.
But these pains are a mere warm-up to the growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot.
His Father! He must face his Father like this! From Heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seem the Father look at him so…But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognise these eyes.
“Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk – you, who molest.., peddle killer drugs…and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections…torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end…relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, …I loathe this thing in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me!”
Of course the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness…The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed. The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind for every century explodes in a single direction – “Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!”
But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down. The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled Him. The Father rejected the Son whom He loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted His sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.
What Saves You Also Condemns You – In order to be rescued, you must reach out to God –