Paul wrote: "For the preaching of the cross is to them which perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God". In his letter to the Galatians, Paul emphatically set forth: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (6:14).
Jesus further issued the stern command, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23).
The cross is Godís Master Work, the center of His Plan and the focal point of history. But why the cross?
I. WHY THE CROSS?
A. Godís desire for man was that he be holy, pure, virtuous, and filled with love.
B. Yet, instead of the perfection and holiness of God, man is found to have a corrupt, depraved nature.
C. Even after regeneration, the Christian may have trouble with a still-active carnal nature.
"But God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" Jn. 3:16
D. Jesus Christ gave His life on he cross to save man's soul and redeem his body, that, at His coming, the soul would be united with Christ eternally and the body raised incorruptible.
E. He further died to redeem His children from the bondage of the old nature to give them power to be overcomers.
F. Christ's work on the cross stands as our total deliverance: body, soul and spirit.
II. THE POWER OF THE CROSS:
A. Is Released by Faith in the Finished Work of the Cross.
1. The deliverance of which we speak has already happened.
2. It is an accomplished fact! Jesus emptied Himself and veiled His glory during His earthly ministry.
3. His obedience brought about His death, as He condemned sin in the flesh and again veiled His power on the cross.
4. He then proclaimed His victory over the power and nature of Satan.
5. We might compare the work of Christ to our Supreme Court verdict:
a. The battle has been waged, the verdict issued, and the issue settled once and for all.
b. It is final, unchangeable, and irrevocable.
c. So it is with our deliverance upon the cross: The full price has already been paid for our redemption from sin.
B. On the cross Jesus became:
1. Our Substitute: God saw His only Son make a perfect sacrifice, once and for all, for the sins of man, and God the Father was satisfied.
2. Our Reconciliation: God was reconciled to man in the person of Christ.
a. Sin and the wicked nature had separated God from man;
b. But the stain of sin, the effect of sin, and the root of sin were blotted out by the Blood of His Son that day.
c. Now God could make His abode in men's hearts and adopt them as His sons.
3. Our Justification: Our sins were judged at Calvary, and Christ paid the penalty for our offense.
a. Justification is one of the great words of our redemption.
b. Simply, it means that all the charges against us for violating God's law have been cleared and that we stand acquitted before a holy God.
c. Our sin was against God, but because of Christ's blood He has declared us to be just and has written our names in the Lamb's Book of Life.
4. Our Deliverance: Once we were the captives of the devil.
a. We were under the bondage of our old nature and under the chains of sin.
b. Yet Christ, in His victorious death, produced total, complete, and eternal deliverance.
c. Instead of being Satanís captives, we are free men in Christ -- partakers of the divine nature-- having "power over ALL the power of the enemy"! (Lk.10:19)
C. Faith in the Personal Power of the Cross.
1. The word used for salvation in the New Testament means full salvation, total deliverance.
2. Not only is our salvation a result of the completed work of Christ on the cross, but it also means by which we can have total and complete victory in every area of our life.
3. Our initial forgiveness and cleansing is received by faith and our power to live daily as an overcomer is received by faith as well!
III. What does the cross mean to you this morning?
A. Is it simply a religious symbol like so many others?
B. Or do you know the power of the cross in your life?
C. Have you received Christ as your personal Savior?
D. Do you know the daily victory that can be yours because of the cross of Christ?