Christ and the Cross

Introduction

  1. Text: 1 Cor. 2:1,2.
  2. It should go without saying that we ought to share the message of the cross with everyone.
  3. We are not “ambassadors for Christ” in the same sense the apostles were, but the appeal we make to those around us must be exactly the same: “be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:18-21).
  4. The salvation that was procured by the cross of Christ must be communicated so that it can be appropriated.

I. The Preaching of the Gospel Is the Preaching of the Cross

  1. The cross of Christ is the “crux” of the gospel.
    1. The cross stands at the very center of our salvation.
    2. Nothing in the scheme of redemption is more fundamental or important – 1 Cor. 15:1-8.
  2. The cross is God’s remedy for the problem of sin — without the cross “Christianity” would be worth little to mankind.
  3. To the extent we take sin seriously, the preaching of the cross becomes “good news.”
  4. The message of the cross is the power of God to salvation and in it is revealed the righteousness of God – Rom. 1:16,17. Cf. Rom. 10:1-3; Phil. 3:7-11.
  5. The hearing of the gospel — the story of the cross — is what produces obedient, saving faith – Rom. 10:17.
  6. The preaching of the cross is a proclamation that Jesus is Lord as well as Christ — and it announces the conditions of acceptance of the gospel – Ac. 2:36-39.
  7. Those who “gladly receive” the message of the cross will have no objection to being baptized for the remission of their sins – Ac. 2:40,41. Cf. Ac. 8:30-38; Hb. 5:9.
  8. Like Paul, we need to be “determined” not to preach anything “except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1,2).

II. To Detract from the Cross Is to Pervert the Gospel

  1. We need to be careful to give the cross its proper emphasis in our presentation of the gospel.
  2. We may be guilty of “innocently” neglecting the cross: because of its familiarity, because it is “accepted as being accepted,” because of the time spent explaining the conditions of salvation (“steps of obedience”), etc.
  3. But there may be even more dangerous ways we detract from the cross.
    1. What is it about “our church” that we promote and advertise? How do we “sell” ourselves to the community?
    2. Are we guilty of preaching ourselves? Cf. 2 Cor. 4:5.
    3. Do we substitute carnal incentives, “relevant” preaching, or social programs for the story of the cross? Cf. Jer. 2:13.
    4. Are we “ashamed” of the gospel? Are we tempted to remove the “offense” of the cross? Cf. Rom. 1:16; Gal. 5:11.
    5. Do we feel somehow that our new age calls for a new message? Cf. 2 Tim. 4:3,4.
  4. To “please men,” might we alter the emphasis of the gospel so that we turn it into “different” gospel? Cf. Gal. 1:6-10.
  5. Is the result of our preaching and practice such that the cross of Christ is “made of no effect”? Cf. 1 Cor. 1:17-25.
  6. Whether we are doing the preaching or listening to preaching, we need to make sure it is the cross that is being preached — and that we are truly converted by that to the Lord himself.
  7. It is the gospel by which God calls men to Himself – 2 Thess. 2:14.
  8. Jesus taught that it would be His cross that would “draw” men to Him – Jn. 12:32-34. When all is said and done, we are bound to fail if we seek any other drawing and transforming power than the cross.

III. Being a Disciple of the Lord Means Telling Others about the Cross

  1. The Great Commission applies, at least indirectly, to every one of the Lord’s people – Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15,16.
  2. We each have been taught so that we might teach others – 2 Tim. 2:2. Cf. 2 Cor. 1:3,4.
  3. There are important ways each of us can be involved in the preaching of the cross.
  4. “Into our hands the gospel is given” (Mrs. Roy Carruth).

Conclusion

  1. We need to “hide ourselves behind the cross” and find our glory only in the cross. Cf. Gal. 6:14.
  2. The Lord’s Supper needs to become more meaningful to us as a proclamation of the Lord’s death until He comes — and a motivation to greater service (and endurance) in preaching the cross to those around us – 1 Cor. 11:23-29.
  3. Ultimately, it is gratitude that will cause us to preach the cross. Cf. Mk. 5:19.

Gary Henry – WordPoint.com

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