The Christ of the Cross

Introduction

  1. Text: Gal. 6:14.
  2. Peter, on at least one occasion, apparently thought Jesus could be the Christ without the cross, but the Lord rebuked him – Mt. 16:21-23.
  3. We do not think about the death of Christ as much as we should — or emphasize it adequately in our preaching.
  4. But, in truth, we can’t have Jesus without His crucifixion — He is and always will be the Christ of the cross.

I. Without the Cross, There Is No Christ

  1. In the gospel, the Lord’s “glory” is always connected to His “suffering” – Lk. 24:25,26,46; Heb. 2:9,10. Cf. Ac. 17:3; Heb. 12:2; 1 Pt. 1:11.
  2. The OT scriptures predicted that the Christ would suffer – Psa. 22:1-18; Isa. 53:1-12.
  3. But many of the Jews found the cross offensive.
    1. Was not Jesus under God’s curse to have died such a death? Cf. Deut. 21:22,23.
    2. Their mistake was in failing to realize the vicarious nature of Christ’s suffering and indignity – Eph. 5:2.
    3. Jesus was indeed under the curse of God — but for our sins – Gal. 3:13.
  4. The gospel of Christ is nothing less than the “word of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:17,18). Cf. 1 Cor. 2:1,2.
  5. The reading of Matthew’s account of the crucifixion: Mt. 27:32-50.

II. The Cross Is Evidence of the Immensity of God’s Love for Us

  1. God loves us more than we can realize or describe – Jn. 3:16,17; 15:13. Cf. 1 Jn. 3:16.
  2. God’s love is a demonstrated love – Rom. 5:8.
    1. There ought never to be any doubt about God’s benevolent intention toward us.
    2. The cross is enduring proof of God’s love for those times when we may be tempted to doubt it — and this is the answer to the “problem of pain.”
  3. Jesus’ death on the cross gives us a model of self-sacrificial love – Mt. 20:28; Eph. 5:25. Cf. Jn. 10:11; Phil. 2:3-8.
  4. The reading of Mark’s account of the crucifixion: Mk. 15:21-39.

III. The Love of Christ “Controls” Us

  1. “I gave My life for thee, what hast thou giv’n for Me?”
    1. The cross is our greatest motivator to obedience and service – 2 Cor. 5:14,15.
    2. Genuine gratitude for the cross will show up in our relationship with other people and in our involvement in the work of the congregation.
    3. The cross is our greatest reason to endure persecution, if need be – 1 Pt. 2:21-24; 4:12,13.
    4. The cross is our greatest incentive to continued faithfulness – Gal. 3:1.
  2. The reading of Luke’s account of the crucifixion: Lk. 23:32-49.

IV. Our Actions Need to Reflect True Gratitude for the Cross

  1. Could anyone tell, from observing our daily way of life, that we are thankful for what happened at the cross?
    1. What about our petty bickering and backbiting?
    2. What about our whining and complaining about the Lord’s work?
    3. What about our miserliness in giving?
    4. What about our sporadic attendance at the Lord’s services?
    5. What about our shortage of personal evangelism?
    6. What about our minimal prayer and Bible study?
  2. The reading of John’s account of the crucifixion: Jn. 19:15-30.

Conclusion

  1. God knew that we would need to be reminded of the cross – 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
  2. As we remember the Christ of the cross, let us continually ask whether we have been crucified with Christ – Gal. 2:20. Cf. Rom. 6:5,6; 2 Cor. 5:15.
  3. And may we find all our “glory” in the cross – Gal. 6:14.
  4. Have you been baptized into Christ’s death? Cf. Rom. 6:3,4.
  5. You cannot live for Christ until you have died with Him.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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