- Text: Gal. 6:14.
- 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.
- We do not think about the death of Christ as much as we should — or emphasize it adequately in our preaching.
- 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
- In the gospel, the Lord’s “glory” is always connected to His “suffering” — Lk. 24:25,26,46; Hb. 2:9,10. Cf. Ac. 17:3; Hb. 12:2; 1 Pt. 1:11.
- The OT scriptures predicted that the Christ would suffer — Psa. 22:1–18; Isa. 52:13–53:12.
- But many of the Jews found it offensive that Jesus had died by crucifixion.
- Was not Jesus under God’s curse to have died such a death? Cf. Deut. 21:22,23.
- Their mistake was in failing to realize the vicarious nature of Christ’s suffering and indignity — Eph. 5:2.
- Jesus was indeed under the curse of God — but the curse was for our sins — Gal. 3:13.
- The gospel of Christ is nothing less than the “message of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:17,18). Cf. 2:1,2.
- 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
- God loves us more than we can possibly realize or describe — Jn. 3:16,17; 15:13. Cf. 1 Jn. 3:16.
- God’s love is a demonstrated love — Rom. 5:8.
- There ought never to be any doubt about God’s benevolent intention toward us.
- The cross is enduring proof of God’s love against those times when we may be tempted to doubt it. (And this is the answer to the “problem of pain.”)
- 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.
- The reading of Mark’s account of the crucifixion: Mk. 15:21–39.
III. The Love of Christ “Constrains” Us”
- “I gave My life for thee, what hast thou giv’n for Me?”
- The cross is our greatest motivation to obedience and service — 2 Cor. 5:14,15.
- Genuine gratitude for the cross will show up in our relationship with other people and in our involvement in the work of the congregation.
- The cross is our greatest reason to endure persecution — 1 Pt. 2:21–24; 4:12,13.
- The cross is our greatest incentive to continued faithfulness — Gal. 3:1.
- The reading of Luke’s account of the crucifixion: Lk. 23:32–49.
IV. Our Actions Need to Reflect True Gratitude for the Cross
- Could anyone tell, from observing our daily way of life, that we are thankful for what happened at the cross?
- What about our petty bickering and backbiting?
- What about our whining and complaining about the Lord’s work?
- What about our miserliness in giving?
- What about our sporadic attendance at the Lord’s services?
- What about our shortage of personal evangelism?
- What about our minimal prayer and Bible study?
- The reading of John’s account of the crucifixion: Jn. 19:15–30.
- God knew that we would need to be reminded of the cross — 1 Cor. 11:23–26.
- 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.
- May we find all our “glory” in the cross — Gal. 6:14.
- Have you been baptized into Christ’s death? Cf. Rom. 6:3,4.
- You cannot live for Christ until you have died with Him.
Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com