- Text: 1 Cor. 2:1,2.
- It is no exaggeration to say that the death of Jesus of Nazareth by crucifixion is the pivotal point in world history.
- The cross of Christ is the “crux” of the gospel – 1 Cor. 15:1-5. Cf. 2:2.
- Relationship to the Christ of the cross determines the eternal destiny of every person who has ever lived.
- Without the cross, Jesus is not the Christ and the gospel is not good news – Lk. 24:25-27.
- We need to appreciate more fully the importance of the cross in God’s plan of redemption, to see more clearly how central the cross is to our salvation.
I. The Necessity of the Cross
- Our salvation could not have been made possible without the cross.
- It was necessary, first of all, in that it did for us what we could never have done for ourselves – Rom. 5:6.
- But beyond that, the cross was the only way God could bring about our salvation and not violate His own character – Rom. 3:25,26.
- Jesus drank the cup of His suffering because it was not possible for it to be otherwise and our sins be forgiven – Mt. 26:39,42; Hb. 5:7-9.
II. The Death of the Cross
- Christ defeated death by dying for us.
- By submitting to death and then being resurrected, Jesus conquered the power of death – Gen. 3:15. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 2 Tim. 1:10.
- Ironically, Jesus gave us glory by submitting to shame, victory by submitting to defeat.
- He gave us life by submitting to death.
- Jesus Christ accepted the penalty of death for our sins — He substituted Himself for us – 2 Cor. 5:21; Hb. 2:9.
- Thus the cross is the death of death by the death of Christ – Hb. 2:14,15.
III. The Blood of the Cross
- The blood that Christ shed on the cross cleanses us from sin.
- It is a principle as old as the earth that “the life is in the blood” – Lev. 17:10-14.
- The requirement that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) means when sin has been committed, death must occur to satisfy the demands of justice — life must be taken to atone for sin.
- To say that life must be taken is to say that blood must be shed to atone for sin.
- The animal sacrifices of the OT were pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, who by the shedding of His blood truly atoned for the sins of mankind – Hb. 9:11-15; cf. 9:6-10,22; 10:4-10,18.
- The blood of Christ, and only the blood of Christ, can cleanse the stain of sin from a soul – Eph. 1:7; 1 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 1:5. (“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”)
IV. The Love of the Cross
- God’s love for us is shown by the gift of His Son.
- The love of God is the most obvious fact in the NT – Jn. 3:14-17; Rom. 5:6-8; 1 Jn. 3:1,16; 4:7-11.
- But going to the cross required love on Jesus’ part as well as God’s – Jn. 10:17,18; 15:13.
- We can’t think seriously about the cross without being “constrained” to give ourselves to God in love – 2 Cor. 5:14,15. Cf. 1 Jn. 4:19.
- The cross will cause us to love both the Lord and His people – 1 Jn. 4:10,11. Cf. 1 Jn. 4:20-5:1.
- The cross will cause us to be faithful in our obedience to the Lord – 1 Jn. 5:3. Cf. Jn. 14:15; Tit. 2:11-14. (Christ died for us that we might live for Him.)
V. The Preaching of the Cross
- We ought to share the message of the cross with everyone.
- The preaching of the gospel is the preaching of the cross — nothing in the scheme of redemption is more fundamental or important than the cross. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-8.
- 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. Cf. Ac. 8:30-36; Hb. 5:9.
- Like Paul, we need to be “determined” to preach nothing “except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1,2) — and to avoid doing anything such that the cross of Christ is “made of no effect” (1 Cor. 1:17-25).
- It is the cross — and only the cross — by which Jesus “draws” people to Him – Jn. 12:32.
- Our gratitude will cause us to preach the cross. Cf. Mk. 5:19.
- “As many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Rom. 6:3,4).
- “God forbid that [we] should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).
- Having been “crucified with Christ” may we daily live as those in whom He lives – Gal. 2:20.
Gary Henry – WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com