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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Centrality of the Cross of Christ
in the Theology of Christianity


“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18)

G4716
σταυρός stauros
stow-ros'

From the base of G2476; a stake or post (as set upright), that is, (specifically) a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment); figuratively exposure to death, that is, self denial; by implication the atonement of Christ: - cross.

G2476
ἵστημι histēmi
his'-tay-mee
A prolonged form of a primary word στάω staō (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses); to stand (transitively or intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively): - abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up).



1. The use of the term “The Cross” is a synonym for the Gospel in the writings of the Apostle Paul.

Note:

“preach the gospel” “preaching of the cross”

Therefore the Cross is the Gospel. It is the good news.


2. The Cross\Gospel is to be Preached.

It is not to be dramatized! (ie films)

Why Preach?

I. Because God in Christ has commanded it!

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel”

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mar 16:15

Tit 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;


II. Because it exalts the Word of God!

Note:

How, in the following verse from the Psalms, God puts the highest value on his word. Even putting it over his name!

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Psa 138:2

This is a great verse for the Jw’s.

Note:

Christ is the Word of God!

III. Preaching, as opposed to portraying, protects the mind from Idolatrous tendencies!

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” Exo 20:4

In preaching the word we are conveying the Mind of God!


IV. Preaching by its very nature conveys the seriousness of the message that its proclaiming!

Illus:

Moses coming to Pharoah.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Exo 8:1

Moses did not say, “I would like to share something with you” or “give a little talk” or do some “Drama” or “Sing” to Pharoah.

Are Soloists a proper method for the Gospel meeting?




V. God is revealed in the preaching of the Word in a way in which he cannot be revealed by any other method!

"The majesty of God is...indissolubly connected with the public preaching of his truth... If his word is not allowed to have authority, it is the same as though its despisers attempted to thrust God from heaven." -John Calvin on Jer. 5:13

Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,



3. Preaching the Gospel is the supreme
mission of the Church.

Note:

Paul says that he was not sent to Baptize but to Preach the Cross!

Everything else is second place.

Illus:

The Dying thief! Baptism was no good to him.



Q. What are we to avoid when we Preach the Cross?

4. In Preaching the Cross we are to avoid human inventions, ingenuity or wisdom!


“not with wisdom of words lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect”


Read 1 Cor. 2: 1-5

One commentator has said:

“Paul, in his own estimation, was not a philosopher, not a moralist, not one of the world's wise men, but simply Christ's herald.

His royal master had given him a message to proclaim; his whole business was to deliver that message with exact and studious faithfulness, adding nothing, altering nothing, and omitting nothing.

And he was to deliver it not as another of people's bright ideas, needing to be beautified with the cosmetics and high heels of fashionable learning in order to make people look at it, but as a word from God spoken in Christ's name, carrying Christ's authority and authenticated in the hearers by the convincing power of Christ's Spirit”
(1 Cor. 2:1-5).



5. We are to Preach the Cross no matter what the heathen say!

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness”
The world will deride and mock us for preaching the Cross.

They will try to convince us to be more sophisticated.

We must stick to the old paths of the preaching of the Gospel.

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”
Jer 6:16



6. The Preaching of the Cross is the great divider between the Saved and the lost!

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”

Read verses 22-24





7. If we remain Commited to preaching the cross we will suffer persecution.


“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.” (Galatians 5:11)

Offence

G4625
σκάνδαλον skandalon
skan'-dal-on

A “scandal”; probably from a derivative of G2578; a trap stick (bent sapling), that is, snare (figuratively cause of displeasure or sin): - occasion to fall (of stumbling), offence, thing that offends, stumbling-block.

Why was the message of the cross a Scandal to the Jews?

Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Deu 21:22-23 “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”



8. There is no middle ground on this issue.

Which side of the cross will we stand?

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” (Galatians 6:12)

Note:

How the Apostle Paul exposes the motives of the heart of these false professors.

Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.


If we do not follow Christ we become his enemies!

“(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:” (Philippians 3:18)



9. The Cross should be the Christians greatest boast!

“But 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.” (Galatians 6:14)
glory

G2744
καυχάομαι kauchaomai
kow-khah'-om-ahee
From some (obsolete) base akin to that of αὐχέω aucheō (to boast) and G2172; to vaunt (in a good or a bad sense): - (make) boast, glory, joy, rejoice.



10. What did the Cross achieve?

Read Ephesians 2:11-22

“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:”
(Ephesians 2:16)

See following:
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:20)

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Colossians 2:14)



11. What did the cross mean for Christ?

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8)



12. What are the blessed consequences
of the Cross of Christ?


“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
I. We have one to inspire us in the greatest times of difficulty!

“Looking” unto Jesus.

G872
ἀφοράω aphoraō
af-or-ah'-o
From G575 and G3708; to consider attentively: - look.


II. We have a leader/Captain who has gone before us to victory.

“Author”

G747
ἀρχηγός archēgos
ar-khay-gos'
From G746 and G71; a chief leader: - author, captain, prince.



III. We have one who has fully satisfied all the demands of God for us/on our behalf!

“Finisher”

G5051
τελειωτής teleiōtēs
tel-i-o-tace'
From G5048; a completer, that is, consummater: - finisher.

G5048
τελειόω
teleioō
tel-i-o'-o
From G5046; to complete, that is, (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively) consummate (in character): - consecrate, finish, fulfil, (make) perfect.



IV. We have one who is in the place of All Power and Authority!

“is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”

Compare:

Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

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