Bible Lesson 221

1ST IN A SERIES THE CROSS OF CHRIST

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14.

“There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here.”

Charles H. Spurgeon.

We begin this month, this series of study on the Cross of Christ, however we will do it a little differently since we as creatures have lost sight of the reason and the purpose of the cross of Christ. The crucifixion of the Son of God, Jesus Christ was not something that we should ever lose sight of, but we must view it in the right frame of understanding.

It did not happen so that we in our day would have a place to hide our sin; because the cross of Christ was a killer, and I say that with reverence for our Lord and for the instruction of people who have lost sight of what God was doing at the cross.

At the Cross God the Father was demonstrating His Grace and mercy for lost sinners (and all of us are born sinners) (Matthew 1:21). He was sacrificing His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ to save the people that he had chosen in eternity past before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-9).

God was also demonstrating His Justice, because what Jesus did on the cross was to pay the sin debt of all those who would obey Him. (Hebrews 5:8-9).If we are good stewards of God’s Word and we have not relied upon gaining our knowledge of God by second-hand means, and by that I mean that we never trust but verify what we hear from pulpits and other sources by verbal means. Nothing can replace sharing with God by reading and studying His Inspired Word, the Bible.

For us to really grasp the meaning of our message, we must be clear about what we believe about ourselves, about God the Father, about Jesus Christ His Son, and about the Holy Spirit. We all know or should know that our God manifests Himself to His creatures in three distinct personalities, all of them equal and of the same essence. These three personalities exist and operate in what we refer to as the Trinity . . .One God, but three distinct personalities, for the benefit of those who are God’s creatures. Of course, we are all God’s creatures; and some of us strive to become God’s Children, and God facilitates that exchange by use of all three personalities. Our problem is that because of our forefather Adam’s failure, we are born dead in trespass and sin, under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Some either think or somehow believe that they were always good enough, that Jesus Christ did not need to die for them. That is such a ridiculous thought we won’t deal with it here, other than to say that unless they come to the knowledge that they are lost, undone, blind, and unheeding, they will spend their eternity in the flames of hell. That said we will move on to deal with those who know that they are sinners, without help or hope, unless God grants them His Amazing Grace and extends it to save them. Hopefully none of you have been confused, and led astray by the way too many preachers always assure sinners that they are loved by God, and that Jesus Christ died for everyone. To preach that is to preach a lie and it is against God who Inspired His Word, which says plainly that God requires a new birth in salvation and that anyone who has not experienced that new birth spoken of in John 3:3,5; Ephesians 2:10, is not saved but is lost and under His wrath. Also, we read in Hebrews chapter 5 and verses 8 and 9 that Jesus died for those who obey Him. Jesus (God) did indeed love sinners, and that is the reason for the Cross; but after Jesus died on the cross, that love requires obedience.

Do you believe that what Christ did on the Cross was all that you need or needed for your redemption’ Have you submitted and committed your life (heart, soul, and mind) to serve Him and obey Him. Can you look back to some place in time that you did that and you felt the hand of God on your life and you changed and turned from sin to serve God through Jesus’ Do you love him more than you love your mother, father, wife and children, in fact your own life’ (John 14:15, 21-24; 2nd Corinthians 5:17-21; Luke 14:26-33). The society and the religion that many in our society have demanded and weak preachers have served up, is one that has been afraid to preach the hard truths of God’s Word, the Bible. In their eyes their congregation’s feelings are worth more than their eternal souls. We have stood idly by and allowed What the God of heaven, Jesus Christ gave up the beauty and peace and holiness of heaven and came to this sin sick and miserable world to do the of The Father. He bled and died on the cross to save those who would obey Him. Humanism has allowed that to be corrupted and now we decide if we will be saved, when we will be saved and how we will do it. He came having already committed to taking my sin and yours, if you are saved, and bearing it to a cruel cross where he was made sin for us, and then punished for every one of them. He bled and died for those who would receive Him, die to their plans and desires, and take on Christ to live through them.

Following Jesus is not a parlor game or something on your play station. It requires a focused faith and life dedicated to knowing and obeying all that Christ (God) has commanded. That would be impossible unless God had created us “In Christ” who provides the inclination and the motivation and the power to do it. (Galatians 2:20). Everyone ever born to the flesh and we all are, with the exception of Adam and Eve, who were created by God; are born with a mark from our forefather Adam, we are weak and choose to follow after disobedience (flesh) rather than die to self and walk in Christ. We all deserved death on the cross, God who is merciful, sacrificed His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, on that cross that we deserved because we had all sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). “Christ was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5). Christ had never sinned, He walked among us in human flesh, but for our sake He never sinned, so that His sacrifice would be perfect and would quench the Wrath of the Father against our sin. (1st Peter 2:24). God sacrificed Perfection for corruption, the sinless for the sinner, the Good for the evil, obedient for the disobedient. So how can we know the Father was satisfied with the sacrifice’ We know He was because there is an empty grave, and a risen Christ, who was seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

It behooves us to come down from our ivory towers and deal with God about who we are, and where we stand with our God. In our day, there are many church-members but not many Christians. I know that may offend some but it is the truth; and truth is what God said sets us free. (John 8:32). Do you want to be free’free from the fear of death and hell for eternity’ Are you man enough or woman enough to make hard choices’ Then in obedience to the command of God to “Examine yourself as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus is in you’….unless indeed you are disqualified.(2nd Corinthians 13:5). That points us to the fact that we cannot be saved and not manifest Christ in our life. Now, we have become experts at ‘shucking and jiving’ which means that we talk a lot but say little.

We deny to ourselves first and then to others that we not coming up short in the eyes of God. The truth is that most of the time when we are confronted with someone that knows God and wants to converse with us about our Lord and Savior, we run away and find someplace we need to be in a hurry. That is fear and timidity; and those who are saved are told that we are not given a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (1st Timothy1:7). How can a person who has been cleansed by the blood of Christ, forgiven by the Father and indwelled by the Holy Spirit not be anxious to share the love and the word of God with others, who have obtained like precious faith by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ’ (2nd Peter 1:1).

It is possible that we have been led into idolatry by the very things that we have made part and parcel of our daily lives. Think about how much you watch T.V. or listen to the radio or how long you spend on reading different literature. Some have come to worship their wireless phone, play station, I pad and all the other forms of communications we have. It is possible that we have allowed these things to steal time and effort that we should be spending on study of the Bible, doing things that God saved us to do, even going to church. If so that has become an idol to us. I know several people who have come to think that their church attendance can is some way save them, and they do nothing but go to church. I’m not putting down church attendance, but we have allow the church to slip away from us. We have allowed the church to become simply a mirror image of the world. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us into worship of God we have every minute of our time planned out with Sunday school at 10 or so, the assembly at 10:45, choir singing at 11; the ever-present reading of the church bulletin that takes up the precious little time we have for worship.

Many people worship the looks, presence, voice and manner of their pastors; but again, God will not share His glory with your preacher, teacher, church, programs, or anything else that comes between Jesus Christ and you. (Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 48:11; Exodus 20:3-5). That and other sins is what caused the Cross or Christ to be necessary. If there had been no cross, there would be no means to be saved for anyone. If there had been no cross, there would be no crowns for those who inherit heaven, to cast as the feet of Jesus. (Revelation 4:9-10). The Cross does not save anyone but it was the instrument that the Father used to crucify Jesus Christ, His Son who bled and died to cleanse us from sin and cancel our sin debt. There are questions about the cross that we need to understand so that we can be sure that we are saved.

What is it that saves anyone’ It is the Person and Work of Jesus Christ who was crucified on the cross, where He shed His precious blood and died under the weight of my sin and yours that is if you are saved, when you are saved. Jesus did not endure the humiliation and pain of the cross because of any sin He had ever committed, but for the sin that you and I and others had committed. Jesus Christ was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ had no need of forgiveness or salvation. He substituted His body for ours and paid the price for our sin; however, we are saved to obey Him, not to continue in sin. Have you ever stopped and sat down and asked for entrance into the courts of God and thought about what it took to save you, if you will ever be saved’ If looking at the God man, Jesus Christ nailed to that cross, wearing the crown of thorns, beaten and mistreated so badly that He could not be recognized as a human being. (Isaiah 52:14).

If you have any human feelings and can look and consider that Jesus Christ left the safety and beauty and peacefulness and the presence of God, to come to this world that people like you and me had brought low by our willful sin, without your heart breaking and falling at His feet, I don’t want to know you. We must know Jesus Christ as the God-man. Not God in human form, but fully God and fully man, and He not only did not sin, but He did not know what sin was. He saw it in us but He had never experienced it in Himself. For our sake, Jesus experienced every human experience except sin. He experienced poverty, reproach, fatigue, hunger, thirst, pain, and betrayal, and finally death, and He did all of that so that He would understand our position as He sits to represent us to the Father. Heaven came down to mankind and those who receive the Jesus Christ of the Bible, will inherit heaven to be with Him forever.

Salvation, always without fail, brings forth a new creature, not a simple restructured sinner with a badge that will give them entry into heaven. God put the old man to death In Christ on the cross, buries him In Christ, and resurrects him with Christ to walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-14). We know that God does a complete work in salvation because He says to us, ‘If any man be in Christ, He is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all thing are become new.’ (2nd Corinthians 5:17). It does not matter what sin or how many you have committed that old creature that did those sins is dead, and you are a saint. That is what the Christ of the Cross did and it will never be set aside as long as this world stands. Salvation is available but only for those who will strive for it. Come to Jesus and He will save you.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob