Monday, April 12, 2010 - Preach Christ...Crucified
I savor the opportunity to fill the pulpit. Any man who gets the opportunity to preach should delight in the occasion. I have been told by "seasoned preachers" that I don't qualify as a "real preacher" because I never attended a preaching school. I have asked them to point me to the verse where it details the preaching school Paul or Peter went to. These men would then tell me that Paul and Peter didn't need to go to a preaching school because they were guided by the Holy Spirit. My response? As long as the Holy Scriptures is my only guide, I too am guided by the Holy Spirit.
Christ's command to his followers is straightforward:
> Matthew 28-19-20 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. What do I teach? God's Holy Word. It does not require a degree, it does not require a certificate. It simply requires a love of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and a willingness to submit my life to the Lord. Unfortuantely, many men who either come out of preaching schools or those preachers who go back to school to get an "advanced degree" have missed the point that preaching is NOT about them! Too many of them want to hear the accolades of the crowd and that is their focus. In addition, I have a newsflash for those who have gone back to get your advanced degree: PHD does NOT mean you are now allowed to Preach Human Doctrine. You are not smarter than God.
Gospel preachers understand that God’s Message is simple: > John 3:16-17 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. > 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
God’s love for us is shown by the gift of His Son.That God gave His Son for us because He loved us is the most obvious fact in the New Testament. Going to the cross obviously required love on Jesus’ part also With no sins of His own, Christ accepted the penalty of death for our sins — He substituted Himself for us.
> Hebrews 2:9 - But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man. So important is this death that twice in 1st Corinthians Paul addresses it specifically.
> I Cor. 1:23 - but we preach Christ crucified > I Cor. 2:2 - For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified
Going back to verse 18,the apostle Paul is stating clearly that God's wisdom is supreme.In comparison, man's wisdom is nothing. Therefore, there is no substance or weight to man's glorying before God. Attempts to do so are but fruitless exercises in futility.The Jews seek signs, and the Gentiles prefer the output of human intellect over the Divine message. This is the very reason the apostle gives as to why few, who are mighty, noble, and wise, accept the gospel.Human pride gets in the way.The self-inflated mind of man just cannot conceive of, or subscribe to, a "crucified" Savior!As pertaining to the Corinthians of long ago, this was the core of the conflict between God's wisdom and man's wisdom.The confrontation revolved around the salvation God had provided for humankind through his Son Jesus.Involved in the gospel is the salient point of man's helpless plight -- lost in sin, and spiritually devastated.
God intervened and provided the only way of escape for man, through the atoning sacrifice of his Anointed upon the cross.Yet, the mystery of being crucified on a cross was so disturbing to the mental faculties of man that it was looked upon with disdain.How could salvation result from such a humiliating death?God's plan for saving man through the cross of his Son confounded man's wisdom.To man's way of thinking, the message of the gospel was foolishness.It just didn't fit into his sense of dignity and decency.Those who occupied positions of prestige and importance in society would be subjected to ridicule and mockery if they were to accept it, and because the glory that comes from men meant more to them than being right with God, they rejected it.
Second, there is a very strong appeal made by Paul to those who will heed.Not wanting any of those to whom he wrote to fall into the pit of hopelessness, Paul pleads, "Let no man deceive himself ... for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God!"The individual who will indeed be wise is the one who refrains from glorying in men, but rather glories in the Lord only.Those who glory in the Lord will accept with joy the wonderful gift of salvation made possible through the Lord's graphic death upon the cross.
Even in the church, many are not content with God's wisdom; they have laid aside the power that God has told us is inherent in the preaching of the cross, and they have bartered it away to Satan for the vain glory of human accolades.They would rather hear people say how smart they are, and what an entertaining speech they've made, and how well-delivered it was, than to know down deep in their hearts that they have told people in no uncertain terms exactly what they needed to hear.Let it cost jobs, prestige, friendships, or whatever, brethren -- the truth must be preached! We preach Jesus Christ crucified and ask ourselves:
> Do we understand what occurred? > Do we understand the significance of what happened? > Does it make a difference to me?
Let us begin in Matthew 26:36 to 27:31
> Verses 36-45 - Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I go yonder and pray.And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore troubled.Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with me.And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.Again a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, My Father, if this cannot pass away, except I drink it, thy will be done.And he came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.And he left them again, and went away, and prayed a third time, saying again the same words.Then cometh he to the disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. > Verse 49 – Judas, one of the twelve betrays him (Jesus had always known this was going to happen, yet he loved Judas)
> Verses 59-75 - Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death; and they found it not, though many false witnesses came. But afterward came two, and said, This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.And the high priest stood up, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God.Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.Then the high priest rent his garments, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy: what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? They answered and said, He is worthy of death.Then did they spit in his face and buffet him: and some smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ: who is he that struck thee?Now Peter was sitting without in the court: and a maid came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilaean.But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.And when he was gone out into the porch, another [maid] saw him, and saith unto them that were there, This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I know not the man.And after a little while they that stood by came and said to Peter, Of a truth thou also art [one] of them; for thy speech maketh thee known.Then began he to curse and to swear, I know not the man.And straightway the cock crew.And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. (Falsely accused, stripped of his clothing, beaten, then denied by his own followers.)
> Chapter 27:11-50 -Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?And he gave him no answer, not even to one word: insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would.And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?For he knew that for envy they had delivered him up.And while he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.But the governor answered and said unto them, Which of the two will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas.Pilate saith unto them, What then shall I do unto Jesus who is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified.And he said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out exceedingly, saying, Let him be crucified.So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing, but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye [to it].And all the people answered and said, His blood [be] on us, and on our children.Then released he unto them Barabbas; but Jesus he scourged and delivered to be crucified.Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered unto him the whole band.And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.And they platted a crown of thorns and put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!And they spat upon him, and took the reed and smote him on the head.And when they had mocked him, they took off from him the robe, and put on him his garments, and led him away to crucify him.And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to go [with them], that he might bear his cross.And they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, The place of a skull, they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted it, he would not drink.(LUKE 23:34 tells us at this point Christ says “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do).And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments among them, casting lots; and they sat and watched him there.And they set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.Then are there crucified with him two robbers, one on the right hand and one on the left.And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross.In like manner also the chief priests mocking [him], with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. He is the King of Israel; let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe on him.He trusteth on God; let him deliver him now, if he desireth him: for he said, I am the Son of God.And the robbers also that were crucified with him cast upon him the same reproach.Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?And some of them stood there, when they heard it, said, This man calleth Elijah.And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.And the rest said, Let be; let us see whether Elijah cometh to save him.And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit.
Jesus Christ was dead.
Jesus was in no doubt what his mission was in this world was.In addition to the physical torture of it, there was no more shameful and demeaning death than crucifixion.It was reserved for enemies, slaves, and the lowest of criminals. With no sins of his own, Christ accepted the penalty of death for our sins – He substituted himself for us. 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 - whom God set forth [to be] a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, [I say], of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.
Jesus drank the cup of His suffering because it was not possible for it to be otherwise and our sins be forgiven. By dying for us, Jesus made it possible for us to be reconciled to God.
> Romans 5:10-11 - For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.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 continuing in sinful acts? * 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?Where will you be this evening?Wednesday evening? * What about our shortage of personal evangelism? * What about our minimal prayer life and lack of Bible study?To be saved from sin, we must die and be raised with Christ.
Christ commanded that we be baptized in order to be saved - Mk. 16:16. To be baptized into Christ is to be baptized into His death.
> Rom. 6:2-8 - What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.For if we have become united with [him] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin.But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
Having been “crucified with Christ,” we must then live as those who have done so.
>Gal. 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that [life] which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, [the faith] which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.
If necessary we must be willing to “partake of Christ’s sufferings.”
> 1 Pet. 4:12,13 - Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy.
The scriptures tell us that Christians are to be different from the world in all things. It is because the price that was paid for us was so precious and our reward is incomprehensible in it''s glory. And it is what is commanded of us.