WMTLC TEACHINGS

Step Towards Transformation

5-THE CROSS

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The Cross is one of the primary symbols of Christianity because of Jesus’s crucifixion. The Roman empire put many thousands to death on the cross. It was a tool for killing people painfully while subjecting them to extreme humiliation in front of their society. Though not the same, the electric chair would be a good modern example in that it is a tool to carry out death sentences.

What make’s Jesus’ death on the cross different is what we study this week. I’d like to share what St. John Damascene (c. 675-749), who was the last of the Greek Fathers, wrote in his “What happened on the Cross.”*

By nothing else except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ has death been brought low:
The sin of our first parent destroyed, hell plundered, resurrection bestowed, the power given us to despise the things of this world, even death itself, the road back to the former blessedness made smooth, the gates of paradise opened,  and we made children and heirs of God.

By the cross all these things have been set aright…
It is a seal that the destroyer may not strike us, a raising up of those who lie fallen, a support for those who stand, a staff for the infirm, a crook for the shepherded, a guide for the wandering, a perfecting of the advanced, salvation for soul and body, a deflector of all evils, a cause of all goods, a destruction of sin, a plant of resurrection, and a tree of eternal life.

If you understand the implications of Jesus’ death on the cross, your life will change. Mine did.

When Jesus Christ was put to death by being nailed to a wooden cross, the Jews and others thought they were just executing a man who was disturbing their way of life. They did not realize that the Cross was planned by God from the beginning of the world.

A. GOD DEALS WITH ALL SIN

Through His Son’s death on the Cross, the great Creator God was dealing with every person’s sin, suffering and sorrow. Jesus was dying in the place of every individual in the world. Receiving personally what He has done on the Cross brings the answer to all our needs.

  1. God Reveals His Power Through The Cross
    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1Cor 1:18) See also Romans 1:16.
  2. God Shows His Love On The Cross
    “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
  3. God Removed Our Sorrows On The Cross
    “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted” (Isa 53:4).
  4. Jesus Took The Punishment For Our Sins On The Cross
    “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed… We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53: 5,6). See also 1 Peter 2:24)

B. NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THROUGH THE CROSS

Because God is so holy and righteous, sin separates us from Him. No one with sin in their hearts is able to be in His presence.

So, not only by dying on the Cross did Jesus suffer for our sins in our place; but also He made it possible for us know God personally and to experience the love, peace and joy which fellowship with Him brings.

  1. We Become Acceptable To God Through the Cross
    “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
  2. We Receive Forgiveness Through The Cross
    “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13,14). See also 1 John 2:1,2.
  3. We Become Members Of God’s Family Through The Cross
    “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praise”‘ (Heb 2:11,12). See also John 1:12
  4. Racial Barriers Are Broken Through The Cross
    But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.

“His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Eph 2:13-16).

C. FREEDOM THROUGH THE CROSS

Jesus’ death on the Cross was a great victory for us. Because God dealt with our sin on the Cross, it means also that all the misery and suffering which is a result of sin was also dealt with.

The Cross has won great freedom for us!

  1. Freedom From Satan
    “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the Cross” (Col 2:15). See also Colossians 1:13.
  2. Freedom from Past Sins
    “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). See also Colossians 2:13.
  3. Freedom From Present Sins
    “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law,but under grace” (Rom 6:14)
  4. Freedom From Sickness
    “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases’” (Matt 8:17).
  5. Freedom From The Curse
    “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’” (Gal 3:13)See also Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
  6. Freedom From The Judgment
    “Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment ” (Heb 9:26,27)
  7. Freedom From Everlasting Death
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

D. LOVE AND JUSTICE MEET AT THE CROSS

The Cross is the place where the love of God and the righteous judgment of God meet. His righteous judgment demanded the death penalty for sin – the shedding of blood. His love met His own demands and Jesus, the Son of God, died in our place.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Rom 5:8-11)

E. THE CROSS IS THE CENTER OF HISTORY

The Cross of Jesus Christ is the center point of mankind’s existence on earth. From the moment the first man and woman sinned (see Genesis 3), it was pre-planned by God that Jesus would die on the Cross.

From that time on, people looked forward in faith to what God promised. He would do on the Cross to save them. Today we look back and, by believing what Jesus has done for us on the Cross, receive forgiveness and new life.

MY COMMITMENT

Today I put my whole trust in what God was doing for me when Jesus died on the Cross. I believe He took the punishment for my sin. I receive the forgiveness that God is offering to me. And I thank Him for the relationship this now gives me with Him. I make a decision today that I will live each day in this personal relationship with God and commit myself to share this truth with others.

Witness Ministries

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