(1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
It is time to get back to the basics. It is time to get back to the cross. What is so special about this symbol of death? How can something so horrific bring about such a change in mankind? What does the cross mean to you today and how can embracing it make the difference you are looking for in your life?
You will have to forgive me for so often getting lost on topics of prosperity and joy and living the abundant life. All of these things are benefits of living the Christian life, but I fear I too often lead us too quickly past the point of grace. All of history meets at the cross. All the difference in your eternal future is decided at the cross. Let us not run so quickly to the rewards of grace without recognizing the key which unlocks the door to it. Yes, the grace of God is a never ending well of water springing up through us unto eternal life. The grace of God is His free gift to us pouring out from heaven above. If you only remember one thing today know this, that God is not mad at you. Hear it again. God is not mad at you. No matter what you have done. No matter what crimes you have committed in the past. No matter what strange life style you are caught up in. God is not mad at you. In fact, He is rather fond of you. So fond of you in fact that He is going to take you and give you more then you could ever deserve or ever, ever earn. He is going take your every bad thought, your every hurtful word spoken, your every selfish deed, your every pain inflicted upon another, your every wrong doing, and nail them all to that cross. Then He is going to replace all of that pain and emptiness with His Holy Spirit. He is going to fill you with His righteousness, His wisdom, His sanctification and with His redemption. Right now you can lay your every burden, your every care, your every fear, your every doubt and your every shame at the foot of the cross and be set free, forever a child of God.
Let's back up now in our look at the scriptures. But before we do, I want to remind you that these words from the Bible are not just some empty words written by man, but these are the very words of God Breathed forth bring us eternal life. Let the word of God reveal the heart of God to you today. With that said lets back up in this first chapter of the book of 1st Corinthians. Paul is writing to a Church that has many problems. He is writing to people who had many questions. He wrote to people a lot like us. In fact if you will listen close enough you will hear him talking to you.
(1 Corinthians 1:17-22 KJV) 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. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
The foolishness of preaching, the foolishness of the cross, the foolishness of God is wiser then the the wisest of men. You see the Jews seek for a sign. They expected the messiah to ride in on a warrior's horse, defeating the Roman Army and bringing back the glory days of King David and Solomon, but this man Jesus, rode in on a donkey and was stripped naked, spit upon and died the death of a cursed man upon that tree of shame. How could that be their savior? How could deliverance come from such shame, failure, utter and dishonorable defeat? And the Greeks desired wisdom. They walked proudly in their philosopher's robes, using logic as their flickering light leading them nowhere. The cross offended their mental pride. To the Jews the cross became a stumbling block and to the Greek it was absurdity. To those who do not believe today and to those who can not see, it is the same today. Even to many so called Christians, the idea of their eternal life coming from such a horrific death is incomprehensible.
It is time that we realized the truth which becomes the power of God manifested by means of the cross. So, lets go back to the Old Testament and see the shadow of things which were to come.
(Leviticus 23:27 KJV) Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is the highest of Holy days in the Jewish faith. This was the only day of the year that the priest would enter into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people. The word translated atonement is a wonderful word bringing the meaning of ransoming or compensating. It suggests a material transaction. In the Tabernacle and the Temple there was basically the outer court, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant remained. On the day of atonement the blood of bulls and goats would be sprinkled upon the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
Ok, OK, what has this got to do with the cross, and where is the power of God that is going to see us through today? It is right there in the shed blood. It is right there in the perfect sacrifice. It is right there is the propitiation. Here is what I want us to realize, God desires us to put our faith in Him. In that, we are sometimes going to have to step beyond our own understanding and see the light of truth shining in the darkness. The Jews were looking for a sign yet through out the years God was revealing His plan of redemption to them and bringing it about through them. The Greeks wanted wisdom yet all the logic in the world could not take away one sin or bring them any closer to the holiness of God which was, until that day of Christ's death upon a cross, hidden behind a thick veil. It was upon that Cross that the price for all our sins were paid. Look at it like this; a person probably has at least a thousand problems throughout their life. And right now there are a little over 6 billion people upon the earth, and it is estimated that there is about 11 billion people that have died since the dawn of mankind. That puts the number at 17 billion people with a thousand problems each. Now I want you to look at the cross. every drop of blood shed upon that cross paid the price of all our your sins. Every lash upon the back of the God who created us took the place of all our pain. Every time the nails were struck all your cares were being taken care of on the cross. All your sorrow, all your shame, all your guilt, all your pain, it was all nailed to the cross.
You need not hang on to your burdens any longer, lay them at the cross. You no longer have to feel as if you have done anything wrong, for all of your sins have been forgiven. Take them to the cross. OH, I know we don't like to think about the death of our LORD, but without the one perfect sacrifice the veil would still remain. Now that veil is ripped wide open and we can run boldly to the throne of grace.
And know this, that by coming the way of the cross, what might seem like foolishness to some and weakness to others, is in reality the power of God manifested in your life and the wisest thing any of us could do.
So what ever it is today that you are hanging unto, what ever fear you may have, what ever burden you may be shouldering, nail it to the cross and breath deep that breath of freedom. Let the blood that was shed 2 thousand years ago cleans you white as snow. The true day of atonement has come and is even right now. For now is your day of salvation. Now you are offered the cross of Christ and eternal life. Don't despise the cross, embrace it. For upon it our savior paid the ransom for our very lives. receive that freedom today and enter into the Holy of Holies, washed clean, in the power of the one true and living God. Lay your troubles down and enter in. In Jesus name, and to God be all the glory. Amen.