the Cross

GOOD FRIDAY PREPARATION

unewald2

To help lead our thoughts about the sacrifice Christ made to pay the price for our sin; I am sharing the following thoughts from the Puritan scholar, William Ames. He describes the death of Christ for sinners with poignancy and crispness of language.

The death of Christ is the last act of his humiliation in which he underwent extreme, horrible, and most acute pains for the sins of men. His death included the loss of conscious enjoyment of God; the tasting of the wrath of God; with sadness, fear, and dread in agony.

He experienced being forsaken, denied, and betrayed by his most intimate disciples; false accusations and injustice; mocking, whipping, and crucifixion; the forsaking of him by His Father; and the full consciousness of Gods judgment on man’s sins.

Christ’s humiliation was then completed by the expiration of his soul in greatest torment and pain of body, burial, and continuation under death for three days.

From “A Puritan Theology” by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones

WHAT WAS THE GREAT BURDEN OF THE CROSS?

“Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46

 

What was the great burden of the cross?

1.  We tend to focus on the physical suffering

The burden of the cross went far beyond physical pain. It was a horrible death, but thousands endured that pain

2.  Jesus suffering went beyond emotional and mental stress

Jesus knew the Old Testament prophecies that describing his death.  Imagine knowing for years you would be tortured to death!

We see weight of this burden in Gethsemane, when Jesus said “my soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death”

3.  The great cost of the cross was to be “forsaken” by the Father

  • Jesus had been silent during the injustice of His trial
  • He had not cried out when they horribly beat Him
  • When they nailed his hands and feet he said “Father forgive them”
  • As the agony grew he spoke words of mercy to a thief beside Him

But when our sin was placed upon him, then Jesus cried out in chilling anguish

 

How was Jesus “forsaken” by the Father?

We should first clarify what it does not mean

Jesus was not abandoned, because his sacrifice was accepted by the Father

The love of the Father not withdrawn. Jesus said  “My Father loves me because I lay down my life” (John 10:17)

1.  Jesus was “forsaken” by when the Father punished him without mercy (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Jesus became responsible for our sin as if he committed them 2 Cor 5:21  Gal 3:13

The Father did not withhold any wrath, but punished Jesus fully for our sin

God forgives people, not sin! Every sin will receive its due penalty, either on us or on Jesus

2.  Jesus was “forsaken” by the Father withdrawing his comfort

Holy God could not comfort his son, when he “became sin”

It is hard for us to grasp what it meant for Christ to be “forsaken”

  • We cannot comprehend the wrath that fell (praise God that in Christ, we never will!)
  • We cannot fathom the shame our collective guilt was to one so pure
  • We cannot appreciate what it meant for Jesus who had loved the Father with all his soul, to have him turn away

God the Son, was punished by God the Father, in order to save those who had rejected them both

 

Why is it important we know the true burden of cross?

1.  So we will know the greatest burden that could be ours

No suffering on earth can compare to being forsaken by God. Nothing could be worse than to face God bearing the guilt of our sin

 

2.  So we will recognize how committed God is to punishing all sin

If God did not spare his Son when the guilt of others was upon him, he will not spare those who will come before him bearing their own guilt

Why does God hate sin so deeply?

  • It corrupts what he created ‘good’
  • It separates us from him
  • It turns those he had loved from eternity into his enemy

3.  So we will know the greatness of the sacrifice made for us

Christ was willing to endure the presence of our sin on Himself

If there is no greater burden than than to be forsaken by God, then there is no greater proof of his love than to have Jesus take our place

We cry want God to prove himself by intervening in our temporal affairs, neglecting how he has proven himself by intervening in our eternal affairs

Christ cried out “My God, why have you forsaken me” – so we would never have to

 

THE WAVES NEVER STOP

Living near the shore has its advantages.

I don’t get to the beach often, but when I do, I usually think to myself, “Why don’t I do this more often?”

My favorite time to walk along the beach is early evening, when the crowds are gone along with the heat.

Although the people have left, the sand bears many signs that swarms of them were recently present. In addition to the ubiquitous footprints in the sand, are the remnants of collapsed castles and abandoned excavations.

Yet, the next morning, all these evidences will all be washed smooth by the ever-flowing action of the waves.

God’s grace accomplishes a similar work in the believer’s heart.

Throughout each day, sin is disrupting our hearts and minds. As we come to the end of our day, we can see abundant evidence of sin’s disturbance.

However, the Cross never ceases to flow with the cleansing grace of Christ.

No matter how often our soul is disrupted, the merciful actions of our Savior have the final say. This is the proclamation of the Prophet Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:22-24

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Child of grace, don’t neglect giving praise and thanksgiving to your faithful Savior.

He never tires of pouring grace upon you, so don’t tire in imitating his attentiveness.

As we develop the habit of recognizing the evidences of his grace, our minds will turn more easily to worship rather than worry. And our hearts will increasingly yearn for the good things that honor him.

The result will be a heart that is clean, and at rest.

SERMON LEFTOVERS 6.27.16

“We fail, but Jesus doesn’t”

 

John 13:31-38

We tend to swing back and forth from thinking we are strong, to being overwhelmed by our weaknesses. The true and more helpful perspective is to recognize, we at times fail, but Christ doesn’t

 

Jesus Declares the Glory of His Work

The “glory” he describes is the finished work of the cross

v31  The FATHER is glorified in Jesus’ death and resurrection

They manifest his perfections in holiness, justice and grace

They reveal his astounding plan and the fulfillment of his promises

v32  The Father glories the SON in himself

Jesus shows the heights of his humility, love and sacrifice

We see his wondrous victory over sin death Satan

Jesus describes this glory as now (v31) and at once (v32)

The unveiling of God’s eternal plan has begun and the events are moving quickly

The cross not only glorifies the Father and Jesus, it glorifies US (John 17:22-23)

Through the cross we are made new and will be complete (Romans 8:30)

(1)  Every believer is the subject of the most glorious works of God

(2)  Every believer is in the process of being made in the glorious image of Jesus

(3)  Every believer is called to be part of how God’s glory touches others  

We don’t have to do big things, we simply live out and share glorious truths

These glorious truths should show us that we spend too much time thinking on the wrong things

Jesus describes the events of the cross as if they were finished – because they were that sure

So we can look at what the gospel accomplishes in us as that sure

We are believers, so we should face uncertainty and burdens with what we know

 

Jesus is Doing a Great Work, But His Leaving Will Be Hard (v33)

Jesus leaves them with “new commandment” (vs 34-35)

He shares what should be at the center of their fellowship when gone

They have already been given the Great Commandments to love God and neighbor, how is this commandment to love “new”?

What makes it revolutionary is to love one another “just as” Christ has loved us!

The defining display of Jesus’ love is about to take place

The new commandment is to love according to the glory of the cross

Jesus has just said he will not be with them, but how he loved them should remain

Jesus tells us this is what should identify a community of his people (v35)

Correct theology is necessary to know the gospel and become Christian

But without love for one another, people cannot see Christ in us

Let’s be sure we see clearly how Jesus loves us

1. Jesus loved with humility (Philippians 2:3-4)   Love is not about our expectations

2. Jesus loved sacrificially (Romans 5:8)

3. Jesus loved consistently through people’s weaknesses and failures (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Since we always have this love in us, we can consistently live it out. To say we “cannot” love someone is biblically false

 

Peter is Still Thinking About Jesus’ Leaving (v36)

Peter has no idea where Jesus is going, but he expresses confidence he can handle it

But Peter is Not As Strong As He Thinks (vs 37-38)

In a few hours he will deny knowing Jesus!  Our weaknesses strike fast

We are like Peter in at least Three Ways

1.  We think we are stronger than we are:

      We think we know what to do and how to handle our lives and problems

2.  We want to debate what Jesus says

Peter does the same thing in v8 during when Jesus tried to wash his feet

We need to ask ourselves – is anything our Lord says ever debatable?

3.  We miss Jesus’ focus: Peter misses that Jesus had just given an essential principle

      Like Peter we get stuck in thinking how we are going to handle a situation,rather than consider Jesus agenda for that moment

We may have an abundance of weaknesses, but Jesus doesn’t: so listen to what he says and follow what he tells us to do

 

 

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CROSS

I have gathered a few quotes about the cross to help guide out thoughts this week

“Spikes, bloodied from previous use, were hammered into his hands and feet. Pain shot up through his legs and across his shoulders as the cross was dropped rudely into the ground he had created.”

Elyse Fitzpatrick

 “Most professing Christians actually know very little of the gospel, let alone understand its implications for their day-to-day lives. My perception is that most of them know just enough gospel to get inside the door of the kingdom. They know nothing of the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

“We fail to see the gospel as the solution to our greatest problem-our guilt, condemnation, and alienation from God. Beyond that, we fail to see it as the basis of our day-to-day acceptance with Him. As a result, many believers live in spiritual poverty.”

Jerry Bridges

 “If there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life.”

C.J. Mahaney

 “Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God.

So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared’ (Luther).”

Dietrich Bonhoffer

“The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, “This is love.” God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, “This is love.”

Joshua Harris

 “How is it that I let the beauty and power and vastness of that gospel be crowded out of my mind so often and for so long?

Why is it that my thoughts and emotions are often dominated by silly things like whether my car is clean, or what’s happening on CNN right now, or whether I was happy with my lunch today, rather than by these glorious truths?

Why do I so often organize and think about my life as if I were wearing blinders, rather than in the light of eternity?

Why does this gospel not permeate, all the time and all the way to the bottom, my relationships with my wife and children, my coworkers and friends and fellow church members?

I know exactly why. It’s because I’m a sinner, and worldliness will continue to linger in my heart and war against me until the day Jesus comes back. But until then, I want to fight against that.”

Greg Gilbert

HOW MANY WATCHED JESUS DIE?

How many people watched Jesus die on the cross?

Dozens, hundreds, thousands?

If we include angels and demons – was it millions, billions?

What did they feel?

Revulsion, excitement, numbness, heartache, victory, confusion, despair?

Do you look at the cross?

I know you were not there.

But each of us can turn our eyes to the cross

We look to be reminded of what took place

We look to be impacted but what was accomplished

The gospel declares that if we ignore the cross – we are without hope. And love for Christ calls us to gaze long and full

We can live before the cross.

The plan of God was victorious, and the war for our soul was won!

Judgment fell, wrath was poured out, and guilt was removed

Sin was paid for and Heaven was satisfied

The god of this world was defeated and death received its own sentence

Hebrews 12:2 tells us, “for the joy that was set before him, (Jesus) endured the cross”.

Christian, if Jesus endured the cross for the joy of saving us, what reason can we give not to keep our attention on that cross?

Oh, let us gaze upon the cross, meditate on the cross and live always before the cross.

If you have never practiced thinking about the cross, here are some ideas

1.  Start by reading the gospel accounts of the crucifixion

Read slowly, imagine yourself there, and ask why each part of the story is included

2.  Praise God for as much about the cross as you can bring to your mind

Don’t be rushed to think of things; allow God to fill your thoughts. Then ask Him to penetrate your heart with the implications.

3.  Read some good books about the cross

The Cross-Centered Life   by CJ Mahaney

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die   by John Piper

In My Place Condemned He Stood   by J.I. Packer and Mark Dever

The Truth of the Cross   by R.C. Sproul

The Cross of Christ   by John R.W. Stott

 4.  Try listening to some of the great songs about the cross

Sovereign Grace Music consistently publishes meaty cross-centered music. Put YouTube to good use.

The hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts, is one of my favorite songs about the cross:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

We all think about many things each day, let’s put the cross at the front of the line – and keep it there.

BEHOLD THE ONE CRUCIFIED FOR US

The events of Good Friday and Easter are the most critical events in universal history. Upon these actions of Christ our eternity rests. Without the cross and the resurrection all hopes would be false.

In our day, we tend not to ponder important issues. We easily obsess on things, but we do not meditate on God’s character and works. If there was ever a place to start meditating, it is on the cross and Christ’s sacrifice for us. 

Today I am sharing a blog post by my good friend Jared Mellinger, who is pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA. As you read his article entitled “Man of Sorrows”. As you read this article, try to slowly consider the significance of Jesus sorrows on our behalf. Don’t you agree it would be worth asking God as you read to guide you into a deeper appreciation of the cross, so you can have a fuller response to the cross.

 

THE WORDS THAT SHAPED US

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4/04/11

Mark 15:16-32 ‘Behold Your King’

Jesus Is Called “King of The Jews” By Those Who Did Not Believe

  • In v18, it was a joke in the soldier’s mouths
  • In v26, it was a sign of accusations over the cross
  • In v32, it was a challenge from the crowd

To them all, “King of Jews” was a title Jesus obviously could not fulfill

Kings have a kingdom, and kings exercise power, but Jesus was totally helpless

Jesus Not Only Was A King, At That Moment He Was Proving It!

1.  Jesus was not a fool who wasted his life

On the cross, his eyes were on gaining eternity for fools who were wasting their life (Hebrews 2:12)

Far from a living a wasted life,  Acts 3:15 calls Jesus the “Author of Life”

2.  Jesus was not helpless before his enemies

“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53

As men jeered, surely the hosts of heaven were in anguish. If Jesus had let out a whisper, imagine the speed in which destruction would have come

The cross was history’s mightiest act of self-restraint

3.  Jesus was not lacking in power

I Corinthians 1:24 “Christ (is) the power of God”. The cross was power beyond any experience of men

Jesus entered death and slew it, with the sword of his own righteousness (I Corinthians 15:55-57)

Each of us will enter death; we do so powerless, unless we follow Christ

4.  Jesus is not merely a king he is “the King of Kings”

No king will ever be more highly exalted.  Even his enemies will be unable to withhold their submission (Philippians 2:10-11)

5.  Jesus has a kingdom

“You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

All kingdoms occupy slice of time; only Jesus kingdom is forever

But better than being eternal, his kingdom is perfect in glory

6.  Jesus did prove himself

Jesus did far better than to “come down from the cross”; he came out of the grave!

Jesus was shown to be Son of God by his resurrection from dead (Romans 1:4)

Here is an amazing thought to keep before us; this same “immeasurable greatness of power” works toward us (Ephesians 1:19-20)

As God’s People, Do We Give Honor To Our King?

1.  Live like you have a king whose name is Jesus

What do you think a life should look like, if Christ is our King?  What changes does that mean for you right now?

2.  Be a Christ worshipper; is he not incomparable?

Worship is the heartbeat of heaven, what is the beat of your heart?

3.  Offer yourself to him without qualification or restraint

What are your holding back . . and why?

Doing less for Christ guarantees regret; while doing all for him is glory!

4.  Serve his kingdom with joy!

Your life does serve a purpose!   Whose purpose is it?

Does the cross lift your heart?   Then serve its gospel