INTRO: Although I know the scriptures do not teach the veneration of religious objects, every time I see a cross I am reminded of one of the most significant events in human history ... the death of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. And I expect that is true for most people. But the cross has other reminders for inquiring minds. For example, the cross is a reminder of the sins of mankind - indeed, of my own sins.
I. SIN: THE CAUSE OF THE CROSS
A. 2 Cor 5:21 The sin offering
1. 1 Jno 2:2 Jesus, the atonement for our sins
2. clearly, sin is the reason the cross was necessary
3. had there been no sin, no sin offering required
B. Rev 5:6 The Lamb - the sacrifice
1. Heb 10:10-14 one sacrifice for sins forever
2. so, Jno 1:29 Jesus, the Lamb
3. the cross reminds me always of sin and the perfect sacrifice
II. NOTE SOME SIN FACTS
A. What is sin?
1. 1 Jno 3:4 such a simple definition
2. sin is a violation of the law of God
3. His law is revealed in scripture - break His law, ignore His law, omit to do His law, and you have sinned
B. What does sin do?
1. Isa 59:1,2 it separates you from God
2. Eph 2:1 it makes you dead in Gods sight (Rom 5:12)
3. Eph 2:12 it denies one of hope
C. How extensive is sin?
1. Rom 3:23 apparently, very extensive (vv. 9,10)
2. each person, except Jesus, has been affected by sin ... guilty of sin
3. without the cross, the sin offering, that guilt could not be resolved ... and hell would be our destination
D. What is the fate of sinners without the cross
1. Ezek 18:4,32 Ezekiels answer: death
2. Rom 6:23 sin - without the cross - results in eternal condemnation
3. people all around us are dead ... and destined for the final wages of sin
III. THE CROSS IS THE ANSWER TO SIN
A. Listen: 2 Pet 3:9 - God has no pleasure in death
1. return to Ezek 18:30-32
2. God must demand penalty for sin
3. loving God made a provision for payment of penalty because He has no pleasure in death
B. So, Jno 3:16 Jesus, given in our place
1. 1 Pet 2:24 & 3:18
2. so, Jesus paid the penalty - became the payment by the sacrifice of the cross
3. without the cross, no atonement - death would be certain
C. But each must accept benefits of the sacrifice
1. in Old Testament personal identification/union with the sin offering was required
2. Acts 2:38 why, Every one of you?
3. Rom 6:3 baptized into His death ... into the sacrifice ... each person must claim the sacrifice, or he will die in his sins ... condemned
CLOSE: While the cross is truly a sign of our sin, it is also the answer to our sin. But it can only become my answer, your answer, when I (you) am baptized into his death, his sacrifice. Only then can I be raised to walk in newness of life.
Cecil A. Hutson
28 November 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)