INTRO: The inner circle of Jesus disciples either ignored, or completely misunderstood, his references to His death. He certainly did not hide from them that His death was necessary ... even imminent. The disciples response to His arrest was, according to Mt 26:56, to forsake Him and to flee. The things which were transpiring seemed to take them by complete surprise and put them into a state of complete disarray. But the cross is truly a sign of hope.
I. GO WITH ME TO THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
A. Lk 24:13,14 and 17-21 They had no hope
1. what had they hoped? v.21a
2. knowing the political situation and the traditional Jewish expectation, I have an idea they saw Him as another King David!
3. the cross crushed their hope - v.17
B. Traditionally, the cross was not a thing of hope
1. a sign of torture, pain, death, inescapable death
2. a sign of terrible humiliation: 1 Cor 1:23
3. so, the cross in its immediate time frame was the end!
II. BUT WITHOUT THE CROSS NO HOPE IN LEVITICAL SYSTEM
A. Sacrifices of the Law did not take away sins!
1. Heb 10:1-4 it is not possible
2. there was, thus, annual day of atonement and continuation of animal sacrifices
3. without the cross would that system have had to continue? even if it had, would complete remission ever have become reality? (apparently not ... no hope!)
B. So, the cross and Israels hope ...
1. seem totally unconnected and to work against each other
2. Jesus was the hope of Israel (Lk 2:25)
3. and Roman cross seemed to end that hope!
C. But Bible explains the opposite is true!
1. Levitical sacrifices were a shadow of the perfect offering - Heb 10:1 with 10:5,6,10
2. cross became the altar for perfect offering
3. what seemed so hopeless is the very event, thing by which true hope is offered - Heb 9:26b-28 ...
III. NOW, LOOK AT OUR TEXT: EPH 2:11-18
A. Notice the prominence of the cross here
1. v. 13 the blood of Christ (so, Eph 1:7)
2. v. 16 the cross (so, 1 Cor 1:18)
B. Without the cross?
1. aliens, strangers, no hope, without God
2. no access to the Father
3. according to Col 2:13,14 without the cross an unpaid debt
C. The cross changes everything!
1. our only hope centers in the cross
2. relationship can change; debt can be paid; we can look with confidence to the future
3. Heb 10:15-18
D. So, the bottom line
1. only hope beyond this life is in the cross
2. 1 Cor 15:1-3 and 19,20 this great chapter is filled with eternal assurances and hope because of the cross
3. have you obtained this hope?
CLOSE: In several lessons I have noted the need to make the great, perfect sacrifice ours. Rom 6:3 says plainly we are baptized into the death of Jesus. Rom 6:5 notes union with His death in baptism. The hope of the cross becomes yours when you are baptized.
Cecil A. Hutson
23 January 2000
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)