1 COR 1:18-24
INTRO: The reading of 1 Cor 1:18 confirms that it does really matter what you believe about the cross! There are, I suppose, a great many views of the cross of Jesus. But in actual point of fact they are reduce to just two. There are those who believe and those who do not. There are those for whom the cross represents the wisdom of God and those for whom the cross is just foolishness. What is the cross? Why is the cross? Do I have choices about my view of the cross? Is the cross just an ornament of jewelry, or does it bring to mind visions of the Savior Who gave his life as an atonement for sin? While the cross may be one of the most familiar of all religious symbols in todays world, I wonder if it is just that - a symbol? It does really matter that you believe...
I. THAT PROPHECY AND JESUS FORETOLD HIS DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION
A. Texts to consider...
1. Ps 22:16 - ...they pierced my hands and my feet (Ps 34:20)
2. Jno 3:14 - ...even so must the Son of man be lifted up...
3. Jno 8:28 - ...when ye have lifted up the Son of man...
4. Jno 12:32,33 - ...signifying what death he should die
B. The crucifixion was not, then, just a happening, a quirk of fate
1. it was part and parcel of Gods plan for redeeming human kind
2. notice Acts 2:23 - they did exactly what God had planned (Lk 22:22)
3. yes, they were guilty of demanding the death of an innocent man - yes, their actions must be considered wicked
4. but they were accomplishing the purpose of God in/for redemption
II. THAT IT WAS REALLY JESUS, GODS SON, WHO WAS CRUCIFIED
A. From early days this has been disputed
1. the ancient gnostics believed the Jesus people saw was a sort of emanation - not really the son of God
2. they believed that Deity would never interact with humanity
3. so, the Jesus they saw was a sort of material copy - but not the Deity
4. perhaps others have simply dismissed Jesus as mere man, etc.
B. But it really was Jesus, the Son of God, who was crucified
1. start with Lk 1:31-35 - he conception here involved Mary & Holy Spirit
2. or, Mt 1:20-23 - even the name Emanuel is significant here
3. or, Mt 3:16,17 & Mt 17:5 - certainly, this is confirming testimony
4. and what of Heb 10:10-13 - notice the text tells us this man (Jesus Christ) is sitting at the right hand of God ... if it was not the Son of God Who was crucified, there is still no atonement!!! - see also Mk 16:6 (from the angel)
III. THAT IT REALLY HAPPENED ... ACCOMPANIED BY AMAZING EVENTS
A. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ really happened
1. some few have perhaps rejected the historical event
2. but, while there may some debate about the person of Christ, there is little about the historicity of the event - Jewish & Roman historians note it
3. so important is this event that all of time is divided by it!!
B. And we cannot ignore the amazing events accompanying the crucifixion
1. Mt 27:45 - noon til 3 p.m. darkness settled over Jerusalem
2. Mt 27:50-54 - physical & spiritual world were in upheaval!
3. I am not certain what the Roman Centurion understood by his confession - but he was undoubtedly a shaken man!
IV. THAT IT WAS REALLY NECESSARY
A. Jesus certainly understood that it was necessary
1. Mt 16:21 - ...that he must go...and be killed... (cf. Mt 26:52-54)
2. Lk 22:21,22 - ...the Son of man goeth, as it was determined...
3. Lk 22:42 - He assuredly acknowledged, accepted the will of God here!
B. His sacrificial death made possible our being justified
1. 2 Cor 5:21 - Jesus was the perfect sin offering satisfying laws demands
2. 1 Pet 2:24 - at the cross, just as a sacrifice, Jesus bore our sins - He is our sin offering
3. Heb 9:26,28 - was it necessary? absolutely ... without it there would be no real forgiveness ... no way we could appear as if we had not sinned!
V. THAT WE CAN BE THE BENEFICIARIES OF IT
A. Here is the truly good news!
1. what Jesus did at the cross can become the greatest blessing for you
2. 1 Pet 3:18 - ...that he might bring us to God...
B. How, then, does one receive the benefit of his atoning sacrifice?
1. Rom 6:3 - we are baptized into His death ... into the sacrifice
2. it does not good to preach of the cross without preaching the rest of the story ... the how I receive the benefit of His death
CLOSE: And I am certain there are those in this assembly who need to benefit from the blessing of the cross. There is only one way to the offering, and it is in and through baptism. Is the preaching of the cross foolishness to you? Or is it the wisdom of God? The decision you make about response may well indicate the answer.
Cecil A. Hutson
23 October 2005
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)