ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE CROSS
Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:11-25
(a) The Cross of Christ, is not just another Christian teaching - a part of
our faith, RATHER IT IS THE VERY CENTRE-STONE OF CHRISTIANITY.
[*] Amongst other things, that means, is that we can have no involvement with any body or organisation who accept a Christ-less religion! If they do not want our Jesus - if He is an offence to them, there’s no acceptable place within that body for any Christian.
If they remain within such a body - they literally deny Christ!
(b) W.E. Sangster has said, "Most of the commerce of earth and heaven begins at Calvary. There are deep reasons why that must be so."
(c) I once heard someone say that the reason Jesus died was to show God's love.
(d) Whilst the Cross is a glorious illustration of God's love; to state that as THE REASON He died is quite untrue and misleading.
[e] It is certainly the greatest exhibition of love of all time, for Calvary sprung form the love of God, for rebellious sinful man - but it is so much more!
POINT 1 THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN
(a) The hymn writer puts it very well when he says, "He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good: that we might go at last to heaven, saved by His Precious Blood."
(b) There is no other place in which to find forgiveness, except in the Cross of Christ! (ACTS 4:12)
(c) Man could never, even working as it were, his fingers to the bone, from birth to eternity, ever hope to even make a dent in his debt of unforgiven sin!
(d) Think of Martin Luther before his revelation that "A man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law." (ROMANS 3:28)
He would perform all sorts of terrible painful penances to try and make himself more acceptable to God! Needless to say it was unfruitful, and the burden of his sin just became heavier and heavier, until he had the God-given revelation, that his forgiveness had been bought through the shedding of the Precious Blood of the Saviour on Calvary.
POINT 2 THE GUILT PROBLEM
(a) Many psychiatrists today tell us that sin should not be mentioned. A Salvation Army soldier of ours in a past corps told us that we could visit her, but that we were not allowed by her psychiatrist to mention religion in any shape or form!
(b) Those involved in the science of psychiatry, often speak about a 'guilt complex' and blame what they loosely refer to as 'religion'.
(c) The plain fact is that it is often UNFORGIVEN SIN that causes the problems. Sin that has been dealt with by God, in our lives, does not cause any further problems.
(d) What is often mistaken by Psychiatrists as a guilt complex, and can make people very ill indeed, is a rejection of the Holy Spirit's conviction!
(e) The Holy Spirit is endeavouring to bring that person to Christ in order to have the sin and guilt problem dealt with.
(f) By not allowing it to be dealt with, a psychiatrist can, by postponing it, and blaming 'religion' aggravate the problem making it much more acute.
(d) I say 'ALLOWING IT TO BE DEALT WITH', because I was speaking to a man in a drinking club one night who stated what he felt to be the fact, that if Christ had died for the sins of the whole world, then surely he and everyone else must automatically be
(e) He was not amused to be told that he personally had to repent of his sin and accept Christ individually for himself! If he didn't, then the Saviour's sacrifice could not be effective in his life!
POINT 3 REGENERATION OF THE SPIRIT
(a) We seem to have an epidemic throughout the whole Christian Church today, of "SAVED" people who are NOT "BORN AGAIN"!!
(b) In a revival of an old pop song, the late Freddie Mercury sang, "I AM THE GREAT PRETENDER"!
There's a lot of it about today, especially in the Christian Church as a whole! The
Bible terms them as "False Brethren" - PRETEND CHRISTIANS! They might be wonderful impersonators, but it wont get them to heaven!
(c) I know it is a contradiction to speak of "saved" people who are not "born again". Yet I always remember the local officer who said to me many years ago, “Who are we to say we are right and everybody else is wrong?”
There are many who are found amongst God's people, but they are NOT LIVING IN NEWNESS OF LIFE! THEY SHOW NONE OF THE SIGNS OF BEING NEW CREATURES IN CHRIST!
(d) Is there a church in which we could not apply it?
[*] I think of a church, where the fighting became so fierce, the police had to be called to break it up!
(e) It is impossible to accept that someone is truly saved if by their NATURE, THEIR WORDS AND THEIR ATTITUDES, they deny any possibility of a NEW BIRTH!
If they have no likeness to the Saviour, how can they be part of HIS FAMILY??
(f) Unfortunately today instead of REGENERATE CHRISTIANS, we find
No wonder the work of God is suffering in so many places!
POINT 4 POWER OVER SIN
(a) Through the Cross and the resurrection, Jesus vanquished the Devil, and we are able to share in His victory! Hallelujah!!
(b) No longer need we be slaves to sin, or fight a hopeless battle, trying in our own strength to overcome (like Martin Luther). WE CAN CLAIM VICTORY, THROUGH THE INDWELLING CHRIST AND HIS SACRIFICE FOR US!!
(c) Often I have met people who wondered why they had no spiritual strength in temptation, and asked why they were living defeated lives, when Christians should be victorious!
(d) The answer has often been a simple one. At one time they have knelt at the Salvation Army alter - the Mercy Seat, and rose believing themselves to be saved. But of course the Mercy Seat is not some sort of 'magic box', and if someone hasn't fulfilled the
conditions of true repentance and real commitment to Christ, then they have been unable to claim the Salvation they seek!!
It can, and does happen, that people come out and kneel at an alter, and perhaps even pray! But then they get up and go away exactly as they came - completely unchanged! WHY? Because the depth of sincerity and commitment was not present!
So often I have had great faith and expectation of changed lives when I have seen people at the Mercy Seat, perhaps even shedding tears.
Then I have been shocked to find that the old rivalries, the old prejudices, the old memories remain as strong as ever! I am at a loss to know why they knelt there, if they didn’t allow the Lord to do His work within their lives?
(e) Now, you might think I'm speaking about the very odd exception. I AM NOT!!!
THERE ARE MANY POOR UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE, STILL BOUND FOR A LOST ETERNITY, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEVER TRULY BEEN BORN AGAIN OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD!!
ii. They don't have the joy and satisfaction that comes from the indwelling Christ!
iii. They cannot grow spiritually, because they have never been actually "BORN" spiritually. THEY ARE ON A ROAD TO NOWHERE!
SUCH PEOPLE NEED THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE NEW BIRTH!!!
IT WAS PURCHASED FOR EACH ONE OF US ON CALVARY BY THE SUFFERING AND DEATH OF THE SAVIOUR!!
(f) It brings tears to my heart to think that there are many who dwell amongst God’s people, and who think they’re ‘all right’, who are going to end up in a lost eternity, because they allowed the devil to pull the wool over their eyes.
[*] I trust as we share this time together, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” Romans 8:16
(a) ARE WE LIVING THE LIFE OF CHRIST - A REGENERATED LIFE IN THE POWER OF HIS SPIRIT?
(b) Sometimes we can be guilty of closing our eyes to the facts, because we find them painful. BUT THOSE FACTS DO NOT CHANGE, BECAUSE WE CHOOSE TO BE BLIND TO THEM!
(c) But much more importantly, GOD ALWAYS KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT WE
ARE!! We can never fool Him!
(e) When we are willing to ask God to come and take over completely in our lives - when we make a full commitment - then, and only then, can He do His Work properly within us!!!
(f) There is no need to live in defeat any longer - not when we allow the Living Victorious Christ to take full control in our lives!!
REMEMBER - THERE ARE NO 'HALF CHRISTIANS' - ONLY IMITATIONS!!!
BUT AN IMITATION ALWAYS SHOWS UP - UNDER THE SCRUTINY OF GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT!!!
Sing Chorus 34 "ALL THERE IS OF ME LORD."
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK