ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE CROSS

Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:11-25

 

INTRODUCTION

(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

forgiven!

(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

DEGENERATE CHRISTIANS.

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.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

[*] 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

 

SONG           TUNE

115            272

124            585

498            378