The Power Of The Cross
The Power Of The Cross
THE POWER OF THE CROSS
A. Introduction: We have been studying the Cross of Christ. I Cor 1:17,18
1. It is in the preaching of the Cross that we find the power of God.
a. The Cross is an inclusive term for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Cor 15:1-4
b. God has dealt with and provided for every human need through the Cross of Christ.
2. Every problem in the world today is here because of sin and satan, either directly or indirectly.
3. Because of the disobedience of the first man Adam, sin entered the entire human race and death passed upon all men. Rom 5:12
a. We are born into a fallen race dominated by sin and satan. II Cor 4:4; Luke 4:6
b. We have a sin nature making us all deserving of God's wrath. Eph 2:1-3
c. We are guilty of sin because we willfully rebel against God. Rom 3:23
d. The earth itself is under a curse because of Adam's sin. Gen 3:17,18
4. But God dealt with sin and satan at the Cross.
a. He paid for our sins, broke the power of satan over men, and gave us a new nature which is totally pleasing to Himself.
b. It is in the Cross that you will ultimately find the solution to every problem. That's why the Cross is the power of God.
5. Jesus went to the Cross as our substitute. He went there for us as us and was punished in our place for our sins. Then, when the price for sin was paid, He triumphed over satan and rose from the dead for us as us.
6. An exchange was made on the Cross.
a. Jesus took the curse of our disobedience so we could have the blessings of His obedience.
b. He became what we were so that we could become what He is -- holy, righteous sons of God. II Cor 5:21
c. There are at least eight specific areas where an exchange was made on the Cross.
1. Jesus was punished so we could have peace.
2. Jesus took our sicknesses so we could have health.
3. Jesus took our poverty so we could have wealth.
4. Jesus took our rejection so we could have acceptance.
5. Jesus took our shame so we could have His glory.
6. Jesus was made sin so we could have His righteousness.
7. Jesus became a curse so we could receive blessings.
8. Jesus died our death so we could share His life.
7. Jesus's substitution was so complete because of a principle called identification.Identification works like this:
a. I wasn't actually there, but what happened there affects me as though I was there, because, through my substitute, I was there.
b. On the Cross, I was united with Christ through identification. To identify = to make identical or to treat or consider the same.
c. When Jesus went to the Cross He was treated as we should have been treated because He went there as us.
8. And now, because of the Cross of Christ, God the Father can treat us the way He treats Jesus.
9. All of this brings up some questions:
a. If God has provided everything I need through the Cross, where is it?
b. If God dealt with the root of my problems at the Cross, then why do I have all of these problems.
10. We want to deal with some of these issues and talk about how to live and walk in the power of the Cross.
B. We must begin by making two general statements about life for a Christian.
1. First, being a Christian does not mean a problem free life. John 16:33
a. Life in a sin cursed earth filled with people have sin natures and are dominated by satan is not easy.
b. But, as Christians, we have access to wisdom in God's word which will help us avoid certain problems.
c. For the problems which cannot be avoided, we have access to power to drive some of them out of our lives, and we have access to peace and joy to enable us to overcome in the ones that cannot be driven out.
2. Second, the blessings of God, the provisions God has made for us, do not automatically come to pass in our lives.
a. There are two parts to receiving God's blessings: God's part and our part.
b. God's part is grace which provides for us what we need.
c. Our part is faith which receives or takes what God has provided.
d. Many Christians spend time asking God for things He has already provided through the Cross instead of learning how to take or receive what He has already given.
3. To live and walk in the power of the Cross, there are some specific things you must know and do.
a. You must understand your make up and how God works the benefits of the Cross into your life.
b. You must preach the Cross to yourself.
C. To live and walk in the power of the Cross, you must understand your make up and how God is working in you.
1. You are a spirit who lives in a body and possesses a soul (mind and emotions). I Thess 5:23
a. Your spirit is the part of your makeup which can know and commune with God. Prov 20:27
b. God's plan for you was and is that you would become His son and be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Eph 1:4,5; Rom 8:29
c. God made you with the capacity to receive His life. That has been the plan all along. Ps 8:5; Titus 1:2; II Tim 1:9,10
2. When you are born again, you receive life form God -- the very life and nature of God, the life that is in God.
a. It is a present tense possession. John 5:24; 3:36; 6:47; 20:31; I John 5:11,12 b. This life begets you = makes you a literal son of God. John 1:12,13; 3:3-8
c. This life recreates you and gives you a new nature, a nature that is righteous and holy. II Cor 5:17,18
d. Eph 4:24--And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image (Godlike) in true righteousness and holiness. (Amp)
3. Titus 3:5--Being born again is also called regeneration; two aspects of the same event.
a. Regeneration = PALINGENESIA. PALIN = again; GENESIS = birth.
b. New birth stresses the idea that life has come into us to replace the death that was in us.
c. Regeneration stresses the coming of a new state or condition of things in contrast with the old.
4. Something real happened to you when you were born again. These aren't just words.
a. You've been made new, made right, in your spirit. You are right now.
b. Rom 5:19--For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one man's obedience the many will be constituted righteous -- made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him. (Amp)
D. There are several key things about this change which you must understand.
1. You did not get a new soul (mind and emotions) or new body at the new birth.
a. That's why you see apparent contradictions in yourself -- if I'm new, why do I still have old feelings? Why do I still fail? Why do I still sin?
b. Your soul and body must now be brought under the control of the new life in you, in your spirit.
c. You must begin to renew your mind and use your body as an instrument of righteousness. Rom 12:1,2; Rom 8:13; 6:12,13
d. Our souls and bodies will ultimately be fully conformed to the image of Christ. I John 3:2; Phil 3:20.21; Phil 1:6
2. Right now, you have the very life and nature of God in you to quicken (give life to) your soul and body, to change you, to enable you to do what God says. Rom 8:11; Eph 2:10; Phil 2:13; I John 3:14; Rom 5:6; I John 3:9; I John 5:4
3. God now deals with you on the basis of what you are -- a new creature, his son, with the life and nature of God in you.
a. You will never be any more God's son than you are now, any more acceptable, any more righteous, any dearer to Him than you are now.
b. That doesn't mean your behavior, thoughts, and emotions won't change any more than they have, they certainly will.
c. But, you are not acceptable or unacceptable to God because of those things. You are acceptable to Him because you are a new creature because of the Cross.
d. Gal 6:15--For neither is circumcision [now] of any importance, nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus, the Messiah].
4. Col 1:22--In order that He might present you holy and without blemish and unchargeable before His searching and penetrating gaze. (Wuest)
5. God is not just pretending you are okay. He is not overlooking your faults. He sees you through the Cross -- a finished work in progress.
a. God has made you a new creature, His son, fully acceptable to Him.
b. He has made you an overcomer with His life, His power, His love nature in you.
c. You have the authority to tell sickness, lack, fear, depression, confusion, etc. to leave your life now.
6. You are a spirit with the life and nature of God in you.
a. You are in the process of being fully conformed to the image of Christ.
b. But, you must know it, believe it, and live like that is so.
E. In order to walk in the power of the Cross, you must preach the Cross to yourself.
1. There is principle which is vital to Christian victory -- know, believe, speak. I John 4:16; II Cor 4:13; Rev 12:11
a. You must know what God has done for you and believe it in order to experience it.
b. Rom 10:9,10--That is how you got saved, and that principle is to continue as you grow in God and learn to walk in the blessings the Cross has provided.
2. To preach the Cross to yourself means to meditate on (think and say) what God has done for you through the Cross.
a. Strong Christians are those in whom God's word abides. I John 2:14
b. God's word abides in you when it dominates what you think, say, and do -- when it is your first reaction to and in every situation.
c. That will not happen unless you preach the Cross to yourself.
3. Before you were a Christian, your soul and body governed you and determined your behavior. Eph 2:3; 4:18
a. But now, this new life from God is supposed to dominate you, determine your behavior.
b. That happens as you renew your mind through the study of God's word and meditation on God's word, and as you exercise your will and choose to agree with what God says.
4. In other words, when the thought enters your mind -- God won't help me after what I've done -- if you've been preaching the Cross to yourself, you can agree with what God says.
a. What a minute! God doesn't hear and answer my prayer because of what I have or haven't done, He hears and answers it because of what I am -- His righteous son. I Pet 3:12
b. Jesus took my unrighteousness at the Cross, and I now have His righteousness. I am a righteous son of God.
c. Our part in receiving God's provision is to believe we have it, believe it is true before we see it -- then, we'll see it, experience it.
5. Most Christians never get beyond the "getting excited in church" part of the Cross.
a. The facts of the Cross excite them, but do not dominate them.
b. When the pressure is on and circumstances are screaming: it won't work; it's not going to happen; it's not true -- they instinctively revert to what they are most familiar with, letting their soul and bodies determine their pictures of reality and their actions. (Indian and gun story)
6. You cannot live by the dictates of your soul (feelings) and your body and be an overcoming, strong, victorious Christian walking in the power of the Cross.
a. By live I mean: let your emotions and body determine your picture of reality, what you believe, and how you behave.
b. But as you meditate (think and speak) on what God has done to you a and for you through the Cross, those facts will come to dominate you.
c. They will be your first and continuing response to life and you will experience the power of the Cross. Acts 28:1-5
7. Look at this principle in the word of God. Rom 1:15; I Cor 2:2; Eph 1:16-20; I John 5:13
a. Whatever your areas of difficulty are, find out the provision made in the Cross and begin to preach it to yourself.
b. If everything is going smoothly right now, prepare for the future evil day by preaching the Cross to yourself.
F. Conclusion: To walk in the power of the Cross, you must learn to live, not according to what you feel or see, but according to what God says about your and your circumstances.
1. You must begin to identify with what you are = preach the Cross to yourself.
a. I am a spirit who lives in a body. I have the life of God in me.
b. I have what God says I have and I can do what God says I can do.
c. I am acceptable to God. I am free from sin and its guilt.
d. I am born of God, His literal son, and I, by His life in me, can overcome anything that come against me.
2. As these facts begin to dominate your mind and mouth, you will experience what God has provided for you through the Cross.