Live In The Power Of The Cross
Live In The Power Of The Cross
A. Introduction: It is in the preaching of the Cross that we find the power of God. I Cor 1:17,18
1. The Cross is an inclusive term for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I Cor 15:1-4
a. It's in the Cross that you will ultimately find the solution to every problem.
b. Every problem in the world today is here because of sin, either directly or indirectly. And, God dealt with sin and satan at the Cross.
2. 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.
a. Through the Cross God paid for our sins, broke the power of satan over us, and gave us a new nature which is totally pleasing to Himself.
b. In addition, and exchange was made on the Cross. Jesus took the curse (consequences) of our disobedience so we could have the blessings of His obedience.
c. When Jesus went to the Cross He was treated as we should have been treated because He went there as us, and now, because of the Cross of Christ, God the Father can treat us the way He treats Jesus.
3. All of this brings up some questions: If God has dealt with the root of my problems, then why do I have all these problems? It God has provided me with everything I need through the Cross, where is it?
4. In the last lesson, we began to deal with some of these issues, and want to continue to do so in this lesson.
B. In the last lesson we said that to live in the power of the Cross, you must understand your makeup and how God works in you and your life.
1. You are a spirit who lives in a body and possesses a soul (mind and emotions). I Thess 5:23
2. When you were born again you received life from God in your spirit -- the very life and nature of God, the life that is in God. John 5:26; I John 5:11,12
a. This life made you a literal son of God. John 1:12,13; 3:3-8
b. This life recreated you and gave you a new nature, a nature that is righteous and holy. II Cor 5:17,18; Eph 4:24; Rom 5:19
c. Something real happened to you, the spirit man. You've been made new, made right on the inside.
3. God deals with you on the basis of what you are now -- a new creature, His son, with the life and nature of God in you.
a. God is not just pretending you are okay. He is not overlooking your faults. He sees you through the Cross.
b. Through the Cross God has made you a new creature, His son, fully acceptable to Him.
4. When you were born again you did not get a new soul or body.
a. And, before you were a Christian, your soul and body governed you and determined your behavior -- and still intends to do so. Eph 2:3
b. Now, however, your spirit is to dominate, and your soul and body are to be brought under the control of the new life in you. Rom 12:1,2; Rom 8:13; 6:12,13
c. This is a process, but it is one that must take place if you are going to experience the power of the Cross in your life.
5. Right now, you are a spirit with the life and nature of God in you, and you are in the process of being fully conformed to the image of Christ. Rom 8:29; I John 3:2
a. You still have behavior, thoughts, and emotions which must change.
b. But, you are not acceptable or unacceptable to God because of those things. You are acceptable to Him because you are a new creature. Gal 6:15
6. Many Christians never get beyond the "getting excited in church" part of this.
a. The facts of the Cross and what God has made us to be excites them but does not dominate them.
b. If you are going to walk in the power of the Cross, the facts of the Cross must determine how you behave, how you react to life outside of church.
c. To live and walk in the power of the Cross, to experience all the Cross has provided, you must learn to live according to what God tells you about you and your situation.
7. Keep in mind that there are always two sources of information available to us -- revelation knowledge and sense knowledge.
a. Sense knowledge = what our five physical senses tell us.
b. Revelation knowledge = God's word, the Bible.
c. What we can see and what we cannot see. II Cor 4:18
8. God's word reveals to us, tells us about, the unseen realities.
a. God is a Spirit, and we are spirits who are now members of a spiritual kingdom filled with spiritual blessings. Eph 1:3
b. Spiritual doesn't mean not real, it means invisible. Invisible means you can't see it with these physical eyes. John 4:24; I Tim 1:17; I Tim 6:16
c. All that we see was created by the unseen, can change the seen, and will outlast the seen. Heb 11:3; II Cor 4:18; Luke 2:??
9. All of God's provision for us in and through the Cross is spiritual or unseen at first.
a. The changes that took place in you at the new birth are spiritual, unseen.
b. But the unseen can and will affect the seen if we will believe it first before we see it.
c. This is how God works. He speaks about what is not yet seen, and when we believe it and act on it simply because He said it, sooner or later, we see it or the results of it.
C. To live and walk in the power of the Cross, you must learn to see yourself and your situation the way God sees you and it.
1. There are two ways to view yourself and every situation of life -- according to what you see and feel and according to what God says.
a. How you view yourself and your situation and how you act as a result of what you believe about you and your situation determines in large part how things will go for you in that situation.
b. Israel at the edge of the promised land is a classic example of this principle, and they are held up to us as how not to do it. Heb 3:19; 4:1,2
2. When God raised up Moses and led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, He promised them He would bring them to the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, drive out their enemies, and bring them into the land. Ex 3:8; 13:5; 23:20-33; 33:2; 34:11
3. Yet, out of that entire generation of people, only two of them -- Joshua and Caleb -- actually entered into the land = experienced God's will. Num 14:30
a. At the edge of the land, Israel assessed themselves and the situation according to what they could see and feel; Joshua and Caleb assessed it according to what God said. Num 13:28,29; 31-33
b. Both had access to the same set of facts -- what they could see and what God said.
c. Yet the information they chose to accept and the resulting behavior determined what happened to them in their situation.
d. For all but two of them, it wasn't what God wanted or provided.
4. Consider these points about what happened at the edge of the promised land.
a. These are real people with real feelings who felt just like you would feel in that situation.
b. Deut 1:20,21; 29-33; Num 14:8,9--Joshua, Caleb, and Moses tried to draw the focus of the people back to what God had said.
1. But it didn't even phase these people. "I know all that faith stuff. It isn't working. I need real help".
2. That's just the way many of us are. What our body tells us (what we can see) and what our soul tells us (our thoughts and feelings) is more real to us than what God Almighty says.
c. Numbers 13 and 14 is how we all naturally react to trouble and people wanting to draw our attention to what God says.
d. We have to work to get beyond it if we want to experience victory.
5. This generation of Israel never got beyond the "get excited in church" stage of believing God's word.
a. Look at how Israel acted in church. Ex 15:14-19; 19:8; 24:3-8
b. But, as we look at their story, we find that all the way to the promised land they talked about what they could see, feel, and reason or think of according to sight and feeling. Ex ??:??
6. The only way to get to the point where what God says dominates you, where the life of God on the inside dominates you is to preach the Cross to yourself.
a. Christians must have the Cross preached to them. Rom 1:15; I Cor 2:2 Eph 1:16-20; Titus 3:8; I John 5:13
b. To preach the Cross to yourself means to meditate on (think and say) what God has done for you through the Cross.
1. God's word must come to dominate you, abide in you. I John 2:14
2. 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. Just because you've heard something once doesn't mean it abides in you -- it doesn't.
7. That is why you must preach the Cross to yourself.
a. For many Christians, 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 body determine their picture of reality and their actions. (Indian and gun story)
b. I Sam 17:38-??; Ps 91:4--David turned down Saul's armor and went into battle with Goliath wearing the armor of God's word because that is what He was used to.
c. Joshua and Caleb saw the same things everyone else saw, but God's word determined their reaction, their behavior, their talk.
D. Conclusion: How do you talk when you feel bad? When nothing is going right?
1. That is when you must say what God says -- when you don't feel like it, when it is totally unnatural (according to sight and feelings) to do it.
2. Mark 11:23--Jesus said we would have what we say.
a. What most of us do is say what we have and we have more of the same.
b. Most of us have no idea how negative our talk is -- and if someone points it out, we pass it off with: they just don't understand.
c. Or we try this stuff for a while -- I tried that and it didn't work.
1. This isn't something you try, it's something you do, something you live.
2. You must decide -- am I going to believe what my experience tells me or what God's word tells me.
3. Saying what God says is not a foolish thing to do -- its how God works.
a. When I say "I am healed", "I am free", I'm not talking about my body, I am talking about me, the spirit man, what you really are.
b. You must identify with what you are (in spirit) to become what God wants, what He has purchased (in soul and body).
4. God has made full invisible provision for you through the Cross of Christ, but if you don't know it, believe it, and live (talk) in the light of it, you will not see it or experience it.
a. Through the Cross of Christ salvation has been provided for every human being -- yet not all are saved.
b. Why? They don't know it, or don't believe it, or don't live in the light of the Cross.
c. This same principle applies for every benefit provided for us through the Cross.
5. It is through the preaching of the Cross to ourselves that we experience its power.