Preach The Cross To Yourself
PREACH THE CROSS TO YOURSELF
A. Introduction: We've been talking about 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 Christ. I Cor 15:1-4
b. God has met and provided for every human need -- spiritual and physical -- through the Cross.
2. When we say provided for and met every human need, we mean two things.
a. God has already said yes to meeting those needs.
1. The Cross was / is God's will. Anything provided through the Cross is an expression of the will of God.
2. If God provided it, took care of it, through the Cross, He has already said yes to it. So you can be confident it is His will for you in that area.
3. II Cor 1:20--He is the yes pronounced upon God's promises, everyone of them. (NEB); Rom 8:32
b. You now have the right to everything provided by God through the Cross.
1. God's plan for man has always been sonship and blessing, but sin made that a legal impossibility.
2. God cannot make sinners sons, nor can He bless them. Justice demands they be punished.
3. However, God has dealt with you and your sin legally by punishing you through the person of your substitute on the Cross, Jesus Christ.
4. Now God can legally make you His child and give you all the accompanying blessings of sonship.
5. When we say "you have the right to sonship and blessings", we aren't saying you are demanding something from God. You are simply recognizing what He has provided already, and accepting it.
6. John 1:12--But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority [power, privilege, right] to become the children of God...(Amp)
3. These blessings and provisions of the Cross do not automatically go into effect in our lives.
a. God has provided them, and as far as He is concerned, every need of ours in every area has already been taken care of -- and has been for almost two thousand years. We must now receive the provisions.
b. That involves knowing what God has provided and knowing how to receive it -- then doing so.
4. All of God's provisions for us through the Cross are spiritual or unseen at first.
a. Spiritual does not mean not real. It means invisible, 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 like it is so simply because He said it, sooner or later, we will see it or the results of it.
5. That is why the Cross must be preached to Christians. Rom 1:15; I Cor 2:2; Eph 1: 16-20; Titus 3:8; I John 5:13
a. Without the preaching of the Cross we cannot know what God has provided for us -- and we won't have it in our lives.
b. Often, what we see and feel contradicts what God says he has provided, and if we don't side in with what we can't see, we'll never see His provision.
c. So, we need the Cross continually preached to us to encourage us to keep standing when what we see and feel contradicts what God has said.
6. But, in addition to having the Cross preached to us in church, we must preach the Cross to ourselves outside of church.
a. To preach the Cross to yourself means to meditate on (think and say) what God has done for you through the Cross.
b. To preach the Cross to yourself means to say what God says about you and your situation even when what you see and feel contradicts what God says.
7. When we say preach the Cross to yourself, we mean talk like this to yourself:
a. I am a new creature. I have the life and nature of God in me now. II Cor 5:17; I John 5:11,12
b. I am God's workmanship. I am everything God says I am and I can do everything God says I can do. Phil 4:13; Eph 2:10
c. The Greater One lives in me now and He makes me more than a conqueror in every situation of life. I John 4:4; 5:4
d. There is nothing that can come against me that is greater than God in me. II Cor 2:14
e. God is my Father and I am His very own child. John 1:12; I John 3:2; Rom 8:15
f. I am fully acceptable to my Father. I can stand before Him as freely and boldly as Jesus because I have the same standing before God that Jesus has. Rom 5:1,2
g. I am righteous and holy. That is what I am. That is how God sees me. That is how God now treats me. I Cor 1:30; Col 1:22; Heb 8:12
h. Fear has no right in my life anymore. Jesus has delivered me from bondage to fear. I Tim 1:9; Heb 2:14
i. I am free from any and every thing that would try to dominate me, compel me, intimidate me. Rom 6:6-18
j. I am healed. The life of God is in me, quickening me. Sickness has lost its right to me. It is a trespasser and must leave. I Pet 2:24; Rom 8:11
k. All my needs are met according to God's riches. I am prospering in spirit, soul, and body. I am successful at everything God asks me to do in this life. Phil 4:19; III John 2
7. This is how you must talk on the good days and on the bad days, when you feel like it is so and when you don't.
8. It is vital that we develop the habit of talking like this to ourselves -- the habit of preaching the Cross to ourselves.
B. Let's look at four reasons why you must preach the Cross to yourself.
1. It is an act of obedience. I John 2:6
a. We are told to act like Jesus -- and Jesus continually talked about who and what He was according to sight. John 8:????????????
b. We are told to hold fast to our profession of faith. Heb 4:14; 10:22
1. Profession = confession = saying the same thing as God.
2. That can't just mean saying "I believe in Jesus". That's what I say. But, I'm also supposed to say what God says.
c. Heb 13:5,6--God has said some things so that we may say some things.
2. We constantly receive evidence that contradicts God's word, and, if we do not counter act it by preaching the Cross to ourselves, what we see and feel will dominate us, be more real to us, that what God says.
a. But, as Christians, we are to live and walk by faith, not by sight. Rom 1:17; II Cor 4:18; 5:7
b. Our senses don't stop functioning when we get saved. They continue to give us information from the seen realm.
1. Sense information does not take into account all the facts.
2. Our senses don't tell us what is going on in the unseen realm.
c. Therefore, we have to continually encourage ourselves with the unseen facts of the Cross in the face of contrary evidence. Ps 56:3,4; 11
d. We said that most Christians never get beyond the "get excited in church" stage concerning the provision and promise of God.
e. But you must get beyond it if you are going to walk in the power of the Cross in your daily life -- and this is how you do it.
3. God's word must dominate you, abide in you, if you are going to be strong and receive all that God has provided. I John 2:14; John 15:7
a. 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.
b. The only way to get to the point where what God says dominates you is to preach the Cross to yourself.
c. You did not get a new mind when you were born again. It must now be renewed. Rom 12:1,2
1. A renewed mind is a mind that thinks like God thinks because God's word dominates it.
2. A vital part of the process of renewing your mind is preaching the Cross to yourself.
4. You will have what you say. That is a spiritual law. Mark 11:23
a. Notice, Jesus mentions believe one time and say three times.
b. Remember the generation of Israel that God brought out of Egypt. I Cor 10:6;11
1. It was God's will that they go in and possess and settle the land.
2. But, God's will came to pass for only two of them (out of a million).
c. Those for whom God's will did not come to pass, God told them (and us) exactly why it didn't happen. He told them: you said you can't go into the land, therefore, you can't. Num 14:
1. Two of them, Joshua and Caleb, spoke about themselves and their situation, not in terms of what they could see or feel, but in terms of what God said. Num 13:?????; 14:???
2. All the rest spoke in terms of what they saw, felt, and thought. Num 13:??; 14:???
d. What most of us do is say what we have (what we see and feel) and we have more of the same.
1. 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.
2. Or, we try this for a while with little results -- I tried that and it didn't work. But, this isn't something you try, it's something you do, something you live.
e. You must decide -- am I going to believe what my experience tells me or what God's word tells me?
C. Developing the habit of preaching the Cross to yourself is difficult for a number of reasons.
1. It seems silly -- the idea that if I say the opposite of what I see and feel, it will help me, it will change things.
2. It seems to easy to do when we first hear about it that we never really do it.
a. We make a few confessions in church, with friends, or when we read our confession list during our devotional time, and assume we've got it.
b. But, it takes time to identify all the areas where our words contradict the facts of the Cross.
c. When we feel bad, the most natural, normal reaction is to talk about it. It is unnatural to say the opposite of what we see and feel. There are many areas of our lives where we are not even aware that our words completely contradict God, because what we are saying is strongly confirmed by what we see and feel.
3. Our flesh (everything that didn't get born again) is naturally negative. It was trained by this world and influences by death and darkness. Eph 4:18
4. Results are usually not instant, so people become discouraged and give up after a few half hearted confessions.
a. We try this rather than commit to making talking like God does a lifestyle.
b. It takes time to first identify and then overcome old patterns of response.
c. You have to reach a bottom line in your life -- God said this works and I am going to do it and stick with it no matter what results I do or don't see. Mark 11:23; Josh 1:8; Ps 1:1-3
5. Sometimes people hear a message like this and try it for a while.
a. They begin to say or confess something God has not said. It doesn't happen, they get discouraged and give up.
b. One major key to preach the Cross to yourself is to say what God says so it will come to pass in your life.
6. It takes time to develop one confession in every area of your life. One confession means that everything you say agrees with what God says.
a. Our confession is an expression of our faith. II Cor 4:13; Matt 12:34
b. Faith is the hand that takes from God what His grace has provided. Faith is the door through which unseen realities come into the seen realm.
1. James 1:6-8--Faith that wavers does not receive an answer.
2. How can you identify faith that wavers? One way is by what comes out of your mouth.
c. A dual confession is a wavering confession.
1. I know the Bible says I can do all things through Christ, but I can't forgive that person.
2. I know the Bible says I am healed, but I was prayed for and I'm still sick.
d. A dual confession is easy to spot in someone else, but hard to see in yourself.
D. Conclusion: Consider these final thoughts about preaching the Cross to yourself.
1. Saying what God says is not a foolish thing. This is how God works -- through our faith which is expressed through our words.
2. When I say "I am healed", "I am free", at first, I'm not talking about my body or my experience. I am talking about me, the spirit man, the new creature, what I really am.
3. When you speak of (say, confess) things accomplished at the Cross, you are speaking of unseen, spiritual things.
a. These things were accomplished almost two thousand years ago and are real.
b. As far as God is concerned, they are settled issues. They went into effect for you when you were born again.
4. Your action of faith -- saying it is so before you see it -- makes it a reality in your experience, brings it into the seen realm.
5. You say it, not because you feel it, see it or even believe it, but because God says it is so.
6. How do you talk when you feel bad? When nothing is going right? When you aren't in church?
a. 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.
b. "I tried that, but it didn't work." That is a dual confession. You said two things as once.
1. You said the truth (what God said = this works), and you said what is true = what you can see (it doesn't work). II Cor 4:18
2. Truth will change what is true if you will hold fast to your confession of faith in the truth.
c. This is not a denial of what you see and feel, but rather, it is learning to speak of what is true in terms of the truth.
7. God has made full, invisible provision for you through the Cross of Christ.
a. But, unless you preach the Cross to yourself and become fully persuaded of what you cannot see, you will not see it in your life to the degree that God desires.
b. It is through preaching the Cross to ourselves that we experience its power.