It is interesting to note that when Paul wrote his letters to the various churches, as well as to various individuals, in most cases he was referencing problems they faced and how to solve them. And, in EVERY case, Paul points back to Jesus and the cross.
The cross is the solution to all of mankind’s problems. Why? Because the greatest problem man has is the problem of sin. Many deny the existence of sin because they do not want to face the fact that there is a God to whom all mankind is accountable. Many minimize sin in their lives because they do not see it as a real problem. Others might know it is a problem, but if ignored, (they think) it will go away. Still others have warped views of God and the Bible, thinking that God is not serious about sin, and there is no need to worry—God will not punish mankind for the sin that they have committed. How sad and wrong this thinking is!
The cross challenges our values. To be a success in the world is to have a good education, and much wealth. While his is not wrong in itself, it has the tendency to cause us to rely on ourselves, and not on God. Then it takes a major catastrophe in our lives to bring us to the reality that we need God. When Jesus came to earth, he did not have a home to call his own (his home was with the Father in heaven). He relied upon the help and aid presented to him by women and others for food to eat and a place to lay his head. Was he successful? To us who understand and revel in his grace and mercy, he was. To those who measure things by material worth and gain, he was just a man who lived on earth, who might have had some good things to say, but that was about it. And, unfortunately, the church has bought into this success mentality in so many ways—it becomes all about big buildings, money spent on material things, while the spirits and souls of brothers and sisters dry up because there is no real relationship with the one who died on the cross.
The cross shows us that God values humility and weakness because his power and love were made known through the humiliation and death of Jesus. The cross is why Jesus taught his disciples that they must deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow him. This demands humility that says, “I can’t do this on my own.” This causes us to see that we are weak, and cannot make it without God. The cross shows that we cannot deal with the problem of sin on our own.
When Jesus died on the cross, he showed us of what true humility consists (Philippians 2:5-11). He allowed himself to be bullied, bruised, and beaten. He suffered an agonizing death in a way that we never could understand. And it is in the cross that God’s salvation is found, whereby men may be saved from sin and the power of it in our lives. It is in the cross we see a glimpse of God’s character, and the true definition of love; a self –giving love to benefit the receiver.
As we examine the cross we see that it should transform us into the life that Jesus wants us to live! He wants us to follow his example and walk in his steps (1 Peter 2:21). We embrace suffering because it makes us better people — better to understand those who suffer, often though no fault of their own. It makes us compassionate and loving, and sympathetic to those who need the Savior. The life of serving and loving others becomes the way to walk and truly shows that we are not our own—we are Jesus’ followers and servants.
The world desperately needs to see that now! Will we show them what the “cruciformed” life looks like?
THE WINTER QUARTER OF GEORGIA SCHOOL OF PREACHING AND BIBLICAL STUDIES BEGINS ON DECEMBER 5 AND 7, 2017. Here is an opportunity to study the Bible in depth in college level classes. You will be able to attend classes in person at the Piedmont Road church of Christ, or online via the internet. Below are the classes that will be offered this 1/4. We would love to have you participate and gain a deeper, more in depth understanding of God and his word. For more information please see Tommy.
Evangelism – Keith Dixon 6:30-7:30 PM
James – Keith Dixon 7:30-8:30 PM
Prep and Delivery 2 Dave Rogers 6:30-8:30 PM (you must have taken Prep and Del 1)
Genesis – Randy Kea 6:30-8:30 PM
Acts – Bobby Gayton 6:30-8:30 PM
Preacher and His Finances – Roger Winslett 6:30-7:30 PM
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes Tommy Tidwell 6:30-8:30 PM