John spoke this morning on the subuject of the cross, looking at Romans 5:1-11 as his main text.
1. The Planning of the Cross
The cross was no afterthought in God’s polans, but was planned before the foundation of the world (see 1 Peter 1:19-20, Revelation 13:8, Ephesians 1:4). It was no contingency plan, but was God’s only plan for salvation.
2. The Promise of the Cross
Just as Abraham realised that God would provide an offering when asked to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac, so too Jesus is the Lamb of God, the fulfilment of God’s promises to His people down the ages (see Genesis 18:18, Matthew 1).
3. The Pattern of the Cross
Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins and the Passover in the Old Testament foreshadowed the manner in which Jesus would obtain our salvation for us. Israel was liberated from the bondage of Egypt through the shedding of the blood of the lamb and we are liberated from the bondage of sin through the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God. Jesus bore our punishment and became the sacrifice for sin; we only have to ‘look and live’.
4. The Passion of the Cross
Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame. God’s love was the motivating passion for sending Jesus to the cross (see John 3:16). We are assured of God’s abundant pardon (see Is 55:7) because of His great love for us, manifested on the cross.
5. The Purpose of the Cross
The cross was the means by which man was reconciled to God. Romans 5:8 reminds us that even while we were God’s enemies, His love was so great for us that Jesus died for us. Romans 8:15-16 tells us we are no longer slaves to a spirit of fear but have been adopted into God’s family and can call God our Father (‘Abba’). We are restored to the place of God’s children (1 John 3:2, John 1: 11-12).
6. The Power of the Cross
The cross gives us the ability to live in victory over sin. Romans 6:14 reminds us that we are no longer slaves to sin, but are slaves to righteousness. We are changed and set free by the power of the cross. Newness of life is available to us (Rom 6:19-23, 2 Cor 5:17).
7. The Priority of the Cross
Our priority now is to bear witness to what Christ has done on the cross (see Acts 5:32, Acts 13:32, 1 Tim 6:11-14). The most powerful way to bear witness to the cross is to live in the shadow of the cross. Just as Jonah’s mission was to preach to the Ninevites and see God work a transformation in these people, so we can see God transform our society as we bear witness to the importance of the cross.
8. The Position of the Cross
Historically, the cross is behind us, but it should always be the focus of our attention and it reminds us where we have come from and where we are going. Gal 6:14 says that we should glory only in the cross, which needs no embellishment. We have to press on, acknowledging the importance of the cross in our lives and in history.
9. The Preaching of the Cross
The cross is the only life-changing message in the world. Paul resolved to know nothing except Christ Jesus and Him crucified. The cross is the divine programme by which the Holy Spirit reveals sin, righteousness and judgment to the world.
Let’s focus on the cross!