Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Why Preach the Cross
1 Cor 1:17-19, 22-25
19 Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . . 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. NKJV

You might say this title is ridiculous for a Christian minister, but this week I read of a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church who said he would not preach the cross where a God supposedly allows, and even inflicts suffering upon His only Son.

He ask what kind of message is that to a child who is abused by his father. In my humble but accurate opinion that minister needs to study the Bible, and learn the truth about the cross.

Today I want to ask and answer the question: Why Preach the Cross

        It . . Fulfills Prophecy

            It . . Fulfills Prophecy

                It . . Furnishes Power.

1.    Why Preach the Cross? It . . Fulfills Prophecy.

Dr. George Sweeting once estimated that "more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy…Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the O.T., and seventeen O.T. books give prominence to this theme. Of the 260 chapters in the N.T., there are more than 300 references to the Lord's return --one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 N.T. books refer to this great event…For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are 8 on Christ's second coming."  Today in the Word, MBI, December, 1989, p. 40

Prophetic Goofs

The book, The World's Worst Predictions lists some of history's all-time prophetic goofs.

· King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

· An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm's newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.

· In 1939 The New York Times said the problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn't have time for it.

· An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate. The World's Worst Predictions

· I am fond of a line from Niels Bohr, the physicist, and have quoted it before. "Prediction is a very difficult art," he says, "especially when it involves the future.

The Word of God does not make Prophetic Goofs. They have all come
true or will in the future.

Matt 27:9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, NKJV

Matt 27:35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: "They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots." NKJV

Luke 24:44-48 44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. NKJV

John 19:36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken." NKJV

Acts 3:18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. NKJV

1 Cor 15:1-3 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, NKJV

Illustration Cross, Evidence Of His Claims: Story
I once heard a story about a cottage in a little country village. In the cottage a family of four: father, mother, and two small children. One evening the cottage caught on fire. In a few seconds the thatched roof and the wooden timbers were ablaze. There was no fire engine in this remote spot and the villagers stood around helpless. Suddenly a young man, who had just arrived upon the scene cried out, "What, can nothing be done to save them?"

When no one responded he jumped through the flames and darted into the house. A moment later he emerged bearing a little child under each arm. He had carefully protected them from the flames by hiding them under his coat but he himself was badly burned. The parents of the two children died in the fire.

There was much sympathy for the two children in the town and several people wanted to adopt them. When the judge arrived to decide who would adopt the children there were two who petitioned the court. The first was the squire of the village. He had money, position, and a fine house to offer the children.

The second petitioner was the man who had rescued the children from the flames. When the judge asked him what right he had to ask the court for the children he did not answer with words. Instead he held up his hands that had been badly burned and scarred in their rescue and let them do his arguing for him.

Friends, when the devil accuses us before God and asks what right we poor sinners have to be adopted into God's family, I imagine the Lord Jesus Christ doesn't answer with words but rather holds up his nail scarred hands and points to his scarred side. Unknown

2.    Why Preach the Cross? It . . Furnishes Power.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. NKJV

1 Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. NKJV

1 Cor 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. NKJV

Lev 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.' NASU

Heb 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. NASU

Illustration Cross Of Christ: God's Safety Zone
An old preacher was once heard preaching on a village green in England. He had lived on the American prairies, and his illustrations had a powerful fascination for my boyish ears.

He told of a prairie fire and he described the way the Indians saved their wigwams from the blaze by setting fire to the dry grass immediately adjoining the settlement. "The fire cannot come," he cried, "where the fire has already been. That is why I call you to the Cross. Judgement has already fallen there and can never come again.

He who takes his stand at the cross is safe evermore. He can never come into condemnation; he is passed from death unto life. He is at perfect peace in God's safety zone. --Boreham

Illustration Peace
A young lady was dying, and one Scripture which she had heard in health came to her at this time: "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed," and she was led by the Holy Spirit to rest in him of whom it spoke, for salvation.

A friend said to her one day, "You suffer much, I fear." "Yes," she said, "but," pointing to her hand, "there is no nail there. He had the nails; I have the peace." Laying her hand on her brow, she said, "There are no thorns here. He had the thorns; I have the peace," Touching her side she said, "There is no spear here. He had the spear; I have the peace." --Young People's Delight

3.    Why Preach the Cross It . . Features Peace.

Intro: Two kinds of Peace

1. Experiential (Phil 4:7)--day by day experience of the believer, can be forfeited.

2. Judicial (Rom 5:1)--The war with God is over. A person can experience

Example of WWII Japanese who hid for years in jungles, long after peace was established between the warring nations. Source unknown

Phil 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. NKJV

Col 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. NKJV

Rom 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, NKJV

Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. NKJV

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. NKJV

Eph 2:14-16 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. NKJV

Gal 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), NKJV

1 Peter 1:18-21 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you NKJV

Rev 5:8-10 9 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."

Illustration Cross Of Christ: The Cross Is Our Key To Freedom
While taking a prisoner from a Guelph, Ontario, correctional center to be arraigned on charges of attempted armed robbery, police constable John Bolton noticed a cross around the neck of the convict. Knowing the man was not religious, he took a closer look. The prisoner attempted to conceal something protruding from the top of the cross.

When questioned, he said it was a good luck charm designed to look like a spoon for sniffing cocaine. But Constable Bolton was sure it looked like a handcuff key. By experimentation he found that the protuberance would open most handcuffs. The discovery led to the exposure of an attempt by prisoners in the correctional center to make a number of these cross-keys. There is a cross that sets men free, free from the bondage of the law, and that cross is the cross of Calvary. Unfortunately many are more concerned about freedom for the body than they are about freedom for the soul. Whether inside or outside prison, all men need the cross that sets us free.

One stormy night in Lake Michigan, a side-wheeler steamboat was rammed by another boat. The steamboat sank just a mile offshore from the village of Winnetka, Illinois. Out of 393 passengers on board, 279 drowned.A man named Edward Spencer after seeing the situation unfold plunged into the lake and swam to the drowning people. He towed one person to shore and went for another. In all, he brought seventeen people to safety. However, the strain on this young man caused him to collapse. The nerves in his legs were so completely destroyed that he could never walk again. He was an invalid wheel chair victim for his entire life.

On his eightieth birthday, someone asked him to relate his most vivid memory of that dreadful day. He replied, "Not one of the seventeen returned to thank me."