Friday, April 18, 2014

The Significance Of The Cross

The purpose for Christ crucified
 is that the Cross 
is the basis of God’s total provision
 for the believer.

God, also with Jesus,
 freely gives us all things,
 through the Cross.

The Cross is the basis
 of Christ’s total defeat of Satan.
Conflict with Satan without the deliverance
 provided by the Cross
 will be a defeat.

The Cross is intended 
in the believer to be deliverance
 from this present evil age.


 "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood."

"Blessed Assurance"
-Fanny Crosby

 Unfortunately, Satan has established
 a tenacious foothold in the Church today.
 The enemy of the souls of man 
has obscured the vision of Christ crucified.
 As a result, many churches have succumbed
 to New Age carnality and legalism, and
 the removal of the Cross, or any mention
of Messiah Jesus from the pulpit.

Seven Examples:

1.Theology replaces divine revelation

2. Education ( in the Seminary) taking the place
 of character building. 
It is very dangerous
 to train peoples’ intellect
 without building their character. 
The educated, carnal mind is far too often
 an enemy of God.

3. Religious programming takes the place
 of the leading of the Holy Spirit

4. Psychology replaces spiritual discernment

5. Eloquence replaces supernatural power

6. Man’s reasoning replaces faith

7. Laws (legalism) adding requirements
 to achieve righteousness with God,
 has replaced the unmerited favor of God (Grace).
 Legalism is also devoid of the love and mercy of God.

A good example of this is the Pharisees.
 Jesus performed the miraculous
 right before their eyes, healing the sick, and the blind,
 yet, all that concerned them 
was that He was breaking their Sabbath laws!

“Then He said to the man,
"Reach out your hand."
And the man reached it out
and it was restored,
 as sound as the other one." 
Matthew 12:13

A Matter Of Faith

I believe that the whole Nativity story 
is about faith in, and obedience to God
 from the both the human,
 and the divine perspective.
Mary, a young Jewish virgin from Nazareth
is told by an angel
 that she has found favor with God
 and will conceive His Child
 by the Holy Spirit.
Mary’s response was, “Let it be done to me

 according to Your will.”
She made the choice to lean on her faith

 and trust in God at this crucial moment,
 when the history of the world
 would be changed forever. 
Furthermore, she lived in a time 
when women accused of adultery 
were often stoned to death.

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you
have found favor with God."
Luke 1:30


Meanwhile, Joseph, Mary’s young fiance,
 was heartbroken by what he first perceived
 as a betrayal on Mary’s part. 
He too, was aware of what might happen to her,
 and because in Jewish culture a betrothal 
was tantamount to being married,
 he sought to divorce her quietly.
 Instead, an angel came to him
 in a dream with a message 
to take Mary as his wife. 
The angel said to him 
that the child Mary carried,
 “would save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1;21. 
Joseph too, had to lean on his faith in God.
  But perhaps he was also thinking,
 "What a crazy dream! 
What the heck did I eat last night?”
 Joseph probably felt that if he told anyone
 that he saw and heard from an angel in a dream
 people would think he was crazy
 or worse, possessed by a demon.

 And yet, he chose instead
 to trust in God and married Mary.

Then there were the shepherds, 

abiding in the fields,
 keeping watch over their flocks by night.
Ordinary people doing ordinary work,

 were suddenly swept up
 into the realm of the supernatural, 
when the angels appeared to them
 and announced the birth of Jesus. 

And then there were the wise men,
 who were already aware that Someone 
very special was about to be born
 and were following His star.

 They all came to see and wonder
 about the Baby lying in the manger.
   Yet, none of these principle players of the Nativity Story
  knew the outcome of the unfolding drama.

 And like them, Jesus experienced 
what it was like to be fully human.
 He laughed. He cried. 
He showed mercy and compassion
 to the outcasts of society.
 He even displayed righteous anger
 when He beat the moneychangers in the Temple. 

Yet, He never sinned.

 He was also obedient to His Father unto death. 

That  crucial moment in Gethsemane,
 when He surrendered His will to God’s will
 and felt the horrible sting of rejection from His Father,
  taking on all the sin and evil of fallen mankind
 can only be described as perfect obedience.
The life and purpose of the Baby,
 born in a lowly manger
 came full circle with the broken Man
 hanging on the tree and the utterance, 
“It is finished.” 

And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
But this is certainly not “The End” of the story.
  Only three days later, yet another angel 
announced to a group of grief-stricken women,
 “He is not here. He has risen.”   

"Three Marys"
Henry Ossawa Tanner

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