Two Key Elements: The Cross & The Tomb

February 5, 2005

Today, we’re asking the question:  Why is the CROSS and EMPTY TOMB motivating factors in our evangelism? – and if we don’t focus on these two issues, we’re not going to be as effect as we could be

The CROSS– [read 1 Corinthians 1:10-25, 26-31]

* The cross should be a motivating factor in our outreach because of  . . .

#1:  What Christ ACCOMPLISHED.

Ultimate purpose: Glory of God

- He also fulfilled the plan of redemption, we’ll talk about that later

- But most of all – God was glorified in the sacrifice if His Son

Glory = right opinion of God

  • John 8:29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."
  • Philippians 2:11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Input:  What does the CROSS reveal about God? (His nature/attributes)

[various answers – holy, just, grace, love, patient, etc.]

Q:  What else do want to know about God before you will proclaim His message to lost people?

 

#2:  What Christ DEMONSTRATED.

A.  Grace

Grace = God’s unmerited favor

  • John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of graceand truth.
  • John 1:16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
  • John 1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
  • Romans 5:20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
  • Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Illustration:  John Edwards – a member of our ABF – trusted Christ this past week – he thought being good was enough to get him into heaven – he read the Word on Romans 3, 5, 6, Eph. 2:8-9 and was convicted – repented – trusted Christ!

- that reminded me of Paul’s words:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

B.  Love (this is agapa love = self-sacrificing love; God’s kind of love!

- we quote it – and it’s comforting - -but is it motivational?

  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Illustration:  Twila Paris’ song:  “I Want the World to Know . . . the story must be told; I want the world to know the truth!”

  • John 3:17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

C.  Mercy

Mercy = God withholding what we do deserve!

  • Colossians 2:14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

- this issue of what we DESERVE verse what we are GIVEN has to part of the motivation for outreach

- if think about God’s mercy (what He could have done) – it has to change your outreach perspective

Illustration: Showing my kids ‘mercy’ in discipline situations – what I could have done (spanking vs. what I chose to do;  sometimes they would say, “Dad, can you show mercy this time?”  My response had to be, “No, son, this is not a time for mercy, but for justice”)

Note: We’re also going to be talking about HEAVEN and HELL as part of this process!

#3: What Christ ENDURED.

Input: What are some of the things that Jesus endured in the process of the crucifixion?

[various answers]

  • Betrayal
  • Rejection – if anyone understood rejection, it was Jesus – consider who rejected him:

Nation

  • John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

Disciples

  • Mark 14:50 And they all left Him and fled.

God [probably a reference to the other members of the Trinity – Father, Spirit]

  • Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"
  • Mocking
  • Scourging
  • Mark 14:65 Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, "Prophesy!" And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.

Beat = to put all your weight behind a curled fist)

  • Nailed to the cross
  •  Humiliation
    • Galatians 3:13 Christ 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" -
  • Pain/suffering
    • 1 Peter 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

#4: What Christ DECLARED.

* 7 sayings on the cross [review the 7 statements – focus on the last one]

“It is finished”—actually one word in the Greek  Tete,lestai(pronounced Te-tell-es-sti)

- it’s in the perfect tense – which means a completed action with ongoing continuous results!

- it means to fulfill, carry out, accomplish; come to an end,  be over; pay (taxes – it’s done, its over, complete!)

- Even Jesus was engaged in evangelistic activity while He was dying: “Today, you will be with me in paradise!”

- this is a great example of using trials to brig glory to God (reaching out to others while you are hurting)

- What we are doing in our outreach is simply affirming what Jesus has already declared to be truth: IT IS FINISHED!

> there’s nothing else you can do!

#5: What Christ COMPLETED.

* The Plan of Redemption

- that’s why John said what he did in John 1:19:

  • John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

[not cover the sin – which is what the OT sacrifices did (exercising faith in the coming Messiah); but ‘taking away’ the sin (now we exercise faith looking back on what Christ DID!

Redeem = to buy back

- Some tried to get Him to come down – if he really was the Son of God:

  • Matthew 27:40 and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."

- He was demonstrating that He was God by STAYING on the cross

- Anybody would have wanted to NOT be in that situation – it was His endurance that fulfilled the plan of redemption and paid the penalty for out sin

  • Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • 1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Point:  Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:17 – it has to impact what we DO for Christ!

  • 1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
  • Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Songs : Nothing But the Blood / What Can Wash Away My Sin / In Christ Alone / It Is Well

The Resurrection

A.  Fulfilled the promise

  • John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"

B.  Confirmed eternal life in Christ

- the resurrection proved the price He paid was acceptable and that He was the resurrection and the LIFE – He had it and can give it to others!

- Our religion is the only religion that can boast of a resurrected Savior!

C.  If not true, our faith is empty! – 1 Cor. 15:14, 17 [READ]

Apply this to motivating us to proclaim the message: HE IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD