"THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS"
I. WHAT IS THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS? THAT THE MESSIAH DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.
A.The Jewish scriptures say, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all."
1. Concerning the Messiah they declare, "He was despised and rejected by man, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief."
2. "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes, we are healed."
3. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
4. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, "Thou wilt make His soul and offering for sin."
5. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself.
6. The Psalmist said, I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look [and] stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. The Stone which the builders refused has become the chief cornerstone.
7. The prophet Zechariah said concerning the Messiah, "They shall look on Me whom they have pierced." Again He said, "Smite the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered."
B. That God placed on Jesus the guilt of all our sins and Jesus died in our place.
1. He was as the sacrificial lamb which was offered as a sin offering.
2. John the Baptist introduced Him as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.
II. TO THE JEWS THIS WAS A STUMBLINGBLOCK.
A. The Jews were looking for the Messiah, a descendant of David to come and to subdue the Gentile world and to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The LORD hath sworn [in] truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this [is the name] wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken [it].
And David my servant [shall be] king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, [even] they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David [shall be] their prince for ever.
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
B. The thought of the Messiah being crucified was unthinkable. It was a stumblingblock.
III. TO THE GREEKS AND THOSE THAT PERISH, THE WHOLE IDEA OF JESUS DYING FOR FOR OUR SINS WAS FOOLISHNESS.
A. In their concepts of god there was not the concept of an all loving god, a god who would sacrifice his life for man. That sounded to them like foolishness.
B. Their gods were in competition with man, using their super natural powers to their own advantage in conquering over man.
C. Remember when Paul was addressing the Greek philosophers on Mars hill when he spoke of the resurrection of Jesus they began to mock him, to them that was so much foolishness.
D. The idea that a man could give life to others by dying was so much foolishness.
IV. TO US WHO ARE SAVED, IT IS THE POWER OF GOD.
A. To the Romans Paul wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus the Messiah, for it is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe."
B. John tells us concerning Jesus, "But as many as received Him to them gave He the power to become the Sons of God even to those who believe on His name."
C. In the beginning God warned Adam that sin would result in death.
1. Concerning the tree in the midst of the garden God declared, "In the day you eat of it you will surely die."
2. So by one man sin entered the world and death by sin, so that death passed unto all man, for all sinned.
3. God declared the soul that sinneth shall die.
4. God declared, "The wages of sin is death."
D. The preaching of the cross is the message that Jesus took our guilt, and bore the punishment for our sin on the cross. God laid on Him the iniquities of us all. For the transgression of My people was He smitten.
1. And by your believing in Him, you will receive the forgiveness of all sins that you have ever committed.
a. Are you as the Greeks and consider that foolishness?
b. Or are you as the Jews and does that stumble you?
c. Or are you one of those fortunate ones, and have you discovered the power of God to save you from the power of sin that was once destroying your life?
2. Note to those that perish, foolishness. If you look on that as foolishness, then you are perishing.
a. We are told that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
b. God said to the prophet Ezekiel,
Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
c. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
3. To believe in Jesus Christ is to be saved, to not believe is to perish.
4. Believing the truth is a matter of choice, not based on your intellect, but on your chosen life style, you have chosen to live after your fleshly desires. You live to please your flesh.
5. Jesus said,
He that believeth on Me is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
6. You may offer many flimsy excuses for not accepting Jesus as your Lord, but there is just one reason, you love darkness rather than light, you love the evil, and are not willing to give it up.