Saturday, February 14, 2015


For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  (1 Corinthians 2:2)

In the very center of London you will find a place called Charing Cross.  The locals simply call it “the Cross.” The story is told of a London police officer who came upon a lost child.  The child was crying and unable to tell him where he lived. The boy said, “If you will take me to the Cross, I think I can find my way home from there”.  That is still true today!  In an age where many churches are taking down the cross from their buildings so as not to be offensive, we will still cling to the old rugged cross!  When has it not been offensive?  At the center of our faith stands the cross.

The cross is central in its PROCLAMATION (1 Cor.2:1)  It was the core of New Testament preaching.  Paul underscores this in his ministry.  He did not seek to enthrall them with soaring oratory—with human eloquence—or to enchant them with sublime philosophy—with human intelligence.  Rather it was a simple sermon—a testimony.  Notice that the Apostle connects his preaching with the glory of God (1 Cor.1:26-31), so he will not seek to exalt himself but exalt Christ!  No preacher can seek his own glory and seek God’s at the same time.  Paul wrote in Gal.6:14, “God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  

The cross is central in its PREEMINENCE (1 Cor.2:2)  There had been many crosses erected on that skull-shaped hill outside Jerusalem.  Perhaps hundreds of Jews had been crucified there.  On that day there were three crosses—but it is the central cross that is pre-eminent—the cross where Jesus was crucified.  That is our focus.  It draws our gaze.  We stand transfixed at it—its horror and its attraction, at the same time.  There are those who want to take the cross and make it an object of beauty—gilding it with gold and setting it with precious gems.  That is not the cross of Christ.  Rather it was a cruel instrument of death.  It is in the Son of God crucified that we can be forgiven—paying the debt of sin we couldn’t pay.

The cross is central in its POWER (1 Cor.2:3-5).  Apparently, there was nothing imposing about Paul’s physical presence.  He may have sounded more like Don Knotts than James Earl Jones.  But it wasn’t the charisma of his person, but the content of his preaching that provided the power to transform lives.  He contrasts the faith that is rooted in man’s wisdom and that which is in God’s power.  The former is a sham-faith and the latter a saving faith.  In the first, some Christian salesman uses emotional manipulation and psychological techniques to talk someone into a decision.  I bought a time-share like that once—and came to regret it and sold it.  It wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.  That only cost a few thousand dollars.  This kind of preaching can cost an eternal soul!  When the Gospel is proclaimed in faithfulness, the Holy Spirit’s power convicts of sin, and generates faith in the heart of man. It is a miracle—a dead man coming to life, a blind man coming to see, a deaf man to hear, and a crippled man to walk!  Only God can do that!  Is that where your faith rests?  Is it in the cross alone?

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