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The Importance of the Cross

When we take Communion, we remember the death of Jesus on the cross. What does that really mean? It is good to remind ourselves of this event that was the greatest event in all of human history.

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The Importance of the Cross

  1. 1. The Importance of the Cross In March of 1941, German bombers began a series of air raids on Glasgow, home to huge ship-building and ammunition plants. 20 miles away, a 14 year-old girl huddled in her home on the second floor of an apartment building with her parents and five siblings. She survived and six years later on Feb. 15, 1947, I was born in that apartment during a heavy snowstorm. Why did my mom survive? Partially because British RAF pilots drove the bombers away. Britain flew two of the best fighter planes in the world: the Hurricane and the Spitfire. Those amazing planes and pilots are usually credited with saving Britain from invasion and may have saved Europe from total defeat by keeping Great Britain out of German hands so it could be a staging area for the American-British offensive that eventually won WWII in Europe. Churchill said of the RAF: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” Think of it: about 1000 mostly unknown pilots, their ground support troops and the women and men who built the planes in makeshift factories hidden in cities may have saved the free world from Nazi Germans. But today, most people do not remember those British few. It is easy to forget the saviors of western democracies. Today we remember Jesus--the Savior of the World!
  2. 2. The Cross is His Main Symbol We Understand this: In the last couple of years, the Chinese government has forced hundreds of churches to take down their crosses off their buildings. They know that being a follower of Jesus is a political statement. A true Chinese Christian is more committed to Jesus than to the Chinese government. So, the government fears a rival in Jesus. In 2005, a tape was found in which Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Egyptian-born Ayman Al-Zawahri, urged all Muslims to take up arms, saying a refusal to join the fight against “the Cross and Zionism” was a “malignant illness” that would lead to the defeat of militant Islam. Islam has to crush its main rivals if it is dominate the world politically and militarily as the war-like Quran demands. BUt Why is This Happening? The Bishop of Stockholm, a practicing lesbian, has recently proposed a church in her diocese remove all signs of the cross and put up markings showing the direction to Mecca for the benefit of Muslim worshippers who might come into the church. A Church of England school has removed the cross symbol from its uniform, over fears that it may offend local Muslims. Real Madrid, the highest money-making soccer club in the world until recently, has taken the cross off their official crest in order to do business in the Muslim Middle East.
  3. 3. Why? Because they have forgotten the importance of the cross. Why Is the Cross So Important? What does the cross really mean? What we are not talking about: 1. A physical object! Except for fictional vampire movies, the physical cross no power to help us. Kissing a cross or lighting candles before a cross are NOT biblical practices. There is no special blessing for wearing crosses as jewelry or having them on your wall. A physical cross is there only to remind us of what is really important: the death of Jesus for all mankind. The Cross = the crucifixion and death of Jesus on a wooden cross to pay God’s just debt for the sins of the entire world for all time. In short, the Cross stands for the Gospel: Jesus paid for our sins so the way home to Father God & heaven is open to all who believe and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. Christianity is all about the Person of Jesus Christ. And Christianity is all about the Cross of Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:23: “…but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.” (1 Cor. 1:23-24)
  4. 4. Today is Communion Sunday Jesus told us to remember His death on a cross by celebrating the Lord’s Table or communion. In 1 Cor. 11:25-26, Jesus says: “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. So, to answer question # 1: what does the cross really mean? Let’s look at it from a negative position: Let’s suppose that Jesus did not die on the cross for anyone. It never happened. What would that mean? 1. We would all die in our sins and never be forgiven by God. 2. We would all suffer forever the just wrath of God against our sins. 3. We would continue to be sons of the devil. “and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one...” Matt 13:38 spoken by Jesus. 1 John 3:10 describes “children of the devil” as those who live unrighteously. The children of God live righteously.
  5. 5. 3. Our eternal destiny would be to live in “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”, in eternal destruction forever separated from God. Without Jesus dying on the cross as Our Savior, our lives on earth would be like a horror movie. What awaits us in eternity would be worse. But because of the Cross-- 1. God’s just demand for judgement against our sins has been satisfied by Jesus offering His life on the cross as a sacrifice for all our sins. The Judge of all humanity became the Justifier of all humanity. 3. We can receive forgiveness of all our sins that Jesus purchased with His death by putting our faith in Jesus as our Lord & Savior. 4. We can become righteous, adopted children of God for all eternity through faith in Jesus? 5. We can receive the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus. His death permits us to have life forever. This is God’s great exchange: we give Him our sins and he gives us eternal life!
  6. 6. 6. God Almighty, the Holy Spirit, lives inside us to teach, guide, empower and comfort us so we make it all the way to heaven 7. We are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Jesus of all that heaven holds! We rule and reign with Jesus in heaven! 8. Through the Cross, God fulfilled His pre-creation promise to call us as adopted sons in Jesus that he chose before the world was made ( Eph. 1:3-5). Incredible: God was a Savior before He was a Creator! No one could ever have written a book with a story like that! That’s what the cross signifies. This is what we remember about the death of Jesus in taking communion. Only His death on the cross makes all of that possible! “We preach Christ crucified” ▪ Colossians 2:13: “[He forgave] by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” ▪ 1 Corinthians 15:3: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” ▪ 1 Peter 2:24: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”
  7. 7. Jesus’ death on the cross is all God demanded to give us all that! One sacrifice for all humanity for all time. On the cross He cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). The Book of Hebrews declares unequivocally that “by one offering [on the cross] He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Tetelestai: The Greek business word means “Paid in full”! The Cross is all God required to forgive the world of its sins. All man has to do is receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and try to follow Him faithfully all their lives. That’s what we remember at Communion. _______________________ So How Does Jesus Want Us respond to His Cross? “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26) Ask Yourself Now: What decisions has God been asking of you? What sin has he been asking you to leave?
  8. 8. What habit has He asked you to change? What adjustments in your life is He whispering to you to make? What parts of your life are you still withholding from Him as Lord? Let’s: Talk to God now about all that. Sing: I Surrender All Take Communion