When couples are divorcing, their most common complaint is summed up in two words: irreconcilable differences. The couple is saying that things have gotten so bad―and the distance between them has gotten so vast―that there is no hope at all of ever patching things up.
Sometimes we might be able to say that both husband and wife shared some of the blame. But this isn’t true in a spiritual divorce. When we are separated from God, it’s all on us. Paul describes us as powerless sinners, unholy enemies of God (see Romans 5:6, 8, 10). We did the leaving; we are the problem.
But in the desire to bring reconciliation, God puts it all on Himself―more specifically, on the death of His Son Jesus on an old rugged Cross. In Romans 5 Paul says our reconciliation was through Christ five times in just three verses (vv. 9-11).
As if it weren’t amazing enough that Christ’s death on the Cross saved us, justified us, and reconciled us, giving us a brand new start (2 Corinthians 5:16-17), God then gave us the same ministry that He undertook through Jesus: the ministry of reconciliation (vv. 18-19)!
What Jesus purchased for us on an old rugged Cross allows us to “become the righteousness of Christ” (v. 21). Not reflect His righteousness, not talk about His righteousness, but actually become His righteousness!
We have the supreme privilege of being able to bring the message of reconciliation to others who used to be where we were: powerless sinners, unholy enemies of God!
We have the awesome joy of being God’s righteousness to people who think their irreconcilable differences will keep them from God!
The greatest act of serving you could ever do for anyone is telling them that they can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ’s work on an old rugged Cross!
But we must be careful about giving the characteristic of “flexibility” to God—He doesn’t need to be flexible and modify His plans. He has no Plan B; everything is His Plan A.
Jesus is described as being the sacrificial Lamb from before the dawn of Creation (1 Peter 1:18-20). And in Heaven Jesus is still known as the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 13:8 and 5:5-6). Jesus coming to earth to die on an old rugged Cross was always God’s Plan A. The whole time Jesus Christ was on earth, He knew what was happening.
Here are 5 things Jesus knew. He knew…
With this in mind, here are 5 things we should know. We should know…
The old rugged Cross reminds us that God’s Plan A was always for Christ’s death to make it possible for our lives to make sense!
As Andrew Murray wrote: “God fully relied on His Son to see to it that His honor was respected. And in Jesus we too may bravely enter this covenant without fear that we will not be able to fulfill it. We can rely upon Jesus to see to it that He will bring everything to completion. Jesus has not only discharged our old debt but also undertaken the responsibility for whatever else may be required.”
“That is the religion of ninety-nine English people out of every hundred who know nothing of divine grace—we are to be as good as we can; we are to go to church or to chapel, and do all that we can, and then Jesus Christ died for us, and we shall be saved. Whereas the gospel is, that He did not do anything at all for people who think they can rely on themselves, but gave Himself for lost and ruined ones. He did not come into the world to save self-righteous people; on their own showing, they do not want to be saved.” —Charles Spurgeon
Twitter stands up to ISIS. About time!
Interesting research results from The Barna Group in What Millennials Want When They Visit Church.
“The engagement of God’s power never takes the place of the engagement of our will! The power of God in sanctification never makes us passive! The power of God engages itself beneath or behind and within our will, not in place of our will. … God will never appear with power in your will in any other form than a good resolve that you make and keep.” —John Piper
“Jesus is Amen as to His righteousness. That sacred robe shall remain most fair and glorious when nature shall decay. He is Amen in every single title which He bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Head, the neck never being dislocated; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death’s dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your Strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and Amen in all.” —Charles Spurgeon
Read this in my Archeological Study Bible and thought this rang true for our generation still today: “This generation was not guilty of the gross idolatry of its forefathers. Rather, these Israelites had embraced a kind of dead orthodoxy, in which they tried to get by with the minimum that their faith required.”
The Apostle Paul traveled the known world preaching and teaching. Luke preserves some of his sermons for us in the Book of Acts, and Paul’s letters reveal the depth of and breadth of his Spirit-inspired thoughts. But of all the doctrines which this eminent apostle taught, there was one truth that stood out as the foundation for all others—
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
The work that Jesus Christ did on an old rugged Cross is absolutely the most central message of all others. Without the Cross, no other doctrine makes sense.
Sadly, we spend far too little time looking at the Cross.
Join me this Sunday as we take a long look at the Cross and the Lamb of God Who was sacrificed on it. Our series is simply called The Old Rugged Cross.
Simplicity does not mean watered-down, nor does it mean dumbed-down. Simplicity means as clear as possible.
Sometimes I get so grieved when I hear a pastor trying to “simplify” the gospel message for people. That definition usually means that they are removing any of the parts which might cause people to feel uncomfortable. That is not simplicity, but it’s a sell-out!
“All the simplicity in the world can do no good, unless you preach the simple gospel of Jesus Christ so fully and clearly that everybody can understand it. If ‘Christ crucified’ has not His rightful place in your sermons, and sin is not exposed as it should be, and your people are not plainly told what they ought to believe, and be, and do—your preaching is of no use!” (emphasis added)
Pastor, by all means make the gospel clear, but make sure people do hear all of the gospel.